Nutritionists warn about too much omega 6. They are sort of wrong, but don’t understand the difference between parent and derived oils so lump everything into one. We will explain why you should be changing your thinking about EFAs to include a 2:1 ratio of omega 6 (parent) to omega 3.
Omega-3s and omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that differ from each other in chemical structure and function. Modern diets contain few sources of omega 3s, mainly the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. Omega-3s are plentiful in diets of unprocessed foods and where grazing animals eat grass. By contrast, today’s western diets are overloaded with omega-6s, mainly in oils and from the meat of animals that are fed grain. There is a misconception among nutritionists that we already get plenty of omega-6 in our diets. But actually we get very little pure, unadulterated “parent” omega 6 oils because of the processing – we only get the “bad” form of omega 6.
Hormones derived from these bad omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while hormones from omega-3 fatty acids have the opposite effect.
Now, how do you determine what your body really needs? It’s the difference between processed foods and raw organic food (parent). Parent Essential Oils start out in food, but by the time the food processors finish, these nutrients are damaged, removed, or deactivated. This is what most EFA supplements or oils, end up as. You need to only take “parent” oils or those extracted from raw foods, not the processed ones.
Parent Omega-6 is Linoleic Acid (polyunsaturated) from safflower, sunflower, and evening primrose. Your body will utilize mostly the parent form and make the derivatives as needed (GLA, DGLA, AA). Parent Omega-3 is Alpha Linolenic Acid (super-unsaturated) from flax, hemp. Derivatives are SDA, EPA, DHA. (Fish oil is naturally almost 100% derivative omega-3, therefore it is not the ideal form for long-term supplementation). The proper ratio for supplementing with these oils is 2:1 in favor of Omega 6 parent oil. If you adhere to this you will avoid the harmful overdoses of “derivatives,” as found in so many commercial products. Make sure the source of your oil is organic as well to avoid hormonal complications from pesticides.
As for the need for Omega 9s, the body needs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but can’t make them, which is why they’re termed “essential” – we must get them from our diets. Omega-9 fats are described as “non-essential,” because our bodies can synthesize them from other things we eat, and we don’t have to depend on direct dietary sources to obtain them. The main omega-9 is oleic acid, found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and sunflower oil so if you use any of those or eat sunflower seeds you will get enough omega 9.