Column #252

Back in early 1999 I had an amazing experience when I asked Dr. Dick Diven this question: “Is what I’ve been hearing about Omega-3 for real?”

I first met the late Dr. Diven in 1997 while attending his Low Cost Cow/Calf three-day seminar. He was a PhD animal nutritionist and beef cattle feedlot consultant. There were about 25 cattlemen in attendance. I wasn’t sure what he was going to talk about and whether he had a worthwhile course. Just the same I sat in the front row to be closer to “the heat.” As he started his introduction I was leaning back comfortably with my arms folded across my chest. About 10 minutes later I was leaning forward so I wouldn’t miss a word.

His comprehensive course explained how cattlemen can lower their production costs by not feeding grain and many other popular supplements, shifting the calving season, matching phenotypes with the environment, not feeding hay, and more. There were a lot of nutritional chemistry and mathematical formulas in his course and he kept us busy solving problems. It was quite the course.

Since I’ve always been a student of whatever I focus on, after two years of staying in touch with Dr. Diven and reading his monthly technical newsletters, I assumed I was getting it figured out. That’s about the time I asked him about Omega-3.1

After I asked, the question there was an excruciatingly long, very silent pause on the end of the line. Then in a very measured, slow speaking, but firm voice he asked me, “Ted . . . where have you been?”

He briefly explained that Omega-3 is for real and strongly suggested that I hit the books. Naturally, I took his pregnant pause and suggestion to heart. Some months later I started marketing grass-fed beef.

Today, there’s greater credibility regarding the importance of Omega-3 for human health than there was in 1999. Yet in spite of many thousands of research reports and commentary during the intervening 20 years, how the Omega-3 deficiency is determined remains almost totally unknown by the masses and most medical professionals.2

The Omega-3 deficiency is determined by a blood lipid test. This test measures the individual weight of dozens of synthesized fats and the two families of essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in a blood sample. The EFAs are important because our bodies do not synthesize them. They come from what we eat. They are called families because there are several Omega-6 EFAs as well as Omega-3 EFAs.3 4 5

It has been determined that mankind evolved on a diet where the Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFA ratio was about 1:1 based on weight. Following the invention of farming around 10,000 years ago the EFA ratio of a farmer’s diet, and consequently the EFA ratios in his cells’ membranes, rose to around 15:1. By testing EFA ratios in people and animals, scientists have discovered that when the ratio is higher than 4:1 incidences of chronic diseases increase dramatically.6

So now we know that ratios of 3:1 are leaning toward a level that is signaling the onset of an Omega-3 deficiency. Ratios above 10:1 are really deficient. Since Omega-3 plays a crucial role in immunity, nerves, and brain functions, any deficiency can lead to a whole host of different body failures which are often called chronic diseases. There are more than 100 different chronic diseases but here is a short list.

What’s interesting about this short list of chronic diseases is that, along with being more than 75, they are highly associated with hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. For instance, 53.1% of the COVID-19 hospital admissions had hypertension. So the advice nutritionists and biologists were handing out more than 20 years ago is spot-on for protecting oneself from today’s most talked about disease. Although, I must say that so far with about 125,000 deaths, COVID-19 is not as deadly as the combined death rates of the six chronic diseases listed below.

Heart disease: 647,457
Cancer: 599,108
Stroke: 146,383
Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
Diabetes: 83,564
Kidney disease: 50,6337

These six chronic diseases alone kill 1,516,804 Americans per year. If all chronic diseases are factored in, they cause about 70% of all deaths which are two million deaths per year. So, if you are not focused on a diet that is low glycemic, nutrient dense and diverse, with balanced EFAs— then I have to ask you: “Where have you been?”8

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. Low Cost Cow/Calf Program The Bulletin Vol 10 No 3 by Dick Diven

2. Evolutionary Aspects of Diet: The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and the Brain by Artemis Simopoulos

3. Interpreting Omega-3 Blood Tests by Ted Slanker

4. Get Your Own Omega-3 Blood Test and use slanker as a code for a discount

5. Ted Slanker’s Omega-3 Blood Test

6. The Importance of the Omega-6 Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases 2008 by Artemis P Simopoulos

7. Leading Causes of Death from CDC/National Center for Health Statistics

8. New Food Analysis Tables by Ted Slanker