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Several sources of information suggest that humans evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of approx 1, whereas today this ratio is approx 10-20 : 1, with an average of 16.74, indicating that Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids compared with the diet on which humans evolved and their genetic patterns were established. Because omega-3 fatty acids are essential in growth and development throughout the life cycle, they should be included in the diets of all humans. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are not intercovertible in the human body and are important components of practically all cell membranes. Whereas cellular proteins are genetically determined, the PUFA composition of cell membranes is to a great extent dependent on the dietary intake. Therefore, appropriate amounts of dietary omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids need to be considered in making dietary recommendations, and these two classes of PUFA should be distinguished because they are metabolically and functionally distinct and have opposing physiological functions. Their balance is important for homeostasis and normal development.

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