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All about Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids

Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 are all important fatty acids in a person’s diet.

They are all healthy ingredients, but if there is an imbalance between these fatty acids, you will be prone to a number of chronic diseases.

Here’s what you need to know about omega-3, -6, -9 fatty acids:

  • What are these fatty acids?
  • Why do people need them?
  • How can you absorb them?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (with cell protection, antioxidant) and are a fat that the body cannot synthesize on its own.

The term “polyunsaturated” refers to the chemical makeup of this fatty acid, indicating that omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds.

‘Omega-3’ is only the last double bond located at the 3rd carbon of the omega chain.

These are essential fats that you need to get from your diet, because the human body cannot synthesize them on its own.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people eat at least two servings of fish per week, especially oily fish, because they contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

There are many types of omega-3 fatty acids. To classify them, people will be based on the chemical structure and size of each type. Here are the three most common types:

  • Eicosapentaenoic (EPA): This fatty acid contains 20 carbon atoms, primarily creating the chemical eicosanoids, which help fight inflammation. EPA also has the ability to reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): With 22 carbon atoms, DHA accounts for 8% of the brain’s weight, helping the brain develop and function properly.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This fatty acid contains 18 carbon atoms, can be converted into EPA and DHA, but the efficiency of this process is not too high. ALA is beneficial for the heart, immune system, and sympathetic nervous system.

Omega-3s are fatty acids that are important for the body’s cell membranes. They also have many other uses, including:

  • Supports heart health: Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
  • Support mental health: Omega-3 supplements have the ability to reduce depression, Parkinson’s syndrome, and mental disorders. However, this issue still needs to be studied more closely.
  • Weight loss and waist reduction: Omega-3 fatty acids may help people control their weight and waist circumference, but there is not enough research evidence for this effect.
  • Reduce liver fat: Some early research shows that consuming omega-3s helps reduce the amount of fat in the liver.
  • Supports infant brain development: Omega-3 helps in brain development for babies from the time they are in the womb. Therefore, supplementing with Omega 3 during pregnancy is very necessary.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Omega-3s help control inflammation that some chronic diseases cause.

If you get too few omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6s, you’re more likely to develop inflammation and chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and heart failure.

Omega-3s are essential fats that you need to get from your diet. They have important benefits for the human heart, brain and metabolism.

Like omega-3s, omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, the final double bond is 6 carbon atoms attached to the omega tail of the macromolecule chain.

Since omega-6s are also essential fats, you need to get them from your diet.

Omega-6 mainly provides energy for the body. The most common form of omega-6 is linoleic acid, a substance that the body can convert to other omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid (AA).

Similar to EPA, AA also produces eicosanoids. However, the amount of eicosanoids that AA produces has the potential to cause inflammation.

Chemical eicosanoids that stimulate inflammation play an important role in the immune system. However, when the body makes too much of it, it can increase inflammation and the risk of inflammatory diseases.

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is between 1:1 and 4:1, however, some research suggests that if you follow a Western diet, this ratio should be adjusted to 15:1 to about 17:1.

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Helpful?

Certain omega-6 fatty acids are effective in treating chronic disease symptoms.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in several essential oils:

  • Evening primrose oil.
  • Borage oil.

When absorbed, most of this acid will be converted to another fatty acid, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).

Some studies suggest that GLA and DGLA have many beneficial effects on health, such as that GLA can reduce symptoms of inflammation, but this issue needs to be studied further.

The authors of one study concluded that taking an omega-6 supplement in the form of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) helps reduce body fat mass.

Omega-6 fats are an essential fat that provides the body with energy. However, we need to eat more omega-3s than omega-6s.

Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats, which means they have only one double bond.

The 9 carbon atoms are joined to the omega end in the fatty acid macromolecule.

Oleic acid is the most common form of omega-9 fatty acids and the most common monounsaturated fat in the diet.

Omega-9s are not completely essential, as the human body is capable of synthesizing them.

However, consuming foods rich in omega-9 fatty acids in place of other fats is good for your health.

A 2015 study fed rats foods high in monounsaturated fats, and they experienced improvements in insulin resistance, as well as reduced inflammation, as a result.

This study also found that people with a diet high in monounsaturated fat had less inflammation and less insulin resistance than people who ate a lot of saturated fat.

Omega-9s are non-essential fats that the body can synthesize on its own. When you replace some saturated fats with omega-9s, your health will improve.

Getting omega-3s, -6s, and -9s from your diet is simple, but the point is that you need a balance between these fatty acids. Western diets are often rich in omega-6s, but lacking in omega-3s.

