What Is Omega-3 and why it Is Important?

Top 5 Vegan Omega-3 Rich Foods

If you are a Vegan or a  vegetarian but worried about fulfilling your omega-3 dietary needs, then we got the perfect solution for you. Here are the top 5 vegan omega-3 rich foods that will help in meeting the essential fat requirements without any fish or meat intake.

But before moving towards the top 5 vegan omega-3 rich foods, let us understand what is omega-3 and why it is important for your health.

What Is Omega-3 and why it Is Important?

The word ‘fat’ scares us for a moment. We think of it as being overweight. But that’s not true, your body needs fat in a certain amount to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Let’s talk basic. There are mainly two types of fats that are good for your health, so their intake should be your desire without any worries.

  • Essential fatty acid
  • Non-essential fatty acid

Essential fatty acids are not produced by your body and their need has to be fulfilled through diet. Omega-3 also falls under the category of essential fatty acids. While the non-essential fatty acid is produced by your body on its own.

Since omega-3 is a part of essential fatty acid, you must take it regularly through your diet. 

Here are some Major Health Benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid

  1. Omega-3 lowers triglycerides in your body. (Triglycerides are the bad type of fats that can clog your arteries if becomes excessive)
  2. It has anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Omega-3 decreases the chance of heart diseases
  4. Improves eye health
  5. Fight’s depression and anxiety
  6. Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases
  7. Prevents cancer
  8. Reduces asthma
  9. Helps in Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental disorders
  10.  Beneficial in relieving bone and joint pain

The above-mentioned disorders are very common in today’s world. Hence, for preventing it, you have to be concerned about making omega-3 a part of your diet.

How much omega-3 daily Intake Is Necessary?

To fulfill your omega-3 need, you must know how much daily intake is recommended. A minimum of 250 mg (0.25g) per day of omega-3 is advised by various health organizations.

Below, we have compiled the top 5 vegan omega-3 rich foods to help you fulfill this necessity.

Top 5 Vegan Omega-3 Rich Foods

If you are a vegetarian, get ready to enrich your diet with omega-3 from today!

  1. Flax Seeds

Flaxseeds stand #1 in the list of top 5 vegan omega-3 rich foods. But in case you are worried about the name ‘seeds’, then here is the solution. Taking only 1 or 2 tablespoons of flaxseed is more than enough to fulfill your daily recommended omega-3 requirement. 

For its intake, you can add one teaspoon of it in your daily meals like cereals, oats, or smoothies.

Moreover, flaxseed oil offers seven times more than the intended need. So, if you don’t like the seed’s taste, you can engulf one teaspoon of flaxseed oil daily.

Flaxseed is also Vitamin A and magnesium-rich, so you’ll be getting other health benefits along with it.

  1. Canola Oil

Canola oil is the second easiest way to incorporate omega-3 in your daily diet despite being a vegetarian. 

The good news is that canola oil contains 1.28g of omega-3 per tablespoon which is even above the recommended requirement. 

So, using canola oil while cooking your meals can effectively fulfill your body’s nutritional fat demand.

Additionally, this oil has low saturated fat, is enriched with vitamin E and K, and is also light in taste, so you won’t have any problem adapting with your tastebuds.

  1. Chia Seeds

Just by using one ounce of chia seeds, you get 5.055 grams of an omega-3 rich diet. Isn’t that amazing? So, what are you waiting for, prepare your smoothies, jam, or oatmeals with chia seeds and enjoy a healthy diet from today. 

  1. Kidney beans

Here is the fourth top vegan omega-3 rich foods. If you are obese and planning to diet, this will surely be your choice.

One cup of kidney beans gives 0.3 gm of omega-3 to your body, so you can use kidney beans as your full-time meal. You can also incorporate it along with another omega-3 rich food we mentioned above to balance the requirement.

  1. Walnuts

The last one in our list of top vegan omega-3 rich foods is a delicious snack! One ounce of walnut contains 2.75 grams of omega-3.

Munching walnuts is a part of some people’s daily routine. Otherwise, you can use walnut snacks like cakes or bars in your teatime to satisfy your nutritional need along with getting a healthy snack simultaneously.


So, these were the top 5 vegan omega-3 rich foods. All of our listed items contain more than the recommended amount of omega-3, so you can choose to add any of them to your daily diet and enjoy a healthy eating.




