Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of fat present in certain foods and supplements, and very much like their cousins, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to good overall physical and mental health.
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of essential fatty acid (EFA) belonging to the same family as omega-3 fatty acids.
EFAs are fats that your body needs but cannot make on its own so it is important that you get EFAs by eating the foods that contain them or by taking supplements
The omega-6 fatty acids are just as vital and as necessary as omega-3 fatty acids; however, they are not as widely known about or celebrated as their cousin.
In this article, we look at the critical role omega-6 fatty acids play during pregnancy, and fetal development, along with 11 other significant benefits omega-6 fatty acids may also provide.
We’ll also take a look at omega-6 fatty acid superfoods many of which may already be included in your daily diet.
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- The Importance of Omega-6 & Pregnancy
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids Have Had Some Bad Press
- 11 Fantastic Benefits Omega-6 Fatty Acids Also Provide
- Best Food Source For Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- Alpha & Omega Fatty Acids The Real Essential Olis
What Are Omega Fatty Acids?
The fat contained in the food you eat comprises fatty acid chains that combine carbon and hydrogen atoms linked together.
Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid (EFA) and are cousins of the omega-3 fatty acids.
Your body is unable to manufacture EFAs on its own so you must ensure you are getting enough EFAs from your daily diet or by taking supplements.
The two primary fats that we generally consume are saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
Unsaturated fatty acids are string type formations bonded together; those with one double bond are called monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).
Unsaturated fatty acids with more than one double bond are called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Fatty acids are involved in the normal healthy function of your immune system and every other aspect of your body health.
Omega-6 along with omega-3 are both polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Have Had Some Bad Press
Your body converts linolenic acid, one of the omega-6 fatty acids, into another fatty acid called arachidonic acid. This fatty acid contributes to the promotion of inflammation, blood clotting, and blood vessels constriction.
Critics argue that we should cut back on our intake of omega-6 fats; however, the American Heart Association (AHA) disagree.
After a two-year study involving US-independent researchers, data from multiple studies produced evidence that supports the cardiovascular benefits of eating omega-6 fats.
“Omega-6 fats are not only safe, but they are also beneficial for the heart and circulation,”
Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and advisory co-author involved in the studies.
Researchers found that even when linolenic acid is abundant in the diet, the body converts minimal linolenic acid into arachidonic acid.
The team of nine researchers discovered that eating more omega-6 fats did not instigate inflammation. On the contrary, they found that eating more omega-6 fats either reduced markers of inflammation or left them unchanged.
It is also worth noting that a meta-analysis performed on six randomised trials found that replacing saturated fat with omega-6 fats reduced the risk of heart attacks and other coronary incidents by a whopping 24%.
The Importance of Omega-6 & Pregnancy
A mother’s diet and nutritional intake play a critical role in the development of her unborn child, influencing the onset of chronic disease in later life.
Linoleic acid (LA) and alpha‐linolenic acid (ALA) are primary omega‐6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
They are critical in the healthy growth and development of the fetal neurological and immune system.
Omega-6 is a fatty acid common in vegetables, seeds and nuts; omega -6 are also a vital component in forming cell membranes during pregnancy.
Once born, omega-6s continue to be vital in the healthy growth and development of the baby in the production of breast milk (Circulation, Jan. 28, 2017) an essential source of fatty acid for babies.
11 More Healthy Benefits Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- Keeping harmful LDL cholesterol in check,omega-6 fatty acids give protective HDL cholesterol a boost.
- Omega-6 fatty acids can significantly help lower the risk of heart disease.
- By improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin omega-6 fatty acids keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Regulating, maintaining and promoting normal brain, muscle and liver function and health omega-6 fatty acids are essential.
- Plays a significant role in the manufacture and production of different hormones in the body.
- Involved in the formation of pro-inflammatory signals that can worsen the symptoms of chronic disease.
- Helping to reduce inflammation and nerve pain omega-6 fatty acids can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic disease.
- Supporting healthy bone development, maintenance and function omega-fatty acids are essential throughout life.
- Omega-6 fatty acids have shown to decrease blood pressure.
- Alleviates the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Omega-6 fatty acids help to ensure increased mobility and functionality in later life.
Best Food Source for Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Primary foods that contain rich amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, including both linoleic acid and arachidonic acid.
- most seeds such as sunflower, hemp and sesame seeds
- nuts such as brazil, pine nuts, peanuts and almonds
- sunflower oil
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- meats such as beef
- safflower oil
- almond oil
- grapeseed oil
- hempseed oil
Alpha & Omega Fatty Acids The Real Essential Oils
Omega fatty acids, especially omega-6, -3, and -9, are all essential and are all vital to good health and a better quality of life.
Without oil, an engine would become, over time, dysfunctional, sluggish, stiff, rusty and eventually cease up and suffer a mechanical death.
It’s the same with you and your body; getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from your daily diet is essential to vitality and life.
Supplementing your diet is a simple but effective way to improve your physical and mental health and significantly reduce your risk of infection, illness and chronic disease.
You can find easily find omega-6 supplements, including vegan varieties, locally or online.
Eating fresh is always best and in most cases carry all the vitamin, minerals and nutrition you need.
However, it’s good to bear in mind that this is not always possible depending on health, circumstance, environment, age and personal need.
However, I would strongly recommend you do your research, due diligence and seek advice where and when needed.
If you have any underlying health conditions or taking any prescribed medication. Supplements can cause severe side effects if not taken in the correct dosage, so please always seek medical advice.
As always, all contributions to the discussion are always encouraged and always very much appreciated.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Strong
*Please note that this post’s information is for general information and not a substitute for healthcare professionals’ expertise and judgment.