Maintain Eye Health by Balancing Your Omegas

When it comes to maintaining good health, people differ on what to focus on. Some concentrate on keeping a healthy body weight. For others, good digestion is a priority. Or, it could be that mental health becomes a focal point. Despite these different priorities, just about everyone agrees that maintaining good eyesight is very important. Being able to see clearly is a tremendous gift that we should all invest a little time and effort into protecting.

With that in mind, consider the results of a recent study linking omega fatty acid ratios to eye health. Researchers in Croatia investigated the possible connection between the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio and the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). They looked at 125 patients diagnosed with ARMD and divided these patients into five groups. They also had one group, without ARMD, which acted as a control.

Dietary fatty acid intake was measured using a food frequency questionnaire. The research team discovered that there was a statistically significant difference between the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in neovascular ARMD (a severe form of macular degeneration they called “stage 5”) compared to all other groups, including the control group.

For those with stage-five ARMD, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 was about 11:1. For other stages of ARMD, they found these omega-6/3 ratios: 7:1 and 5:1. The researchers concluded with this health advice: by changing nutrition habits, you could prevent the development of the severe neovascular form of ARMD.

What sort of omega-6/omega-3 ratio should you be aiming for to maintain eye health (and the health of the rest of you!)? Consider these results from another study:

  • The average North American diet has an omega- 6/omega-3 ratio of 15:1
  • A ratio of 4:1 was associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality
  • A ratio of 2.5:1 reduced rectal cell proliferation in patients with colorectal cancer
  • A lower omega-6/omega-3 ratio in women with breast cancer was associated with decreased risk
  • A ratio of 3:1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • A ratio of 5:1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10:1 had adverse consequences

In short, try to get your omega-6/omega-3 ratio to around 4:1.

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