Bassam Bairli
Bsc.Pharmacy / MBA
General Manager
Panacea Health & Beauty

Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplements

Choosing the best vegan omega-3 supplements has become a tough decision for those who prefer a plant-based diet and don’t use fish oil. But our list has the perfect solution to solve this problem.

And in case you are facing health problems like dry skin, poor memory, depression, fatigue, brittle nails, hair, or heart problems, an omega-3 deficiency might be one of the causes.

Omega-3 is an essential requirement of your health and must be taken through a diet as your body doesn’t process these fatty acids by itself. Although it is also found in certain foods, but if you are suffering from severe deficiency, the requirement must be overcome through supplements.

Also, many people don’t like the taste of foods that are omega-3 rich, so if you are one of them, you can use these naturally flavored supplements.

Below we have enlisted some of the best omega-3 supplements you may prefer using being a vegan or vegetarian.

Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplements

  1. Panacea Omega 3 Complex Vegan Algae DHA 150ml for Kids:

Panaceae omega 3 complex is nourished with essential vitamins and omega-3 fatty acid packed in a single syrup. It is particularly designed to meet the health needs of your child.

As it is difficult to provide children with all the desired nutrients in their growing age, a nutrition-rich supplement solves this problem. 

This omega-3 supplement contains folic acid, vitamin D3, omega 6 and omega 9, algae oil, tocopherols, along with natural flavors for giving a pleasant taste.

It is beneficial for your child’s:

  • Heart, vision, and brain functioning 
  • Strengthening immune system
  • Cognitive development

2) Biocare Vegan Omega 3:

Biocare omega 3 is a supplement designed to fulfill the omega-3 requirements of vegetarians and vegans. 

It comes in capsule form and is suitable for pregnancy and daily intake. The product contains no vitamin A or D.

The omega-3 supplements are essential for:

  • Brain development of the fetus
  • Functioning of heart
  • Vision health 

3) Wiley’s Finest FULL SPECTRUM OMEGA-3 LIQUID vegan

Here is the 3rd fish-free omega-3 supplement in our list that contains 725 mg of omega-3 fatty acid in one intake. It also provides vitamin K2, vitamin D3, and natural antioxidants along with an omega-3 rich diet.

As our brain and heart are the major organs that are responsible for maintaining overall physical well-being, their nourishment is one of the critical requirements to assure healthy living.

The omega-3 liquid vegan helps in:

  • Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improves brain functioning
  • Maintains a healthy heart

The supplement comes in tropical mango flavor for enhancing taste.


Maintaining a balanced diet is everyone’s need whether you are a fish-lover or purely a vegetarian. 

Since omega-3 works great on improving heart and brain health, we cannot compromise on our diet by missing it. 

So, if you want to get the most out of omega-3 benefits despite being a vegetarian, you can choose to incorporate an algae-made,100% vegan, fresh-tasting, and naturally flavored supplement in your daily diet.


Bassam Bairli
Bsc.Pharmacy / MBA
General Manager
Panacea Health & Beauty

Wiley’s Finest Prenatal Omega 3 DHA

Good for Mum and Baby!

Omega 3 DHA is an essential nutrient required during pregnancy.  It is necessary for normal and healthy development of the baby’s brain, eyes, and nerves while in the womb.  Eating foods containing DHA during pregnancy has long-lasting benefits for the child as well as the mum as it has been seen to lower the risk of post natal depression. Omega 3 DHA is found naturally in fatty fish, such as salmon and herring, or in dietary supplements.

Babies only get DHA from their mums

The developing baby is completely dependent on its mother for DHA especially during the last trimester of pregnancy, because the brain and eyes are developing rapidly during this time. The baby’s need for enough DHA is so strong that he or she will deplete their mother’s DHA if the supply is low. This is why women need to consume enough DHA during pregnancy for both of them. In addition, eye development and vision are not completely developed by their birth, so feeding the baby healthy levels of DHA from breast milk or formula helps vision continue to develop. Healthy levels of DHA have also been shown to help improve moods in women before and after birth.

How much do you need?

Neither mom nor baby can make DHA in the body so it must be consumed through the diet or from supplements. Experts recommend getting at least 200 – 300 mg DHA per day, and some recommend up to 900 mg per day to cover the needs for both mother and child

Why Wiley’s Finest?

Wiley’s Finest Prenatal DHA provides a concentrated dose of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in every serving.
  • Concentrated Wild Alaskan Fish Oil made at their family owned and operated cGMP Refinery
  • Each serving contains 120mg EPA, 600mg DHA for a total of 720mg Omega-3s
  • Take 2 softgels per day; 60 count bottle is a 1 month supply!
  • Sustainable Alaskan Fish caught by American Fishermen

Wiley’s Finest has partnered with national charity Baby Lifeline.

