Nutrition experts are saying the modern Western diet has changed the balance of omega-6 fatty acids (w6) and omega-3 fatty acids (w3) – with adverse health consequences – and they are looking into ways of restoring that balance.
Previous research established that human ancestors maintained a 2:1 w6/w3 ratio, but in modern times it can be as high as 10:1 in the West, resulting in an increased risk of inflammation.
The researchers involved in the latest study describe how they analyzed 27 healthy humans who were fed a diet mimicking the w6/w3 ratios for five weeks.
Upon completion of the trial, they noted that the expression of many genes that promote inflammation was substantially reduced as compared to a normal diet. One of genes codes for a protein called PI3K, which plays an important role in autoimmune and allergic inflammation responses.
Those who would like to rebalance their diet may want to keep in mind that omega-6 fatty acids are found mainly in meat and vegetable oils, while rich sources of omega-3 include flax and fish oil. The latter can also be obtained from dietary supplements.
The paper appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.