Study suggests balancing omega-3 and 6 intake to reduce risk of early death

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It’s great to eat enough healthy fats brain and heart healthBut new research has provided even more evidence for possibly including them – especially omega-3s – in your diet.

“We found that a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is associated with a greater risk of dying,” said Yuchen Zhang, lead author. april study Published in a news release in the journal eLife. Zhang is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in foods including fish – especially fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines – as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds and dietary supplements. like fish oil,

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Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines and various nuts, including walnuts.

The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid or ALA; eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA; and docosahexaenoic acid, known as DHA, according to National Institutes of Health, The body must get all three from foods, and omega-3 contributes to the health of the heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system.

On the other hand, foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, corn and soy — and the oils and preservatives produced from these foods, the authors said. Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 fatty acid.

“There is some evidence to suggest that the high omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio typical of the Western diet – 20:1 or even higher, compared with the approximate 1:1 during most of human evolution – is typical of many Contributes to chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders,” Zhang said.

But results from previous studies have been mixed, he said, and few have examined the role of imbalance in mortality. Furthermore, fatty acid intake is difficult to measure accurately, partly due to reliance on participants’ memories of their dietary intake.

Zhang and other researchers looked at the relationship between the omega-3/omega-6 ratio in blood plasma – a more objective measure – and death from any cause and particularly death from cancer or heart disease, which are the leading causes of death worldwide. The top two main reasons are.

They used data from 85,425 people who participated in UK Biobank studyWhich has followed the health outcomes of more than half a million people aged between 40 and 69 in the United Kingdom for at least a decade.

The participants, whose plasma samples were collected between 2007 and 2010, answered questionnaires about their diet, including whether they took fish oil supplements.

After nearly 13 years of follow-up, the authors found that participants with the highest ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 were 26% more likely to die early from any cause, 14% more likely to die from cancer and Was 31% more. die from heart disease than those with the lowest ratio. When considered individually, higher levels of both omega-6 and omega-3 were associated with a lower risk of premature death. But the protective effects of omega-3 were greater, possibly explaining why “a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 was associated with harm,” the authors said.

Despite the findings, the study is only a ‘snapshot’ in time of the biomarkers and dietary intake of omega 3s and 6s. It’s correlation, not causation,” says Dr. Lauren R., director of the Farm to Clinic program and assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at East Carolina University. Sastre said via email. Sastre was not involved in the study.

“And even that relationship cannot be strongly supported due to the methodological flaws of not considering other dietary components for overall health/clinical outcomes,” Sastre said. “There are many anti-inflammatory food components (nutrients, phytochemicals, etc.) that are associated with reduced all-cause, cancer, and (heart disease) mortality, and to evaluate only omega 3s and 6s – strong confounders may exist that would bias the results.”

If omega-6/omega-3 balance is indeed associated with a higher risk of premature death than the study proved, Kristin said, it may be due to the potential action of arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. There may be a reason. Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of “Regenerative Health: Discover Your Metabolic Type and Renew Your Liver for Life,

Arachidonic acid is what the body converts from linoleic acid. It is “the building block for molecules that can promote inflammation, blood clotting, and constriction of blood vessels.” According to Harvard Health, But this fatty acid can also be converted into molecules that fight inflammation and blood clots.

Omega-6s aren’t inherently bad, Kirkpatrick said, but too much can balance out the anti-inflammatory factors associated with omega-3s, so “a more balanced approach … may be favorable.”

“The source of omega 6s may also be a factor in balancing the balance,” he said via email. For example, processed seed oils may also contain high amounts of omega 6.

Focusing on this balance and increasing your intake of omega-3-rich foods may be more important than simply limiting omega-6-rich foods, Kirkpatrick said.

She added, “I would also look at the quality of Omega 6 foods in the diet, I aim for whole foods… not highly processed products, which may include large amounts of seed oils ”

If you want to know what the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is in your blood plasma, ask your doctor about testing it. In Kirkpatrick’s practice, she often works with her patients’ doctors for this purpose. Some patients request it with the goal of improve their mental health, Heart Brains Or risk of dementiaHe said.

Overall, “It is important to note that the imbalanced ratio is only one chapter in our story of better or worse health spans,” Kirkpatrick said.

“A variety of fiber-rich foods (beneficial for the microbiome) and other nutrient-rich foods, as well as adequate, good-quality sleep, stress management and physical activity play a big role in how long we remain in good health.” Will enjoy. time of our life.”

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