During the months of August and September 2017, Wiley’s Finest will be donating 5% sales of Beginners DHA and Prenatal DHA to Baby Lifeline which supports the care of pregnant women and their unborn and newborn babies, ensuring the best possible outcome from pregnancy and birth.

Sam Wiley, Managing Director of Wiley’s Finest says:
“We are honoured to partner with Baby Lifeline, a charity dedicated to supporting babies during their first precious moments in this world. Our family believes supporting the nutritional care of every mother, both pre and postnatal and her baby is essential. As a father with young children, I am touched to think we can be a part of their mission.”


Viridian Vegan EPA and DHA

Great for baby, great for me

Catalina, our Edgware Store Manager loves Viridian Vegan EPA and DHA. She says “It provides Omega 3 fatty acids from sustainably-grown marine algae, European grown Chia seed oil to supply the full spectrum of omega 3, 6 and 9, and also has natural orange oil for flavour. Because I still am breastfeeding, my baby needs high DHA for brain development and this is a very good alternative to Fish oil. The Viridian EPA and DHA is easy to use as it is in liquid form.”

Higher intakes of Omega 3 oils are known to reduce inflammation and help with brain function. I am also working and studying and I have seen improvements in memory and concentration since taking this supplement. I also know that a higher DHA intake in a baby’s diet helps with better brain development and function, as well as special cognitive and visual function. With this supplement we all benefit.

Each 1ml serving typically provides:
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) 75mg
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) 150mg
ALA (Alpha linolenic acid) 222mg
Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) 89mg
Omega 9 (Oleic Acid) 29mg


Wiley’s Finest New Kids DHA and EPA supplements

Omega 3’s are good right?

You already know your children need to eat fish or take fish oils to get vital Omega 3s, but did you know there are other oil based nutrients that benefit your child’s health? When Wiley’s Finest set out to make two new kids products, their focus was to create unique and science driven formulas. Wiley’s only make products with purpose so they scoured science to create two new omega 3 liquid products with other oil based nutrients that have proven benefit.

Bone health

As a parent you want your child to have strong healthy bones. Having healthy bones over a lifetime begins in childhood because this is when strong bones are built. In fact, if significant bone mass isn’t developed in childhood, bones are weak and fracturing becomes a problem. Research also indicates that having weak and brittle bones in old age starts in childhood if proper nutrition is missing. Building bone mass and strength requires the right nutrients

Most of us know that calcium, magnesium and vitamin D essential to bone health, but did you know that vitamin K is a significant contributor to bone mass and density?  Here’s why: calcium and magnesium need help from support nutrients. Vitamin D is one and vitamin K2 is another. Recent research with children showed that those with higher vitamin K2 status had more bone mass which leads to stronger bones. Vitamin K is a fat based vitamin. Vitamin A, D and E are other fat based vitamins. Vitamin K has several roles in the body, in addition to supporting healthy bones.

Eye Health

Did you know that your child’s eyes develop and mature over childhood just like the rest of the body? Eye health is important for learning, reading, writing, arithmetic,and for playtime and sports, but today’s world is also full of screens – computer, TV, and mobile phones – which eye health and good vision are key. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are special oil based nutrients that uniquely support eye health and development. These nutrients, a group called carotenoids, are found in some plant foods such as squash and corn as well as in egg yolk.
Research has shown Lutein and Zeaxanthin support healthy vision by

  • improving our eyes ability to adapt to changes in light
  • enhancing the distance our eyes can see known as visual range
  • reducing the effect of glare
  • reducing the effect of oxidation

Wileys Finest incorporate all these ingredients in their latest formulations to help you give your child the best start to their nutrition.

Beginners DHA

Beginner’s DHA for ages 1 and up, delivers nutrients that support the development of young bodies, including healthy eyes and vital immune function. Featuring MenaQ7®, an advanced form of vitamin K2 for optimal bone health.

  • 400 mg EPA and 250 mg DHA per serving
  • MenaQ7® Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 support bone development
  • EPA and DHA omega-3 are essential nutrients for brain and eye development
  • Vitamins A and D3 support healthy immune function

Elementary EPA

Elementary EPA for children over 4 years, provides essential vitamins and nutrients often lacking in the diet. EPA and DHA Omega-3s along with vitamins and nutrients fuel your child’s healthy brain and support their eyes for optimal focus and function. Featuring FloraGLO®, the most clinically studied lutein available worldwide.

