Finally a genetic excuse for obesity that actually makes sense. Researchers show that an omega fatty acid imbalance can lead to obesity. But even more interesting is that this imbalance, and the associated obesity, can be passed on from generation to generation.
A recent French study looked at the role of omega intake and fat deposition in mice. Four generations of mice were fed a 35% fat diet with an omega imbalance now common in much of the developed world–that is, a high ratio of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3s. The results were progressively fatter mice at birth, generation after generation.
In my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I discuss the importance of bringing the omega balance to 1:2 omega-6:omega-3. Currently the typical imbalance in western cultures is 15:1 in much of Europe and up to 40:1 in the United States. Omega-3s are important to many functions including cholesterol balance, blood pressure, reducing heart disease and stroke, preventing blood clots, preventing diabetes and much, much more.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found plentifully in fish and flax oils, although fish liver oils are a more potent source. Omega-6s, on the other hand, are high in vegetable oils, breads, grains and poultry–things we eat copiously in the typical American diet.
But what about passing fatness on to successive generations? Experts believe that the link between omega imbalance and obesity is epigenetic; in other words, the imbalance in mothers influences an offspring’s genes during development. Whoa! That’s right–the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in the breast milk of American women has gone from an average of 6:1 to 18:1. Holy milkshakes! Exactly.
I recommend a few things to bring the omega ratio back into healthy balance. First and foremost is reducing your intake of high omega-6 containing foods. So breads, high carbs, vegetable oil–cut ’em. Then I suggest you supplement with a good omega-3 fatty acid. I carry a great brand in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office. Check this article for all the information you need on omega-3 fatty acids.
Stop the cycle of obesity in your family–get your omega fatty acids balanced. And don’t think it’s too late for your children, either. Feed them well (healthily, not in hordes), get them moving, and give them omega-3 fatty acids–that should break the inheritance pattern. Remember, health starts in the home. Now how’s that for epigenetics!