Tag Archives: Fatty acid

Omega-3 Blood Test Results

The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produ...

The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produces an oil containing a high content of γ-linolenic acid, a type of n−6 fatty acid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have copied below the results of an Omega-3 blood test obtained recently. (I just discovered the availability of this test recently on the internet – the cost was about Can$165). It is interesting to get an indication of my blood levels of Omega-3 since until now, I was guessing as to appropriate intake of Omega-3 supplements. The results show quite high Omega-3 levels and low Omega-6 levels compared to the North American averages. These results seem pretty good and I will probably maintain my current Omega-3 intake (flax seed, flax seed oil and high EPA fish oil).  The cover letter with the results also provides a summary of the benefits of Omega-3s.

The test organization does not suggest a GLA target. My GLA percent is small, but about 30% higher than the North American average. Since I have only recently started GLA supplements, and likely have a long term deficiency, I will probably try to double my intake for another 12 months, and then maybe get another set of test results.

May 16, 2013
Dear Swamiodo,
Congratulations on completing The Vital Omega-3 and 6 HUFA Test™ – the easy, evidence-based way to measure and manage the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your blood.
There may be no simpler, safer, or more cost-effective path to disease prevention than to adjust your diet to achieve healthful blood levels and proportions of these vital nutrients.
We hope you will use the test results on the following pages – and our explanations of their meaning – to plan and achieve a healthier diet that reduces your risk of ill health.
Introduction: Why Your “Omega Balance” Matters
The acronym “HUFA” stands for Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids, which are essential food factors that we convert into hormone-like agents that influence inflammation and much more, and have receptors on nearly every cell in the body.
A substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that maintaining a healthful dietary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 HUFA can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and other common, chronic, physical and mental health problems*.
Humans evolved in adaptation to hunter-gatherer diets that contained a roughly equal balance of omega-3s and omega-6s. But modern diets contain much higher proportions of omega-6s, from common vegetable oils (e.g., corn, soy, cottonseed) and the processed foods made with them, as well as from seeds, nuts, grains, and grain-fed meats and poultry.
This historically unprecedented “omega imbalance” matters, for the following reasons (Lands WE 1992):
• Chronic, low-level inflammation promotes cardiovascular disease and many other degenerative conditions.
• Inflammation is controlled in large part by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which arise from the omega-3 (DHA and EPA) and omega-6 (AA) fatty acids in our cell membranes.
• Omega-3s in our cells (DHA and EPA) mostly yield prostaglandins that tend to moderate inflammation.
 Omega-6s in our cells (AA) mostly yield prostaglandins that tend to promote and maintain inflammation.
 Omega-6s compete with omega-3s for absorption into our cells and the hypothesis that excess intake of omega-6s drives many major diseases rests on persuasive evidence.

1. Your Vital O-Mega Scores™ – Ranking your heart risk
This reveals your Percent Omega-3 in HUFA, your Percent Omega-6 in HUFA, and your estimated heart risk based on those test results.

Omega-3 57%    Omega-6  43%

(US average Omega-3 24%;  Omega-6 76%)

18:2w6   Linoleic (LA)
My reading – 20.19 %
typical US average – 25.10 %
18:3w6  Gamma-linolenic (GLA)
My reading – 0.32 %
typical US average – 0.24 %


Video – How To Get More Omega 3 Fatty Acids Into Your Diet

Salmon fry hatching.

Salmon fry hatching. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a good short video about how to increase your Omega-3 Intake.

Omega-3 fatty acids can increase good cholesterol and lower the bad, as well as reduce inflammation and your risk for everything from stroke and asthma to certain cancers.
To complete this How-To you will need:
A fish oil supplement
Ground flax
Flax seed oil
And some walnuts

Omega-3 fatty acids linked to slower aging

Telomere caps he:תמונה:Telomere caps.gif

Telomere caps he:תמונה:Telomere caps.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Omega-3 fatty acids linked to slower aging

There were several news reports back in January 2010 regarding a press release from researchers regarding their study of Omega-3 and telomeres.  I just discovered this report through a Google search of Omega-3 news.  The excerpt below is from a CBC News report, quoting a report from Matt Rourke/Associated Press.

The report states that “Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help people with heart disease live longer by staving off the biological aging of cells.”   The latest findings, published in Tuesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that high levels of omega-3 in the blood are associated with a slower rate of biological aging.  Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far of the University of California at San Francisco and his colleagues focused on telomeres — strands of DNA at the end of chromosomes that resemble the plastic that holds the ends of shoelaces together.  “The main result from our study is that patients with high levels of omega-3 fish oil in the blood appear to have a slowing of the biological aging process over five years as measured by the change in telomere length,” Farzaneh-Far said in a news release.

The length of telomeres shrink every time a cell divides, forming a chromosomal clock that reflects aging’s toll.  Scientists suspect that as telomeres shrink, chromosomes become less stable and are therefore more likely to mutate. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for research into shortening telomeres.  Farzaneh-Far’s study looked at omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood of 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease who were followed for an average of six years. The team also looked at telomere length in leukocytes, a type of blood cell.  “These findings raise the possibility that omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cellular aging in patients with coronary heart disease,” the study’s authors concluded.

On more reason to focus on increased intake of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Testimonial and Omega-3 Suggestions

Flax The seeds of flax are used to make linsee...

Flax The seeds of flax are used to make linseed oil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am excited about Omega-3 health benefits mainly because the science makes sense to me, and I personally have seen beneficial results.  Your results may, of course, vary.  However, I switched from a mainly vegan diet to a diet with added flax seed (2 tblsp) and fish oil supplement (4 g) in February 2010, with a further increase to flax seed (1/2 cup) and concentrated fish oil supplement (10 g) in June 2010 (after reading “The Queen of Fats”).  My most recent blood tests show that my total cholesterol has improved from being unable to measure due to high triglycerides (in January 2010) to very close to target at 210 mg/dl (in August 2010).  My doctor commented that you do not often see such a “dramatic” improvement in blood lipids.  In addition, my blood pressure readings have improved from high normal (131/84) to normal (114/77).  Also, as noted previously, I subjectively have noticed a significant increase in mental acuity (lots of new ideas).

My breakfast is a bowl of 1/2 cup of fresh ground flax seeds with 1/2 cup of granola in almond milk (preferably home-made) and fresh blueberries in season, or raisins and cinnamon.  I eat lots of salmon burgers, canned salmon sandwiches, and lox on bagels for lunch.  Supper is mainly vegan, salads or rice or beans.  I supplement with a fresh squeezed vegetable and fruit juice morning and evening, along with 5 g of concentrated fish oil twice a day.  I also take lots of anti-oxidant supplements, including vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract and garlic extract.


As noted below, it is usually a good idea to make diet changes gradually, and slowly increase the flax seed and fish oil intake.  I have received feedback that 1/2 cup of flax seeds is a lot to eat every day.  In response, I note that I am a 58 year old male, weight 200 pounds.  If your body weight is less, and/or you believe your omega-3 intake in the past has been better than the standard North American diet , then you could obtain good results with considerably lower amounts.  Since I believe I need to compensate for many years of omega-3 deficiency, I am consuming as much as I can tolerate.

As noted below, there is no good research to suggest optimum values for Omega-3 intake, and blood tests for Omega-3 blood content (or Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios) are not readily available.  The only guideline seems to be that the maintenance ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 intake which results in optimum conversion of LNA to DHA & EPA is 2:1.  However, it is not easy to assess the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio in any particular diet. On the other hand, there do not seem to be as negative side effects associated with excessive Omega-3 intake, (other than the frequent nose bleeds that the Greenlanders, who consumed only fish products, apparently suffered from).  The benefits are reduced rates of heart attack and stroke due to reduced inflammation and thinner blood.