OMEGA - Balancing the Ratio 16 min read

Would you make genuine simple changes to your life-style and nutritional intake on identifying that your personal vital fatty acids (Omega-3 and 6) were out of balance? Perhaps you have not thought about this yet because you feel healthy and full of energy, are too busy with sorting out life or have not found intimate value in health so far. Maybe you don’t know how and where to start, or realise that you can measure the balance of your fatty acids at home.

Unfortunately most people, including health professionals, remain unaware of the importance of having the correct balance of fatty acids within the body to achieve and maintain overall physical and mental health. In recent years the issue of nutrition has been prominent within all types of media. The majority of articles and programmes, however, only touch vaguely if at all on having a healthy balance of polyunsaturated fatty acids within our body.

As an example, the website PubMed is a free search engine that accesses primarily the MEDLINE database, and currently features a total of 637,055  articles alone on the topic of nutrition (as of 18th Jan. 2021). However, articles touching on the topic of Omega 3 and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids only make up around 2% of the total volume (12,316 articles). Those of us that have some personal or professional interest in this topic are more aware of its overall importance, and continue to research how health and well-being can be improved and supported using organic whole foods and supplements.

People are becoming increasingly health conscious and aware that nutrition really matters in the process of prolonging longevity, vitality and health as we age. It is now also possible to determine and monitor personal fatty acid levels, which gives us greater control of the food and supplement choices we make. Our aim with this article is to raise awareness on an often neglected, undervalued or poorly understood issue, and to provide simple recommendations on what to watch out for when considering the use of supplements. This should enable you to make an informed decision on how best to personally achieve, monitor and maintain a balanced ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

Fatty Acids are Essential

Fatty acids and amino acids are essential to our body as they significantly influence our overall health and wellbeing. Both fatty acids and amino acids alike are absorbed by the body when we consume any type of food. Depending on the type, quality and quantity of food we eat on a regular basis, we significantly contribute to how healthy we feel and actually are. There are twenty amino acids in total, of which nine are classed as essential to the body. These must be consumed via food as we are unable to create or synthesise these internally. Amino acids are particularly relevant to the processes of building muscle tissue and muscle strength, as well as the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters which affect emotional well-being and mental health. Amino acids are commonly found in grains, seeds, egg, fish, legumes and beans.

The type and amount of fatty acids consumed will either support health or cause disease.

Fatty acids are significantly more distinct. At present, research has identified more than 300 fatty acids, which are classified as Saturated, Trans-Fat, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fatty acids. From the food we eat, our body will digest any fats and break these down into the above mentioned fatty acids, and which then enter the bloodstream and are absorbed by our cells. Fatty acids carry out many functions that are necessary for normal physiological and mental health. They are critical for our body to build and maintain healthy cell membranes which allow the transit and flow of nutrients and waste products to and from the cell. They also act as a protective layer surrounding our nerves, and additionally influence local “hormonal” signalling. Fatty acids have a further critical role enabling blood clotting, storage of energy, muscle movement, and inflammation.

Fatty acids are further known to be both a serious risk factor to our overall health and well-being, and an important component helping to prevent disease and illness. However, this will naturally depend on the type and amount of fatty acids consumed on a regular and daily basis. Imbalances in fatty acid level are known to affect the clinical course of several life-style related disorders and diseases, such as cardio-vascular disease or depression.

Unhealthy Fatty Acids

Fatty Acids that increase the risk of developing many of today´s modern life-style or chronic diseases, are predominantly Trans Fatty Acids and to some extent Saturated Fatty Acids. Many of us continue to consume these Saturated and Trans Fatty Acids through our modern diets which often include high amounts of processed foods. Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods with the majority of these coming mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Additionally, some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol found in animal fats.

Trans Fatty Acids occur naturally in very few foods and at significantly low levels. These are predominantly industrialised, artificial or processed fat, and bare a significant health risk. Trans Fatty Acids are formed during processes where liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated or ‘hardened’ in order to create spreads such as margarine, cooking fats for deep-frying and shortening for baking. The common names and labels for Trans Fatty Acids are hydrogenated or modified vegetable oil / canola oils among others. Although government efforts are increasingly reducing and banning these as a public health measure, companies can get away with and continue to use these by having complex multifaceted food processing procedures, and also when foods contain less than 0.5 grams of Trans Fatty Acids per serving.

