These statements are my own, I'm not a doctor, and before changing your diet in any way, you should always consult with your physician.
Omega-3s play a considerable role in our bodies. Still, most of us have heard all of the hype surrounding omega-3s. This is the fat we will be discussing in this blog. After reading, you will be able to dose your omegas according to your specific goals both from a 3:6 as well as EPA, DHA, and ALA. Lets get into it!
Most Americans consume omegas 3 and 6 at a ratio of 1:10 and some as high as 1:20. Most clinicals recommend a ratio of 1:1 and ironically enough, the American Heart Association doesn't have a recommended ratio at all. However, the studies used here (1) show promising results when the ratio of omega 3 to 6 was 2:1, 4:1, and even as high as 10:1 showing benefits in cardiovascular health, muscle mass, brain function, and reduced inflammation overall. This in turn promotes full-body protein synthesis.
Now lets discuss how to accurately get the proper ratio of EPA, DHA, and ALA. Keep in mind, there is no precise ratio. Most clinicals use a 1.5:1 (EPA to DHA) ratio prescription. That being said, DHA has been shown (2) to increase brain function and cellular immune response (Makes your cells go from Paul Blart to Chris Kyle on the hunt for harmful pathogens). While DHA mainly helps with Immune response and brain function, EPA mainly helps on the side of inflammation and cell cycle regulation. This allows our cells to divide and copy but not copy damaged cells. Some clinicals actually show a better autophagy rate (body taking out the trash) in diets higher in EPA. As for ALA, this is a tricky omega 3 in the sense that while you can utilize it, your body will try to convert it to either EPA or DHA. Clinical studies (3) show that between 2-15% of it converts while the rest is wasted. I'm not saying stay away from it. I just wouldn't search for it to replace your EPA or DHA. If you can't eat fish, there is algal oil made from algae. To my knowledge, it is the only source of vegan EPA and DHA.
Now I will give an example of how I structure my omegas. For me, I like to have the best of both EPA and DHA, so first thing in the morning, I eat sardines and have omega-3s oil from Carlson's. Both are higher in DHA than most Fish oil. Once my day is ending, I switch to eating higher EPA fish, such as salmon or tuna. On average, I get around 10-15 grams of omega-3s, with about 8g coming from EPA and DHA combined. Most recommendations are for around 2-4g of omega- 3s a day; however, Olympic training icon Charles Poliquin recommended 6-10g and 30-45g of omega-3s if you're trying to lose weight.
In the next blog, we will be discussing the different types of fish oil and how to get the greatest absorption.
1- Mickleborough TD, Lindley MR, Ionescu AA, Fly AD. Protective effect of fish oil supplementation on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. Chest. 2006 Jan;129(1):39-49. doi: 10.1378/chest.129.1.39. PMID: 16424411.
2- Gammone MA, Riccioni G, Parrinello G, D'Orazio N. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients. 2018;11(1):46. Published 2018 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/nu11010046
3- Metherel AH, Lacombe RJS, Chouinard-Watkins R, Hopperton KE, Bazinet RP. Complete assessment of whole-body n-3 and n-6 PUFA synthesis-secretion kinetics and DHA turnover in a rodent model. J Lipid Res. 2018 Feb;59(2):357-367. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M081380. Epub 2017 Dec 11. PMID: 29229739; PMCID: PMC5794429.