  • 1000 mg EPA and 500 mg DHA per serving
  • EPA and DHA Omega-3 fuel a child’s healthy brain to focus and support their natural bodily defenses.
  • FloraGLO® Lutein and Zeaxanthin support eye health and vision
  • Vitamins A, D3, and E support healthy skin and immune function

Both formulas are great by themselves using the included handy mess free syringe for little ones in the DHA  for ages 1 and up, or the fun measuring spoon with the EPA for  those 4 and older. You can also try mixing them with yogurts, smoothies or baby foods

Wileys Finest Beginners DHA and Elementary EPA are now both available in all Panacea stores

Higher Nature Keep Sharp

Mourad in our Kingston store has chosen Higher Nature Keep Sharp as his current favourite.

These tasty orange and lemon flavour jellies are formulated to nourish and support your brain. Containing emulsified omega 3 fish oil packed with DHA and containing slightly more than the recommended daily intake of at least 250mg of DHA. They also contain choline, CoQ10, zinc and B vitamins. The jelly like chews are easy to take and more readily absorbed by the body than tablets, and are an ideal choice if you are concerned about your brain as you age.

The nutrients include:

  • Zinc which contributes to normal cognitive function
  • DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function
  • Choline is a component of the neurotransmitter (a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells) acetyl choline
  • Coenzyme Q10, produced by all the cells in the body but its production diminishes with age but is essential for energy production in the brain
  • Vitamins including Niacin, B6, B12 and Biotin known to help balance homocysteine levels.

The Jellies have also been sweetened using tooth friendly xylitol.

For more information pop into one of our stores and chat to one of our knowledgeable product advisers.


Eskimo Fish Oil

Karishma in our Edgware store likes  using Eskimo Fish Oil Liquid. She says: ” I’ve noticed that this type of fish oil doesn’t create gastric reflux, and it’s lighter than the ones I have used before.”

Nutri Advanced write on their website about Eskimo Fish Oil:

“A diet that’s rich in fish oil has so many benefits for your health. As well as supporting your heart and brain, it can also be good for your skin, joints and mood. Extensive clinical trials have proven Nutri’s Eskimo-3 to be one of the freshest oils available, thanks to the unique patented antioxidant formula we use to keep it stable.

A special purification process removes any toxins, leaving the oil clean and pure. It’s also free of any odour or after taste, and because it comes from sustainable sources, you know Eskimo-3 is good for the oceans too.”

Want to find out more about the benefits of fish oils? Read our blog HERE


Beauty from within – by Udo’s Choice


Beautiful skin comes from within!  Our skin is a reflection of what we feed our body and one of the most neglected parts of our nutrition – Essential Fatty Acids – can impact on our skin’s natural look and feel. You will probably have heard of Omega 3 and 6.  Without enough of these in our diet we can become prone to:

  • Dry Skin
  • Dandruff
  • Inflammatory skin conditions
  • Sunburn
  • Cracked heels
  • Stretch marks during pregnancy
Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Cells

Youthful skin is full of plump, water-filled cells. A skin cell’s ability to hold water decreases with age. A healthy skin cell has a healthy membrane, which keeps good things in, like water and nutrients, and allows waste products to pass out.  It is a fatty acid’s job to keep that cell healthy and its membrane functioning. Not getting enough essential fatty acids results in unstable membranes that cannot keep their buoyant shape, which in turn leads to saggy, aged skin.

The cells integrity is also determined by the type of fat we eat. Researchers believe that diets containing large amounts of saturated or hydrogenated fats produce cell membranes that are hard and lack fluidity whilst diets rich in Essential Fatty Acids Omega 3 and 6 produce cell membranes with a high degree of fluidity allowing the membrane to work at its best.

For the full natural beauty of our skin to shine through our skin cells need protein, water, vitamins, minerals and Essential Fatty Acids.  However, with todays modern diet of processed foods, carbohydrates and low fat meals they tend to lack the Omega 3 and 6 they need to work at their best.

How it works

Essential Fatty Acids work in three ways:

  1. They allow the cells to retain water, essentially moisturising the skin from within
  2. Omega 6 helps the body maintain hydration which also helps with retaining the skin’s look and feel
  3. Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory so helps to reduce inflammatory skin conditions

Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend provides the cells in our skin with the Essential Fatty Acids they need so that the skin can look and feel its best.

