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Published on April 29, 2021

Omega 3-6-9: What You Need to Know About These Supplements

Omega 3-6-9: What You Need to Know About These Supplements

Everyone wants to eat healthily. But modern life is busy, and we may not always have the time to cook healthy meals (or we may not even know how to). When food doesn’t cut it, another way to ensure we get all the nutrients we need is by taking supplements. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at combined omega 3-6-9 supplements.

I will start by covering what omega fatty acids are, how they affect our overall health, and why our bodies need them. Then, we’ll take a look at omega supplements specifically and how to choose a good one.

So, are you striving to optimize your overall health and lead a healthier lifestyle? Here’s what you need to know about omega 3, 6, and 9 acids to achieve your goal.

What Are Omega Fatty Acids?

Omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are also known as “essential fats.” In other words, these are fats that our body cannot produce, and we need to take them through our food or as supplements.

The name “polyunsaturated” is derived from their chemical composition where “poly” stands for “many,” and “unsaturated” explains the double bonds they contain. This means that omega fatty acids have many of these bonds. There are also “monounsaturated” fats that contain only one double bond.

The position of the first double unsaturated bond from the end of the molecular chain (the omega) is what determines whether that’s an omega-3, omega-6, or omega-9 fatty acid.

For example, in omega-3, the first double bond is found on the third carbon atom, counting back from the molecular tail, and in omega-6 and -9 on the sixth and ninth carbon atom, respectively.[1]

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A Quick Guide to Omega 3-6-9

Omega-3 acids have been a well-known dietary supplement, especially among the healthy lifestyle community.

However, very few consumers know about the benefits of other fatty acids—such as omega-6 and -9—and how to balance their intake to optimize their health. So, let’s have a better look at these healthy fats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 is the most popular among unsaturated fats. They are also known as essential fats because they are necessary for human growth and development. However, the human body cannot produce them, so the only way to enjoy their benefits is to take them through the food we consume or in the form of a supplement.

The omega-3 group is made of different types of unsaturated fatty acids whose molecular chains vary in shape and size.

These are the most popular:

  • ALA (Alpha-linoleic acid) – ALA is an 18-carbon chain fatty acid that our body uses for regulating, preventing, and treating cardiovascular diseases, such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and other heart-related diseases.
  • The EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) – EPA is a 20-carbon chain fatty acid usually prescribed to patients who have experienced a heart attack, surgery, and chemo treatments. It’s also believed to alleviate depression symptoms and manage inflammation caused by chronic diseases.[2] However, there is still plenty of research to be done to support many of these claims.
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) – DHA is a 22-carbon chain fatty acid commonly used for cholesterol control and plays an important role in infant development, especially with eye and nerve tissues.

As I have already mentioned, the human body is not able to synthesize these essential fats. Luckily, there are plenty of natural sources that we can and should use in the everyday diet to achieve optimal health.

Here are the most important sources of omega-3 acids:

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  • Animal sources: salmon, herring, mackerel, oysters, cod liver oil, sardines, anchovies, caviar, omega-3-enriched eggs, meats, and dairy from grass-fed animals, etc.
  • Plant sources: walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, soybeans, spinach, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Another healthy type of unsaturated fats is omega-6. Although not as popular as the omega-3, these fats play an important role in keeping our health in check. They are also considered “essential” and need to be consumed through the food in our diet.

These are the four types of omega-6 fatty acids:

  • LA (Linoleic acid) – LA is the main polyunsaturated fatty acid found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, mostly used to prevent and fight coronary heart disease. It is also a popular compound in many cosmetic products used to fight acne and other skin conditions.
  • ARA (Arachidonic Acid) – ARA is a 20-carbon chain fatty acid that helps regulate the immune system. The body relies on ARA to create inflammation, a normal physical function much needed to fight bacteria and viruses and repair damaged tissues.
  • GLA (Gamma-linoleic) – GLA is mostly used to treat arthritis, nerve damage caused by diabetes, reduce inflammation, and prevent heart diseases.[3]
  • CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid) – CLA is a natural type of trans fat and a popular weight loss supplement.

Good sources of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are:

  • Animal sources: dairy, meats, fish oil, eggs, etc.
  • Plant sources: soybeans, corn, safflower seeds and sunflower oils, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, tofu, avocado oil, peanut butter, etc.

Omega-9 Fatty Acids

Unlike the omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fats, omega-9 is a group of monounsaturated fats. They are also nonessential because the human body has the ability to produce them, and you don’t have to take supplements to regulate their intake.

The most common one among the omega-9 fatty acids is oleic acid. Several studies suggest that including oleic acid in your diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and reduces inflammation.[4]

Good sources of omega-9 are olive oil, cashew nut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, almond, cashews, etc.

