The most important anti-inflammatory nutrient (anti-inflammatory series part 4)

functional wellness healthy habits holistic nutrition Feb 23, 2024

If I were asked to choose one nutrient to support reduced inflammation in the body it would be Omega-3 fatty acids (fats).

Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can be converted into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. The prostaglandins are what control the inflammatory process.

While Omega-6’s can be converted to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins to support reduced inflammation, under certain circumstances they can be converted into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Insulin levels can impact whether omega-6’s become pro-inflammatory as well as how we source, transport, store and heat these fats.

Most of us consume too many omega-6 fats compared to Omega-3 fats which creates a more inflammatory situation in our body. The ideal ratio of omega-6/3 is 4:1 however most of us are eating omega-6’s to omega-3’s in a ratio of 20:1. Yikes!

Omega-3’s contain the all important EPA and DHA fatty acids that you will not find in omega-6’s.

EPA is important in the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins while DHA is a precursor for several hormones that deactivate the body’s inflammatory response. (1)

Omega-3 fats are essential to combating our chronic inflammatory lifestyle. We cannot produce them in our body so we must get them from our diet.

Unfortunately, the modern diet has moved away from consuming high amounts of marine (sea) foods, which contain high amounts of omega-3’s, to more processed foods which do not provide much in the way of omega 3’s.

The highest sources of omega-3’s are found in seafood so the best thing we can do to increase our intake of omega-3’s is to start incorporating 2-3 servings of a variety of seafoods each week.

 Foods Highest in Omega-3’s are:

  • Mackerel (4,580 mg per serving)
  • Cod liver oil (2,438 mg per serving)
  • Salmon (2,150 mg per serving)
  • Herring (2,150 mg per serving)
  • Sardines ( 1,463 mg per serving)
  • Caviar (1,046 mg per serving)
  • Anchovies (411 mg per serving)
  • Oysters (329 mg per serving)

 You can get omega-3’s from some plant sources however the conversion is not as efficient inside our body.

 Plant Foods High In Omega-3’s are:

  • Seaweed & Algae (varies)
  • Chia (5,000 mg per ounce)
  • Hemp (1,000 mg per tbsp)
  • Flax (1,800 mg per tbsp)
  • Walnut (2,500 mg per ounce)

An easy way to ensure you are getting plenty of clean omega-3's is to supplement with a high quality fish oil from a reputable company.  My preferred omega-3 fish oil product is Biomega 1000 by Biotics Research.  Save 10% when you order through my Fullscript Dispensary.

Supplementing with clean sourced omega-3's might be a good choice for you if you are worried about mercury and other toxins in seafood.  A good quality fish oil will remove most toxins.

Other Considerations

The first step to providing our body with needed anti-inflammatory omega-3’s is to consume more omega-3 dense foods.

But we can’t overlook these three crucial considerations for ensuring we absorb and convert these fats into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.


1) Proper Digestion

If our digestive system is not adequately breaking down our foods, we won’t be able to absorb the nutrients and they will pass right through.  If our gut lining is inflamed or we have parasites or pathogens in our gut, we won’t be able to properly absorb our foods either.  This is why improving digestion, healing the gut lining, and rebalancing the microbiome are an important part of any anti-inflammatory program, and why it's a big focus of my “Reclaim Your Health” coaching program.  We want to ensure you are getting access to the important nutrients that you are consuming!


2) Proper Liver Function

Our liver is involved in the conversion of fats into useful forms in our body.  If our liver is congested, it cannot perform its role of converting fats into anti-inflammatory compounds.  Our liver works hard in our toxic world today so we need to support liver function with foods, herbs, and supportive lifestyle practices.


3) Nutrient Deficiencies

We need amino acids, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc to support enzyme reactions that help convert our fats to useful anti-inflammatory compounds.  If we are not consuming or absorbing enough of these other important nutrients, those enzymatic reactions cannot happen.

Having the information we need to inform our food choices is an important first step to supporting reduced inflammation in our body.

Most times though it can feel overwhelming or confusing to implement, especially when you start considering digestion and absorption issues, liver congestion, and other nutrient deficiencies.

My role as the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner is to make the implementation process easier for you. I’m here to take the guess-work out and short-cut your learning curve. Plus, having support through change is important to making those changes last.

 If your goal is to tackle chronic inflammation, reduce related symptoms and health conditions, and reclaim your health, I can help!

Let’s get you booked for a complimentary discovery session to talk about your health and nutrition, and where you want to go. I’ll share more about how targeted therapeutic nutrition along with root cause assessments can help you make the changes you need to feel alive in your body, maybe for the first time ever!

 In Health,

Heather Glenn, FNTP, RWP, HHC


PS ~ I’d love to hear from you! What are you finding helpful from this anti-inflammatory email series or other emails you’ve read from me? Hit “reply” and share your thoughts or goals!



(1) Moro K, Nagahashi M, Ramanathan R, Takabe K, Wakai T. Resolvins and omega three polyunsaturated fatty acids: Clinical implications in inflammatory diseases and cancer. World journal of clinical cases. URL. Published July 16, 2016. Accessed January 5, 2023.



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