If you have sufficient Essential Fats in your diet and still experience skin problems there are a number of other potential causes but many can be attributed to diet.  Udo’s Choice is focussed on providing people with products that help maximise the nutrition they get from their diet and so you may wish to read more about the Udo’s Choice range of Microbiotics, Udo’s Choice Digestive Enzymes and Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens.

How to use Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend

Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend is easily incorporated into your daily diet, just pour two or three tablespoons as desired onto hot or cold food, mix in with a smoothie or yoghurt or stir into porridge, mashed potato or casseroles always after cooking.  Visit Udo’s recipes page for ideas and inspiration.

Udo’s Ultimate Omega Oil Blend

Our Product of the month is Omega Oil Blend by Udo’s Choice.

All our cells need  essential fatty acids (EFAs) for all systems of the body to function normally, including your skin, respiratory system, circulatory system, brain and organs.

A wide range of health problems have been linked to omega-3 fat deficiencies, including:

  • Increased inflammation
  • Depression
  • Weight gain and diabetes
  • Allergies and eczema

Your body does not produce  EFAs on it’s own and they have to be sourced from food. The problem is the omega oil balance is quite delicate. Too much omega 6 and the Omega 3 can’t be used properly by the body. In today’s world of fast food, ready meals, and high calorie snacks, it is not uncommon for most people to actually be getting about 15 times more omega-6 than omega-3. Not only that, but most of the Omega Oils we obtain from our diets are damaged by food processing or by exposure to heat, light or oxygen, all of which degrade the nutritional value of Omega 3 and 6.

This is why we love Udo’s Ultimate Oil Blend. It provides a premium natural source of unprocessed, undamaged Omega 3 and 6 in a ratio that supports optimum health.

•    Flax seed oil
•    Sunflower seed oil
•    Sesame seed oil
•    Coconut oil
•    Evening primrose oil
•    Soy lecithin (GMO-free)
•    Rice bran and oat bran germ oils
•    Tocotrienol

In addition Omega 3 Alpha Linolenic Acid found in Ultimate Oil Blend contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.  This effect is obtained with a daily intake of 2g ALA.

Udo’s for Beauty

Our skin is a window to our dietary habits – it shows us what’s going on in our bodies. If our skin looks dry or tired, then the rest of our body isn’t being fed properly either. By supplying your body with the correct fats – Omega 3 and 6, it allows your skin’s cell membranes to hold onto water. In this simple action the omega oils work as internal moisturisers, giving you beautiful skin from within. At the same time as the cells in your hair and nails benefit too, it is observed that hair gains a new lustre, and nails become flexible and strong.

Udo’s for Sports

Good nutrition plays a key role in any sporting field as when your cells operate at their best so can you.  Getting the right amount of essential fats within the body in the right balance will serve you well in achieving your nutritional goals. Including Ultimate Oil Blend will help you maintain the optimum level of essential fatty acids as you push your body and it’s cells to perform.

How to use:

Enjoy a drizzle of Udo’s Oil in salad dressings, smoothies, soups, casseroles, porridge, pasta dishes, mashed or baked potatoes, protein shakes and more. Check out the Udo’s Recipe Page here or visit us in store to get your free Udo’s Choice 20th anniversary recipe book with your Udo’s Oil

Love your heart


Heart Disease is one of the most common causes of premature death, yet diet-related and preventable.

Advice to eat vegetable oils and margarines rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids instead of butter and limit other animal fats rich in saturated fats such as meat and dairy products has been the cornerstone of global dietary guidelines for decades. These recommendations were made to reduce the risk of heart disease, yet fifty years later, updated research shows no evidence of cardiovascular benefits.

Subsequent studies since the 1970s have reported that polyunsaturates from marine oils, namely omega-3s, are very heart protective. At the time of the original work, the difference between these omega3 polyunsaturates and the vegetable oil omega-6s was not well understood. Indeed, it was generally perceived that all fats were harmful, giving rise to the popularity of low-fat diets. The consequences of propagating this belief are currently rife, as diet-related diseases reach epidemic levels.

Recent media interest has put the spotlight on the fat controversy, changing  public perception that not all fats are bad, and whilst some are harmful, there are indeed some very beneficial fats. Scientific consensus that omega3 fish-oils promote wellbeing, particularly for cardiovascular and brain health, as well as to combat inflammatory disorders, has driven the popularity of sales of fish-oil supplements.