Omega 3, 6, and 9 Health Benefits

Essential and nonessential omega fatty acids are incredibly for human health and development. The benefits of healthy fatty acids are many. In fact, very few other nutrients have been studied and researched to the same extent as the omega fatty acids.

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Here are some of the most important health benefits of these fatty acids:

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Helps with improving heart disease risk factors: reduces triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, prevents blood clots, promotes ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, prevents arteriosclerosis[5]
  • Alleviates depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Manages chronic inflammation that can lead to heart attacks, cancer, and many other diseases
  • Helps you keep autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis under control
  • Improves mental disorder symptoms: people with mental disorders prove to have low levels of blood omega-3[6]
  • Reduces liver fat in humans in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Crucial for eye and nerve tissue development as it is a major structural component of the retina

Health Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

  • Provides energy
  • Regulates pro-inflammatory processes in the body essential for fighting infections and injury[7]
  • May fight risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and stroke

Omega-3 Vs. Omega-6

While they are both polyunsaturated essential fatty acids that we need to consume through food and supplements, there are a few key differences between omega-3 vs. omega-6. For one, they have a different chemical structure.

Secondly, omega-3 regulates the anti-inflammatory processes, but omega-6 is responsible for pro-inflammatory processes. This means that they regulate different functions of the immune system, and an imbalance can result in various diseases.

Finally, omega-6 fatty acids are easy to come by as they are present in many foods the western society consumes regularly. Omega-3-rich-food consumption, on the other hand, is lower than ever.

To control the presence of omega-6 fatty acids in your body, lower the intake of processed seeds and seed oils.

Should You Take Omega 3-6-9 Supplements?

There is no doubt that omega fatty acids are essential for our mental and physical development. You will find lots and lots of combined supplements in the health stores. But the real question is: do you really need to take them?

We know that a disbalance in fatty acid ratios in the human body might cause inflammation and various other diseases. We also know that supplements are meant to help you balance the presence of fatty acids in the body and give you the right proportions, such as 2:1:1 for omegas 3, 6, and 9.

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The thing is, you probably already get enough of omega 6 through food, and your body can produce omega 9 by itself. Unless you eat a very unhealthy diet, you might be better off with a pure omega-3 supplement instead.

In short, the best way to balance your omega intake is to be mindful of the food you consume.

What Is the Best Omega 3-6-9 Supplement?

If you do decide to go for a combined supplement, make sure you choose oils that have been cold-pressed. This is a natural method that uses a limited amount of heat in the extraction process and doesn’t oxidize the fatty acids.

Omega 3-6-9 supplements that contain an antioxidant, such as vitamin E, and have omega-3 content higher than 0.3 grams per serving are the best. Moreover, fish oil and algal oil-based supplements are a better choice because of the higher EPA and DHA presence shown to have greater health benefits than the ALA found in flaxseed oils.

Conclusion

Omega 3-6-9 foods and supplements are growing in popularity by the day. You might be tempted to take a supplement, but try to eat a balanced diet instead. Nature has already provided us with all the necessary nutrients, and all we have to do is choose the right ones to achieve overall health. If you do decide to take a supplement, pick one that will help you prevent disease or fight any existing condition.

People practicing a typical Western diet take plenty of omega-6 through their food, and the body has a natural ability to produce omega-9 fatty acids.

So, if your diet is already healthy, consider taking only omega 3s. Chances are the benefits will be quite the same or even better than if you take combined omega supplements.

More About Fish Oil Supplements

Featured photo credit: Yoav Hornung via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] HealthLine: Omega-3-6-9 Fatty Acids: A Complete Overview
[2] NCBI: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes
[3] NIH: Gamma-linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid
[4] NIH: Omega-9 Oleic Acid, the Main Compound of Olive Oil, Mitigates Inflammation during Experimental Sepsis
[5] The Healthy Cuisine: Are Oysters Good For You? 5 Surprising Health Benefits
[6] Harvard Health Publishing: Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders
[7] NCBI: Gamma-linolenic acid, Dihommo-gamma-linolenic, Eicosanoids, and Inflammatory Processes)
  • LA can improve blood lipids and fight bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol when consumed as a substitute for saturated fats
  • Lowers the risk factors of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Health Benefits of Omega-9 Fatty Acids

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    Published on May 6, 2021

    15 Best Foods Rich in Omega-3

    15 Best Foods Rich in Omega-3

    Foods rich in omega-3 are very important for every living person. Omega-3 foods provide nutrition for good health, energy, and focus to help us become more productive. These foods go well with daily meals or can also be used as the main ingredient. Fish, seafood, nuts, and plant oil are a few foods people need to eat to get omega-3.

