Anti-inflammatory omega 3

Anti-inflammatory omega 3 notes persistent reports that something in flax kills arthralgia; most seed oils consumed in the Western diet are high in inflammatory omega 6.

Owing to the consumption of large amounts of seed oils in the Western diet, such as in the sunflower, which has an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 200 to 1, arachidonic acid is maintained at high cellular levels, providing the ingredients for high pro-inflammatory substances in the body at the cellular level.

The end result of this high omega 6 diet is oedema, pain and joint and muscle stiffness; atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

NSAID drugs inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory substances such as prostaglandins and cytokines, which are derived from the dietary omega 6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid.

Prevention of the conversion of omega-6 arachidonic acid to prostaglandins and cytokines is the aim of the exercise.

Flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids.

Freshly-ground flax seed

Freshly-ground flax seed and fatty fish are the best way to correct this hopelessly out of sinc 6 to anti inflammatory omega 3 ratio.

But non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs taken long term have serious side effects. Are there alternatives?

Omega 6 and the Western diet

Canola oil has a healthy omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 2 to 1 but has other issues which are fully discussed on wikipedia. Notably that canola, rape seed, is fully genetically modified to reduce the high levels of a known toxin, erucic acid, to 2 percent which is thought to be safe. Thought, but not for certain.

Virtually all seed oils, including both canola and sunflower are solvent extract and contain traces of xylene and, because of the high temperature extraction methods, trans fatty acids.

Since we get plentiful omega-6 in our diets, it is best in general to avoid seed oils especially in salad dressings. Use olive oil rather.

Anti-inflammatory omega 3

Omega-3 consists of three essential fatty acids, containing 18-carbons (ALA), 20-carbons (EPA) and 22-carbons (DHA).

  • Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
  • EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA)
  • DocoHexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Alpha Linolenic Acid (Ala)

Alpha linolenic acid is found in large amounts (50 to 70 percent) in flaxseed oil.

It is also known as Linseed oil.

Flaxseed is grown in large quantities, but most of it is used in animal feed, or for industrial purposes; odd that anti inflammatory omega-3 is considered for animals before us. Is it more important that cows and pigs do not get arthritis?

Flaxseed oil for human consumption is first cold-pressed.

Although EPA is also an "essential" omega-3 fatty acid, ALA can be converted in the body to EPA. However, many nutrients and minerals are required for this conversion to occur readily, read a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Less concentrated, but still significant amounts of alpha linolenic acid are found in pecans and avocados.

EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) in fish oil

Fish oil is the main source of EPA. Fish like salmon which are found in cold waters; anti inflammatory omega 3 from flaxseed is the other form, ALA. 

Here's the interesting part: Pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and cytokines  are eicosanoids. Notice the "eicosa" in EPA and Prostaglandins.

Researchers James et al reporting to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition have shown that EPA acts as a competitive inhibitor of Arachidonic Acid in its conversion to the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and cytokines.

They report that decreased synthesis (up to 90%) of these pro-inflammatory substances has been observed when fish oil or flaxseed oil are added to the diet of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Another popular source of omega 3 is krill oil. They are tiny shelled sea creatures that make up a large part of the diet of whales and many species of penguins and fish.

Omega-3 in krill.

DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA)

About sixty percent of the brain is fat, and fully half is docosahexaenoic acid. In particular, the Optic nerve is considered an extension of the central nervous system and together with the retina has the highest concentration of DHA in the body.

Of interest is that fish like us cannot actually make omega-3 fatty acids. They consume them in their diet, from algae, seaweeds and krill in the main.

Vegetarians who have no desire to eat fish, or swallow these capsules, for their DHA can in fact find seaweed and algae products on the market, rich in omega-3 oils.

Better still join the Chinese and eat seaweed regularly. Unfortunately we are ruining our oceans too, so I am not convinced that makes good sense.

Are there any adverse effects from taking large quantities of omega-3? Consumption of more than 3g of EPA and DHA has, according to the FDA, the potential of serious risks including haemorrhagic stroke.

Of importance is that even a generous helping of salmon, say 100g, contains only a total of 2.5g of PUFAs, in the main made up of omega-3.

Obtaining your omega-3 from natural sources remains safer than swallowing large amounts of fish oil capsules.

Plus of course you get the very healthy fish protein and the other many unknown compounds found in all whole foods, as compared to pills from a bottle.

Overall recommendations

  • Freshly ground flaxseeds for ALA
  • Fatty fish and/or fish oil for EPA and DHA
  • Do your best to avoid anti-inflammatory drugs
Tabbouleh salad made with tomato, lemon juice and bulgar.

So readily oxidised

One of the great difficulties is that omega-3 fatty acids go rancid as soon as they are exposed to air. Fish (DHA and EPA), like house guests, go off after three days.

Flaxseed oil too (aka Linseed) is so readily oxidised that it releases large amounts of heat, exothermic, that it is dangerous to leave old rags soaked in this omega-3 oil (ALA) lying around. They literally can ignite; rather grind and enjoy your own fresh.

  • Fresh fish if possible, and do your homework before purchasing fish oil capsules.
  • Eat avocados within half an hour of peeling.
  • Crack your own pecans and walnuts. 
  • Ground flaxseed vs oil


Oleocanthal is a natural substance found in olives and extra virgin olive oil. By acting as a Cox inhibitor, it too has an anti-inflammatory effect but without upsetting the stomach. Because olive oil has no omega-6 fatty acids, it also does not raise the ω6/ω3 ratio.

Use olive oil daily for its anti-inflammatory effect and perhaps make delicious and healthy olive pate for your snacks. So simple.

Free range eggs

Researchers have found that true free range eggs have triple the omega-3 of that from a caged bird.

The British call them proper eggs. Truth is, they are very difficult to find. A farmer who allows his birds to wander freely for five minutes can legally call them free range.

But researchers at an American university found that true free range eggs have much higher levels of omega-3. One solution for the gardener with a large property is the use of one of these chicken tractor designs.

In practice however, we found that it is only your green beans and kale that you really need to protect from the chickens; they have a particular need for high protein legumes in order to lay the perfect egg; and a phytochemical called lutein for their eyesight. Otherwise they like us will go blind.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenes that protect the cones in the eye from damaging high frequency radiation that is the cause of macular degeneration; kale, spinach, parsley and free range eggs are the best sources. 

If you have a large garden, and suffer from generalised inflammation in your body, then "proper" free range eggs is part of the solution.

Improper eggs come from hens raised in a cage.

P:urslane plant is another good source of omega-3; the hens will eat it sometimes and we can too.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie; or, better still, a Facebook or Twitter tick would help.


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa