Last Updated on November 16, 2012 by Jimson Lee
Several readers responded to the article The Benefits of Flax Seed Oil and asked, “What is the difference between Omega 3, 6, 9 Fatty Acids?”
Guest Blogger Dave McEvoy from the UK is an expert on Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids and shares his thoughts.
With the complicated chemical structures that are located in the body, it’s no wonder that nutritional advice and information is equally as confusing. The good news is that you don’t have to be a doctor in order to understand what needs to happen in your body. By learning just a few things about how the body works and how it doesn’t work, you can add the proper supplements and foods to your everyday life. In the end, these small steps will add up to a giant leap for your health.
What are Omega Fatty Acids?
The most common buzz word these days is the idea of Omega fatty acids or essential fatty acids. These chemical structures are things that the body needs in order to maintain cellular health as well as to prevent inflammation in the body. They also help to maintain the integrity of the nervous system in addition to making sure the body is free from certain illnesses. Studies have linked Omega fatty acids with prevention of cancer, limiting disease growth, as well as helping with mental health disorders. These EFAs (essential fatty acids) can not be produced by the body, so they need to be ingested through the diet or in a supplement form.
There are three different kinds of Omega fatty acids that you will hear about â€“ Omega 3, 6, and 9. Each of these numbers designates that chemical structure, with each ascending number as the longer chain that needs to be broken down by the body. But how they are chemically constructed is usually not the most important point for the everyday person. People want to know what these Omega fatty acids will do for their body.
What Does Omega 3 Do for the Body?
Omega 3 fatty acids are those that are found in oily fishes and in fish oil supplements. These fatty acids are responsible for helping the body create developed neural networks â€“ simply put, they help to build brain power in children as well as adults. Research in the UK has shown that children given EFAs are more likely to score higher on reading tests as well as improve their overall behaviour. Omega 3s are linked with helping those with ADD and ADHD as well, in addition to a variety of other mental health disorders likes OCD and depression. In relation to inflammation in the body, Omega 3 fatty acids can also assist those with arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.
Recent studies from Harvard University have also suggested that Omega 3 fatty acids can also help with high blood pressure and other forms of heart disease. Cancer prevention is another commonly listed benefit of Omega 3 fatty acids.
What Does Omega 6 Do for the Body?
Omega 6 fatty acids are those found in plant sources like nuts and flax seeds. These essential fatty acids have many of the same benefits as Omega 3 fatty acids, but they are not as widely encouraged as those from fish sources.
These fatty acids will still help with inflammation in relation to arthritis and autoimmune diseases, but these EFAs are more commonly referred to in terms of their effect on the skin and hair of the person taking them. Studies have shown that the fatty acids can help to manage acne as well as conditions like psoriasis. Women especially can benefit from Omega 6 fatty acids as they can also help with menstrual disorders and related symptoms.
What Does Omega 9 Do for the Body?
Like its other essential fatty acid family members, Omega 9 fatty acids have a large role to play in relation to the health of the patient. Found in animal fat and vegetable oils, these fatty acids aren’t linked as much with health benefits, but still, they should be a part of a healthy diet.
Cancer prevention as well as heart protection are still possible with Omega 9 fatty acids, but these should be a much smaller part of your diet as they can also include saturated fats, which are harmful to the heart in larger quantities.
How to Get More Essential Fatty Acids in Your Diet
It’s simple to get more Omega fatty acids in your diet if you simply look to where the greatest sources of essential fatty acids are â€“ fishes, flaxseed, and animal fats. By simply making sure to have a few servings of these items each week, you will be able to maintain a healthy level of protection for your body and the stresses it goes through each day.
To make things easier, fish oil supplements are a great way to get the right levels and balance of Omega 3, 6, and 9 in your diet. These pills are easy to take, easy to digest and simple to remember.
When you make sure to add Omega 3, 6, and 9 essential fatty acids into your diet, you will make sure you are doing all that you can for your health and for your body.
Dave McEvoy is an expert in omega 3 6 9 with over 20 years experience; for more information about fish oil and how it can help come and visit.