    Here are the 15 best foods that are rich in omega-3 that you should add to your diet.

    1. Shrimp

    In many restaurants, shrimp plays a major role in delicacies. It’s delicious, very nutritious, and easy to cook. Shrimps contain antioxidants to help boost immunity and fight infections. They also contain omega-3, which is very helpful in fighting heart conditions.

    However, you also have to be careful. Shrimp also contains plenty of cholesterols that affect blood flow.[1] So, make sure you eat them in moderation.

    2. Mackerel

    Fans of white fish will love eating mackerel because of the tremendous amount of omega-3 it contains. For every four ounces of the fish, there is about 2,700 mg of omega-3. Mackerels are very affordable and have been a healthy food source for centuries.

    There are several recipes online you can copy to create awesome meals for you and the family. People with mental disorders will also benefit a lot from omega-3 as eating mackerels help reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.[2]

    3. Chia Seeds

    Vegans love chia seeds because they contain omega-3, making them good for heart health. Also, they’re quite easy to make. Unlike flaxseed, you don’t need to grind them. You can eat them raw, make them into pudding, add them to a smoothie, or include them in your baking. Some people also like to sprinkle them on vegetables and yogurt.

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    Eating chia seeds may also aid in weight loss, especially when combined with exercise.[3] The omega-3 content can also help improve eye health. People with eye problems have a low amount of omega-3 in their bodies.[4] That’s why eating these seeds is good for reversing problems with eyesight.

    4. Kidney Beans

    You can also get omega-3 from eating kidney beans. Even though it’s in low concentration, it still provides you with some of that useful nutrient. Along with omega-3, kidney beans supply protein, fiber, antioxidants, and plant compounds. It also promotes colon health, aid weight loss, and moderates sugar levels.[5] You can add kidney beans to hot or cold salads, side dishes, pasta, and soup.

    5. Salmon

    Oily fish is one of the foods richest in omega-3, so they are high in demand. Salmon is very important and is regarded as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain omega 3, vitamin B-6, cobalamin, magnesium, protein, and saturated fats.[6]

    People experience inefficiency in personal life because of a low amount of omega-3. Eating salmon can help boost energy and increase productivity because of its abundance of omega-3. Wild salmon contains 3,428 mg of omega-3 in 198 grams, the second-highest in the world.[7] There are several recipes online for adding salmons to food. Children will benefit a lot from eating salmons because it also helps develop brain cells.[8]

    6. Flaxseed Oil

    People who are looking to increase their heart health turn to flaxseed. It’s one of the foods rich in omega-3 and is good for cooking. Consuming flaxseed oil help reduce cancer cell growth and treats constipation and diarrhea.[9]

    The omega-3 content also helps improve skin health and reduce inflammation. Eating flaxseed oil raw is the best thing to do. You can also add it to salad dressing or sauces or use it in low-heat cooking.

    7. Brussels Sprout

    For those who love vegetables, brussels sprout is one of the best foods rich in omega-3. Cooked Brussels sprout contains 135 mg of omega-3 per 78 grams. Apart from omega-3, the vegetable also offers fiber, vitamin K, and antioxidants.[10]

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    Adding the vegetable to a meal is very easy. It’s simple to prepare and cook, and there are several recipes online you can copy. Brussel sprouts are also very delicious, and they provide many health benefits.

    8. Walnut

    Eating walnut is one of the healthiest things anyone can do. All you need to do is soak them in water overnight and munch them in the morning. People also like adding them to cereals for the flavor and taste.

    There are benefits of eating walnuts, including decreased inflammation and promoting gut health. But their high omega-3 content remains the best reason for eating them. Walnuts also lower blood pressure and help you improve in physical activities.[11] You can find walnuts in stores or buy them online fresh.

    9. Avocadoes

    It’s no surprise that avocado is on the list of best foods rich in omega-3. Even though it contains low amounts, it’s still one of the best to consume. Avocado has a superfood status because it contains a large amount of healthy fats and oils. It’s delicious, easy to cook, and can be eaten raw or added to other meals. They contain more potassium than bananas, are good for the heart, and help lower cholesterol.[12]

    Most people who eat avocado regularly tend to be healthier than those who don’t. There are several recipes for making delicious avocado for consumption. Guacamole is one of the most popular, which has become a part of international cuisine.

    10. Red Lentils

    Protein, iron, and potassium are the main reasons people eat red lentils. Also, the edible legume is one of the best foods that are rich in omega-3. Eating red lentils is also good for the skin, helping you have that fabulous glow. It also supplies magnesium, which aids the flow of blood and oxygen around the body.[13]

    You can also get folate from red lentils. These nutrients all work to improve blood vessels and promote a good heart. You can cook it, eat it alone, or add it to salads and vegetables.

