Has there ever been a time where we didn’t need to supplement Omega-3 EFAs?
Yes! There was a time, when human ancestors came onto the scene (Paleolithic Man) around 40,000 years ago up until around 10,000 years ago. During this period, they were sustained on a diet mainly consisting of lean meats, fish, and vegetable matter. They consumed a balanced ratio of pro-and anti-inflammatory fats and also had a very high intake of the anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.
Then, around 10,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution began. This era featured the dramatically increased intake of grains, coupled with a reduced intake of vegetables and meat. This pattern resulted in the displacement of nutrient rich vegetables and meat with a moderate and growing shift toward a generally pro-inflammatory diet (from too many Omega-6 EFAs and less Omega-3 EFAs).
This progression toward more and more grains and less vegetables and meats picked up steam over the thousands of years and really accelerated at the time of the industrial revolution (about 200 years ago). This period ushered in the massive levels of refining and processing of grains and sugars, making it affordable to the majority of people for their dietary staple. This pervasive sugar and refined grain products for cheap created further omission of nutrient-dense foods and the correspondingly greater risk of elevated pro-inflammatory blood sugar levels.
Finally, the current existence of the Convenience/Fast-Food Revolution (from around 60 years ago up to the current day) has translated into the widespread usage of refined, processed, and industrially manipulated foods based on the massive overabundance of cheap grains and Omega-6 EFAs (especially in the form of vegetable oils like corn, peanut, cottonseed, and sunflower, and safflower, just to name a few). This current dietary pattern means people have a very high consumption level of carbohydrates, an unbalanced fat intake, and a very low vegetable intake. In fact, today’s average person has a pro-inflammatory Omega-6 EFA to anti-inflammatory Omega-3 EFA ratio of around 20-50 to 1, along with significantly fewer anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.
There’s no time like the present to restore the “lost nutrient” to our fast-paced, deficient Western diets by adding a daily dose of Omega-3 supplements. These will help take us back to the health of the paleolithic era, when our ancestors were stronger, had thicker bones, were taller, little or no tooth decay or missing teeth, very little arthritis, and little inflammatory disease in general. Back then, his biggest concern was outrunning the nearest saber-toothed cat, finding enough food, surviving the cold conditions while he lived outside, and not catching his neighbor’s infectious diseases. Archaeological as well as anthropological data suggest his arteries were much clearer than ours are today.
Ever since the agricultural revolution began around 10,000 years ago, the introduction of grains has been met with weaker bones, shorter statures, more tooth decay, tooth loss, arthritis, and progressively higher levels of overall inflammation, taking an incalculable toll on humanity.
Let’s return to a healthy diet!