Did you know that an imbalance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 can cause a tendency to obesity? In agricultural production, commercially raised livestock is fed corn silage and given oxytetracycline to reduce the incidence of infection. This antibiotic is stored in the animals, and leaves a toxic residue in their systems so this and the resulting higher Omega-6 levels from the silage make it into our milk and food, leading to an Omega-6/3 imbalance in our bodies.
In infants, an obesity epidemic (we refer to epidemic when there are a high number of cases of a specific pathology, regardless of whether it is actually infectious) can only logically be linked to these higher Omega-6 levels in milk, since it comes primarily from silage-fed milk cows. Grass, on the other hand, is very rich is beneficial Omega-3, especially in the spring, allowing pregnant females to have a large quantity of it in their blood, so their fetuses benefit as well. Because of this natural diet, grass-fed livestock do not impart oxytetracycline residues and higher Omega-6 levels to our food. I remember that Omega-3 is also essential for brain development, and nothing is left to chance.
Going back to obesity, the situation in the US is an obvious example, where obesity has become a national emergency. However, it is necessary to emphasize that if we observe the population of a large North American city – an ideal place to see millions of people in one place – it seems that people are largely either of normal weight, or are extremely fat. There is little in between. My belief is that certain individuals become obese because their system is unbalanced due to a diet overly rich in Omega-6 and poor in Omega-3, linked to the agricultural production methods described above. It’s true that some individuals just eat too much, but I believe that is more due to this imbalance.
In support of this point of view, the American Journal of Lipid Research recently published an article which blamed the imbalance ratio between Omega-6/3 in food for the development of obesity. According to this study, presented by Professor Gerard Ilhaud (University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis in with CNRS, INRA), the imbalance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 promotes obesity from one generation to another. This is extremely important because it could explain why children of obese people often have the same fate. As proof, the researcher exposed four generations of mice to an occidental type diet, replicating the imbalance between Omega-6/3 (10/1) and noticed that the weight of the mice gradually increased in subsequent generations. To explain this transition from one generation to the other, it’s necessary to involve the epigenetics: which is to say that the genetic heritage (genoma) can’t be modified, but that we can alter the operation of some genes by adjusting food.
Let’s remember that Omega-6 and Omega-3 are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that do not naturally occur in the human body, and must be acquired from food. In the past few decades, obesity has significantly increased as the fat characteristics of our food have changed. Thus, it’s not difficult to connect this increase in obesity with the increase of Omega-6 in our diet to the detriment of Omega-3. The ratio of Omega-6/3 has tripled or quadrupled in forty years, with the United States ratio at 40/1, while in Europe, the average is 10/1 – which is already too high.
I would like to point out that this idea isn’t crazy or irresponsible. In fact, it has been shown that the minor addition of Omega-3 right flax seeds in the diet of breeding cattle has shown to be very effective in improving both the health condition of the animal and the quality of the products they provide (milk, meat, cheese and yogurt).
The breeding of animals for food is an unsustainable practice for many reasons. There are ethical considerations, but there is also a need to stop the intensive farming which has a high price in generating waste and pollution from animal excrement in the form of methanol gas, and the negative effects of the chemical and pharmacological products used in the production cycle.
As I said, Omega-3 is present in flax seed, canola, hemp and fish, especially fatty ones (salmon, sardines and mackerel are especially rich). So it is recommended that humans eat this type of fish once or twice every week. I also saw that it helps in keeping the skin hydrated. Fish consumption should be limited; since the average life span is now around 90 years, there can really be an accumulation of heavy metal toxins. This is not an area of concern for cats and dogs since their life span is five times below that of humans. Paradoxically, there are more stringent controls on raw materials intended for dog and cat foods, than for human foods.
I believe there is ample evidence indicating that imbalance in the Omega-6/3 ratio can affect both our bodies and our eating habits. With minor adjustments in agricultural processes for livestock, along with increased consumption of high quality Omega-3 foods, people can reduce their tendency to obesity.