Omega-3s: What You Need to Know About Ratios

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Interviewer: When it comes to supplements, and when we hear about fatty
acids, we hear a lot about ratios. Ratios of omega-3 to omega-6, and then
also ratios of DHA and EPA. Are those important? What should people know
about that?

Dr. Dyerberg: I don't know how much. I'm an old professor in nutrition, and
I never liked ratios very much because, let me give you an example. If you
look at omega-6 and omega-3, let's make an ideal ratio, and the ideal ratio
will be two to one, or whatever number, then you could have the ideal ratio
getting far too little of both of the components, but they'll be in the
perfect ratio. Because you'll have the perfect ratio when you get a
sufficient amount. And if there were a toxic level, you could have a
perfect ratio at a toxic level. So this ratio is in a way bewildering, but
okay if we go down to what we eat, and so on, it can be used. But I'd
rather go for how much do we need in weight, or in number of molecules that
you eat. And as I said, we get plenty of omega-6, so maybe you should even
decrease it a bit because there can be some signs of a far too high intake
that promotes inflammatory disorders too much. But, if you go to EPA / DHA,
it's the number of molecules, the amount - half a gram if you're a normal
citizen, we can come back to that maybe later. But the ratio between DHA
and EPA is not essential as long as you get enough of both. But for
example, when we look at pregnant females, we say they should at least have
2-300 mg of DHA, and if we then add up to 500 mg in total, she should have
a bit more DHA than EPA, so the ratio should be about 1:1. So it doesn't
count that much as long as we get enough of the two things. So I don't go
that much for ratios. But if I would say that in supplements, as long as
you get enough it's of no concern. But if you're just in the limit, then
the ratio should be in favor of DHA.
When you're looking at an omega-3 supplement, do you need to be aware of certain ratios? You may have heard you need a certain ratio of omega-3s to omega-6. Also within omega-3 supplements, there is often talk of ratios of EPA to DHA. It can be confusion and is it really something you need to know? Dr. J?rn Dyerberg discusses his feelings about ratios when it comes to these supplements.

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