|Today, Western diets are characterized by a higher omega-6 and a lower omega-3 fatty acid intake, whereas during the Paleolithic period when human’s genetic profile was established, there was a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Their balance is an important determinant for brain development and in decreasing the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other autoimmune and possibly neurodegenerative diseases.
Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids influence gene expression. Because of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in their metabolic pathways, blood levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are determined by both endogenous metabolism and dietary intake making the need of balanced dietary intake essential for health and disease prevention.
Whether an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 3:1 to 4:1 could prevent the pathogenesis of many diseases induced by today’s Western diets (AFSSA, 2010), a target of 1:1 to 2:1 appears to be consistent with studies on evolutionary aspects of diet, neurodevelopment, and genetics.
A target of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 appears to be consistent with studies on evolutionary aspects of diet, neurodevelopment and genetics. A balanced ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is important for health and in the prevention of CHD and possibly other chronic diseases.