Omega 3-6-9 Advantages & Variations: A Full Information to Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9

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Fast Well being Scoop

  • The three essential omega fatty acids are known as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9
  • The omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) are each important fatty acids, which means your physique can’t make them and you need to get them from meals
  • The omega-9 oleic acid is non-essential, which means your physique can produce it, however you may also get it from meals
  • The bottom line is consuming the appropriate steadiness of omega-3 omega-6, and omega-9 to help your general well being and wellbeing

You’ve most likely heard in regards to the fatty acids known as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. Whereas they differ in chemical construction, these mono- and polyunsaturated fat all play vital roles in correct physique functioning. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present structural help to your physique’s cell membranes, supporting their fluidity and adaptability which is important for cells to perform and talk successfully. For instance, the omega-3s EPA and DHA are present in massive portions in your mind and eyes, and help your physique’s eyes, mind and coronary heart well being. As a result of these fatty acids are very important to your well being, it’s vital that you just get sufficient of them in the appropriate steadiness.

However what’s the distinction between omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9? Is one higher than the opposite? Which meals present the very best sources of those fatty acids? And what are the advantages of every? 

What’s the Distinction Between Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9?

With out entering into an in depth chemistry lesson, the omegas omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids differ of their chemical construction and bodily properties. Omega-3s and omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which means they’ve a couple of double bond. Omega-9s are monounsaturated fatty acids, which suggests they’ve one double bond. Sadly, people lack the enzymes essential to insert a double bond in polyunsaturated fat like ALA and LA, which make them important fatty acids and may solely be obtained by way of meals or dietary supplements. Equally, the omega-3s EPA and DHA could be made within the physique by way of ALA, however the conversion price may be very low,1,2 due to this fact EPA and DHA needs to be consumed by way of meals or dietary supplements to realize the specified ranges within the physique. Let’s break down a few of the particular omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids our our bodies want: 


  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This important polyunsaturated fatty acid is present in flaxseeds, walnuts and their oils.  
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): This long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily present in seafood like salmon, oysters, and crab. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Like EPA, this long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily present in seafood. Good sources embody salmon, tuna and sardines. 

Is Omega-3 the identical as fish oil? As a result of fish oil is a superb supply of the omega-3s EPA and DHA, typically the names are used interchangeably. However all seafood and even algae include the omega-3s EPA and DHA in various quantities. 


  • Linolenic acid (LA): This important polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily present in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.


  • Oleic acid (OA): This monounsaturated fatty acid is present in avocados, olives and olive oil. 

These polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are the wholesome fat that it’s best to concentrate on each day, and it’s best to restrict or keep away from saturated fat and trans fat like butter, shortening and lard.3 

Omega 3 Sources and Advantages

Omega-3 Meals Sources

Your greatest wager for getting satisfactory quantities of omega-3s lies within the sea, particularly oily, cold-water fish. However you may also discover omega-3s in non-seafood and plant sources as properly.4

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  • Seafood: cod, herring, krill, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, oysters, and anchovies
  • Oils: flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils
  • Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts
  • Omega-3 fortified meals (like eggs, yogurt, juices, and milk)

Omega-3 Advantages

Coronary heart Well being Help

Analysis has proven that omega-3 fatty acids could cut back your danger of coronary heart illness.5,6 In accordance with probably the most complete overview so far of the omega-3s EPA and DHA and their relationship to coronary coronary heart illness—EPA and DHA consumption could cut back the danger of coronary coronary heart illness, particularly for individuals who are thought-about to be in a “greater danger inhabitants” comparable to these with greater blood triglyceride ranges or low HDL (good) ldl cholesterol.7 There may be a lot proof on EPA and DHA and coronary heart well being, the FDA has issued a Certified Well being Declare, stating “Supportive however not conclusive analysis reveals that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids could cut back the danger of coronary coronary heart illness. (See diet data for complete fats, saturated fats, and ldl cholesterol content material).”

Mind and Eye Well being Help

Omega-3s are present in massive portions within the mind and eyes. In reality, DHA is probably the most ample fatty acid present in each your mind and eyes. In your mind, DHA helps neurons transmit messages that permits your physique to speak and performance usually. In your eyes, DHA performs an vital function in permitting you to see clearly in several lighting situations.


