Competition of EFA in Diet-Tissue Metabolic Changes
Competition between omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA) was recognized many years after EFA were first found in 1929. The chemistry of these vitamin-like nutrients was clarified during 1930 to 1960. Metabolism of n-6 linoleic and n-3 linolenic involves competition for elongation and desaturation enzymes which efficiently make the HUFA that accumulate in tissues. Poor growth and water balance were early signs of the need for EFA.
Probably less than 0.5 % energy of the n-6 linoleic acid prevented deficiency symptoms in infants. Higher intakes that cause the %n-6 in HUFA to be above 50% are associated with higher risks for health disorders.
Competition occurs between omega-3 and omega-6 acids during eicosanoid formation and action. Too much omega-6 creates a transition (4:53 min video) between healthy physiology and pathophysiology. With no dietary omega-3 nutrients, the dietary omega-6 linoleate has a very narrow therapeutic window that is made wider by dietary omega-3 nutrients. When you lower intake of omega-6, it makes omega-3 more effective.
Competition for your time is less with these very short videos.
Pioneering 1963 work of Mohrhauer and Holman (1 min.video) showed potent competition of dietary n-3 and n-6 nutrients in forming tissue HUFA .
Health risk assessment (1 min.video) estimates using the %n-6 in HUFA result from food choices. What people eat is important.
Updated June, 2017