Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are all important fats in the diet.
Interestingly, each type has some health benefits.
However, it is important to balance these three fatty acids in the diet. An imbalance can cause some chronic diseases.
This article will guide you about these types of omega-3-6-9 fatty acids, including concepts, reasons for absorption and where to find them.
What is Omega-3 fatty acid?
Omega-3 fatty acids is polyunsaturated fat, a type of fat that the body cannot make itself.
The term "polyunsaturated" refers to their chemical structure, because "multi" means a lot and "unsaturated" refers to double bonds. Together they mean omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds.
"Omega-3" refers to the position of the final double bond in the chemical structure, which is three carbon atoms in the "omega" or end of the tail of the molecular chain.
Because the human body cannot produce omega-3 on its own, these fats are called "essential fats," meaning they must be taken from the diet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taking at least 2 portions of oily fish each week, they are rich in omega-3 EPA and DHA .
There are many different types of omega-3 fats based on their chemical shape and size. Here are the three most common types:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): The main function of this 20-carbon fatty acid is to produce chemicals called eicosanoid, which helps reduce inflammation. EPA also helps reduce depressive symptoms .
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): A 22-carbon fatty acid, DHA accounts for about 8% of brain weight, which is important for brain development and function .
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This 18-carbon fatty acid can be converted into EPA and DHA, although this process is not really effective. ALA is primarily used by the body for energy purposes .
Omega-3 fats are a very important part of human cell membranes. They also have some other important functions, including:
- Improve cardiovascular health: Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol "well." They also reduce triglycerides, blood pressure and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques .
- Mental health support: Taking omega-3 can reduce symptoms of depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It also helps reduce the risk of mental disorders for people at high risk .
- Weight loss and waist size: Omega-3 fats play an important role in weight management and help reduce waist circumference .
- Reduce fat in the liver: Consuming omega-3 in the diet helps reduce the amount of fat in the liver .
- Support for brain development in newborns: Omega-3 is important for brain development in babies .
- Anti-inflammatory: Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory effects, which means they reduce inflammation in the body that can cause some chronic diseases .
- Prevent dementia: People who eat a lot of fish with high levels of omega-3 fats tend to have reduced brain function at a slower age. Omega-3 also improves memory in the elderly .
- Promoting bone health: People with high levels of omega-3 fats in the blood will have better bone mineral density .
- Prevention of asthma: Taking Omega-3 helps reduce asthma symptoms, especially in the early period .
Unfortunately, Western diets do not contain enough omega-3. This deficiency will contribute to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease .
Conclude: Omega-3 fats are essential fats that must be absorbed from the diet. They have important benefits for the heart, brain and metabolism.
What is Omega-6 fatty acid?
Like omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The only difference in the final double bond is 6 carbon atoms from the omega end point of the fatty acid molecule.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also important, so they need to be absorbed from the diet.
This fat is mainly used as energy. The most common omega-6 fats are linoleic acid, which can be converted into longer omega-6 fats as (ARA) .
Like EPA, ARA is used for manufacturing . However, eicosanoid produced by ARA has more anti-inflammatory properties .
Anti-inflammatory eicosanoids are important substances in the immune system. However, when created too much, they can increase inflammation and inflammatory diseases .
Although omega-6 fats are essential, modern Western diets contain more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary (37).
The ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids recommendations in the diet are 4: 1 or lower. However, in the diet in the West there are ratios up to 10: 1 and 50: 1.
Therefore, although omega-6 fats are essential, most people in developed countries should reduce the omega-6 dosage .
However, some omega-6 fatty acids have shown benefits in treating the symptoms of chronic diseases.
(GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in some oils, such as primrose oil and lychee oil. When consumed, most of these substances are converted to another fatty acid called dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).
One study found that high doses of GLA supplements significantly reduced some symptoms of rheumatism .
Another interesting study also showed that adding GLA supplements to breast cancer drugs would be more effective than just taking the drug alone .
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is another form of omega-6 fat that has many health benefits. For example, a large study showed that taking 3.2 grams of CLA supplements daily would significantly reduce body fat .
Conclude: Omega-6 fats are essential fats and an important source of energy for the body. However, Western diets contain too much of this fat.
What is Omega-9 fatty acid?
Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fatty acids, meaning they have only one double bond.
It has 9 carbon in the omega end of the fatty acid molecule.
Oleic acid is the most common omega-9 fatty acid and is the single most unsaturated fatty acid most often in the diet.
Omega-9 fatty acids are not "essential fats," because they can be produced by the body. In fact, omega-9 fats are the most abundant fat in most of the body's cells.
However, consuming foods rich in omega-9 fatty acids instead of other fats has some health benefits.
A large study indicates that a high-monounsaturated diet helps reduce plasma triglycerides by 19% and "bad" VLDL by about 22% in diabetics .
Another study in mice using a high-monounsaturated high-fat diet helped improve insulin sensitivity and reduce symptoms inflammation .
