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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Omega 3s
Posted by: John
Date: June 26, 2002 8:38 AM

I have been hearing and reading about benefits of concentrated fish oil supplements. I always use this sites library to get a perspective on any new info I hear about, and what I read under the eicosonoids and essential fatty acids article is that omega 3s compete with linoleic for D6D. Other than that, I could not find anything else related to omega 3s and their supposed benefits.

Do you see any reason to supplement with fish oils or other forms of omega 3? It seemed in your article that the benefits of reaching PGE-1 are similiar to some of the benefits that I read about supplementing with fish oil, so maybe using omega 6s like black currant or borage oil would be better to reach PGE-1. Or not?

The supplier of supplements I use has a black currant capsule which provides 100 mg. GLA. What would be a good starting dose and when should I take such a supplement.

RE: Omega 3s
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: June 26, 2002 1:57 PM

As background for our readers, there are both plant and animal sources of omega-3s and omega 3s are associated with prevention and treatment of a variety of common conditions. Omega-3s are considered anti-inflammatory and omega-6s are pro-inflammatory. Both are "essential," that is to say they cannot be manufactured in the body and like vitamins must be consumed from the outside. The recommended ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s is from 1:1 to 4:1. The point is that it is easy to consume enough 6s, even with a poor diet, and easy enough to get in plenty of 3s with a healthy diet. Problem is healthy diets are unusual in our culture.

A healthy diet with lots of vegetables should supply sufficient omega-3s for normal metabolism. A balanced diet is fairly easy to achieve without counting milligrams of 3s and 6s. Where people get into trouble is with fried foods and fast foods and an overabundance of foods of animal origin. While a strict vegetarian diet is not required for perfect health, we live in a culture which totally overemphasizes protein and this over-consumption of protein ordinarily brings with it an excess of omega-6s thus tending to push metabolism in the direction of inflammation. (As an example, in evaluating risk for vascular disease the most important test is called "High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein." This measures the level of inflammation occurring in the vascular system which in turn is well correlated with the incidence of vascular disease. People with elevated HSCRP should be supplementing with omega-3s.)

If one has a condition one is trying to treat or prevent (cancer, arthritis, vascular disease, depression, etc.) and provided a varied diet of organic veggies is not getting the job done, I still see no reason to use fish oil and the reason is the metal content. I believe heavy metals to be a potent source of ill health which goes almost unrecognized even in the health culture. I avoid fish and all supplements derived from fish. Flax oil is an excellent source of omega 3s and will be sufficient as a supplement for most people who have normal enzymatic function. People over 40 progressively loose the conversion enzymes, and at that point it makes sense to supplement with a variety of oils, but again only if treating or preventing something since a varied healthy diet provides a variety of oils.

Finally, there is no magic ratio of one type of oil to another, nor a magic amount for proper dosage. Bodies are far more complex and varied in their metabolism to allow us a formula which works for everyone.



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