In a special report, "Eating Fat, Then and Now", Mary Clarke, Ph.D., of Nutrition Education at Kansas State University, writes that the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 up until this century had been one to one.
"When margarines made from vegetable oils became popular, this ratio changed so that omega-6s now far outnumber omega-3s by ratios from then to one to as high as twenty-five to one. Accumulating evidence suggests that this change is an important factor in our high incidence of coronary heart disease and some other chronic diseases."
Dr. Clarke cites another possible problem with the lopsided ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the American diet: the rising rate of depression.
Chia authority Robert Kleiman says "it has recently been substantiated that alpha-linolenic acid, present in chia seed, is an essential fatty acid. This means that we must eat food with this fatty acid in it, because we cannot synthesize it.
Both soybean oil and canola oil contain less than ten percent of this fatty acid. Chia, on the other hand, has about sixty percent of its oil as alpha-linolenic acid, which is the highest among any commercial oils
In the body, this essential fatty acid is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two fatty acids also found in fish oils. These two acids have been credited for the lower incidence of heart disease found in Greenland Eskimos, even though they eat a high-fat diet derived from blubber and meat.
(DHA) is the most prevalent fatty acid produced from alpha-linolenic acid by the body. Chia seed offers greater alpha-linolenic acid concentrations than any other seed or grain."
Biochemist Ralph Holman cites a case study showing the effectiveness of linolenic acid as compared with linoleic acid. (There is appreciably more linolenic acid than linoleic acid in chia). Omega-3 from vegetable, grain, and seed sources proved to contribute to faster wound-healing than that from fish sources.