Published on May 20, 2019
In previous posts, we have discussed what optimal omega-3 levels are by looking at the Omega-3 Index, and how to improve your Omega-3 Index. While the Omega-3 Index is often considered the most important measure for omega-3 status, it is also useful to know your status of other omega fatty acids, such as with the AA:EPA ratio and the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio.
What is the AA:EPA ratio?
The AA:EPA ratio shows you your ratio of arachidonic acid (AA), considered the main pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid, which is found in foods such as vegetable oils, butter, poultry and red meat, to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a major anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in fatty fish. This ratio may serve as an indication of the amount of inflammation in the body over the last 3-4 months before testing.
What is the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio?
The omega-6:omega-3 ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of seven different omega-6 fatty acids by the sum of four different omega-3 fatty acids. This ratio is a more general measurement of overall status of omega fatty acids in the body, and can be used as another measure for inflammation.
What ratios should I aim for, and how do I get there?
While the optimal ranges for health have not been established, the target range for the omega-6:omega-3 ratio is considered to be 3:1 to 5:1, and for the AA:EPA ratio, 2.5 to 11. Some experts consider an AA:EPA ratio of 1.5 to 3 to be low risk, 3 to 6 to be moderate risk, 7-15 to be elevated risk, and above 15 to be high risk. Evidence suggests that lower ratios are better for health. While a lower ratio of each correlates with a higher Omega-3 Index, it is possible to have an Omega-3 Index within a healthy range (recommended at 8% or greater), but have one or both of these ratios higher than desirable. Knowing your ratios can help you take more specific steps to achieve an ideal ratio status, mainly by increasing omega-3 intake with supplements and food (fatty fish) while also decreasing omega-6 intake. Doing this may not only improve your AA:EPA and omega-6:omega-3 ratios, but it will likely also improve your Omega-3 Index.
A recent review showed that, among GrassrootsHealth participants, 30% have an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 5:1 or lower and 57% have an AA:EPA ratio of 11:1 or lower as shown on the chart below.
Remember to retest your omega levels approximately 4-6 months after making changes to your supplementation routine and/or diet to make sure those changes are helping you reach your target levels.
Do your ratios need improvement?
Do you know your AA:EPA and omega-6:omega-3 ratio levels? Make sure you know the status of these ratios by adding them to your Omega-3 Index test, and see if changes in your diet and supplementation could improve your overall omega status. Find out your levels today! Log on to the shop (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved. Use coupon code SunMonth to receive 15% off during Sunshine Month only!
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
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How can I track my supplementation and nutrient levels?
To help you track your essential element levels, GrassrootsHealth has created an online tracking system called myData-myAnswers. You can also track your supplemental and dietary nutrient intake to see how they impact your overall nutrient status. Check it out today!
How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!
STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health
STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study
STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there
STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)