Add omega 3s but no need to limit omega 6s
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine

Add Omega 3's, but No Need to Limit Omega 6's

February 1, 2009

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in most whole grains and vegetable oils. An American 
Heart Association Panel found no evidence that omega-6s promote inflammation to 
increase heart attack risk, and they believe that reducing these fats could increase 
heart attack risk (Circulation, February 17, 2009).

The AHA panel analyzed 25 studies and found that 1) people who eat the most omega-6 
fatty acids have lower rates of heart attacks than those who eat least; 2) people 
who have had heart attacks have lower blood levels of omega-6 than people without 
heart attacks; and 3) people in controlled trials who eat diets high in omega-6 are 
less likely to develop heart attacks than those on low omega-6 diets.

Fats are classified by their chemical structures into saturated, polyunsaturated and 
monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats are sub-classified into omega-3s, 6s and 9s. 
Omega-3s are turned into prostaglandins that turn off inflammation, and there has 
been a theoretical concern that omega-6s would turn on inflammation which would 
ncrease heart attack risk. Just about every respected authority still agrees that 
omega-3 help to prevent heart attacks, but this latest report shows that omega-6s do 
not increase heart attack risk. The panel concludes that "Although increasing omega-3 
tissue levels does reduce the risk of chronic heart disease, it does not follow that 
decreasing omega-6 levels will do the same."

I recommend a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other 
seeds, and at least two servings of seafood per week. Reduce your intake of saturated 
fats, particularly in meat, and the partially hydrogenated fats that are still found 
in many processed foods. Increase the omega 3- fatty acids in your diet by eating 
fish and seeds.