History of Omega-3

History of Omega-3

History (1970s):

  • Eskimos had 5.3% Ischaemic Heart Disease versus 35% Danes and 40% Americans
  • Eskimos had very little arachidonic acid (AA) and large amounts of EPA and DHA
  • Eskimos had frequent nose bleeds (every 4th – 5th day)
  • Eskimos (8.1min) took twice as long to clot their blood compared with the Danes (4.8min)

The Eskimos back in the 1970s consumed large amounts of n-3 PUFA far in excess of n-6 intakes – hence their tissue membranes were full of EPA/DHA and not much arachidonic acid (n-6) – therefore they had a propensity to bleed a lot. However, modern societies are consuming far too much n-6 and not enough n-3, especially EPA and DHA.

We need to restore the balance between n-6 and n-3 in our tissues

  • The Eskimos had excessive n-3 and therefore suffered from excessive bleeding,
  • whilst people today are not suffering from excessive bleeding, but are suffering from blood clotting (myocardial infarction, stroke etc), pro-inflammatory diseases such as arthritis & asthma etc

A great number of these modern diseases are treated by aspirin (thinning the blood) and anti-inflammatory drugs (dampen the inflammatory response). These drugs work via the fat metabolic pathways (lipoxygenase & cyclooxygenase) – the same pathways used by n-6 and n-3 PUFA.

Therefore we must restore the balance between omega-3 (EPA, DPA, DHA)
and omega-6 (AA) in tissue membranes.

The MRC research is committed to generating the scientific evidence from
Basic Science, through General Metabolism to various Disease States.