EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) are sure getting a lot of press these days. Most of us know about the Omega 3's; the fact that they deliver tremendous cardiovascular benefit, that they improve the skin and hair, and that they have been shown to be beneficial for arthritis and lowering cholesterol. So much so that now, many medical doctors are trying EFA’s as a first course of treatment before they go to the statin drugs. But what about the Omega 6's? Are they beneficial? If so, what proportion should they be taken? The Omega 6 fatty acids do not have the benefits of the Omega 3's. It’s really not even close. They are also much more abundant as they are found in many types of oils and in many commercial products that are made in mass quantity. When taking EFA’s, a good ratio should be at least 2:1 (Omega 3 to Omega 6). Due to the abundance of Omega 6 in our diets, most of us consume twice as much Omega 6 than Omega 3, rather than the reverse, and thus the benefits of EFA's in the American diet is seldom utilized.
Omega 3's can be found in both plant-based and animal-based products. Flaxseed oil is a wonderful supplement I personally take daily. When you buy Flaxseed oil though, don't just shop by price, as quality is crucial due to the unstable nature of the product. Fish oil is probably the most common animal-based source of Omega 3. Again, quality here is crucial if fish oil is taken in supplement form. You want cold-water fish, typically Norwegian, where the oil is extracted from the fish's liver, preferably in the winter when the water is coldest. This not only ensures quality but less fishy taste. Krill oil is an outstanding source of Omega 3 and once again quality is of the essence, do not just shop price. Consuming oily fish is of course the way to obtain Omega 3 in food.
Salmon has the largest amount but be careful when buying Salmon. Never, and I repeat, never buy farm-raised salmon. The amount of toxins in farm-raised salmon is alarming. If possible, Alaskan cold-water salmon has been shown to contain the least amount of Mercury and PCBs. The benefits of the Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely apparent. I hope these tips on EFA’s will lead you to start taking them if you’re not already. Yours in Good Health,