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Chronic Inflammation, Omega 3 and 6, And What It Means To You - Overabundance of Omega 3 Seed Oil

Aug 27, 2007
Every once in a while you'll stumble across an expert whose words and passion sink right into your soul and so it was the day I listened to Dr. Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institutes of Health on a radio broadcast as he explained why we have chronic inflammation and what it all means. Dr. Hibblen is a psychiatrist and lipid biochemist known as one of the world's leading authorities on Omega 3.

When you cut your finger and it turns red, that's inflammation of the good kind that rushes in to heal the wound. But when it gets out of control from the very food we eat (Omega 3 Seed Oil), inflammation turns in and attacks the body in dreadful ways. See TIME cover story, 2/04, Inflammation, The Secret Killer, Missing Link Between Heart Attacks, Cancer, Alzheimer's and other Disease and What You Can Do About It.

What is Omega 3 seed oil? Dr. Hibbeln defines seed oils as "literally vegetable oils that have been squeezed from seeds and primarily those seeds are soybean oil overwhelmingly and to some extent, corn oil, safflower and other oils and the big deal is that in these oils the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is about 10 to one, whereas in our diets and evolution that ratio was about one to one. So you had a one to one balance to inflammation when we were evolving and now it's a 10 to one balance in favor of inflammation because of the predominances in the seed oils."

So, we have Omega 3 from fish oil, and we have Omega 3 from seed oil, which correctly should be labeled Omega 6 but without making a fuss over the confusing distinction, when you see Omega 3 on products in your grocery store, ask yourself one question. Is the source of the Omega 3 on that product seed oil? You can't very well put Omega 3 from fatty fish in cereal now, can you? And what do we need less of? Dr. Hibbeln explains why it is so critical to know the difference.

"Omega-3 fatty acids, (from fish oil) when those fats are swimming around in your blood stream and your immune system, they produce compounds which reduce inflammation and help to prevent heart disease; and the American Heart Association now recommends that people eat fish three to four times a week or take fish oil supplements to help prevent the progression of heart disease. It's more than 38 peer-reviewed studies which have been systematically reviewed.

Omega -3 fatty acids are one of those two polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated simple means that it has many double bonds. The key here is that there's two families of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the Omega-3 fatty acids which you find primarily from fish oil, and the Omega-6 fatty acids from seed oils- eventually the body converts them into a compound called arachidonic acid and arachidonic acid is good in low amounts, but in high amounts it makes a lot of inflammatory compounds. It makes compounds that make your joints ache, compounds that increase the inflammation in your blood stream and leads to arterial sclerosis.

How big a deal is arachidonic acid? It is such a big deal we've created billion dollar industries for the production of Vioxx and Celebrex and Ibuprofen, all of which their main purpose is to keep arachidonic acid from being converted into these inflammatory compounds. But remember, the origin of arachidonic acid is from what you eat. It's from seed oils. Take away the seed oils or swap them out, your body will not be full of so much arachidonic acid and will not have a pro-inflammatory predisposition."

And that makes me very glad I discovered the healing benefits of Omega 3's From Fatty Fish (capitalized intentionally) a long time ago. I won't buy an Omega 3-laced grocery store product today and add more of the wrong Omega 3 to the inflammation level in my body.
About the Author
Lois Smithers, an equestrian who suffered competition injuries, credits Omega 3 with ending painful chronic inflammation from two fractured vertebra and spent years researching Omega 3's and sea-based health solutions. Owner, Sea-Based Health, LLC. See recommended products- http://seabasedhealth.com
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