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Omega 6

What is Omega 6? What is Omega 6 found in?

Omega 6 fatty acids, which include linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, are primarily found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils and beans), borage oil, grapeseed oil and sesame oil, to name a few. Omega 6 also comes from animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy. Grass fed or pasture raised meat and chicken eggs will also have a more beneficial omega 3:6 ratio to support health.

Omega 6 has many functions in the body. On a cellular level, these unsaturated fatty acids exist in the membranes of our cells and so contribute towards a healthy structure of the outer layer of a cell. A good balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats is required for healthy cell membranes. Zoom out, and it is clear that a healthy-shaped cell is vital for all aspects of health, because cells make up the tissues in our body.

Studies suggest omega 3 consumption to be more beneficial than omega 6 in terms of heart and general cardiovascular health, which includes the health of the blood vessels and transportation of blood around the body. However, balance of these essential fats is key to maintain the correct immune responses and the structure of the cell membranes.

When should you be aware of omega 6?

The same can be said for all aspects of immune health. Particularly in atopic conditions such as eczema and asthma, which are very often related and can often present in conjunction in the same individual.

Take caution in cooking, as heat destroys essential fatty acids. Heat generates free radicals which occur when an oil is exposed to the oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere. Consuming food cooked in cooking vegetable oils high in omega 6, for example, can therefore cause stress inside the body and generate premature ageing. A good alternative way to consume omega 6 fats in a health supporting way, is to use minimally processed oils such as extra virgin olive oils on salad, soups or stews.

What are the benefits of omega 6?

Supplementally, omega 6 is available in evening primrose oil, other names include borage or starflower oil. This source is particularly high in gamma-linolenic acid, which can be useful in cases where the desaturase enzymes responsible for converting essential fatty acids, is suboptimal. Adequate conversion is required to support anti-inflammatory processes in the body. Therefore higher intakes of gamma linolenic acid in these instances can be beneficial. For this reason, there is also much anecdotal evidence to support gamma linolenic acid for the support of hormone-related issues such as menopause or premenstrual syndrome.

Recommended For

Menopause , Premenstrual Tension/ Syndrome , Eczema , Psoriasis , Dry Skin , Hot Flushes / Hot Flashes , Breast tenderness , Cracked Lips , Acne

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