Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 Fatty Acids – Benefits and Side Effects

Omega-3,6,9 are essential fatty acids for all healthy diets. Each omega fatty acids offers the best benefits for health. Having an imbalance of omega fatty acid cause to trigger chronic disease.

This article explains all the detail information of all the three omega fatty acids.

What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids belong to polyunsaturated fats that got nutritional values in the world for providing meaningful abilities to manage and prevent ailment and provide health benefits in the human body. It is a combination of 3-fats such as ALA (a-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It is an important fatty acid, which cannot be adequately generated by the body, and it can be obtained from dietary sources. ALA is importantly found in plant oils such as hemp oil, flaxseed oil, berry oils, and sea buckthorn seed, etc. while DHA and EPA can be taken from marine oil like squid oil, fish oil, algal oil, krill oil to name.

Since the human cannot produce omega-3s on their own, these fatty acids are helpful in the diet. The WHO (World-Health-Organization) suggests consuming at least 2-portion of oily fish every week, which contain rich omega-3 DHA and EPA. There are different types of omega-3 fats, which alter their chemical size and shape. Here are three common omega fatty acids.

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): It is a 20-carbon fatty acid, which is responsible for the function to produce a chemical named as eicosanoids. This chemical helps to lower the inflammation and depression symptoms.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): It is a 22-carbon fatty acid, which creates around 8% of brain weight and extremely essential for the normal functions and development of the brain.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): It is an 18-carbon fatty acid, which can be converted into DHA and EPA, even the process is not useful. ALA is primarily used by your body for energy.

Benefits of Omega-3

Improving heart health

Omega-3 fatty acid helps to promote HDL cholesterol (Good). They can also lower triglycerides, blood pressure, and arterial plaques.

Adding omega-3 in your diet manages your blood platelets from bumping together. It helps to prevent harmful blood clots formation.

It prevents the arteries’ damage by keeping them smooth and prevent plaque formation and hardening of arteries.

Omega-3 consumption lowers the production of specific substances released during the inflammatory response of the body.

Benefits Depression and Anxiety

Depression is one of the common disorders of mental health. Its symptoms include lethargy, sadness, and no interest in life. Anxiety is another common ailment that occurred by nervousness and constant worry.

Consuming omega-3 helps to relieve depression and prevent anxiety.

Improve Eye Health

DHA is one type of omega-3, which is a primary structural component of your retina of the eye. DHA deficiency contributes to vision problems. Adding omega-3 in your diet helps to lower the risk of macular degeneration and eye damage.

Improve Brain During Pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the advancement and growth of infants. DHA values for 40% of the polyunsaturated-fatty-acids in the brain and 60% in the eye retina. Therefore, there is no wonder that new-borns consumed a DHA fortified formula give better eyesight than the newborn fed a formula without it. Drinking enough omega-3s in pregnancy has linked with numerous benefits for the child, including:

  • Higher intelligence
  • Better interaction and social abilities
  • Less behavioral problems
  • Reduced risk of developmental delay
  • Lowered risk of ADHD

Reduce Signs of ADHD in Children

Some children experience attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is a type of behavioral disorder with symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Various studies tell that children with ADHA suffer from lower blood levels of omega-3 than healthy children. Many studies found that omega-3 supplements can decrease ADHD symptoms like aggression, restlessness, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity.

Lower Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of different conditions. It includes belly fats, central obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and high triglycerides.

It is one of the common health problems in the present-day that increase the illness of diabetes and heart ailments. Adding omega-3 fatty acids helps to improve your insulin resistance, heart problems risk, and inflammation in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a type of natural response to damage or infection in the body. Therefore, it is important to treat. However, inflammation is a result of underlying long-term conditions. Having long term inflammation may lead to chronic illness such as cancer or heart diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower the molecule’s production, and particles linked with inflammation such as cytokines and inflammatory eicosanoids.

Combat Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune ailments are the mistaken response of the immune system on healthy cells. If often happen in type-1 diabetes, which causes to attack of insulin cells in the pancreas.

Omega-3 can helps to regulate these diseases and essentially in early life.

Enhance Mental Disorders

Low levels of omega-3 have been seen in people with psychiatric disorders. According to studies, omega-3 supplements help to lower the frequency of mood swings and relapses in the individual with both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Consuming omega-3 fatty acid supplements helps to reduce violent behavior.

It also fights with an age-related disease like cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases cause unavoidable again consequences.

Lessen Asthma in Children

Asthma is chronic lung disease with symptoms like shortness, coughing, wheezing, and breath shortness. Chronic asthma attacks can be harmful and cause swelling and inflammation in the lungs. Adding omega-3 helps to reduce the asthma risk in young adults and children.

