Research has documented the importance of having a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids that is not too high. The study reviewed was interesting because the participants were young, healthy adults (medical students) and the purpose was to determine if omega 3 fatty acids would decrease proinflammatory cytokines and depressive and anxiety symptoms.
The research was double blind, placebo controlled and lasted for 12 weeks (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, et al. 2011). The participants received either omega 3 fatty acids in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) or placebo capsules that mirrored the proportions of fatty acids in the typical American diet.
The results showed that the participants who received the omega 3 fatty acids had a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 14% decrease in interleukin 6 (IL-6) production. IL-6 is one of the inflammatory cytokines.
Since the absorption and metabolism of omega 3 fatty acids can be different among individuals a second analysis used the plasma omega 6 to omega 3 ratio when comparing results. This showed that decreasing the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids lowered anxiety and reduced IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) production.
An easy way to increase omega 3 fatty acids and lower the omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio is take a high quality fish oil supplement. The formula “Better Fish Oil” will give you high amounts of both EPA and DHA. To read more about the benefits of omega 3 fat, click here.