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    11. Mustard Seed

    Eating mustard seed or mustard oil is good for health in many ways. It’s one of the foods in the world that provides healthy oil goods for consumption. Mustard seed contains not just omega-3 but also omega-6 and other saturated fat content. It also promotes energy and vitality.[14] Are you feeling tired and unable to do what you want? You can improve your productivity by chewing on some mustard seeds.

    It also supports heart health, reduces inflammation, and treats colds. There are several ways to eat it. You can add to salads, sprinkled inside warm meals, or added to milk. The best way to consume mustard seed is by making it into a mustard paste. Then, it can go into salad dressing and other things.

    12. Spinach

    Eating leafy green plants is good for the health because of their nutrients. They also give energy and reduce oxidative stress. Spinach contains plant compounds like lutein, which is good for eye health. It also contains nitrates, which help to protect the heart and boost energy. You will get vitamin A, K1, C, and folic acid from it as well.[15]

    Spinach is one of the best sources of omega-3 for people who love leafy vegetables. 100 grams of spinach has 370 milligrams of omega-3. Eating spinach energizes the body and helps promote an active and healthy lifestyle.[16] The garlic sautéed spinach is a delicacy that is well-known and appreciated around the world.

    13. Navy Beans

    People eat navy beans because of fiber, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, and folate. It also contains some amount of omega-3. If you love beans, then navy beans are an excellent way to get omega-3 into your system. The omega-3 in navy beans helps regulate sugar blood levels to prevent or manage diabetes.[17]

    It also improves digestion, promotes blood circulation, and repairs damaged tissue. Navy beans soup is a delicacy that many people enjoy. You can eat the beans with bread for breakfast. The folate in navy beans provides energy, which keeps you active all day.

    14. Caviar

    People pay thousands of dollars to have a taste of caviar. The food comes from the roe of wild sturgeon in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. It’s one of the most expensive foods rich in omega-3. So, when you’re paying that high amount, you know you’re getting something worthy.[18]

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    There are several types of caviar distinguished by color and other factors. Beluga caviar is about the most expensive, which costs about $8,000 per kg. Caviar also has vitamin B12, A, E, B6, selenium, and magnesium.[19]

    15. Sardines

    For every three ounces of sardines, you get two grams of omega-3. Sardines have been a favorite food for centuries due to their healthy oil content that promotes heart health and also because they are very delicious.

    They also contain vitamin D and calcium, which improves heart health. They are mostly served in cans, but some consume them grilled or smoked. There are several ways to eat sardines, including adding them to salads. Some people eat them straight out of the can, while others add pepper, salt, and garlic before consuming them.[20]

    You can also add sardines to pasta to enrich the flavor and taste. Sardines are tasty and will help protect your heart and reduce inflammation.

    Summary

    Omega-3 is a nutrient that promotes good heart health, boosts immunity, and fights inflammation. You can live a healthy life by consuming foods that are rich in omega-3, along with a well-balanced diet and physical activity. This list of the 15 best omega-3 foods will help you add a variety to your meal plan while still staying healthy.

    More Healthy Omega-3 Foods You Should Try

    Featured photo credit: leonie wise via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Nutrition Considerations in Aquaculture: The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish Development and Human Health
    [2] Healthline: How Omega-3 Fish Oil Affects Your Brain and Mental Health
    [3] Healthline: Chia Seeds and Weight Loss: What You Need to Know
    [4] Harvard School of Public Health: Chia Seeds
    [5] Healthline: Kidney Beans 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
    [6] WebMD: The Health Benefits of Salmon
    [7] National Institutes of Health: 7 Things To Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [8] Grow by WebMD: Top 10 Brain Foods for Children
    [9] Healthline: 6 Benefits of Flaxseed Oil — Plus How to Use It
    [10] Healthline: 10 Ways Brussels Sprouts Benefit Your Health
    [11] Forbes: Why The Omega-3s In Walnuts Are Not The Same As The Ones In Fish And Algae
    [12] Cleveland Clinic: Why Avocados Are a Healthy — and Delicious — Addition to Your Diet
    [13] Medical News Today: What are the benefits of lentils?
    [14] VeryWellFit: Mustard Oil Nutrition Facts
    [15] Healthline: Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
    [16] SciElo: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants in Edible Wild Plants
    [17] Healthline: The 9 Healthiest Beans and Legumes You Can Eat
    [18] PubMed.gov: Effects of Scandinavian caviar paste enriched with stable fish oil on plasma phospholipid fatty acids and lipid peroxidation
    [19] California Caviar: HEALTH & NUTRITION: Benefits of Caviar
    [20] Medical News Today: Are sardines good for you?

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