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Smart way to live long life

Smart way to live long life

Why monitor the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the body?

Why monitor the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the body?

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are an important part of the fats in our diet. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important components of cell membranes and are also important precursors of many substances in the body - for example those involved in blood clotting, blood pressure regulation or inflammatory processes in the body. Both groups of polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for us, but finding the right balance between them is crucial for maintaining health. In this article we describe why it makes sense to monitor the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the body and how this measurement can be done.

Article at a glanc:

  1. Why maintain a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the body?
  2. Examples of health benefits
  3. Measurement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from blood

Why maintain a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the body?

Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the higher omega-6/omega-3 ratio typical for today's Western diet promote the development of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. [1] In order to reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases which are on the rise today, we need to maintain a balance of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids.

Examples of health benefits

Maintaining the omega-6/omega-3 balance in the body can provide several health benefits, such as:

  • Inflammation control: omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have anti-inflammatory effects, while omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) can promote inflammation when consumed in excess. An imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and in particular an imbalance in the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), may contribute to chronic inflammation, which is associated with a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. [2]
  • Cardiovascular health: Ensuring sufficient omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3s can help lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots, while excessive consumption of omega-6s can lead to inflammation and contribute to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular-related problems. [3] [4]
  • Brain health: Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are essential for brain development and healthy brain function. The balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is important for cognitive function, memory and mood regulation. Conversely, an imbalance between these two groups of polyunsaturated fatty acids may increase the risk of cognitive decline and mental health disorders. [5] [6]
  • Immune system: Omega-3s are involved in modulating the immune system and help regulate immune responses. Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain a balanced immune system, while omega-3 deficiency can lead to immune system disorders and increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. [7]
  • Skin health: Omega-3s may be beneficial for maintaining healthy skin by supporting the skin's natural barrier function. [8] Omega-3 deficiency can contribute to inflammatory skin diseases and skin problems such as dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. [9]
  • Eye health: DHA is a structural component of the retina of the eye and is thus essential for healthy eye development. According to some studies, DHA can also help improve certain eye problems such as dry eyes, high eye pressure, and diabetic retinopathy. [10][11] Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration. [12]
  • Cellular function: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are integral components of cell membranes. Maintaining an optimal balance helps ensure proper cell function, including cell signaling and nutrient transport. [13]

Measurement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from blood

Trime will shortly introduce self-tests to determine the status of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. The Omega 3 Index Test is performed using a simple dry blood spot method from the fingertip (DBS method = dry blood spot), from the comfort of home without the need to go to any laboratory.

With this test you will get a comprehensive overview of your fatty acid profile: you will find out what your omega-6/omega-3 ratio is, your Trans Fat Index, your 26 fatty acid levels and, most importantly, what your Omega 3 Index value is. The Omega 3 Index reflects your body's omega-3 status over the last 4 months, similar to how glycated hemoglobin HbA1C shows long-term blood glucose levels. These markers provide valuable guidance for recommending dietary changes, as well as a clearer picture of how much omega-3 to supplement to achieve optimal health.


[1] Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6. PMID: 12442909.

[2] Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-374. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 18. PMID: 22254027; PMCID: PMC3257651.

[3] A.P. Jain, K.K. Aggarwal, P.-Y. Zhang. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease

[4] Eslick GD, Howe PR, Smith C, Priest R, Bensoussan A. Benefits of fish oil supplementation in hyperlipidemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2009 Jul 24;136(1):4-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.03.092. Epub 2008 Sep 6. PMID: 18774613.

[5] Amminger GP, Schäfer MR, Schlögelhofer M, Klier CM, McGorry PD. Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study. Nat Commun. 2015 Aug 11;6:7934. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8934. PMID: 26263244; PMCID: PMC4918317.

[6] Liao Y, Xie B, Zhang H, He Q, Guo L, Subramanieapillai M, Fan B, Lu C, McIntyre RS. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 5;9(1):190. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0515-5. Erratum in: Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 7;11(1):465. PMID: 31383846; PMCID: PMC6683166.

[7] Gutiérrez S, Svahn SL, Johansson ME. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Oct 11;20(20):5028. doi: 10.3390/ijms20205028. PMID: 31614433; PMCID: PMC6834330.

[8] Parke MA, Perez-Sanchez A, Zamil DH, Katta R. Diet and Skin Barrier: The Role of Dietary Interventions on Skin Barrier Function. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2021 Jan 29;11(1):e2021132. doi: 10.5826/dpc.1101a132. PMID: 33614213; PMCID: PMC7875671.

[9] Thomsen BJ, Chow EY, Sapijaszko MJ. The Potential Uses of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Dermatology: A Review. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2020;24(5):481-494. doi:10.1177/1203475420929925

[10] Downie LE, Gad A, Wong CY, Gray JHV, Zeng W, Jackson DC, Vingrys AJ. Modulating Contact Lens Discomfort With Anti-Inflammatory Approaches: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Jul 2;59(8):3755-3766. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24758. PMID: 30046817.

[11] Downie LE, Vingrys AJ. Oral Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Intraocular Pressure in Normotensive Adults. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2018 May 1;7(3):1. doi: 10.1167/tvst.7.3.1. PMID: 29736322; PMCID: PMC5931260.

[12] Jiang H, Shi X, Fan Y, Wang D, Li B, Zhou J, Pei C, Ma L. Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish intake and risk of age-related macular degeneration. Clin Nutr. 2021 Dec;40(12):5662-5673. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.10.005. Epub 2021 Oct 12. PMID: 34749130.

[13] Surette ME. The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids. CMAJ. 2008 Jan 15;178(2):177-80. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.071356. PMID: 18195292; PMCID: PMC2174995.

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