Are You Absorbing Your Omega 3 Fats?

My nutrition teacher always said, a nutrients not not yours untill it in your tissues! When we eat something, a lot has to be done to get a nutrient into your body. First it must be broken down in the gut, then absorbed and sent to the liver. After this its sent to your blood stream and only then the cells of your tissues! Its a lot of steps and with each one, the body has ways to remove it.

Omega 3 fats are important for heart and brain health and overall decrease inflammation.

The omega 6 fats, on the other hand, tend to promote inflammation and pain. It's easy to eat too much omega 6 fats in our diet these days from corn, and highly processed seed and vegetable oils.

Its all about the ratio of Omega 6 to 3 Fats

Healthy tissues tend to have an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 3 to 1. We call this anti-inflammatory and heart protective.

For many following a standard Canadian diet, however, the ratio of omega 6 to 3 can be as high as 16 to 1 and considered an inflammatory state. We will see those with this ratio with chronic diffuse pain and inflammation.

To get this ratio down you can:

  1. Adopt a plant-based, anti-inflammatory diet

  2. Eat more grass-fed beef. They are eating primarily green vegetables will have higher omega 3 fats

  3. Reduce processed and modified fats

  4. Increase fish in the diet

  5. Take a high EPA and DHA fish oil supplement

Many of us are taking daily fish oil but just because we take our fish oils, does not mean we are actually getting them into our tissues.

There are many factors that can prevent the absorption of Omega 3 fats:

  1. Gall bladder and digestive enzyme dysfunction may prevent absorption

  2. We may be supplementing with low-quality fish oil and not actually getting the omega 3s as expected

  3. The dose of fish oil may not be high enough for your unique needs.

  4. You may need to eat more plants and fish

Omega 3 fish oils are important for heart health, memory, brain function, attention, improving mood and reducing overall inflammation. We tent to just not eat enough fish in the diet. Some of us may also be vegan.

I routinely order this test on the Cardiometabolic + Functional medicine panels to ensure my patients are incorporating their omega 3s into their tissues. In the long term helping to reduce chronic inflammation, heart attack and stroke.

I have been checking this for some time now and I am routinely surprised that many are not getting the omega 3s high enough. By checking the omega fats in your blood we can determine if you are absorbing and integrating enough of these fats into your tissues.