You know by now that there are “good” fats and “bad” fats. And you’ve probably heard that small amounts of omega-6 fatty acids from seeds and plants are essential for your body. When combined with omega-3 fatty acids from fish, omega-6s appear to play an integral role in maintaining health. Together, these two fats can help regulate brain development, energy production, and immune function, and control inflammation.

However, large quantities of omega-6s promote oxidative stress by disabling the body’s second defense against cancer: the antioxidant. Adding insult to injury, they increase inflammation within skin cells. And inflammation can be a driving force behind the growth of skin cancer and its ability to spread to nearby tissues and organs.

This omega-6 threat did not exist 100 years ago. Our ancestors consumed only small quantities of omega-6 in the form of whole corn, seeds, and legumes. Their ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 was about 1:1. Today, a large segment of the population consumes a ratio of at least 20:1.

The omega-6 overdose exists thanks to the advent of technology – chemical extraction methods, to be exact. Instead of getting omega-6 in its natural state – from plants and seeds – our primary sources are now plant and seed oils (corn, safflower, and sunflower). A single tablespoon of omega-6-laden corn oil is derived from a whopping 12 to 18 ears of corn.

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids has not yet been determined. One thing is certain, the overdose of omega-6 manifests into poor health as well as dry, brittle skin that predisposes us to skin cancer.

The best thing you can do to protect against skin cancer is rid your diet of omega-6-laden plant and seed oils while consuming more protective omega-3 fatty acids.

[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research in biochemistry and physiology and is a best-selling author. He holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry and has firsthand experience in drug design. Get the benefit of his knowledge and insight with his no-BS practical guide to living young naturally without dangerous, prescription drugs.]

Click to comment on this article.