Common foods containing Trans Fatty Acids are: 
    • Fried fast foods, Frozen Pizzas and Ready Made Pasta Meals,
    • Bakery goods, such as muffins, cakes, pastries and doughnuts
    • Potato & Corn chips, pies and sausage rolls, sweet pies, popcorn for microwave, non-dairy coffee creamers, margarine and many other butter like spreads containing softeners

Trans Fatty Acids & Saturated Fatty Acids - The Risks!

Saturated Fatty Acids significantly influence the cholesterol levels within our body. There are two main types of cholesterol, and both are affected by the amount and type of saturated fatty acids we consume. A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total overall cholesterol which in combination with other personal and dietary factors can tip the balance towards a more harmful LDL cholesterol level.

    • Low-density lipoprotein: LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.

    • High-density lipoprotein: HDL, or “good,” cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.

Consuming Trans Fatty Acids bares a significant health risk as they increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol. Many processed foods contain a combination of both Trans Fatty Acids and Saturated Fatty Acids which are likely to accelerate and exacerbate various forms of disease. One of the driving forces for many diseases is chronic inflammation. Unfortunately preventable diseases such as listed below are increasingly diagnosed within people and younger generations globally today.

Common diseases associated with an imbalance of Saturated Fatty Acids and regular consumption of Trans Fatty Acids are:
    • Obesity & Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular, disease (Hardening of Arteries, Heart attacks or stroke) 
    • Inflammations within the body
    • Neurodegenerative Diseases, Mental Health (Depression & Anxiety)
    • Cancers

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

These are considered to be healthy fats!

Many foods in their natural unprocessed form are high in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs), as well as have significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Both are associated with having broader health benefits and recognised for their properties in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and the total of cholesterol within our body, while at the same time they also enhance the production of HDL (good) cholesterol. Most monounsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils like plant based oils as well as nuts. However, organic cold-pressed virgin olive oil contains the highest amount at respectively 73.1 grams per 100 grams, or 73.1% respectively. In addition, depending on source of origin, organic cold-pressed virgin olive oil  can contain significant amounts of polyphenols which is a type of antioxidant and vital to our health, especially our cell functioning.   

There are a total of 41 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and are commonly known as either Omega 3, 6, or 9. Of these, 21 are considered essential hence the body cannot synthesise or produce them on its own. They must come from unprocessed, and preferably organic, foods that we consume, as high heat will change the chemical molecular structure and thereby alter their health benefits. Essential fatty acids are commonly found in plant and animal foods such as fish, vegetable oils and some nuts and seeds.

Two essential fatty acids are Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) and Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and which are readily available when consuming plant oils, such as olive oil. Although the human body has some ability to convert ALA into the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), this function is limited. Considering our modern life-style and diets, most of us will find we have a deficient intake of Omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids.

Health Benefits and Body Functions!

THE HUMAN BODY IS AN EVOLUTIONARY MASTERPIECE

Fatty acids have a wide range of effects on the human body, thereby influencing health, well-being, and disease risk. Fatty acids are energy sources and membrane constituents, and also influence cell and tissue metabolism, function, and responsiveness to hormonal and other signals. Additionally, fatty acids carry important vitamins that are only fat soluble, such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. Other biological functions significantly influenced by fatty acids are blood clotting, wound healing and inflammation which are a natural part of the immune and healing response of the body. A vital Omega 3 fatty acid to mention here, is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is the major brain fatty acid and thus influences brain functionality such as releasing and inhibiting hormones, neurological signals and memory.

When our fatty acids are out of balance, vital immune responses such as inflammation and blood-clotting can become chronic, and thereby create a foundation for future chronic and degenerative diseases. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that has linked an imbalance of body fatty acids to diseases such as:

ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer Disease & Dementia, Biploar Disorder, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancers, Crohn Disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Depression, Inflammatory Diseases, Metabolic Diseases (such as type 2 diabetes), Neurodegenerative Diseases, Renal disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis.

The human body is a masterpiece of life and evolution itself, and many bio-chemical functions that ensure body functions, internal processes, health and diseases remain a complex interconnected puzzle that is yet to be fully unravelled. It is an impossible task for an individual to know and fully understand all the individual bits and pieces that ensure longevity, vitality, health and well-being, hence why science and discussions around food, nutrition and “perfect” dieting can in some cases contradict each other.

