What are the differences between omega 3, 6 and 9?


The omega 3-6-9 fatty acids have become one of the most popular supplements market. These acids are typically derived from vegetable oils and fish. Fatty acids are well researched and relatively free of side effects. A recent study indicates that of all supplements consumed 10% are vegetable oil and omega-3 fish. Multivitamin and mineral supplements correspond to 32% and calcium supplements to 12%. In this sense, what exactly are the omega 3-6-9 fatty acids? And how are they distinguished? Discover why they are important and understand the dynamics that differentiate them.

What are Fatty Acids?

Fatty acids (GA) have several functions in the body. In addition to being the main component of stored fat, they also serve as important building blocks of cell membranes and to regulate  some inflammatory processes. There are two main types of fatty acids, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature, are present in tropical animals and plants, while unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature and are found in vegetables, seeds and fish. The unsaturated fats are classified fat polyunsaturated (PUFA), which mainly include the omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 or fats monounsaturated including omega-9 fatty acids.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

The most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The acid alpha-linolenic is an essential fatty acid, meaning that should be included in the diet or supplements.The body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA; However, the conversion is very inefficient, so a good diet of EPA and DHA is important. These play a crucial role in the development of the brain and central nervous system, in addition to presenting very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Because omega-3 fatty acids are vital for neurological development, it is believed that supplements may help in the treatment of neurological disorders. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties can lead to improve some more common inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis with a supplement of 3 grams per day.

What are Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

Omega-6 is a monounsaturated fatty acid. The main Omega 6 fatty acid found in the diet is linoleic acid (LA). Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that is converted to another type of omega-6 called arachidonic acid (AA). The arachidonic acid and EPA serve as precursors of a large group of molecules known as lipid character the eicosanoids. The eicosanoids derived from AA increase inflammation, intensity and duration of pain in inflammatory processes of the body. However, eicosanoids derived from EPA specifically from omega-3 are those that have anti-inflammatory properties. Importantly, the balance of these two types of eicosanoids has important implications for the body’s inflammatory response. Inflammation increases as the proportion of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids increase in your diet.

What are Omega-9 Fatty Acids?

Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids are components of animal fat and vegetable oil. The main type of omega-9 fatty acids is oleic acid, which is present in the fats of olives, nuts, seeds and animals. Because omega-9 fatty acids are not essential, supplements of these is not necessary.

Relationship of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Both omega-3 and omega-6 FA are a fundamental part of your body’s cells.

“That is why changes in diet have a direct effect on the concentration of fatty acids in cell membranes”.

This in turn has an effect on the level of inflammation against the eicosanoids, anti-inflammatories produced by the cells. Historically, the proportion of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet was approximately 2: 1. However, the use of vegetable oils in the western diet has recently increased, reaching a ratio of 20: 1. Currently, the suggestion to improve the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 is to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Also, a reduction in the amount of omega-6 present in vegetable and seed oils will also help to improve this ratio.

What are the Natural Sources of Omega 3, 6 and 9 Fatty Acids?

Since the benefits of Omega 3-6-9 supplements are inconclusive, you can consider these natural sources of fatty acids.

  • Animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, swordfish, mussels, tilapia , grouper, sole, and pollock.
  • Vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: flax seeds, nuts, hemp seeds, walnuts and hazelnuts.
  • Sources of omega-6 fatty acids include: safflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and sunflower oil.
  • Sources of omega-9 fatty acids include: olive oil and animal fat.


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