Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are extremely important fats in the diet. They belong to the essential unsaturated fatty acids. The right balance between these acids is essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Omega-3 acids belong to the polyunsaturated fatty acid family, they are also called essential fatty acids (EFAs), because our bodies are unable to produce them on their own. They should be delivered to the body along with the diet, or supplemented with appropriate supplements.The most important omega-3 fatty acids are:
- α-Linolenic acid (ALA)
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Omega-3 acids are an inseparable part of cell membranes. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. They affect the proper functioning of the brain, reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease and reduce the risk of atherosclerotic plaques. In addition, Omega 3 acids reduce liver fat, support the development of the newborn’s brain, fight inflammation, prevent dementia and affect bone health.
The EPA and DHA acids have a special effect on the nervous system as they affect the production of myelin. They are absorbed into the myelin sheath, where they improve the fluidity and quality of neurotransmission.
Sources of Omega 3 acids:
Omega 3 acids occur, among others in fish, seafood, vegetable oils (linseed oil, peanut oil and rapeseed oil), nuts, algae.ALA acid is mainly found in plant products such as linseed oil, rapeseed oil or nuts. In contrast, EPA and DHA are found in animal products, particularly in oily marine fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring.
Omega 6 acids are also polyunsaturated fatty acids classified as essential fatty acids (EFAs).
The most important omega-6 fatty acids are:
- linoleic acid (LA)
- gamma-linoleic acid (GLA)
- arachidonic acid (AA)
Omega 6 acids strengthen the nervous system, lower the level of bad cholesterol, accelerate wound healing, affect healthy skin, hair and nails, support the work of kidneys and liver.Despite the fact that omega 6 fatty acids are necessary for us, the diet is definitely more than it should be. The recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in the diet is 4: 1 or less. The ratio of these acids in the Western diet is 10: 1 and even 50: 1.Therefore, although omega-6 fatty acids are necessary in the right amounts, the intake of these fatty acids should be reduced. Too much Omega 6 fatty acids, hinders access to the body of Omega 3 acids. Too big amounts of Omega 6 have a negative, pro-inflammatory effect and favour depression.
To counteract this imbalance, the share of processed products in the diet should be limited and deep frying should be avoided. It is also good to regularly eat fatty fish and add linseed oil to the dishes.
Sources of omega 6:
Omega-6 acids are found primarily in products such as eggs, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, red meat, poultry, nuts.
Omega 9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fatty acids. The main representative of omega-9 fatty acids is oleic acid. Omega 9 acids have many health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular system. These acids lower the level of total cholesterol, while increasing the “good” HDL fraction, which leads to a reduced risk of atherosclerosis.
Sources of omega 9:
Oleic acid is found mainly in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and avocado.
Supplementation with Omega:
Supplements which contain Omega:
Flex Oil 1000 mg, 120 capsules (Puritan’s Pride) – product available here
Primrose 1300 mg 60 capsules (Jarrow) – product available here
MEGA GLA with Sesame Lignans 229 mg – product available here
GLA 60 capsules (Life Extension) – product available here