The omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is the reverse number of the omega 6 to 3 ratio. For example, for canola oil the omega 6 to 3 ratio is 1:2. That’s the same as an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of 2:1. It simply means that for every unit of omega 6 there are 2 units of omega 3.
The chart to the left shows the reverse and non-conventional omega 3 to 6 ratio. The chart below shows the same, but then in the standard omega 6 omega 3 ratio. Both charts are for canola oil.
It must be noted that not all omega 3s are created equal. There are 3 major omega 3s, and their importance in our diet varies greatly. Thus, by lumping all omega 3 together we’re adding apples and oranges.
The three omega 3s that are most common in the omega 3 to 6 ratio are:
ALA, or alpha linoleic acid. This omega 3 is mainly found in vegetable oil. Flaxseed, chia, and canola oil are good sources for ALA. However, ALA has no direct purpose in our metabolic system, other then to be turned into the more valuable EPA and DHA omega 3s. This conversion is very inefficient.
EPA, or eicopentaenoic acid. Pronounce as “Aico-Penta-A-Noic Acid”. This omega 3 fatty acid has many benefits, and plays a major role in stopping inflammation. People with EPA omega 3 deficiency will develop chronic inflammation diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Especially the combination of EPA deficiency and the consumption of a lot of omega 6 corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil, which are causing the inflammation, can be disastrous for one’s health.
EPA and DHA are most important in omega 3 to omega 6 ratio
EPA is also used in our body to make DHA, the second metabolically important omega 3. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid is the main fat in our brain and nerves. It is also, like EPA a major brake on inflammation. DHA, scientifically pronounced as “Doco-Sa-Hexa-A-Noic Acid”, is highly electrically charged, and is therefore essential for transmitting nerve and brain signals.
ALA is poorly converted to EPA. The conversion ratio is different for every individual, but it’s safe to estimate that on average 20 units of ALA are turned into 1 unit of EPA. It’s clear from this poor ALA to EPA ratio that fish oil or krill oil with a lot of EPA is more valuable than flaxseed oil with a lot of ALA and hardly any EPA. Click here to learn more about krill oil benefits.
EPA is also used to metabolically create DHA. This conversion too is suboptimal, and on average 5 units of EPA convert to 1 unit of DHA. Since one needs 20 units of ALA to make 1 unit of EPA it stands clear that the ALA to DHA ratio is at best 100 to 1.