Here are some foods rich in omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids.

Foods rich in omega-3

Oily fish is the best source of omega-3s, EPA and DHA. Some other seafood sources such as algal oil also have this ability, and ALA mainly comes from the nut series.

There is no official standard for the amount of omega-3 needed each day, but each organization will have different recommendations. Most experts recommend getting 250-300mg of omega-3s daily.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of ALA omega-3 is 1.6g for adult men, and 1 ,1g for women aged 19 years and over.

Here are the amounts and types of omega-3s per serving of the following foods:

  • Salmon: 4.0g EPA and DHA.
  • Mackerel: 3.0g EPA and DHA.
  • Sardines: 2.2g EPA and DHA.
  • Anchovies: 1.0g EPA and DHA.
  • Chia seeds: 4.9g ALA.
  • Walnuts: 2.5g ALA.
  • Flaxseed: 2.3g ALA.

Foods rich in omega-6

Refined vegetable oils and foods prepared with edible oils contain large amounts of omega-6.

Nuts also provide a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine, the recommended amount of omega-6s for men is 17g per day, and for women is 12g per day. days, between the ages of 19 and 50.

The following is the amount of omega-6 in 100g of the following foods:

  • Soybean oil: 50g.
  • Corn oil: 49g.
  • Mayonnaise: 39g.
  • Walnuts: 37g.
  • Sunflower seeds: 34g.
  • Almonds: 12g.
  • Cashews: 8g.

Foods rich in omega-9

Omega-9 is commonly found in:

  • Plants and oils made from nuts.
  • Nuts

Since omega-9 is a non-essential fat, there is no single recommendation on how much we should get on a daily basis.

Here is the amount of omega-9 per 100g of the following foods:

  • Olive oil: 83g.
  • Cashew oil: 73g.
  • Almond oil: 70g.
  • Avocado oil: 60g.
  • Peanut oil: 47g.
  • Almonds: 30g.
  • Cashews: 24g
  • Walnuts: 9g.

The richest sources of omega-3 are oily fish, while omega-6 and omega-9 are found in vegetable oils and nuts.

Synthetic omega-3-6-9 supplements often provide these fatty acids in the right ratios, like 2:1:1, omega3-6-9 respectively.

These pills will help you absorb more omega-3 and balance the fatty acids, so that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is lower than 4:1.

However, we often get enough omega-6 from our diets, and our bodies have already made omega-9s on our own. Therefore, people usually do not need to take supplements for these fats.

The best thing is to focus on building a balanced diet of omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids.

To do that, you need to eat at least two servings of oily fish per week, and use olive oil when cooking.

In addition, limit the absorption of omega-6 by eating less other vegetable oils, and foods that are fried with processed vegetable oil.

People who are not getting enough omega-3 from their diet should take an omega-3 supplement, rather than a synthetic omega-3-6-9 product.

The omega-3-6-9 complex provides an optimal amount of fatty acids. However, the chances are high that they don’t provide more benefits than a product that only provides omega-3s.

Like other oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids are susceptible to oxidation when exposed to high temperatures.

So, when buying supplements that provide omega-3-6-9, choose those that have been cold pressed. When the oil is treated with the least amount of heat possible, the possibility of oxidation is reduced to a minimum, avoiding the breakdown of fatty acid molecules.

To ensure that the supplements you are taking are not oxidized, choose Omega 3 products combined with vitamin E to limit the oxidation of Omega 3-6-9 due to environmental conditions.

You should also choose the product that contains the highest amount of omega-3, more than 0.3g per serving.

Also, because EPA and DHA are healthier than ALA, choose products that use fish oil or seaweed oil, instead of flaxseed oil.

In short, you should choose products that provide omega-3 instead of omega-3-6-9. If you still want to take a synthetic product, choose those that are high in EPA and DHA.

Synthetic omega-3-6-9 products are popular with many people, but overall, they are nothing compared to products that only provide omega-3.

We need the right amount of Omega-6s, and they are found in many foods. If your diet is a bit Western, you may be consuming too much.

Besides, the body has the ability to synthesize omega-9, and they are also easy to find in food, so you do not necessarily need to take an omega-9 supplement.

Thus, even though a synthetic product contains the ideal ratio of omega-3-6-9, using only a product containing omega-3 is best for your health.

Author: Dr. Ruairi Robertson, verified by Nutritionist Amy Richter.

Charlie Rosales
Charlie Rosales
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