We all know that our bodies need fat. Fat is vital for various aspects of our bodies such as healthy eyes, hearts, liver, kidneys, cells, hormones, immune systems and more. Foods we typically get fat from include various meats, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds. However, even with these foods, we often aren’t getting enough healthy fats needed in our diets.
Specifically, many people aren’t getting enough omega 3 and omega 6. The reason for this is pretty simple: it’s due to the way our food is raised and processed. Animals are often given feed with grains rather than being allowed to eat grass from a pasture. Food processing damages the oils, rendering them useless and sometimes damaging to your body. This is why people often turn to supplements such as flaxseed oil and fish oil.
Supplementing Omega 3 and Omega 6
Supplementing omega 3 and omega 6 is an effective way to ensure you are getting the fats that your body requires. The next questions is, what product should you take to supplement them?
Parent Omega 3 and Derivatives
There are thousands of omega supplements on the market. Currently, the focus is largely on omega 3, and specifically EPA and DHA. These are the omega 3 derivatives that are found in fish oil. Much attention is given to these derivatives, mainly because the fish oil industry has spent tons of money commissioning research to be done on the benefits of these fats. It is true that we need these derivatives; however, the body doesn’t need a lot of them. Studies show that we need 5% or less of the omegas in derivative form and 95% in the parent form.
So what is the parent form? Parent omega 3 and parent omega 6 are technically Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) and Linoleic Acid (LA). These are the most basic forms of the omega series fats. Your body can take these fats and break them down into related substances, also called derivatives.
It’s important to note that your body can not use a derivative fat and create the parent fat. Since your body needs around 95% parent fats, it doesn’t make sense to focus on supplementing a derivative oil, like EPA and DHA, as the primary supplement. It’s okay if these derivative oils are added to the supplement, but many of the fish oil supplements on the market today are primarily EPA and DHA.
The way to tell if you’re supplementing with a parent or derivative is to simply read the ingredient list. If the main ingredients are fish oil, then the supplement is primarily derivatives.
Avoid Fish Oil Supplements
Another reason to avoid fish oil is quality. The best fish aren’t going to be ground up and pressed for supplement oil; they are sent to markets and restaurants to be sold for top dollar. Fish used for supplements are lower quality fish or farm raised fish, such as krill. These are the tiny little creatures that are usually eaten by whales. It’s very rare for a human to consume this type of fish.
The best way to get healthy fish oil is directly from the consumption of the fish. Fish oil supplements are mega-dosing on the derivatives, giving you much more than you would typically get, even if you ate fish three times per day. Those people are also eating other foods to get the parent omegas.
Plant-Based Omega Supplements Are the Best Option
When comparing flaxseed oil vs. fish oil, plant based omega supplements are ideal and contain parent oils. When offered as organic, they are the purest, quality oils available. Flaxseed oil is the primary plant oil containing omega 3. Evening primrose, sunflower, safflower (linoleic varieties), pumpkin and borage are the primary seeds that contain omega 6 fats. A few of these have omega 3 in them also, but it’s minimal compared to the omega 6.
The best supplements for omega oils will have anywhere from 2-to-1 to 3-to-1 as the ratio between omega 6 and 3. Your body needs much more omega 6 than omega 3, so this is what you should strive for with a supplement.
The Importance of Unadulterated Omega 6
Some will say we get plenty of omega 6 from our diets, but the fact of the matter is that it’s mostly processed and adulterated. This means our body can’t use it.
At Healthy for Life, we understand that it’s essential to your health to get the correct ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 in your diet. That’s why we formulated a program to help people do just that. Learn more about our omega products today!
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Great question. The answer is yes and no. Yes most Americans get too much refined, processed, hydrogenated omega 6. Most Americans also don’t get enough healthy, unrefined usable omega 6. In these articles that talk about people getting too much omega 6, the author is not recognizing the difference between healthy omega 6 and ruined omega 6 so often used in our foods. When we are talking about omega 6 it’s the healthy unprocessed kind that your body needs.
other articles say omega 3 to omega 6 should be 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 … but your rsyios are the opposite? don’t people get way too much omega 6 in their diet,?