The Omega-3 Index test measures the amount of EPA and DHA in yourblood, specifically the red blood cell membrane. Membranes, or cell walls, are made of different kinds of fats called fatty acids. We have found that having a higher proportion of EPA and DHA in the membrane tracks with how much omega-3 is in your diet and is a marker of better health. Raising your Omega-3 Index to the desirable zone of 8% will help ensure you are getting enough of the right omega-3s — EPA and DHA — to protect your health.
Trans Fat Index
Eating foods with trans fats made from hydrogenated oils increases the risk for heart attacks. For years, trans fats were used to make all kinds of processed foods. But because of their effect on heart health, trans fats were deemed unsafe for human consumption and are being removed from food supply chains all over the world, including the US. However, other kinds of trans fats occur naturally at fairly low levels in meat and milk products, and they seem to have health benefits. The Trans Fat Index measures the trans fats from industrial production and should be below 1%.
Omega-6 : Omega-3 Ratio
The Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio (also written “n-6/n-3”) analyzes 7 omega-6 fatty acids and 4 omega-3 fatty acids. The total amount of omega-6s and omega-3s are divided by each other to get a ratio. We recommend a ratio of 3-5:1 (omega-6:omega-3).
AA : EPA Ratio
The AA/EPA ratio is your level of arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, vs. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid. These are important fatty acids in metabolism because powerful signaling molecules can be made from them. These molecules can affect anything from blood clotting to birth contractions to inflammatory responses. Having different levels of these two fatty acids could affect processes that ultimately impact inflammation and overall health.
Optimizing Your Fatty Acids
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Omega-3, omega-6 and trans fats all play a role in your health and are related to risk for a variety of issues. Tracking these numbers can help you optimize them for your health.
The Omega-3 Index, Trans Fat Index, Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio and AA/EPA ratio all can be changed by what you eat. But everyone responds differently to dietary changes, so the only way to know is to test. We recommend testing every 4-6 months to confirm you are getting the right mix of fats in your diet.
You won’t know if your fatty acid status just by tracking your diet — it must be measured
Once you know your status, it can be optimized with simple dietary changes.