Hi. I am thinking of introducing one of either hemp or flax seed to increase my intake of omega 3. But I am concerned about the balance - apparently flax has an omega 6 / 3 ratio of 1 / 4, while hemp has a ratio of 4 - 1. So, if I mix the two and grind them, would it come out at a ratio of 1/1?
Also, I read that it isn't true Omega 3 but a precursor. I eat a fair amount of fish, so is adding either hemp or flax a good move? What could be the benefits?
Mark did it again:
"Flax seed is rich in a form of omega-3 fatty acids called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)"
"Research has shown that young women convert 21% of ALA to EPA (compared to 8% in men) and 9% to DHA (compared to 0-4% in men)."
"The omega-3 is also in the form of ALA rather than the preferred DHA and EPA."
If you are eating enough/some fish I wouldn't add any additional omega 3 supplements, especially since in this case, it's mostly ALA.
Also it's not just the ratio but also about absolute amounts. 1:1 might not be as beneficial with really high polyunsatured intake.
These days our diets tend to give us much more Omega 6 than we need and not enough Omega 3.
It is true that fish is the best source of Omega 3 - salmon, herring, sardines particularly. Flaxseed is excellent for the ALA Omega 3 content and also lignan. ALA is required by the body as well as the longer chain EPA and DHA Omega 3. Some of the ALA will be converted by the body into EPA and DHA.
It is very fashionable to take Fish oil and Krill oil for your Omega 3 but it is a good idea to question where this oil comes from. Fish eat krill which in turn have eaten plankton which consume algae. The algae produces the ALA and the krill and fish convert it to EPA and DHA - far better then to actually eat the fish for all round good health.
Of course, if one is a vegetarian or doesn't like fish a good alternative is flaxseed.
Read http://www.courtofthesilverking.co.uk/alternatives.html for more information.
Although one can have oil which appears to be the 'ideal' balance of Omega 3 and 6, in reality since your diet is almost certainly giving you ample Omega 6 and not enough 3, it seems a waste of time having a 'neutral' balance unless it is replacing an oil which is high in Omega 6, or saturated fat.
I don't know much about hemp but I believe it contains more saturated fat than flax does.
Just gring the flax - If the hemp seeds are shelled already do not ground them more. Mixed ground flax with hemp seeds is tasty if spread lightly over omelets, eggs, or sardines.
Hemp seeds are great for your skin/ Not sure why/
I listened to this the other day and found it informative: http://thehealthyskeptic.org/podcast-episode-ii-essential-fatty-acids-fish-and-fish-oil
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