Prevent Cancer


Cancer is one of the primary causes of death in western countries, and omega-3 fatty acids have claimed to lower the risk of certain cancers.

According to studies, people who took omega-3 have shown up to a 55% reduction in colon cancer. Additionally, it also lowers the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer in women.

Lower Fat in Your Liver

Many people suffer from fatty liver disease even though they are non-alcoholic. Fatty liver disease has increased risk when you have obesity. However, taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements work effectively for lowering fat in liver and inflammation in individuals with NAFLD.

Enhance Bone and Joint

Many lifestyle factors on bone and joint health, which causes arthritis and osteoporosis. It also affects the skeletal system.

According to studies, omega-3 helps to improve bone strength and promote bone calcium, which lower the osteoporosis. Omega-3s also help to treat arthritis problems.

Alleviate Menstrual Pain

Some women experience extreme menstrual pain in the pelvis and lower abdomen, which often radiate in the thighs and lower back. It will affect on quality life and limit the activities. However, studies show that women who eat more omega-3 experience mild menstrual pain.

According to one study, omega-3 supplements work effectively than ibuprofen in managing severe pain during menstruation.

Improve Sleep

Adding omega-3 in your diet helps to improve sleep quality. Many studies tell that sleep deprivation helps to trigger many diseases such as depression, obesity, and diabetes. Lack of omega-3 fatty acid causes sleep problems in children and sleep apnea in adult people.

Having reduced DHA is linked with lowering the melatonin hormone, which helps to assist in sleep.

Good for Your Skin

DHA is an important structural component of skin. It works for cell membranes of health, which generate large skin parts. A healthy cell membrane leads to moist, soft, wrinkle-free, and supple skin. Here are the main skin benefits: Prevent hyperkeratinization in hair follicles that appear red, little bumps on upper arms.

  • Hydrate skin and regulate oil production
  • Lower premature aging in the skin
  • Lower acne risk

Side Effects of Omega-3 Fats

Generally, the omega-3 fats are safe, but consuming increased quantity may cause the following side effects.

  • Bleeding Gums
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing Up Blood
  • Difficulty with Breathing Or Swallowing
  • Headache
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irregular Or Fast Heartbeat
  • Itching, Hives, Or Skin Rash
  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Increased Menstrual Flow
  • Paralysis
  • Bleeding From Cuts
  • Swelling Or Puffiness Of The Eyelids
  • Black, Red, Tarry Stools
  • Dark Brown Or Red Urine
  • Sweating
  • Chest Tightness
  • Extreme Tiredness Or Weakness

Some side effects of omega-3 (polyunsaturated) fatty acids may happen, and that does not require medical attention. These side effects may reduce while treatment, as your body, requires adapts to the medicine. Your healthcare professional may help to prevent or lower the side effects. Try to check with your health care professional for the following side effects.

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Unpleasant, bad, unusual taste
  • Belching
  • Bloating or full feeling
  • Excess gas or air in the stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach upset, discomfort, or pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty bowel movement
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Stomach fullness
  • Passing of gas

Already Consuming Omega-3s?

If you are already consuming an OTC supplement of omega-3, then you do not require to stop the consumption unless your doctor tells you to change. Make sure to know that you are getting enough omega-3,6 fatty acids from your diet.

What is Omega-6?

Omega-6 is also a type of fatty acid that are polyunsaturated fatty acids. The difference is it has six carbons from omega in the fatty acid molecule. You can obtain the omega-6 from your diet.

The omega-6 fatty acids are helpful for energy. It is a common of linoleic acid, which can be changed into omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid.

Like ARA, EPA is utilized to generate eicosanoids. However, the eicosanoids generated by ARA are more pro-inflammatory.

Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are essential for chemicals in your immune system. However, when many of them are generated, they can boost inflammation and other diseases.

Even though omega-6 fats are important, the modern western diet may not contain enough omega-6 fatty acids than required.

The recommended ratio of omega-6 – omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is 4:1 or less.

Therefore, omega-6 fats are important to consume in the right quantities most individuals from developed countries should not consume omega-6 more than required.

GLA- Gamma-linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid available in certain oils such as borage oil and evening primrose oil. After consumption, it converted into different fatty acids called Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic acid (DGLA).

According to another study, consuming more GLA supplements significantly helps to lower rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Another study discovered that consuming GLA supplements helps to work effectively for treating breast cancer than medicine alone.

Benefits of Omega-6

The omega-6 fatty acids can be obtained from diets containing vegetable oils, including linoleic acid. More of linolenic acid cause to induce inflammation and result in asthma, heart problems, arthritis, and depression.