However, something that is becoming increasingly evident through scientific studies is that fatty acids must be balanced correctly within the body in order to reduce the risks of developing specific diseases and illnesses, as well as providing vital nutrients that maintain and enhance longevity, vitality, physical health and emotional well-being. Knowing one´s personal balance of body fatty acids, and maintaining a healthy ratio, combined with adequate physical activities and making health conscious choices are essential to enhancing personal well-being.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids, How - Where - Why

Having a correct and personally adjusted Omega 3 ratio will support our physical and emotional wellness. 
  1. Contributes to normal brain function and heart function 
  2. Contributes to a normal immune system 
  3. Helps maintain good levels of EPA and DHA in your body
  4. Helps maintain optimal Omega-6:3 levels in your body
  5. Contributes to protecting blood lipids from oxidative stress
  6. Supports healthy and normal eye function
  7. Contributes to normal bones, muscle function, normal teeth and cell division in presence of adequate Vitamin D3
  8. Supports normal blood triglyceride levels, normal blood pressure and normal blood calcium levels.
  9. Can improve mental health and support reducing depression, anxiety and other disorders. 
  10. Can reduce symptoms of ADHD in Children

What is a healthy balance of fatty acids?

Most of our modern Western diets comprise of high levels in saturated fatty acids and Trans Fatty Acids, especially when consuming processed foods as well as deep-fried fast foods. Additionally such diets are also rich in Omega 6 which has in recent years been marketed as having significant health benefits. However, this is only partially true, as our modern diets are mostly poor in essential Omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital to maintain health and wellbeing. It is becoming increasingly recognised that Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory while Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which is why having a correct healthy balance really matters.

It is assumed that hunter-gatherers tribes, who ate mostly land animals and had a significant diverse range of plant foods, would consume these fats at ratios between 2:1 to 4:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Inuit and other tribes dominantly relying on sea-food would have ratios of between 1:1 and 1:4 respectively. With modern changes in food production, processing and consumption it is not uncommon these days to find that many diets contain an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio between 14:1 and 20:1, in addition to high levels of Saturated and Trans Fatty Acids, which effects are evident in the global increase of chronic diseases in recent decades.

More recent studies suggest that individuals should aim to achieve an ideal balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids intake between 3:1 and 5:1, and highly recommend consuming vegetable oils high in Omega 3, as well as including steam or pan-fried fish on a weekly basis. Additional studies recommend that people take high quality Omega 3 supplements on a daily bases. However, very few studies take note of, and discuss, the importance of monitoring personal body Omega 6 fatty acids and Omega 3 fatty acids levels which is vital to achieve a personal healthy balance.

Common Blood Test

Getty ImagesA common misconception is that physicians, nurses or pharmacists will analyses this specific balance when taking blood at a general health check-up, or on request. Although common blood-tests will test for a range of diseases, enzyme and/or metabolic markers, such as cholesterol (HDL and LDL), Troponin, salts, glucoses and iron levels, the balance ratios between various Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are actually not examined. Neither do the majority of health staff propose or promote testing the elasticity, fluidity and vitality of cellular membranes within our body. However, the elasticity and fluidity of cellular membranes is vital to supplying the cell with essential nutrients, as well as allowing for the effective disposal of waste-products, such as salts, urea, lactic acid, lactose, hydrogen, ethanol and carbon dioxide. By the time cellular waste and by-products such necrotic materials, plagues, salts or urea reach critical blood levels, and which would begin to concern most physicians, the majority of our cells will have lost a significant proportion of membrane elasticity, fluidity and vitality. This means that body-cells are already poorly functioning or damaged, and as a result will eventuate in illness and disease.

The standard approach within the biomedical healthcare system is to then promote and prescribe a diverse range of pharmaceutical medications, along with general advice on healthy life-style behaviours. However, prescribing and relying solely on pharmaceutical medications is often costly, and can in many cases have additional unwanted side-effects as few genuinely address the actual root-causes of many illnesses. The steady increase of chronic disease and inflammation related illnesses within younger generations in recent decades, many of which are preventable, highlights the importance of having genuine healthy nutrition, and importantly a balanced body ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.   

Home Test Kits for Omega Fatty Acids

Since the early 2000s, independent scientist, organisations, nutrition labs and companies have been specialising in developing cost-effective home kits that measure Omega 6 and 3 fatty acid ratios. Such testing kits have become readily available and are gaining in popularity within the globally growing health conscious community, with some indicating great overall successes. The price range for home-testing-kits can vary between US$ 50 and US$120 (Jan.2021). Important to note is that some brands do not fully disclose the laboratory where the testing takes place, as well as which fatty acids are specifically screened for. Many budget brands are likely to screen fewer fatty acids, as well as provide only a brief description of the ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids which can deliver inconsistent, insufficient or inconclusive results.

