The omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA are Swiss Army knife nutrients, because they enhance so many different health states and can balance the body’s ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. Pro-inflammatory omega-6s come from eating too many fried foods and cooking with vegetable (read: GMO soybean) oil—you know, the basic, unhealthy American diet. Ideally, the ratio should be about 1:1, but most of us are as high as 20:1. Inflammation alert!
A paper by fatty acids expert Artemis Simopoulos, MD, founder and president of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington, D.C., noted that a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of about 2:1 or 3:1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis—and ratios below 5:1 helped reduce asthma symptoms, breast cancer risk and death by cardiovascular disease.
In one study, researchers gave a group of healthy young adults fairly high levels (but attainable with supplements) of 1.6 grams per day of EPA and 1.2 grams per day of DHA for four weeks. By the end, the control group had an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of almost 17:1, whereas the group taking the omega-3 supplements had a ratio of almost 6:1.
Another study measured not just inflammation levels but also anxiety and depression in 68 medical-school students. Compared to the control group, the students taking about 2 grams per day of EPA and 350 mg per day of DHA had 14 percent lower levels of a pro-inflammation biomarker. The group with less inflammation also had 20 percent less anxiety (with no change in depression). This is important because many nutrition studies show decreased inflammation but fail to tie it to clinically relevant human health concerns. This one does.
Supplement companies now concentrate their fish oil so you can get more EPA and DHA per serving. Source Naturals ArcticPure Omega-3 1125 is a high concentrate of omega-3s, containing 687 mg of EPA and 275 mg of DHA per capsule. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2X contains 562 mg of EPA and 438 mg of DHA per softgel.