Try to balance all the omega fats in your diet to boost entire health. Improper balance and more consumption of omega-6 cause to increase diseases.

Omega-6 Side Effects

Omega-6 fatty acids are safe but consumed by elders and children of the age of 12 months as a part of the diet in quantity between 5%-10% of everyday calories. However, special precaution requires in some conditions.

Pregnancy and baby feeding

Omega-6 fatty acids should not exceed 5%-10% in everyday calorie requirements. Make sure to ask your doctor before consuming it in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Omega-6 can also increase high triglycerides, which is a type of cholesterol. Avoid omega-6 if you have a cholesterol problem.

What is Omega-9?

Omega-9 is also a type of fatty acids, which are monounsaturated, and they contain double bonds. It has nine carbons from omega and fatty acid molecule.

Oleic acid is a common type of omega-9 fatty acid, and it is a monounsaturated fatty acid in your diet.

Omega-9 fatty acids are not strictly important because they are produced by the body.

However, eating foods containing rich omega-9 fatty acids in place of different fats provide numerous health benefits.

According to one large study, discovered that diet with high monounsaturated fats helps to lower plasma triglycerides by 19% and bad cholesterol by 22% in proteins by diabetes.

Which Foods Hold These Fats?

You can get omega-3,6, 9 fatty acids from your everyday diet. However, it is essential to get the proper balance of each of the fatty acids. The western diet consists of more omega-6 fats than the requirement and less omega-3 fats.

Foods Containing High Omega-3 Fats

You can find omega-3 DHA and EPA in oily fish. However, you can also get this omega-3 from marine food such as algal oil. ALA, in other sources, can be obtained from seeds and nuts. There are no standard rules for daily omega-3 intake, and the different organization provides guidelines.

According to the Food-and-Nutrition-Board of the US-Institute-of-Medicine, the sufficient consumption of omega-3 fats every day is 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women, for adults of more than 19 years.

Here are the different amounts of omega-3 in each serving of food.

  • Salmon: 4.0 grams (EPA and DHA)
  • Chia seeds: 4.9 grams ALA
  • Walnuts: 2.5 grams ALA
  • Flaxseeds: 2.3 grams ALA
  • Mackerel: 3.0 grams (EPA and DHA)
  • Sardines: 2.2 grams (EPA and DHA)
  • Anchovies: 1.0 grams (EPA and DHA)

Foods Containing High Omega-6 Fats

Omega-6 fats are available in large amounts in the refined vegetable oils and foods cooked with vegetable oils. Seeds and nuts also provide a significant quantity of omega-6 fatty acids.

According to Food-and-Nutrition-Board of the US-Institute-of-Medicine, the sufficient consumption of omega-6s every day is 17gm for men and 12 gm for women, for adults with 19-50 years.

Here is the value of omega-6s in 100gm (3.5 oz of the following food:

Foods Containing High Omega-9 Fats

Omega-9 fats are also available in seed oils and vegetable oils. There is no sufficient consumption recommended for omega-9, as they are not much essential.

Here are the foods containing high omega-9 fats.

Should You Consume an Omega-3-6-9 Supplement?

The combinations of omega-3-6-9 supplements, generally provide each fatty acid in proper proportions, including 2:1:1 for omega-3,6,9 and these oils can help to raise the intake of omega-3 fats, which should be eaten more in the Western diet.

Additionally, these oils give a healthy balance of fatty acids to the balance of omega-6 – omega-3 is lower than 4:1.

However, most people already eat more omega-6, and omega-9 is generated by the body, there is no general requirement to the supplement with these all fats.

Therefore, it is a good idea to focus on your diet to get a better balance of omega-3,6,9 fatty acids. It should be like consuming at least 2-portions of oily fish every week and use olive oil for cooking and salad dressing.

Additionally, eat only limited omega-6 by limiting omega-6 vegetable oils and fried foods cooked with refined vegetable oils. If you are not getting enough omega-3 from your diet, then take your doctor’s help for omega-3 supplements instead of combined Omega-3,6,9 supplements.

Omega 3-6-9 Supplement: How to Choose?

Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 Fatty Acids Benefits Side effectSame like other oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids are quick oxidized when coming in contact with light and heat. Therefore, if you are purchasing Omega-3,6,9 supplements, try to choose the cold-pressed. It means the oil extraction done with limited heat and reduced oxidization, which cannot damage the fatty acid molecules. Choose the oil containing antioxidants like vitamin E to make sure the supplement is not oxidized.

Additionally, choose a supplement with more omega-3 content ideally, more than 0.3 gm every serving. Moreover, since DHA and EPA have good health benefits than the ALA, select supplements consist of fish oil or algal oil in place of flaxseed oil.

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