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Archive for May, 2008

Do I need to take omega 3 and omega 6 together?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on May 31, 2008

 

A reader from The Heart of Health, Jessica, sent in a question about omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  If you are struggling with weight loss, you should visit Jessica’s blog allabouthabits.com, for some weight loss motivation.  She openly shares her weight loss struggles.

 

The question:

 

About omega 3’s and 6’s, I heard that they should be taken together, and not just having one omega 3 or omega 6 alone. It has something to do with digestion and breakdown process. Is that right?

 

The answer:

 

There are two types of fatty acids – essential and non-essential.  The body can synthesize non-essential fatty acids, while the only way we get essential fatty acids is from what we eat.  Omega 3 and Omega 6 are both essential fatty acids – we must get them from foods and/or supplements.

 

Omega 3 – ALA, EPA, and DHA are all acronyms that represent omega 3 fatty acids.  If we consume ALA, our body will convert it to EPA and DHA.

 

Omega 6 – Omega 6 is also known as linoleic acid.  Linoleic acid is converted to GLA, another omega 6 fatty acid, in the body.  GLA and EPA (an omega 3 fatty acid) work together to promote bone and heart health. 

 

So, yes, omega 3 and omega 6 work together and both are needed for bodily functions.

 

But, omega 6 does not require supplementation.  The typical American diet is very high is omega 6 fatty acids.  A main source of omega 6 fatty acids is corn oil, which is very prevalent in our society.  Other sources include sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and pumpkin seeds.

 

The ideal ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids should be 1:1 or 4:1.  A typical diet in the U.S. is 11:1 to 30:1.  This poor ratio is linked with heart disease, among several other health issues. 

 

Certain conditions can interfere with the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA, such as advanced age, excess alcohol consumption, viral infections, and various other factors.  In these situations a GLA deficiency would be present and supplementing the GLA omega 6 fatty acid would be beneficial.  However, this is not the case for the majority.

 

To reduce heart disease risk you want to increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and decrease omega 6’s.  Omega 3 is a common deficiency in the U.S.

 

 

Bottom line:

 

Omega 3 and omega 6 are both essential fatty acids and work together to promote health.  However, if you follow a typical U.S. diet, you want to increase your omega 3 intake and decrease your omega 6 intake.  Therefore, supplementing omega 3 AND omega 6 is not beneficial.   

 

I hope my answer has not confused you more!  I will be publishing at least two more articles this summer related to fatty acids.  If you have a question, send it to me at RD@eNutritionServices.com.

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Family pics!

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on May 23, 2008

Nelson Family May 2008It was time to update our family photo this May.  Here are the two cutest little girls you have ever seen (I’m not biased or anything).  The baby is Keira and she is going to be 6 months-old next week.  The little girl is Katelyn and she is 2 1/2 years-old. 

Any family/friends that would like a copy to print off, let me know which you like and I will email as an attachment.

The black and white are available in color.

 

 Katelyn 2   

What did I tell you?  Pretty cute, huh?  Obviously, I haven’t mastered putting pictures in a blog post, but they are all here!

I am still accepting questions for the May 31st issue of The Heart of Health.  If you have a question related to fatty acids, specifically omega 3 and 6, email me at enutritionservices@wildblue.net.  To those who have sent in your questions, I will be sure to get you an answer, either in a future ezine article or here as a blog post.

Thanks,  Lisa

http://eNutritionServices.com

The Heart of Health

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Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on May 9, 2008

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