/publications/issue/2002/2002-10/2002-10-6986

Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratios

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The body needs the fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 to dilate the blood vessel walls with blood pressure rises. Because the body does not make these fats, they must come from the diet. This is nothing new.

What is new is the increased emphasis on the ratio of those fats in the diet. According to a researcher at the August 2002 convention of the American Physiological Society, ?the American diet is very high in omega-6 rather than omega-3 fats.? The ratio for most Americans is 9-1. In Japan, where more people eat fish (a main source of omega-3) and live longer, the ratio is 1-1.

Omega-6 fats come from corn, sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oils, all of which are used in prepared foods. Eating ?fresh? more often and adding a fish oil supplement may help adjust the ratio.