Chia as Nutritional Food Supplement


Imbalances in the types of fatty acids found in modern diets appears to account for many of the dietary-induced illnesses found in Western countries. For example, the ratio of saturated fatty acids to polyunsaturated fatty acids is about 3 times that found in prehistoric diets, and those of indigenous people today. Within the category of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), an even greater imbalance is found: the 1994-1986 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, published by the US Department of Agriculture, showing the average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio to be 10:1. This ratio is found to be closer to 2:1 in diets of prehistoric man and indigenous people today. Since mammals are unable to synthesize their own PUFAs, they are considered essential fatty acids. Numerous studies have found that the elevated omega-6 PUFA found in Western diets is a stronger risk factor for cardiovascular disease than is the serum level of cholesterol which doctors try to control by treatments of statin drugs such as Zocor, as well as recommendations of diets with lower levels of cholesterol. Many scientific studies over the past few decades have demonstrated that an increase in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce to risk of cardiovascular disease. (To give you an idea of the scope of the cardiovascular disease problem in the United States, in 2003 the direct cost of cardiovascular disease in the US was $352 billion, according to the American Heart Association.)

Since 1990, the Canadian and British governments have issued recommendations for dietary increases of omega-3 fatty acids and reductions in levels of omega-6 fatty acids. The US FDA has not similarly issued a recommendation for increased omega-3 fatty acids in diets, but has approved food supplement labeling to claim that a beneficial action of omega-3 fatty acids is decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.