The Benefits of Omega 3, 6 & 9

Omega fatty acids are also known and often displayed on packaging as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They are the ‘good’ fats hailed for their benefits in:

  • Improving cholesterol levels
  • Improving vitamin absorption
  • Reducing risk factors of heart disease and stroke
  • Reducing risk of diabetes
  • Promoting cell development
  • Promoting healthy nerve activity
  • Necessary to maintain a healthy immune system1

Research shows that all three are essential and work together for heart health and cholesterol, while each has their own distinct benefits.2 Without sufficient polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6), degenerative disease occurs. It is so common in today’s society that inappropriate fatty acid consumption forms a major, potential cause of death for two thirds of the population living in affluent, industrialised nations. Sixty eight percent of the people die from three conditions which involve fatty acid (FA) degeneration: cardiovascular disease (43.8%), cancer (22.4%), and diabetes (1.8%).3

While the information of omega oils is vast and complex, here are a few facts you need to know about these oils and why they are so essential to your everyday diet.

Omega 3

Omega 3 oils are found in marine, animal and plant sources. They highly popularized for their role they play with cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and cancer. It is essential for your diet, as your body cannot produce omega 3.

Diets high in omega 3 are known to help brain and eye development, prevent cardiovascular disease, and can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.3 There is also evolving research showing that they are a crucial part of cell membranes.

  • regulate blood clotting
  • keep the heart beating on its normal rhythm
  • prevent/improve inflammation
  • reduce blood pressure
  • improve blood vessel function
  • improve cholesterol levels
  • lower triglycerides

Additionally, we also know now that there are several types of omega-3s:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) helps keep body tissues healthy.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a major component of cell membranes in your eyes and brain.
  • Both EPA and DHA are found mostly in fish, shellfish, and algae.
  • Alpha linoleic acid (ALA) is found mostly in vegetable oils, flax seed and walnuts and also plays a role in maintaining healthy body tissues.4

 

Omega 6

Like Omega 3, your body cannot produce Omega 6 fatty acids. We get it from food sources like vegetable oils and nuts. However, your body does not need as much Omega 6 as it does Omega 3. In fact, research has demonstrated that too much Omega 6 will possibly see an imbalance in your body resulting in inflammation, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and depression.5,6

There are also several types of omega-6 fatty acids:

  • Linoleic acid (LA) is the most common dietary omega-6, and it is found mostly in vegetable oils such as canola, corn, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower.
  • Arachidonic acid (AA) is found in peanut oil, meat, eggs and dairy products.
  • After consumed, LA is converted to arachidonic acid (AA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). Some research touts GLA as anti-inflammatory.2

Omega 9

Omega 9 fatty acids are monounsaturated, unlike Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are polyunsaturated. They are important for heart health, cholesterol and blood sugar control. Avocados are a popular source of Omega 9, but are also found in nuts.2 Although your body can produce Omega 9, consuming it through external sources helps your body in a variety of ways including:

  • Increasing ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL)
  • Eliminating plaque building up in arteries which may lead to heart attacks or stroke
  • Preventing cardiovascular disease

 

Conclusion

When it comes to essential fatty acids, there is a large variety of different foods that you can apply to your diet to ensure you get the various types of fats. Mostly through fruits, nuts and cold water fish. Another source rich in Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 is Brown algae (Ascophyllum nodosum). Brown algae are one of the richest sources of fatty acids compared to many other macroalgae.³ It is a common food source for cold water fish as it grows in the far northern reaches of Scotland and Norway in pristine water conditions. Unlike Omega 3 supplements, our supplements don’t have the horrid fishy aftertaste and are ethically and sustainably extracted with no cruelty to animals. Arctic Seaweed and contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 in perfect balance. This is just one of the many benefits of these products. To find our more, click here.  If you wish to purchase our products with omega 3,6,9 click here.

 

References

1Jenkins, D. et al. Adding monounsaturated fatty acids to a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia. CMAJ 2010. www.cmaj.ca/content/182/18/1961 - See more at: http://www.goodfats101.com/website-sources/#sthash.vQHMeM4C.dpuf
2 Good Fats 101: http://www.goodfats101.com/fats-101/omega-3s/
3van Ginneken V et al. “Polyunsaturated fats in various macroalgal species from north Atlantic and tropical seas.” Lipids in Health and Disease. 2011
4Dolecek, T.A. “Epidemiological evidence of relationships between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and mortality in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial.” PSEBM. 200:177-182, 1992.
5Hibbeln, Joseph R. (June 2006). “Healthy intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 83 (6, supplement): 1483S-1493S. American Society for Nutrition. PMID 16841858.
6Okuyama, Hirohmi; Ichikawa, Yuko; Sun, Yueji; Hamazaki, Tomohito; Lands, William E.M. (2007). “3 fatty acids effectively prevent coronary heart disease and other late-onset diseases: the excessive linoleic acid syndrome.” World Review of Nutritional Dietetics 96 (Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease): 83-103. Karger. doi:10.1159/000097809.