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Why is it important to have a normal Omega-6/ Omega-3 fatty acid balance?

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  • Our Western diet contains much Omega-6 fatty acids and relatively small amounts of marine Omega-3 fatty acids, which increases the unbalance between Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids in the body.

    Such unbalance is a driving force for development of lifestyle related health problems. Both the Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are precursors for hormone-like signaling molecules (eicosanoids) in the body. Eicosanoids derived from Omega-6 are pro-inflammatory.

    Signaling molecules derived from Omega-3 fatty acids have lower inflammatory potential, some are also anti-inflammatory. In many ways the eicosanoids fulfill each other, and that is why it is important to have a good balance between these.

     A normal Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid balance is fundamental for a good eicosanoid balance, while a high Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid balance has a pro-inflammatory eicosanoid balance.

    Nordic Council of Ministers recommends that the Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid balance in the diet is below 5:1. The World Health Organization recommends a balance of 4:1 to maintain a normal cardiovascular health.
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