Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio

Hi LeeAnn,

I just came across the brand new abstract below in this month’s lit search, and wondered if you could comment on how people can have a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in their diets, given the contraints they may have for PD or less frequent HD.

Am J Kidney Dis. 2011 Jun 7. [Epub ahead of print]
Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid, Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Intake, Inflammation, and Survival in Long-term Hemodialysis Patients.
Noori N, Dukkipati R, Kovesdy CP, Sim JJ, Feroze U, Murali SB, Bross R, Benner D, Kopple JD, Kalantar-Zadeh K.
Harold Simmons Center for Chronic Disease Research and Epidemiology, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA; Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA.
Mortality in long-term hemodialysis patients is high, mostly attributed to cardiovascular events, and may be related to chronic inflammation. We hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory benefits of higher dietary intake of omega-3 compared with omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids may modulate the inflammatory processes and decrease death risk.
Prospective cohort study using linear and Cox proportional regressions.
145 hemodialysis patients from 8 DaVita dialysis clinics in Southern California in 2001-2007.
Intake of dietary omega-3 and ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 using 3-day food record supplemented by dietary interview.
1-year change in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level and 6-year survival.
Patients were aged 53 ± 14 years (mean ± SD) and included 43% women and 42% African Americans. Median dietary omega-3 intake, ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake, baseline serum CRP level, and change in CRP level over 1 year were 1.1 (25th-75th percentile, 0.8-1.6) g/d, 9.3 (25th-75th percentile, 7.6-11.3), 3.1 (25th-75th percentile, 0.8-6.8) mg/L, and +0.2 (25th-75th percentile, -0.4 to +0.8) mg/L, respectively. In regression models adjusted for case-mix, dietary calorie and fat intake, body mass index, and history of hypertension, each 1-unit higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake was associated with a 0.55-mg/L increase in serum CRP level (P = 0.03). In the fully adjusted model, death HRs for the first (1.7-<7.6), second (7.6-<9.3), third (9.3-<11.3), and fourth (11.3-17.4) quartiles of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio were 0.39 (95% CI, 0.14-1.18), 0.30 (95% CI, 0.09-0.99), 0.67 (95% CI, 0.25-1.79), and 1.00 (reference), respectively (P for trend = 0.06).
3-day food record may underestimate actual dietary fat intake at an individual level.
Higher dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio appears to be associated with both worsening inflammation over time and a trend toward higher death risk in hemodialysis patients. Additional studies including interventional trials are needed to examine the association of dietary fatty acids with clinical outcomes in these patients.

Hi Dori,

This is an interesting study with results that are consistent with other research about inflammation. Here are some dietary changes to help increase your omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio:

  • Increase your intake of Alpha-linolenic acid: choose flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, canola oil, and dark leafy vegetables
  • Increase your intake of Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid: choose fish like salmon, anchovies, macheral, trout, and herring, fish oils
  • Cook and prepare food with olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil instead of corn, safflower, and sunflower oils.
  • Limit processed foods and deep fried foods

Thanks, LeeAnn. What a great, concise list! We should put it on a wallet card. :slight_smile: