Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

11 August 2014 - Huffington Post - Omega 3 - The Missing Component for Health and Weight-Loss?

Dr Sally Norton

We are often told that we should cut right down on fats. But there are two types of fats that are absolutely essential for our diets - both rather unimaginatively called Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

Please also see 

26 Oct 2009 - BBC Radio 4 - Food Programme: Omega-3

for a discussion of Omega-3 and Omega-6 balance. Contributors include two of FAB Research's scientific advisors, Professor Jack Winkler and Dr Alex Richardson.

Related research can be found here:

Brenna et al (ISSFAL) 2009 - Alpha-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to omega-3 long-chain PUFA in humans.


EFAs are critical in normal function and brain development. When you know that your brain is 60% fat and that these EFAs are responsible for ensuring that the connections between our brain cells work efficiently (amongst other roles), it becomes blindingly obvious that if we don't have the right levels of them, our brains won't function as well. Experts such as Dr Richardson are highlighting the huge increase in mental health issues such as depression, Alzheimer's, ADHD and addiction - believing our poor nutrition is largely to blame.

Omega 3 is one of these EFA. It is found mainly in oily fish. Omega 6 is another type of EFA - found in vegetable oils, grains, seeds and nuts. They come in two forms - the long-chain types that are needed for healthy function and the short-chain types which can be joined together to form the healthy long chain versions - but not very efficiently. So ideally, we want to be eating the long-chain type of EFAs.

Both omegas 3 and 6 are essential to our diet, however we are eating them in a completely different balance to our cave-dwelling ancestors, with much more omega 6 being consumed than omega 3 in a modern diet.