Omega-6 fatty acids, also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, PUFAs, omega-6 oils, or simply omega-6 is a type of fat. Read on to learn about the sources of omega-6, its benefits, and side effects.
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of fat which can be naturally found in many foodstuffs like vegetable oils and many nuts and seeds. It is used to treat many conditions. It is helpful to reduce the risk of heart disease, to decrease the level of bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol level, and reduce the occurrence of cancer.
Omega-6 can be taken in the form of supplemental oils like black currant and primrose oils. You can find these oils in specialty health stores which keep herbal supplements. It is also found in many vegetable oils like corn oil, sunflower oil, and soy oil. You can also find it in egg yolk and cow’s milk too.
Many nuts and seeds contain a good amount of omega-6, you can find it in walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Non-vegetarian items which comprise the list are meat, poultry, and kidneys. They also contain a healthy amount of arachidonic acid, which is a form of omega-6 that helps in managing many bodily reactions like inflammations.
It helps in regulating many functions in the body and thus, forms an important part of a balanced diet. It helps to produce synthesizing hormones and steroids, to regulate pressure in the joints, blood vessels and eyes, and mediating the immune response. It also helps to regulate collateral circulation, to dilate or constrict blood vessels, and to regulate bodily secretions and their viscosity.
Omega-6 also helps to regulate nerve transmission and communication, mediate release substances responsible for inflammation from cells which trigger allergic reaction, and to prevent blood cell from clumping, thus preventing stroke. It also helps to maintain regular fluid balance and kidney function, transport oxygen from RBCs to the tissues. It also aids in maintaining fluidity and rigidity of cellular membranes; and regulating inflow and outflow of certain substances from the cell. It also helps to regulate the rate of cell division and direct endocrine hormones to their target cells.
Daily Dosage Recommendation
Most western diets contain many foodstuffs like eggs and meat, hence the consumption of omega-6 in such a diet is high. However, the consumption of omega-3 essential fatty acids is less. It is important to consume omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids together in a ratio of 3:1. By consuming omega-6 with the right ratio of omega-3, one can get many health benefits like support in cancer treatment, prevention and improvement in diabetic neuropathy, clearing up of acne and rosacea, reduction in the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema, relief from discomfort during PMS, and reduction in aches and pains related to rheumatoid arthritis.
The appropriate dosage of omega-6, gets affected by many factors like the person’s age, health, etc. Hence, scientifically appropriate dosage of this fatty acid is yet not established. However, consuming natural food sources is always safer. To know about the appropriate dosage consult a doctor or a pharmacist.
People with high triglycerides level need to avoid taking it. Because consumption of omega-6 can raise the level of triglycerides. Also, enough data is not available on consumption of this fatty acid during pregnancy and nursing. Hence, be on the safer side and avoid use of omega-6 if you are nursing or pregnant.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.