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04-12-2010, 12:37   #1
koHd
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Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio & Acne

Seriously not enough information on food labels about this. And also hard to find on the internet.

Is there any web site with good information about the omega 6 and omega 3 ratio in food? Or a simple way to find it myself by analysing the food labels? I find food labels are starting to put "contains omega 3", which is great, but without knowing how much omega 6 is in there also, it's pretty useless information.

The reason I am asking is related to another thread I started here a few months back when I changed my diet;

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt...p?t=2055991489

I was losing weight at a steady rate of 1-2lb per week, but after a while I noticed I was getting really sore inflamatory acne. usually I would get the odd blemish but I could get rid of it easy and have clear skin for a bit before the next one. But for the last few months I have consistenly got break outs of this inflamatory type. After ruling out it being a change in moisturoiser, facial wash etc. I was stumped because surely it couldn't be my diet as I had cut out alot of "junk" food and replaced it with fresh foods like nuts, fruit and vegetables.

Then as I was chomping on a handful of Almonds and complaining about not understanding what is goin on with my skin, the OH pointed out the obvious; I have been eating WAY more nuts (almonds, walnuts etc.) than I used to and maybe thats what has messed my skins oil balance up.

I rarely ate nuts before. But I was eating an average of 40grams of raw nuts daily for the last few months. They're a great snack and didn't stop my weight loss. In fact it seemed to improve it since I had a decent snack that kept me satisfied. I even researched nuts effect on diets and found that because they were full of "good fats" they helped your body burn the "bad fats".

But when she pointed it out it made sense because they were the biggest change to my diet and I've already ruled out the external potential causes.

So I started researching nuts in relation to acne and found that nuts are incedibly high in Omega 6, which is linked to all types of side effects when we have too much of it. Acne being one. Add to that I had slacked off on taking cod liver oil (omega 3) supplements and it was obvious it was something to do with these fats.

So the last couple of weeks I cut down on my nut intake and started taking fish oil supplements again to try get my Omega 3/6 ratio in better condition, and it seems to have worked.

After 3/4 months of consistent inflamatory acne, I have cleared up in the last week and my skin feels much less oily. I haven't changed my washing schedule or products, so I am pretty sure it was because my Omega 3/6 ratio was messed up with way too much 6.

But all this research has brought me to the fact that the average persons diet in Ireland is probably way too high in Omega 6 to Omega 3. And if you google this you'll find the problems related to it are serious and do affect a large number of people in Ireland (depression, bi-polar, heart desease and many more).

So I want to be able to track my ratio of omega 3/6 like I do my calories so I can get my ratio into the healthy 4/1 range. But I'm finding it hard to get the info on all the foods. It's easy to find the info about cooking oils and nuts etc. But beyond that I can't find it for most other food including fruits and meats.

Anybody that can help?
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04-12-2010, 16:04   #2
Adelie
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I also try to keep my 3/6 ratio in check and I totally agree that it's often very hard to find this info. Normally they report total polyunsaturated fats and nothing else, with the exception of things like sardines.

You're unlikely to find it labelled on processed food so you're probably going to have to prepare your food from scratch if you're really concerned. You'll usually be able to get some idea about the basic ingredients by looking online.

Regarding meat, the 3/6 ratio of the meat will depend on the diet of the animal so even if you did find a figure somewhere it wouldn't necessarily be meaningful for the meat you eat. In Ireland beef and lamb are generally good whereas for chicken and pork you may have to put more effort and money into sourcing good meat (not just free-range/organic but also pastured). This is only important if your trying to go really low with Omega 6.

About fruits, most don't have much fat apart from avocados. If something has very little polyunsaturated fats then it certainly has little Omega 6.

As for nuts, check out macadamias, they have a much lower Omega 6 content than the rest.

You might find interesting resources on websites about eating Paleo, one of the main goals of that way of eating is to minimise Omega 6.
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05-12-2010, 13:42   #3
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What about dairy? That's a very common cause of inflammatory acne too and is high in omega 6.

It's hard with to get the balance right, there's no way I come close with all the bacon I eat I think fish oil supplements and trying to eat oily fish a few times a week + cutting out cereals and seed/veg oils are the two easiest strategies to keep it somewhat in check for most of us. Other than that eating grass fed meat (ie beef and lamb in Ireland) over grain fed meat (chicken and pork) is important. I don't worry too much about it after that. I eat a lot of nuts (which I think are very a valuable nutrient source for most of us anyway) and bacon nearly every day but I think as far as indulgences go they're not that bad when you're avoiding the big baddies like gluten, veg oil and sugar. In case you don't know macadamias and walnuts have the best omega three to six ratios, you should still be able to eat them.
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05-12-2010, 13:44   #4
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As Adelie says you can pretty much go off total PUFA if the food is not fish or flaxseed.

Nutritiondata.com has a breakdown of fatty acids if you scroll down.

For example: avocado has 1.6g omega 6 (and a lot of vitamin E to protect the fat)

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...-juices/1843/2

I would worry less about the ratio and more about total percentage of calories though. If you keep omega 6 to less than 4% then oily fish twice a week provides enough omega 3. Pretty much every country with really low heart disease seems to eat very little omega 6 on average.

Eating loads of omega 3 has problems too as the fats are so prone to oxidisation.

