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Omega-3 vs. Omega-6: A Constant Battle that's Ruining Your Health

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Have you taken your omega-3s today? Even if you have, you may not be reaping all the benefits they have to offer.
Air Date: 12/3/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Eliza Leggatt, health educator
Energized by the desire to unite public health initiatives with the growing field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Eliza Leggatt is a gifted writer, communicator, and health educator.

Eliza draws upon a wealth of experience, ranging from the United States Marine Corps to motherhood. During her time in the Marine Corps, Eliza earned a meritorious promotion upon graduating from recruit training in Parris Island, South Carolina. She was honored after graduating from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where she earned a higher GPA than any previous graduate. She saw and experienced firsthand the prevalence and consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affecting our servicemen and women, and entered the civilian world with a renewed enthusiasm for educating about natural living.

Intense in her passion for healthy living, yet gentle in her approach, Eliza empowers others on their health journeys with compassion, candor, and a unique ability to convey complex scientific principles in a down-to-earth, accessible manner. Eliza currently resides in Charlotte, NC, with her five-year- old daughter and her husband.
Omega-3 vs. Omega-6: A Constant Battle that's Ruining Your Health
Have you taken your omega-3s today?

Even if you have, you may not be reaping all the benefits they have to offer.

Many people think that as long as they're taking their supplements, they should be OK... but then are stymied when they feel a particular symptom.

What is so crucial to recognize, says health educator Eliza Leggatt, is that there are some things that are good for you, but there are also some things that are essential for you. Omega-3s are one of the most important nutritional elements your body needs, but one which many people are commonly deficient in. Even if you consistently take a fish oil, you're probably deficient in omega-3s.

And, even though you may be taking other types of supplements for stress or your thyroid, if you're not getting your omega-3s, you're not getting the full benefit of those supplements. Omega-3s literally make everything else work better.

How does that happen?

When you take omega-3s regularly, they start to accumulate in your cell membranes and become a part of you. They even help your cells communicate with each other better.

Why are people still deficient, even though they are diligent about taking omega-3s?

The number one reason is that many people eat a diet that is teeming with omega-6 fats. Now, omega-6 fats by themselves aren't necessarily harmful. They are essential for your body to be able to create an inflammatory response, and for you to recognize that response. Some inflammation is needed; but, when you eat too many omega-6 fats, you develop an overload of inflammation.

Omega-6s are found in things like vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil, all of which are a huge part of the standard American diet. Not only do these omega-6s cause excess inflammation, but they also compete with the omega-3s in your body. Essentially, there's a constant battle going on with every bite of food... you're either going to resolve inflammation with omega-3s or promote it with omega-6s.

So, unless you're really paying close attention to labels and cutting out the sources of omega-6s, the amount of omega-3s you're getting simply can't compete.

How much, then, is enough to combat the omega-6 intake?

Many people take 500 to 1000 milligrams daily, but it is completely safe to take up to 3000 mgs per day. This amount is going to "move the needle," so to speak. That is, get you over that hump to beat the amount of omega-6s within your body so that you can start to feel the benefits of omega-3s.

How do omega-3s relate to stress?

Each individual experiences stress in a different and unique way. Some people may manifest stress in angry outbursts, while others may become forgetful or suffer from extreme fatigue. But, no matter the specific manifestation, omega-3s address stress at a root level by enhancing your body's cell function and getting your cells to communicate in an optimal way.

Tune in as Eliza joins Andrea and Lisa to share more about omega-3s and omega-6s, as well as what an optimal dosage is for realizing omega-3s benefits.

And, don't forget to check out the Naturally Savvy Omega-3 Challenge, which teaches you why omega-3s are so essential and how to get them into your diet.