As discussed in previous columns in The American Chiropractor, our consumption of omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids is excessive and pro-inflammatory. In a recent TAC article, I discussed how most Americans have been corn-oiled. It takes some eighteen cups of corn to make just one tablespoon of corn oil. All of our processed foods, particularly our packaged foods, like chips, contain about a tablespoon of corn oil, or an equivalent pro-inflammatory oil, such as sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, or peanut. Humans are absolutely NOT designed to consume these oils in their concentrated states when separated from the food.
The biochemistry of our human vehicle demands that we consume a <4:1 ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids. Above 4:1, and the human vehicle begins to express pro-inflammatory conditions. Dr. Artemis Simopoulos is one of the most well known researchers in the field of omega-3 fatty acids, and several of her fine review articles can be accessed via pubmed.
The reason for needing a 4:1 or better ratio of n-6 to n-3 has do to with their concentration in cell membranes and their subsequent conversion into eicosanoids, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. A new family of eicosanoids was discovered in 2000, called resolvins, and their function is to resolve inflammation. Resolvins are formed exclusively from EPA/DHA, the fatty acids found in fish oil supplements.
When the balance of n-6 to n-3 exceeds 4:1, the body shifts to a state of chronic inflammation; the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are not balanced by a sufficient quantity of those that are anti-inflammatory.
All foods contain n-6 fatty acids, and those with appropriate ratios include fruits, vegetables, and potatoes, which are low fat foods, just as grains are low fat foods. However, grains contain a 20:1 ratio. The best animals products to consume are grass-fed animals or wild game. We can also buy omega-3 eggs from most supermarkets. Flaxseeds are a well-known seed that contain a 1:3 ratio of n-6 to n-3.
During one of my nutrition classes at Palmer Chiropractic College Florida, I mentioned that chia seeds also have appropriate ratios of n-6 to n-3. I had never eaten chia before, although now you can go to the health food store and get Cocochia bars.
As it happens, there are always a couple of bright students who take an idea and run with it. In the case of chia, one student (Thaddeus Gala) decided to investigate chia. He went out and got all the available scholarly articles and books about chia. Next thing you know, he was bringing in homemade chia chips and other chia delicacies he’d created. Next thing I know, I bought 10 pounds of chia. It is fun when students can be so inspiring to fellow students and teachers.
Thaddeus is always doing something different, and inspiring others do to the same…. The next thing he did was special order a VW van that had been outfitted with a diesel engine. Thad did this because he discovered that diesel engines can run on vegetable oil; that is, diesel engines are just as happy to run on corn, safflower, soy, sunflower, peanut, and cottonseed oils. And this oil can be the waste oil from restaurants. All restaurants have a waste oil pit—and most are happy to let you have the oil, which needs to be run through a simple filter and it’s ready for use in a diesel engine. In other words, you can almost eliminate your gasoline expenses.
Be aware that you cannot simply put corn oil into your gas tank; you need to add an additional fuel tank that has separate hoses, which run from the tank to the engine. All of this information can be acquired at greasecar.com, a Massachusetts-based company that does conversions at their facility and supplies conversion kits for those interested in making the switch. Understand that you don’t really convert your car/truck; you just get an additional tank for omega-6 oil, such that the vehicle will run on either omega-6 or regular diesel. In fact, the rule is to start the car in diesel and then switch to omega-6.
Thaddeus first influenced his housemate, Ryan, who went out and bought a Volkswagen Jetta, which they promptly converted to omega-6. I was very intrigued by all this because, while omega-6 oils are pro-inflammatory to the human engine, they are perfect for the diesel engine. In fact, burning omega-6 oils as fuel in a diesel engine is actually anti-inflammatory for the environment.
Thaddeus and Ryan got a kick out of my excitement and interest in the omega-6 mobiles, and so they sent me an email and offered to convert a vehicle for me. This was in the middle of April 2006 and, like most of you, I didn’t happen to have a diesel car sitting around. So, I decided to sell my 1-year-old gas-guzzling Mustang, and get a 2006 VW Jetta TDI.
By the end of Memorial Day weekend, my omega-6 mobile was ready, and now I run on omega-6’s. And, NO, the car does not smell like a deep fryer as it drives along, so no one sits next to me at stoplights looking to see if I might give them some French fries.
Getting an omega-6 mobile has been one of the more fun things I have done recently. Anyone interested should visit greasecar.com and see how this phenomenon is slowly catching on.
Dr. Seaman is the Clinical Chiropractic Consultant for Anabolic Laboratories, one of the first supplement manufacturers to service the chiropractic profession. He is on the postgraduate faculties of several chiropractic colleges, providing nutrition seminars that focus on the needs of the chiropractic patient. He is also a faculty member at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, where he teaches nutrition and subluxation theories. He can be reached by e-mail at