OVERVIEW

There are two main categories of essential poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA): Omega-3 and Omega-6. The human body needs both of these kinds of fatty acids, but cannot make either; this means that we must eat foods containing these kinds of fatty acids.

The chemical difference between these categories of fatty acids is the location of the double bonds, which gives these two kinds of fatty acids different actions in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids tend to be anti-inflammatory, and benefit brain tissue and joint pain, for example. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to be involved with inflammation. The immune system requires a certain amount of inflammation to work properly, so Omega-6 fatty acids are not all bad. But too much definitely causes problems.

The problem is that the standard American diet (SAD) contains too much Omega-6 PUFAs, and not enough Omega-3 PUFAs. This can lead to increased pain due to excessive inflammation.

In particular, vegetable oils such as corn oil tend to be very high in Omega-6 oils (too much is bad), while wild-caught oily cold water fish like salmon and tuna tend to be very high in Omega-3 oils.

Anthropologists suggest that historically during most of human evolution, the human diet consisted of equal parts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This suggests that human metabolism is optimized with a 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, people consuming the standard American Diet (SAD) consume far too many products derived from corn and other vegetable oils, and not enough wild caught fish (or other foods rich in Omega-3's). In some cases, this could be 1:20 ratio of Omega-3 PUFAs to Omega-6 PUFAs in the diet. This leads to excess inflammation and pain in the body.

Note well that this is NOT an allergic reaction that can be seen in an IgG or IgE allergy test. This is a biochemical reaction that does not involve IgG or IgE. In other words, while IgG and IgE immune system reactions are important parts of food sensitivities, there are also many other mechanisms that must be considered, including the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6.

An interesting feature of the Omega-3 PUFAs to Omega-6 PUFAs ratio in the diet is that it does not just depend on what you eat. It also depends on what your food eats. For example, commercial farm-raised beef is fed a lot of corn, which is high in Omega-6 PUFAs). Organic grass-fed beef has much more Omega-3 content and lower Omega-6 content. The bottom line is, "you are what your food eats."

Dr. Weyrich can order lab tests to evaluate your current body fat balance, and help construct a diet to optimize the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.