Using 3–6 differences in essential fatty acids rather than 3/6 ratios gives useful food balance scores
1 Retired, Fellow of ASN, 6100 Westchester Park Drive, Apt.1219, College Park, MD, 20740, USA
2 Computer Specialist, NIAAA, NIH, 5635 Fishers Lane, Bethesda, MD, 20892-8304, USA
Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:46 doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-46Published: 24 May 2012
The vitamin-like omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are converted in the body to a large family of hormones which act at selective receptors that occur on nearly every cell and tissue. A relative omega-3 deficit allows overabundant actions of omega-6 hormones to develop into health disorders. People need simple, explicit information on the balance of essential fatty acids in their foods to avoid accumulating unintended imbalances in their tissue omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
We developed an Omega 3–6 Balance Food Score that summarizes in a single value the balance among eleven omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in a food. The value allows a quantitative estimate of the impact of each food item on the proportions of omega-3 and omega-6 that will accumulate in the 20- and 22-carbon highly unsaturated fatty acids of blood, which is an important health risk assessment biomarker.
The impact of an individual food item upon a useful health risk assessment biomarker is easily evident in a simple, explicit value for the balance among eleven essential fatty acids nutrients. Foods with more positive Omega 3–6 Balance Food Scores will increase the percent of omega-3 in the biomarker, whereas those with more negative Scores will increase the percent of omega-6 in the biomarker.