Whilst the clear benefits of increasing intakes of omega-3 fish-oils are gaining understanding, the balance or ratio in the diet between omega-6s to omega-3s, still lurks within the research domain.

The bottom line is that the misplaced confidence in vegetable oils has resulted in too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 in the diet.

Increasing polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils in order to reduce risk of heart disease has driven omega-6 levels fifteen to twenty-five times higher than omega-3 levels, where our ancestors had an approximate equal balance. Eating too little omega-3 and to much omega-6 has had very harmful consequences to health, because the two groups fats are metabolically and functionally distinct, and often have opposing biological effects.

Omega-6 and omega-3 are the parent compounds for the production of eicosanoids, a vast group of biological compounds which act as hormone-like messengers that mediate a cascade of extensive biochemical and physiological reactions including inflammation, blood clotting, pain, immune functions, blood pressure and regular heart beat.

Omega-3 fats(EPA and DHA) from fish or fish oil are heart friendly because they

  • decrease production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) metabolites where the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen work to keep pain, inflammation and blood clotting at bay
  • decrease platelet aggregation which causes blood to become sticky and clump, thus reduce tendency of clot formation and obstructions in blood supply which increase risk of strokes, embolisms and infarction
  • decrease production of leukotrienes which promote inflammation and white blood cells to trigger plaque formation
  • promote vasodilation that keeps blood vessels open and lowers blood pressure
  • safeguard against cardiac arrhythmia.

The metabolic children of omega-6s promote heart disease and are harmful to overall health and wellbeing. Omega-6s produce thromboxanes which promote blood clotting, platelet stickiness and vasoconstriction which narrows blood vessels and increases blood pressure. Other eicosanoids from omega-6 including interleukins stimulate the inflammatory response and promote white cells to form free radicals which cause oxidation of blood fats and damage leading to the formation of atheroma, thrombus, blocked and narrowed arteries. New research has found that when omega 6s are high in arterial plaques, the plaques are more likely to burst. Oxidised or ‘rusted’ vegetable oil particles found in LDL are very harmful, and a valid mechanism may be that these damaged omega-6s create very potent bioactive compounds that stimulate inflammation without having to go through the eicosanoid pathway.  In simple terms, the excess vegetable oils in the lipoproteins are themselves causing the inflammation that triggers damage which initiates the formation of plaques.  Smoking and drinking also creates a lot of free radicals that rust up these blood fats.

A diet rich in omega-6 fats shifts the physiological state to one that is proinflammatory and prothrombotic. No wonder populations rely on anti-inflammatory and blood thinning drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin.

Because of the increased amount of omega-6s in the Western diet, larger quantities of metabolic products from omega-6 are produced than those formed from omega-3s.   Since both families of fats share the same biochemical pathway, they share the conversion enzymes and if you use the analogy of omega-6 and omega-3s as opposing football teams, the omega-6 players outnumber the omega-3 players and omega-6 hogs the ball and scores all the unhealthy goals.

The simple answer lies in correcting the imbalance, by increasing the intake of omega-3, especially the fish-oils EPA and DHA, whilst simultaneously decreasing the intake of commercial vegetable oils and margarines and all the processed and packaged foods containing them.

However, vegetarians and vegans take note that the excess intake of omega-6 compared to deficiency in omega-3 can inadvertently occur, even in natural wholesome diets, as most nut and seed oils are relatively rich in omega-6, with only few oils rich in omega-3 such as flax oil, or to a lesser extent hemp, rapeseed, chia, pumpkin or walnut oils. Notably, vegetable omega3 sources do not provide a direct source of the more heart-friendly omega-3 EPA and DHA which are only obtained by eating oils of marine origin. Conversion of simple vegetable source omega-3 to longer chain and greater degree of unsaturation is considered poor.

Olive oil is a good choice as it predominantly contains omega-9, which does not interfere with the balance by avoiding excessive omega-6 intake.

The current bottom line is that omega-3 fish oils have reached superstar status as scientific understanding has undisputedly deciphered the biochemical pathways and physiological mechanisms by which omega-3 DHA and EPA bestow their gifts of optimising cardiovascular health.

The theory that eating fish may safeguard and prevent against cardiovascular disease can safely be put into practice. Be sure to up your intakes of EPA and DHA.

BMJ 2013 Feb 4;346:e8707 Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis.

Written by: Babi Chana BSc (HONS) BSc Nut.Med BANT. CHNC – Nutritionist for Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil.