Fatty acid testing for omega-3 and omega-6 balance

In The Hompes Method book and Hompes Method Basics program, I discuss in detail the problems associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the modern diet.

First, as a society, we are eating far too many PUFAs in the forms of nuts, seeds, vegetable oils (present in virtually all processed food), leafy greens and oily fish.

Second, we’ve been duped into believing a daily dose of supplemental flax seed or fish oil is needed to provide omega-3 fatty acids, or a dose of evening primrose or borage oil is needed to supply more omega-6 fatty acids.

But flax seed, borage, evening primrose and fish oils are all PUFAs.

According to endocrine and nutrition researcher Dr. Ray Peat, PhD:

  • PUFAs lead to cancer, diabetes and contribute to heart disease (we’ve been hoodwinked into thinking they protect against heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol).
  • PUFAs suppress thyroid function (one of the reasons many animals hibernate after eating all the nuts that fall off trees in autumn).
  • PUFAs interfere with the utilization of glucose – your body’s main fuel – in your cells.
  • PUFAs are estrogenic and amplify the effects of estrogen in your body, leading to estrogen dominance and whole gamut of symptoms that follow.

PUFA excess

We do require a few PUFAs in our diet – and it’s completely natural to consume them in small amounts in whole foods.

But according to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, a renowned authority on dietary fats, most people are consuming 20 or more times the optimal quantity.

Processed foods are full of PUFAs, we’re cooking in vegetable oils of all kinds, oily fish is full of PUFA, nuts and seeds are full of PUFA, and omega-3 / omega-6 supplements are PUFAs by design.

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids

According to the health and fitness magazines, virtually everyone is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids because our dietary intake has dropped in recent times.

But in my experience, only a few people are deficient in omega-3’s and their symptoms are usually being caused by other nutrient deficiencies, combined with gut function issues.

Certainly, commercially grown crops and their oils – corn, soybean, sunflower – all tend to favour omega-6 fatty acids and there’s been an enormous increase in vegetable oil use from the 1950’s onwards,

Animals fed “junk” grain, soya and vegetable feed for cattle, pigs and other commercially-raised animals, incorporate these oils into their tissues, so we also get a load of omega-6’s when we eat their meat.

To offset this increase in omega-6 consumption, industry and media spawned a MASSIVE industry in which fish oils and flax seed oils (rich in omega-3’s) have been virtually labeled as “cure-alls” and “must” be used to offset society’s omega-6 “addiction”.

But I urge you to remember that the supplement industry is, in many ways, just as bad as the pharmaceutical industry in its propaganda and omega-3 / omega-6 imbalances are definitely not as much of a problem as we’re led to believe.

As such, “Shotgunning” fish oils and flax seeds, based on information from a health and fitness magazine isn’t sensible practice in my opinion.

How could you possibly know what to do without testing your own omega-3 and omega-6 levels?

How could you become deficient in omega-3 or -6?

The reason you become deficient in these substances is not because of a supplement deficiency.

It’s generally because you:

  • Weren’t eating enough high quality fat in the first place (organic olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter, pasture-fed meats, oily fish, nuts and seeds every so often).
  • Your digestive system has been damaged to the point where you are not digesting and absorbing your dietary fats and oils properly (gluten intolerance, too many bad bugs in your diet, inadequate stomach acid and pancreatic enzyme levels, poor gallbladder function, etc.)

As I teach you in Hompes Method Basics, by consuming ample high-quality dietary fat in the form of coconut oil, olive oil, organic eggs, high quality meats, etc. you naturally get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (as long as your gut is working properly).

Over-supplementing

Any time you take an omega-3 or omega-6 supplement, you add to your already surplus PUFA load.

If you’re already consuming vegetable oils, processed food, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, you’re dosing yourself up with fatty acids that cause disruption in your body:

  • Thyroid suppression
  • Inability to use glucose for energy
  • Estrogenic effect, etc.

In my opinion it is simply not worth doing unless you know for sure you have very low levels of either omega-3 or omega-6 in the first place.

Fatty acid testing

A fatty acid test is simple and can be performed in the comfort of your own home.

The lab only requires a finger prick blood sample, which is really easy and relatively painless to do!

Results are returned within 7-10 days.

I use these tests fairly infrequently because the so-called symptoms of fatty acid deficiency nearly always clear-up when I take my clients through a process of removing bad stuff from their bodies and replacing good stuff.

I find the chief fatty acid deficiency symptoms usually disappear when clients fix-up their digestive system and eat clean, healthy saturated (organic meats, eggs, coconut oil and butter) and mono-unsaturated fats (olive oil). To me, this is the most important step.

On occasions, I’ve found a fatty acid test helpful in convincing a client he or she doesn’t need to take omega-3 supplements. By means of an example, the test result (below) shows good omega-3 levels but much lower omega-6 levels in a 48 year-old male client who was convinced he had an omega-3 deficiency from reading information on the Internet.

fatty1

On other occasions, I have found very low levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with the testing. On these occasions I never recommend fatty acid supplementation without also adding some vitamin E to the regimen, and I always retest in 60-days.

But to be honest, it’s not the most important test in the Hompes Method Testing Toolkit, but it may be useful in your individual case.

Before ordering, I recommend taking the Hompes Method initial client assessment and initial consultation.

Ordering a fatty acid test

If you are a new customer you must first complete, sign and return the Hompes Method client intake paperwork.

If you are an existing customer and we’ve recommend you run a fatty acids test, simply click here or fill in the form below to place your order.