Omega 6 Sources and Advantages

Omega-6 Meals Sources

Look to wholesome sources for getting satisfactory quantities of omega-6, particularly plant-based meals.4

  • Plant-based oils: corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil 
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
  • Meat, eggs, and dairy merchandise 

Omega-6 Advantages

Like omega-3s, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids like LA are vital to cell membrane construction and performance. Whereas changing saturated fat in your weight loss plan with unsaturated fatty acids is a wholesome selection, taking an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids could also be detrimental to your well being. Due to the Western weight loss plan, most People sometimes devour an excessive amount of omega-6s in comparison with omega-3s from vegetable oils and processed meals, with an out-of-proportion ratio of 20:1.8 Ideally, intention for a omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 1:1, or a most ratio of 5:1.9 The bottom line is to extend the quantity of omega-3s in your weight loss plan and likewise exchange vegetable oils with olive oil, which is a wealthy supply of omega-9 fatty acids. The rationale? A extra balanced ratio gives anti-inflammatory advantages, whereas an unbalanced ratio could be pro-inflammatory.10 

Omega 9 Sources and Advantages

Omega-9 Meals Sources

Look to wholesome sources for getting sufficient omega-9, particularly plant-based meals.4

  • Plant-based oils: almond oil, avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, rapeseed, sunflower seeds
  • Avocados, olives

Omega-9 Advantages

  • Help coronary heart well being. If you exchange saturated fat like butter with oils wealthy in omega-9 like olive oil, you’re lowering your ldl cholesterol consumption and growing the ”good” (HDL) ldl cholesterol and decreasing the “unhealthy” (LDL) ldl cholesterol. 

Do I Want Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9?

Now that you just’ve acquired a greater understanding of all three essential omegas—together with meals sources and well being advantages—you understand you want these fatty acids in your weight loss plan, as all of them play vital features within the physique. Specializing in these wholesome fat as an alternative of saturated fat can also be good in your coronary heart well being as properly. The trick is to devour these fatty acids in the appropriate ratio. Most People eat 14 to 25 occasions extra omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.11 The easiest way to steadiness out your omega consumption will not be by chopping again on wholesome omega-6 fat, however by growing your consumption of omega-3s.  If you happen to don’t eat a whole lot of cold-water fatty fish, discuss to your physician about fish oil dietary supplements or omega-3 dietary supplements.

The Backside Line

To perform correctly, your physique wants the omegas omega-3, omega-6. and omega-9 fatty acids. Your physique can’t produce omega-3 and omega-6 important fatty acids, so you need to get them from meals or dietary supplements As a result of your physique could make omega-9, it’s thought-about a non-essential fatty acid—nevertheless it’s nonetheless vital for well being causes. Analysis reveals that omega 3-6-9 advantages your well being, particularly of their means to help coronary heart well being, as specializing in these wholesome fat as an alternative of saturated fat reduces your consumption of dietary ldl cholesterol. You want all three of those wholesome, unsaturated fat, however the hot button is consuming the appropriate steadiness of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9.

Proceed to verify again on the Nature Made weblog for the newest science-backed articles that will help you take possession of your well being. 

Study Extra About The Omegas and Coronary heart Well being:

  • Fish Oil Coronary heart Well being Advantages
  • Coronary heart Wholesome Meals Checklist


  1. Burdge GC, Jones AE, Wootton SA. Eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids are the principal merchandise of α-linolenic acid metabolism in younger males. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):355-364.
  2. Burdge GC, Wootton SA. Conversion of α-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in younger ladies. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):411-420.
  3. Nationwide Institutes of Well being. “The Skinny on Fats: The Good, the Dangerous, and the Unknown.” March 2019. Accessed on: March 26, 2021. 
  4. US Division of Agriculture ARS. USDA Nationwide Nutrient Database for Commonplace Reference. Accessible at: Accessed on April 27, 2021
  5. American Coronary heart Affiliation. “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” March 23, 2017. Accessed on: March 22, 2021. https://www.coronary
  6. American Coronary heart Affiliation. “Fish oil dietary supplements present some profit after coronary heart assault, coronary heart failure.” March 13, 2017. Accessed on: March 23, 2021. https://www.coronary
  7. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “Impact of Omega-3 Dosage on Cardiovascular Outcomes.” February 1, 2021. Accessible at: Accessed on April 27, 2021.
  8. Missouri Drugs. “The Significance of Sustaining a Low Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio for Lowering the Danger of Inflammatory Cytokine Storms.” Nov-Dec 2020. Accessed on: April 20, 2021.
  9. Journal of Lipids. “Overconsumption of Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) versus Deficiency of Omega-3 PUFAs in Fashionable-Day Diets: The Disturbing Issue for Their “Balanced Antagonistic Metabolic Capabilities” within the Human Physique.” March 17, 2021. Accessed on: April 20, 2021.
  10. Open Coronary heart. “Significance of sustaining a low omega–6/omega–3 ratio for lowering irritation.” 2018. Accessed on: April 20, 2021.
  11. Icahn College of Drugs at Mt. Sinai. “Omega-6 fatty acids.” 2021. Accessed on: March 30, 2021.

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