Study Notes Benefit of Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio

September 22, 2010

A proper ratio of omega-6s/omega-3s could improve human EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) levels as much as an EPA supplement, according to new research published in the August issue of the journal Lipids.

A proper ratio of omega-6s/omega-3s could improve human EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) levels as much as an EPA supplement, according to new research published in the August issue of the journal Lipids.

Citing concerns that omega-6/omega-3 ratios in Western diets are far too imbalanced (estimated at up to 15:1 in favor of omega-6), researchers at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California sought to investigate whether ratios alone can influence intake levels of individual omega fatty acids.

Twenty four adults participated in a controlled feeding trial of four diets of differing omega-6/omega-3 ratios: 10:1; 10:1 plus an algal supplement of EPA/DHA (docosahexaenoic acid); 2:1; and 2:1 plus the supplement. Each subject completed three of these four diets in 8 week diet sequences.

Omega intake levels were measured in red blood cell membranes, with the 10:1 diet (minus the supplement) serving as baseline.

While a 10:1 diet with the supplement increased PEA levels by 34%, the 2:1 diet without a supplement increased EPA by 60%. The results brought the researchers to conclude that "Shifting towards a 2:1 diet is a valid alternative to taking EPA-containing supplements."

As for DHA, intake levels increased only with a supplement.

To read the study abstract, visit the journal Lipids.