Similar research shows that people who adopt a high-monounsaturated diet have lower rates of inflammation and sensitive to insulin than those who use saturated fat-rich diets .
Conclude: Omega-9 fats are essential fats because the body can make them themselves. Diets that replace saturated fats with omega-9 fats will bring many benefits to metabolic health.
Foods that contain these fats
Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids can be easily absorbed from the diet.
However, it is important to balance each dose. Western diets contain far more omega-6 fats than necessary but not enough omega-3 fats.
Below is a list of foods that contain omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids.
Foods high in Omega-3 fats
Source omega-3 EPA and DHA are best from fish oil.
However, they can also be absorbed from other marine food sources, such as algae oil. On the other hand, ALA is mainly taken from nuts and nuts.
There is no official standard Daily intake of omega-3 , but different organizations have instructions.
According to the Food and Nutrition Council of the American Institute of Medicine, daily intake of omega-3 is 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women, who are 19 and older .
This is the dosage and type of omega-3 in one serving of the following foods:
- Salmon: 4 grams of EPA and DHA
- Mackerel: 3 grams of EPA and DHA
- Pilchard: 2.2 grams of EPA and DHA
- Anchovy: 1 gram of EPA and DHA
- Chia seeds: 4.9 grams ALA
- Walnuts : 2.5 grams ALA
- Linseed: 2.3 gram ALA
Foods high in omega-6 fats
Omega-6 fats are found in large quantities in refined vegetable oils and vegetable oils.
Nuts and nuts also contain significant amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
According to the Food and Nutrition Council of the American Academy of Medicine, daily intake of omega-6 is 17 grams for men and 12 grams for women, people aged 19-50 years .
Below is the amount of omega-6 in 100 grams of the following foods:
- Soybean oil: 50 grams
- Corn oil: 49 grams
- Mayonnaise: 39 grams
- Walnuts: 37 grams
- Sunflower seed : 34 grams
- Almond: 12 grams
- Cashew: 8 grams
As can be seen, it is easy to absorb more omega-6 than necessary through diet.
Foods high in omega-9 fats
Omega-9 fats are also popular in vegetable oils and seed oils, as well as in nuts and nuts.
There are no dosage recommendations for omega-9 as they are not essential fats.
Below is the amount of omega-9 in 100 grams of the following foods:
- Olive oil: 83 grams
- Cashew nut oil: 73 grams
- Almond oil: 70 grams
- Avocado oil: 60 grams
- Peanut oil: 47 grams
- Almond: 30 grams
- Cashew: 24 grams
- Walnuts: 9 grams
Conclude: The best sources of omega-3 are fish oil, while omega-6 and omega-9 are found in vegetable oils, nuts and nuts.
Should Omega 3-6-9 supplements be used?
Functional foods that incorporate omega-3-6-9 often provide each fatty acid at the appropriate rate, eg 2: 1: 1 for omega 3-6-9.
These oils help increase the amount of omega-3 fats, which need to be consumed more in the Western diet.
In addition, these oils provide fatty acids to balance the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 to less than 4: 1.
However, since most people consume too much omega-6, while omega-9 is also produced by the body itself, there is no need for general functional foods for these fats.
Therefore, the best way is to focus on diet to achieve a balance between omega-3, -6 -9 fatty acids, by eating at least 2 servings of fish oil per week and using olive oil to cook, make salad dressing.
In addition, try to limit the amount of omega-6 foods by limiting the consumption of vegetable oils and fried foods prepared with refined vegetable oils.
If you don't have enough omega-3 in your diet, it's best to use it Functional foods supplement only with omega-3 , not combining both omega-3-6-9.
Conclude: The omega-3-6-9 functional foods provide the optimal ratio of fatty acids, but do not appear to be much more beneficial than omega-3 supplements.
How to choose Omega 3-6-9 supplements
Like other oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids are prone to oxidation when exposed to heat and light.
So, if you buy omega-3-6-9 supplements, choose cold pressed ones. This means that the oil has been extracted with limited heat, minimizing oxidation can damage fatty acid molecules.
To ensure the use of non-oxidative health supplements, choose an antioxidant like vitamin E.
Also, choose the highest omega-3 content - the ideal dosage is over 0.3 grams per serving.
Furthermore, because EPA and DHA have more health benefits than ALA, choose functional foods fish oil or algae oil instead of linseed oil.
Conclude: You should choose supplements that only supplement omega-3 instead of omega-3-6-9. If you buy a combination, choose a high concentration of EPA and DHA.
Although functional foods that combine omega-3-6-9 have become very popular, they often do not offer much more benefit than just using omega-3 supplements.
Omega-6 is essential in a certain amount, but they are found in many foods and Western diets consume too much.
In addition, omega-9 fats can be produced by the body and easily absorbed in the diet, so there is no need to use them in functional foods.
Therefore, although combination supplements have the optimal ratio of omega 3-6-9, only omega-3 supplements can provide the most health benefits.