In order to determine the full spectrum of Omega 3 fatty acids within the body, and whether or not our cellular body membranes are fully functioning, elastic and resilient, it is vital to provide a comprehensive screening for the majority of essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Identifying the most appropriate and comprehensive test can therefore be challenging for consumers. For this reason we always encourage buyers to read labels and descriptions thoroughly, conduct personal research, and potentially discuss this with a trusted GP, Physician or Naturopath.  This should ensure the product(s) meets personal needs and expectations. 

Prior to choosing a test it is beneficial to find out and know what exactly is being tested for, as most tests only focus on the three most important Omega 3 Fatty Acids, namely:

               1.)      ALA (Alpha-Linolenic acid),

               2.)     EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)

               3.)     DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)

Most companies providing home testing kits will encourage consumers to follow-up with a second test after 3 to 4 months. This is a sensible thing to do. Considering that red blood cells have a life-span between 110 and 120 days, it is recommended doing the initial test prior to making any significant life-style, nutrition or supplement changes in order to establish a reliable personal base-line. The recommended follow-up test after 3-4 Months should be done with exactly the same test which will allow for a direct comparison, thereby determining whether or not any changes made have been effective and beneficial.  

Omega 3 Supplements - What to watch out for!

Most dieticians will recommend that eating whole foods that are rich in omega-3s, like fatty fish is the best way to get enough fatty acids. In contrast to this view, studies on nutritional intake and determining the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 have highlighted that due to most diets being rich in Omega 6 and low in EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids, people were likely to be deficient in EPA and DHP Omega 3 fatty acids. More recent studies recommend incorporating high quality Omega 3 supplements into the daily food regime, because EPA and DHA are predominantly found within fish oil or algal oil, rather than plant based oils such as flax-seed and hemp oil, or nuts.    

Much like other oils, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids are easily oxidized when exposed to heat and light. In order to improve the shelf-life for oils and reduce the oxidisation process, some brands have therefore included an antioxidant such as Vitamin D which within the body protects the membrane of cells. Many supplements containing fish oil will also contain one or more additional plant based oils, such as green olive oil, seed or vegetable oils. Whilst premium organic green olive oil is expensive, it is also known for its superb anti-inflammation properties. Lesser quality oils may be used by some brands with the sole purpose of increasing their own profits rather than promote genuine health. 

Another important aspect to consider is the difference between pure Omega 3 oil versus capsules. Capsules can be made from a wider range of ingredients, as well as contain stabilizers such as or glycerine or sorbitol, which in some cases may result in unwanted side-effects or allergic reactions. Additionally the serving size of capsules is significantly lower than that of pure oil which means that on average 8-10 gel capsules daily are required to equal the Omega-3 dose found in a traditional tablespoon of pure oil, depending on the brand and concentration.

A final point to watch out for when selecting any type of supplement is flavouring. Because most Omega 3 supplements containing fish oil are not very pleasant in taste, brands have therefore increased their product range by providing optional flavouring. However, not all flavours are purely plant based and 100% organic. Additionally some ingredients for flavouring may interfere with the potency of the fish oil itself, as well as cause unwanted side effects. It is therefore recommended to make some personal inquiries into the brands and their products and choose trusted premium brands that use 100% natural and organic ingredients.    

The Website HealthLine.com provides some additional valuable information on what to consider when choosing to use Omega 3 Supplements.

     1.) Purity & Authenticity. Source high quality products that have either the GOED standard for purity or a third-party seal, to ensure product quality and safety.

     2.) Sustainability. Some brands have partnered with international peak-bodies such as Friends of the Sea or the Marine Stewardship Council, to ensure transparency in the selection and use of resources.

     3.) Type of Omega 3. Many omega-3 supplements often contain little, if any, EPA and DHA, which are however essential. 

     4.) Amount of Omega 3. Select a supplement with the highest omega-3 content, especially EPA and DHA

     5.) Form of Omega 3. FFA (Free Fatty Acids) TG (triglycerides), rTG (reformed triglycerides) and PLs (phospholipids) are more beneficial and absorbed than EE (Ethyl Esters)

     6.) Freshness. Omega 3s are prone to going rancid which is why it is best to keep them refrigerated once opened and used within 4-6 weeks. Once opened the oil will naturally deteriorate over time and become less potent. Depending on the brand, and time the oil was open, or has expired, they may even become harmful due to oxidation processes.

Holistic Health and Well-Being

Given that nutrition plays a critical role to nurturing and maintaining health and wellbeing, there is no surprise then that there is a global multi-billion dollar industry specialising in nutrition and food supplements. With such a large market to choose from it can be challenging to distinguish and pinpoint genuine brands promoting organic and quality products from those brands that are substandard and provide poor value for money.  

