Why Omega-3 v Omega-6 Balance is Vital

By Pete Richardson, Revolution Health correspondent

Until very recently I had never heard of the importance of my Omega- versus Omega 6 balance – and I bet not many of you have either.

But a recent conversation with an eminent doctor (The wonderfully erudite Dr Martin Kinsella) has fundamentally changed the way I look at my health - and it’s all about my fatty acids and Omega-3 and 6 ratio.

So as the global Covid-19 crisis claims hundreds of thousand of lives and ruins countless millions through the world’s attempts at locking down to protect the vulnerable I began to investigate other ways we can protect ourselves.

Covid-19 predominantly kills the vulnerable, the old and the unhealthy – especially the clinically obese. Also, those with low immune systems.

Relatively new research now suggests that there is an increase in the risk of obesity as the level of omega-6 fatty acids and the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio increase in the diet.


In 2016 studies highlighted in an editorial, published in the journal Open Heart, that high levels of omega-6 can lead to increased fat tissue and chronic inflammation, which both play a role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

And following this the editor of Diabetes.co.uk wrote: “Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of essential fatty acids, meaning that we cannot make them on our own and have to obtain them from our diet.

“In modern times, total fat and saturated fat intake as a percentage of total calories has continuously decreased in our modern diets and we consume few sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the fat of cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish.

“As a result of this, there was a large increase in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio from about 1:1 during evolution to 16:1 today, or even higher.

This change in the composition of fatty acids parallels, alongside high sugar consumption, a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity.”

So, we need to increase Omega-3 levels and decrease Omega-6 and get back in balance.

This helps us fight obesity and strengthen our immune system.

And there’s more.

The very scientific “Importance of maintaining a low omega–6/omega–3 ratio for reducing inflammation” by James J DiNicolantonio and James H O’Keefe concludes simply that: “Using long-chain omega-3s to suppress low-grade inflammation may benefit numerous chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, obesity and heart failure. The consumption of omega-6 seed oils may have the opposite effect.”

That’s a lot of health benefits for getting your Omega-3 v Omega 6 in balance.

Not only can I reduce the risk of obesity, increase the strength of my immune system but I also decrease the risk of heart failure, arthritis, diabetes etc.

I may get hit by a bus tomorrow – actually the chances of that have reduce due to lockdown – but at least I can take control now of my underlying health by balancing my Omega-6 v Omega-3 levels.

Thanks to Dr Martin Kinsella for the initial introduction to this topic – you might just have saved my life.