While it's common to describe essential fatty acids in terms of "good" and "bad," the most important thing to know about both omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids is that they are essential. Both kinds of fatty acids are needed in the diet to support human life.
Omega-6 Deficiency Symptoms
Omega-6 essential fatty acids are not just the building blocks for the hormones that cause inflammation, they are also essential for activating the immune system. These hormones enable the body to respond to injury or toxins, stopping bleeding, surrounding toxins, and removing injured tissues so healthy tissues can replace them.
Omega-6 deficiencies were once relatively common all over the world. As recently as 1940, American doctors told their patients to eat lard and corn oil to deal with chronic skin infections?and they worked. In the world today, people whose diets emphasize grains and beans with very little fat or meat can still develop omega-6 deficiencies.
Omega-6 essential fatty acid deficiency is rare
Fortunately, omega-6 essential fatty acid deficiencies are relatively easy to treat. Just a tablespoon of oil in cooking every day provides enough omega-6 essential fatty acids to make the pro-inflammatory hormones that power the immune system. Most people in modern countries, however, get too many omega-6 essential fatty acids and not enough omega-3's.
Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms
Omega-3 deficiency symptoms don't appear just because people don't get any omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 deficiency symptoms appear when people don't get enough omega-3 essential fatty acids for their bodies to make the anti-inflammatory hormones that regulate the pro-inflammatory hormones that protect the body in emergencies.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency causes 96,000 Lives per year in the US
Ideally, our bodies should make pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory hormones in balance. When people eat high-fat, highly processed, "fake food" diets, they get up to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3's.
What happens when you have this kind of essential fatty acid deficiency?
Your body loses the ability to "turn off" the processes that pro-inflammatory processes "turn on." Your heart needs to beat faster when you are dealing with physical danger.
If you have an omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency, however, your heartbeat tends to stay fast and your blood pressure tends to stay high.
Your brain needs to be activated when you are in kind of danger. If you have an omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency, however, you stay alert, so alert that you may experience mild paranoia, only to crash into depression.
And you may also have inflammation in joints, skin, eyes, nose, throat, and connective tissues, manifesting themselves as arthritis, conjunctivitis, allergies, chronic sore throat, and "aches and pains." All of these conditions improve when you correct omega-3 deficiency symptoms.
How Can You Correct Omega-6 Deficiency and Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms without Getting Too Much?
The best way to get your omega-6 and omega-3 levels sufficient and balanced is to go on a low-fat diet.
Then add at least one tablespoon of high-quality, organic, cold-pressed flaxseed, chia, perilla, walnut, grapeseed, or pecan oil to your diet each day. This will provide you with the omega-6's your body needs.
Additionally, get at least 2,000 mg of DHA and EPA (measured together) from five or six capsules of a high-quality fish oil supplement.
This will provide your body with enough omega-3 essential fatty acids to make the regulatory hormones that keep inflammatory hormones in check. Using supplements helps you achieve these goals with fewer calories, with less time in the kitchen, and at far lower expense.