It is furthermore important that consumers consider their personal circumstances and health needs on whether a product is suitable. In order to maximise the health benefits from Omega 3 supplements it is highly recommended to spend some time investigating the products and testing-kits available. Studies have shown that high quality oils and getting an adequate dose are essential to achieving and maintaining health, as well as addressing personal life-style and nutrition choices where recommended.    

KP-Unity and its associates are strong advocates for genuine holistic health which includes personal and family physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Before personally using, accepting and promoting any particular brand we will investigate whether or not a product meets our expectations and genuinely promotes health and well-being holistically. We always encourage our family, friends, colleagues and consumers to do their own research and to make a fully informed decision. 

Partnering with ZinZino

Applying Evidence Based Science

After 14 months of thoroughly researching brands and their Omega 3 supplements, products, ingredients and home testing kits, we have now determined that the products and business model offered by ZinZino meet our high expectations. Essentially important to us is that the brand or products that we choose to use our-selves, as well as promote to our family, friends and clients, genuinely promote and enhance health and well-being, are ethically sourced, and environmentally friendly and sustainable.

ZinZino´s products are regularly audited by Friends of the Sea, Sedex, Debio, Informed Sports Cambridge UK and Intertek. Audits are done in accordance to the BRC Global Standards Framework which manages product safety, integrity, legality, quality, and the operational controls in the food, food ingredient, manufacturing, processing and packaging industries. In addition ZinZino employs a scientific advisory board which is led by Dr. Paul Clayton. Dr. Clyton and his team are committed to improving the formula and quality of their products, as well as continue research into the benefits of active ingredients within plants such as algae.

Moving away from opinion based practices, and applying science backed knowledge.

The home testing kit offered by ZinZino is easy to use and one of the most comprehensive on the market. Not only does the kit measure the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, it also screens the value of 11 essential Omega 3 fatty acids and determines the health status of body cell membranes.  Furthermore, the test report will provide supportive advice and recommendations on nutrition, and how best to enhance your personal Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. All samples are analysed by the independent laboratory VITAS Analytical Services in Norway which has some high profile clients such as: WHO, Harvard University, Cambridge University, Champion Technologies, Synthetica, PHARMAQ, Nestle among many others. READ MORE HERE ON THE BALANCE TEST!

Premium Marine Omega 3 - Balance Oils+ For You

Why I would never accept budget quality supplements:

After months and months of comparing brands, reviewing labels and researching active ingredients I have found confidence and trust in ZinZino´s Premium Marine Omega 3 Balance Oils. They are one of the very few brands in the market that have put quality, purity and sustainability at the forefront, as well as provide a diverse range of products which are regularly audited by independent bodies.  

OPPORTUNITY

Integrating ZinZino professionally

As a direct sales company ZinZino offers all its customers the opportunity to receive their subscription BalanceOils for free when promoting them to four or more people. Many independent active partners within ZinZino use this approach to support family members, or those within their circle of friends that are financially less fortunate but would greatly benefit from premium health products.

Becoming an active partner and joining the growing global team of Wellness Advocates opens up unique opportunities to personal empowerment. Besides providing a world-class learning and development program, the testing kit and BalanceOils also enable people to make informed choices that enhance overall health and wellbeing. Furthermore, successful, motivated and determined Wellness Advocates have accepted the invitation to generate a rewarding income by promoting and enabling health and wellness within their communities and networks. Of course any results and successes will depend on personal motivation, level of commitment, time and effort spent. Find out more by clicking the button below. 

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Related blog posts for more information on the importance of having enough DPA, DHA and EPA.

How Omega 3s (EPA & DHA) work!

Image Courtesy: Miracle Therapy Devices
Image Courtesy: Endo, J., & Arita, M. (2016).

Research & Transparency

KP-Unity is an independent active partner of ZinZino and committed to supporting people who aspire to living in health, wealth and harmony. We always recommend that people do their own research into brands and products, and evaluate whether or not they consider these ethical, sustainable and suit the individual’s expectations, needs and life circumstance. If you would like to learn more about ZinZino products and/or the business opportunity, please do reach out to us in person anytime via Facebook or our Contact Form.

KP-Unity aims to educate and provide an alternative point of view. All the information in this article was sourced from the databases PubMed, ResearchGate, ScienceDirect, HealthLine, Health.Harvard.edu and ZinZino.Blog.

This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health or financial circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on KP-Unity.com. 

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