Not all fats are bad. In fact an essential fat is just that essential to the body. The body cannot manufacture these fats and therefore must get them from food. The body uses fats for the production of healthy cell membranes as well as certain hormones called prostaglandins. The two most important EFA (essential fatty acids) are omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids called just linoleic acid. Our bodies turn omega-3 fatty acids into prostaglandins that are primarily anti- inflammatory. Omega-6 fatty acids became prostaglandins that are primarily inflammatory. The generally accepted optimal ratio of dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids is 4:1. This means we should take in four times as much of omega-6 as we do omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant in our Indian diet, they are in our meats, dairy products, and processed foods. We get omega-3 fatty acids from vegetable oils such as flaxseed, pumpkin, and soybean oils. These fats are also found in such cold water fish such as mackerel, salmons, sardines and tuna. The average Indian consumes more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3’s on an average; we consume a ratio of 20:1 or even 40:1 of these fats in our diet. This results in our bodies producing significantly more inflammatory products than anti-inflammatory products. Our bodies are simply too inflamed. The imbalance in the consumption of these essential fatty acids is the main reason for the imbalance in our body’s production of these hormones. That is why many individuals need to consume flaxseeds (flaxseed oils) and fish oil in supplementation in an attempt to bring these back into balance. Here is another unknown fact; essential fats also have the ability to actually decrease our total cholesterol levels and our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. This means that not all fats are created equal. I not only encourages my patients to supplement the omega-3 fatty acids but also to decrease their intake of saturated fat. When you combine these two efforts, the inflammation in the body readily comes back under control and the cholesterol levels improve. Several studies have shown significant clinical improvements in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and almost any disease that involves inflammation when they consume these important essential fats in supplementation. This is a very important aspect of maintaining your health or redeeming your health if you have already lost it.
We have looked at various aspects of our immune system and how it is supposed to work. We have also looked at the problem when this normal inflammatory response gets carried away. But now we will look at the very WORST SCENARIO – What happens when our immune system mounts a mutiny and actually starts to attack our own body.