I find the exact same thing with my skin. I was eating low carb for ages with lots of shop-bought mayonaise and my skin was always terrible. Couldn't figure out why, I must have tried everything. Only when I became serious about cutting out all seed oils did my skin improve. K2 helped too.
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05-12-2010, 13:48   #5
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Holland and Barrett are having a mega sale at the moment, might be a good time to get some fish oil supps although not sure what the quality would be like there
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05-12-2010, 21:04   #6
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This is something I have been looking at lately as well. I think my love of nuts is threatening my omega 6 : 3 ratio big time, so I am switching to walnuts & macademias - maybe one brazil nut per day as a treat

I was wondering if there is much omega 6 in dark chocolate, e.g. lindt 85%? I can't seem to find it online anywhere
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05-12-2010, 21:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclectichoney View Post
This is something I have been looking at lately as well. I think my love of nuts is threatening my omega 6 : 3 ratio big time, so I am switching to walnuts & macademias - maybe one brazil nut per day as a treat

I was wondering if there is much omega 6 in dark chocolate, e.g. lindt 85%? I can't seem to find it online anywhere
Very little n6 in cocoa butter, the main fat in chocolate, enjoy!

I'm still not sure about omega 6 in nuts, fatty acid metabolism is incredibly complicated at the best of times. They do come with a fair whack of magnesium and vitamin E so are in no way equivalent to the refined omega 6 found in the deep-fryer in miccie d's.

I just advocate caution and stick to having nuts as a small snack, and not let it stray into meal territory, which let's face it is way too easy too do absent-mindedly! If you can't do that then stick to macadamias.

I have 3 brazil nuts a day for 100% of my selenium RDA. Soils in Ireland are largely deficient in this important mineral - except for a few fields in Tipperary weirdly - selenium is a potent anti-oxidant and cancer fighter, don't go overboard on the brazil nuts though, as selenium is toxic in excess, 3-4 a day is plenty.
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05-12-2010, 22:03   #8
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Very little n6 in cocoa butter, the main fat in chocolate, enjoy!
You have just made my year
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07-12-2010, 12:04   #9
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I've introduced ground Flaxseed (linseed) into my diet as of today. Had a couple of small pancakes with a tablespoon of flaxseed in the batter mix for breakfast. We made them with plain flour today, I know this is bad but it's the only flour we have right now. What flour is recommended? Don't use flour that often, but would like some good healthy flour for making the odd pancake/pizza/bread with flaxseed mixed in.

I have gone the flaxseed route after reading about Vitamin A toxicity levels which can happen with too much fish oil supplement.

Also Flaxseed seems to bring much more nutritional benefit to the table than fish oil supplements do. I especially like the added fibre I;ll get per day with it.

If anybody is looking at buying ground flaxseed (linseed), Aldi have a good deal for 250g, for something like €2.75 I think we got it for.
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07-12-2010, 14:29   #10
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Be aware that only 5% of the omega 3 in flax oil converts to the long chain omega 3 that does all the good stuff and it's only cod liver oil that's high in A, fish oil is generally purified and refined.

I'm not a fan of relying on flax for omega 3, it comes along with a lot of phytoestrogens that may mess around with some people's hormones, it also causes mania in some susceptible individuals.

Not to say the odd flax muffin isn't ok for a treat, but I wouldn't make 'em a staple item in my diet, if you do watch out for any untoward side-effects.

Regarding a good flour, tapioca flour and coconut flour are good to thicken things out. I'm currently formulating a new recipe for pizza base using a combo of these, will post the recipe once perfected.
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09-12-2010, 22:19   #11
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Not to say the odd flax muffin isn't ok for a treat, but I wouldn't make 'em a staple item in my diet, if you do watch out for any untoward side-effects.
.
Uh oh. I usually have a flax muffin (22g of flax) everyday!! Should I cut back?
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09-12-2010, 22:30   #12
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You have just made my year
Mine too!!

Know you know what you can bring down to Limerick on your next visit ...!
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09-12-2010, 23:16   #13
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Uh oh. I usually have a flax muffin (22g of flax) everyday!! Should I cut back?
How do you find it? Any negative effects? I'm just normally pretty conservative when it comes to these things, and I've heard some rumblings that flax might adversely affect some people.
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10-12-2010, 12:13   #14
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After the advice here I got some fish oil capsules to take as well as the odd bit of Flaxseed. I also bought it Holland & Barrets as the sale mentioned above is on and it's buy two things, get the cheaper one for 1c

Has anybody used the H&B Fish Oil capsules before? Are they high grade? It says 300mg of DHA per capsule. And goes to a lot of effort on the back to stress how careful they are to have the best fish and refine the oil to lessen the mercury etc.

They are €10.99 per 100 capsules. So I got 200 capsules for €11. Pretty decent deal.

I will now just have the flaxseed mixed in with my oatmeal for breaky three times a week, instead of daily, and take the fish oil daily instead.
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10-12-2010, 12:45   #15
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This is very interesting...

what foods are high in Omega 6?

Im definetely not having enough Omega 3 in my diet, I dont have oily fish often enough, i should get a supplement.

I eat a lot of meat (and veg) since o follow a low carb diet (not too strict lately...) Is meat high in omega 6?

I just bought linseed yeaterday with the idea of pouring a bit over my son's breakfast, because of the omega 3 and the protein since he doesnt eat enough meat or fish. Is this a good idea?
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