OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AND DISEASE.txt
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OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AND DISEASE

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

The very high incidence of heart attacks, high blood pressure, type 
2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, 
and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may be caused the Western 
diet that is loaded with omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3s. 
 
Research that showed that polyunsaturated fats in vegetables may 
help to prevent heart attacks encouraged food manufacturers to use 
vegetable oils in almost all prepared foods, loading our diet with 
added vegetable oils from corn, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, 
cottonseed, and soybeans that are rich sources of omega-6 fatty 
acids. Grinding whole grains produces a flour that turns rancid 
quickly, so food manufacturers make flour after removing the germ 
which is the main source of omega-3 fatty acids. This combination of 
adding omega-6 vegetable oils to prepared foods and removing 
omega-3s before grinding whole grains has changed the ratio of 
omega-6 to omega-3 oils in out diet to approximately 20-30 to 1 from 
the traditional, more healthful range of 1-2:1. 

This high intake of omega-6 fatty acids causes clotting, swelling 
called inflammation and constriction of arteries that can cause 
heart attacks and other diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can reverse 
these changes and help prevent heart attacks and other diseases. 
Many scientists feel that you should reduce your intake of omega-6 
fatty acids found in most prepared foods, and eat lots of omega-3 
fatty acids found in deep-water fish, green leafy vegetables, 
flaxseed, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds. 

AP Simopoulos.Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 70, Iss 3, 
Suppl. S, pp 560S-569S. 

Checked 5/3/07