Importance of a balanced omega 6/omega 3 ratio for the maintenance of health: nutritional recommendations

Nutr Hosp. Mar-Apr 2011;26(2):323-9. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112011000200013.

Abstract

The modification of dietary patterns has led to a change in fatty acid consumption, with an increase in the consumption of ω-6 fatty acids and a marked reduction in the consumption of ω-3 fatty acids. This in turn has given rise to an imbalance in the ω-6/ω-3 ratio, which is now very different from the original 1:1 ratio of humans in the past. Given the involvement of ω-6 and ω-3 essential fatty acids in disease processes, the present article examines changes in dietary patterns that have led to the present reduction in the consumption of ω-3 essential fatty acids, and to study the importance of the ω-6/ω-3 balance in maintaining good health. In addition, an assessment is made of the established recommendations for preventing a poor intake of ω-3 essential fatty acids, and the possible options for compensating the lack of these fatty acids in the diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Status*

Substances

  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6