Essential Fatty Acids and the ECS

Amanda NighbertRecently, we were given the opportunity to sit with Amanda Nighbert, Registered Dietician and Lexington, KY resident, on two episodes of our podcast, Full Spectrum Living with CBD.

What a wealth of knowledge! You have to tune in to get all the details but when you do, you’ll might be surprised to hear how we connect what she recommends nutritionally for her clients health directly to the health of the Endocannabinoid System!

One of those recommendations is a good Omega 3:6 ratio. I’ve included excerpts from a blog post on Amanda’s website focusing on essential fatty acids (EFAs) – found in quotes. A link to the full blog can also be found below!

“Healing inflammation is the key to overall health, and a great way to do this is through improving your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio!”

Amanda Nighbert, R.D. 

Omega-6 and omega-3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. From a historical perspective, our diets have been high in seafood and other sources of omega-3 and low in omega-6 oils. With the industrial revolution came an increase in omega-6 and a decrease in omega-3. This was due to the rise of the vegetable oil industry and changes to our livestock feed which in turn changed the fatty acid composition of our meat. 

The good news: endocannabinoids are produced from arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Having enough arachidonic acid is essential for endocannabinoid production. BUT bad news: having too much may lead to downregulation of cannabinoid receptors. And MORE bad news: excessive omega-6 intake is also pro-inflammatory. So how can you win?

“Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids use the same conversion enzymes, meaning the more omega-6 we consume, the less omega-3 we convert and use. This has led to high tissue concentrations of omega-6 with low concentrations of omega-3, which creates inflammation and is associated with increases in CVD, obesity, diabetes, IBS/IBD, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer (AKA, inflammatory diseases!).”

Amanda Nighbert, R.D.

essential fatty acids

“Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning it cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through the diet. ALA is the ‘parent’ form of omega-3 and is converted into its derivative forms, DHA and EPA. The benefits we experience from omega-3 are from DHA and EPA specifically. They play important roles in our cell membranes and cardiovascular and neurological health.”

Amanda Nighbert, R.D.

Omega-3 deficiency has been associated with all of the following:

ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, Weight gain, Heart disease, Allergies, Arthritis, Violent tendencies, Memory problems, Cancer, Eczema, Inflammatory diseases, Diabetes, Dry skin, Dandruff, Postpartum depression, Alcoholism, Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, ……..” and on and on.

Wow. So how do we incorporate more omega-3 into our diets to ensure we are providing it what it needs and giving our bodies the best chance to respond well to a CBD routine?

Well first of all, an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the diet is 1:1

“The optimal source of omega-3 is wild-caught seafood, specifically cold water fish such as salmon, halibut, cod, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Grass fed meat is another good source. This is an instance in which food quality really does matter. Grass fed meat can have up to five times the amount of omega-3 as conventional, grain fed meat!”


  • Hemp seeds and hemp oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flax seed (grind at home in a coffee grinder) and flax oil
  • Eggs (pasture-fed or omega-3 enriched only)

“It’s important to remember that increasing omega-3 is ineffective unless you are also decreasing omega-6. We’re looking at an overall ratio- ideally of approximately 1:1- while decreasing omega-6 vegetable oils and increasing omega-3s.”

Amanda Nighbert, R.D.

Great tip!!

Be sure to listen to our podcasts this month where we’ll dive even further into this topic and many others! Also, be sure to visit Amanda’s website. If you have any questions, please comment below or send us an email!

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