The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is about 1:1. But the Western diet contains so much processed fast food that has skewed this ratio to about 1:20 or even 1:50!
Common signs of imbalance in these 2 fats:
|"Chicken skin" on backs of arms
|Poor wound healing
|Dry, unmanageable hair
|Brittle, easily frayed nails
|Patches of pale skin on cheeks
Cracked skin on heels or fingertips
Omega-3 deficiencies have also been linked to a number of other health problems, such as:
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Heart disease and cancer
- Eczema and allergies
- Inflammatory diseases and arthritis
As related by Gallagher, there are more than 2,000 scientific studies demonstrating the wide range of problems associated with Omega-3 deficiencies.
All Omega-3 Fats are Not Created Equal
Many insist that omega-3 from plant-based sources (ALA) are interchangeable with animal-based omega-3 (EPA and DHA), but this is simply not the case.
Plant-based omega-3 fats are highly beneficial and should also be consumed, but the evidence is very clear that they are not an acceptable substitutefor animal-based omega-3 fats.
This is primarily related to the fact that your body does not easily convert the ALA in plant-based fats to the longer fats of EPA and DHA needed for brain and heart health. And if you have diabetes, are overweight, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or are elderly, your body has even more difficulty converting these fats.
That said, even among animal-based omega-3 fats, there are differences that can impact performance.
What's the Best Type of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fat?
In a perfect world, you'd get all the animal-based omega-3s you need from eating seafood. Regrettably, industrial pollution has contaminated most of the world's fish stocks with a variety of dangerous toxins like mercury and PCBs.
This leaves marine oils, mainly purified fish oil, or krill oil, as alternatives. Personally, I take krill oil every day, and I'm convinced that it's the best option for most people, for several reasons.
- Omega-3 in krill oil is bound in a phospholipid structure, making it far more bioavailable than fish oil. In fact, nearly 100 percent of the DHA and EPA in krill oil are immediately available to your body.
The omega-3 in fish oil, on the other hand, are in a triglyceride molecule that has to be broken down in your gut into its base fatty acids EPA and DHA. Once the fatty acids are absorbed into your bloodstream, your liver then has to attach it to phoshphatidyl choline molecule for it to be used by your body.
Because of this, your body can only absorb about 15 to 20 percent of it, while the rest is eliminated in your intestine. (This is also what causes so many people to "burp up" the fish oil taste, and not tolerate the fish oil very well.)
- Krill oil naturally contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which prevents the perishable DHA and EPA from going rancid. The vast majority of fish oil being sold is actually rancid before you even open the bottle, as it doesn't contain this protective antioxidant, which prevents the DHA and EPA from oxidizing.
- Krill oil works at a lower dose. For the reasons mentioned above, krill oil is effective at far lower dosages, so you may only need one 500 mg capsule per day.
For more in-depth information about the inherent benefits of krill oil over fish oil, please see my recent interview with industry expert Dr. Rudi Moerck.
Additional Strategies to Relieve ADHD Symptoms
It is my sincere hope that people will begin to realize that drug therapy, if at all necessary, should be a very last resort, after all other options have been exhausted – especially when it comes to behavioral problems such as ADHD.
Clearly, animal-based omega-3 such as krill oil should be high on your list of natural treatment strategies. But there are also a number of other lifestyle changes that can significantly help.
So please, before you consider drugs, consider implementing the following strategies first:
- Eliminate most grains and sugars from your child’s diet. Grains and sugars both tend to cause allergies in sensitive individuals. Even organic, whole grain can cause problems in many children so it would be wise to give them a grain holiday and see if their behavior improves.
- Replace soft drinks (diet and regular), fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure, clean non-fluoridated water.
- Minimize your use of nearly all processed fats, especially trans fats as they disrupt nerve cell intercommunication.
- Avoid all processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, which may trigger or worsen symptoms.
- Clear your house of dangerous pesticides and other commercial chemicals. Pesticide exposure has been linked with ADHD.
- Avoid commercial washing detergents and cleaning products used on clothes, and replace them with naturally derived cleaning products with no added perfumes, softeners, etc.
- Spend more time in nature. Researchers have found that exposing ADHD children to nature is an affordable, healthy way of controlling symptoms.
- Investigate sensory therapy and emotional wellness tools. Instead of looking for a quick fix, encourage ADHD sufferers to talk, and find out what emotions are causing issues. You may want to consider the energy tapping techniques to improve emotional coping and healing.