Updated: Apr 24
How important is the Omega 3/6 Ratio? How can it help you expand your clinical offer?
by Paula Esson
Omega 3 intake via supplements or eating fish is has long being established as an important aspect of our diet and one frequently overlooked by western society. When we look at the science behind the suggestion it provides a persuasive discussion towards the benefits, especially in reference to inflammation and brain function amongst other claims.
For 48 years I had almost blindly relied on a very natural state of health and sport, love my food and drink and an active lifestyle, flying around teaching and building clinics and basically creating, adapting and developing as a many services and support systems for more vulnerable areas of the North East of England. Bowen treatments were a relaxing and effective intervention to keep moving comfortably. Something was slowly arriving though, a balance on a biological level was being tipped.
A combination of ironic stress considering the health role I played and an inability to create and be free to “paint the canvas” with a vision for community health led to a wild level of tension and ultimately inflammation and pain. I was living in duality; it was incredible to think that this was now going to be part of my own journey.
Optimism and science are a wonderful combination and the most beautiful folly. No longer was an enthusiastic and upbeat attitude going to ultimately change what was happening on a day to day level. I was going to have to dig deep and really work towards becoming the version of myself that I wanted to be. Nothing could just “float” by anymore, it was going to take discipline and a dose of humour.
A scientist friend noted that it might be worth testing my Omega 3/ 6 levels with a small blood spot after asking 2 simple questions.
Do you eat 3-4 high quality fish dinners a week -not farm fish? 2 shop bought I replied.
Do you take a high-quality omega 3 oil supplement? No.
All for measurement and reality I agreed to take responsibility and look at my truth. The results were embarrassingly awful at 10 omega 6 to 1 Omega 3.
Knowing Karl Pearson’s law well : “That… that is measured improves, that…that is measured and recorded, improves exponentially.” I shouted, “I’m in” and committed to 6 months of raising my omega 3 level and reducing my omega 6. No convincing required. I am now a very healthy 3:1.
What is my experience?
No pain, neural or muscular.
Improved focus and no brain fog.
Greater flexibility and positive changes to fascia tension.
Greater Motivation to exercise at a higher level.
No irregular heartbeat.
I call this a win-win. The correct and healthy ratio of our evolutionary diet should be 1. The average person who presents to clinic with inflammation, pain, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular amongst many is 16:1.
Gil Hedley stated beautifully
“You have undergone many biological transformations, from single cell, to embryo, to infant, child, teen, to adult. You have shed many habits and grown not only physically, but mentally and spiritually over your lifetime. Though some of your metamorphoses have been more intimidating than others, you have shown up and renewed yourself. And however, much you may feel wrapped up and your style cramped right now, this is the perfect place to commit to your new self, preparing to take flight”. Gil Hedley April 5th, 2020.
Six months commitment later and pain free I have now embedded Eqology Arctic Fish Oil into my clinic advice directly alongside my “hands on” Bowen. Measurement through blood can give our clients a very clear, real and easy way to take a natural hold of their own health in a preventative way and has become a very natural and obvious addition to health delivery.
So why Omega 3?
“A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids are more desirable in reducing the risk of many of the chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies, as well as in the developing countries, that are being exported to the rest of the world.”.
Simopoulos.AP. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 is the general term for a group of different fatty acids. Some of these fatty acids have shown positive effects on our health.
This is why it is essential to choose oils that provide you with the types of omega-3 that have a documented variety, namely DHA and EPA.
EPA has a chain of 20 carbon atoms and five double bonds, while DHA has a string of 22 carbon atoms and 6 double bonds. There is a lot of DHA in the brain, heart and eyes, and it is, therefore, safe to suppose that this fatty acid is of great importance to these organs. EPA is a precursor to neurotransmitters as a part of inflammation processes and can take part in managing this process.
DHA has more health claims than EPA, and the best omega-3 products contain a more significant portion of DHA than EPA.
DHA and EPA contribute to the normal function of the heart (0,25 g per day)
DHA and EPA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood pressure (3 g per day)
DHA and EPA contribute to maintaining normal triglyceride levels in the blood (2 g per day)
· DHA contributes to maintaining normal triglyceride levels in the body (2 g per day combined with EPA)
· DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function (0,25 g per day)
· DHA contributes to maintaining healthy vision and eye function (0,25 g per day)
· The mother’s intake of DHA contributes to healthy brain development in the foetus and breastfed children (0,2 g DHA in addition to the recommended daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA), which is 0,25 g)
· The mother’s intake of DHA contributes to healthy eye development in the foetus and breastfed children (0,2 g DHA in addition to the recommended daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA), which is 0,25 g).
How do therapists choose the most effective and ethical oil?
I could easily pop into Holland and Barrett and become confused by the jungle of options, instead, my work in Iceland and Norway introduced me to some seriously balanced and bright thinking. Everyone takes oil. They talk about fish oil in the same way we would say “drink water”. It is increasingly highlighted geographically due to the short days and long nights, no sun and climates that require a quiet strength in the face of adversity. The Nordics are known for their health and disciplined approach to life. The question is which one to take?
Important numbers to look for.
Totox Levels (Overall oxidisation state) Ideally between 4-6. Although batch levels alter.
Nutritional Value DHA 1035mg should be higher than EPA 735mg per 15ml serving.
Fish should be traceable and from unpolluted waters and have certificates to prove it.
Oil needs to be processed immediately on the trawler where possible and not GMO in any form. Needs to be natural in a base of organic olive oil with high polyphenols.
I have spent the last 18 months researching this and there are hundreds of products out there. The only one that ticks all the boxes is transparent and carried out a measurable test that the client relate to directly for their health is www.eqology.com
The most rational outcome from my working relationship with Omega 3 now is the ability to offer support in the most balanced and scientific way whilst maintaining their health with hands on work and the important therapeutic relationship. In changing times for therapists being able to continue the role of therapist in the community will need to be creative and productive. Here is one way to help.
The EU Commission has approved the following health claims under the following food laws: Commission Regulation 432/2012 (EU) of 16/05/2012 and Commission Regulation 536/2013 (EU) of 11/06/2013 for the marine omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and vitamin D3: