most notably in the prevention of cardiovascular disease by lowering triglycerides, regulating cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and preventing the build of atherosclerotic plaques. There is also evidence that omega 3s can combat mental disorders and their progression, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of autoimmune conditions, and are also associated with lowered cancer risks.
It's not only important to incorporate good sources of omega-3 and omega-6s in your diet, but to also consume them in the proper ratio. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s and can inhibit their effect. Ideally the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be around 2:1, but the typical Western diet represents a ratio of closer to 16:1 due to a reliance on processed foods and oils. This imbalance is believed to be responsible for a number of inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies also show that a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio plays a key role in the development of obesity.
This essential fatty acid blood spot test measures the levels of essential fatty acids and their ratios that are critical to good health. Diet is not the only thing that determines your blood fatty acid levels – metabolism, genetics, gender, weight, age and other lifestyle factors all can play a role. For omega-3s and trans fats, eating that fat directly increases blood levels of that fat. Other fatty acids don’t respond to intake. For example, eating a lot of saturated fat doesn’t directly raise blood levels of saturated fat, but eating a lot of carbohydrate does. This is why testing matters.
The omega-3 index is the sum of the fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in red blood cell membranes, and is expressed as a percentage.
Excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and a very high omega 6: omega 3 ratio (as is found in today's Western diets) promote the development of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids (a low omega 6: omega 3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.
The AA/EPA ratio is considered the best marker of cellular inflammation in the body. It represents the ratio of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Trans fatty acids (trans fats) in our blood come only from the food we eat, with the vast majority being from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Consumption of industrially-produced trans fats has been linked to poorer heart health.
Omega-3s are a family of essential fatty acids that play important roles in your body and may provide a number of health benefits. As your body cannot produce them on its own, you must get them from your diet. The three most important types are ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA is mainly found in plants, while DHA and EPA occur mostly in animal foods and algae. Common foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, fish oils, flax seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is one of several omega-3 fatty acids. It is found in cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon. It is also found in fish oil supplements, along with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are part of a healthy diet that helps lower risk of heart disease.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water, fatty fish, such as salmon. It is also found in fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, and your body needs DHA for a healthy brain.
Scientists believe omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. A high amount of omega-6 in cell membranes is strongly associated with the risk of heart disease, which makes sense given their potential pro-inflammatory effects. Those who follow a Western diet are typically eating too much omega-6s relative to omega-3s. Many believe this is a serious health problem.
Your finger prick test kit and all instructions are posted directly to you, and there is no need to visit a collection centre.