Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids were discovered by a husband-and-wife team of scientists over 90 years ago.
These fatty acids are essential to our health and are critical in many cellular functions and processes.
What do Omega 6s do for your body?
Omega 6s are related to many different bodily processes.
Omega 6s are related to healthy brain function, and more specifically they support cognitive function.
Research shows that having enough Omega 6s in your diet, along with Omega 3s, can help to support your cognitive function and reduce the loss of cognitive abilities due to aging.
Growth and Development
Omega 6s are related to healthy growth and development, which are especially important for growing children.
If you are planning to give your child Omega 3 or Omega 6 supplements, first discuss it with their pediatrician.
Healthy Bones and Teeth
Omega 6s are important for building strong bones and teeth in children. For adults, Omega 6s are important for the maintenance of your bones and teeth
Calcium and vitamin D are also equally important for healthy bones and teeth.
Hair and Skin Health
Omega 6s can help your hair and skin to look healthier. A lack of omega 6 in the diet can make hair look dull and dry.
Omega 6s help to support a healthy metabolism, which may help you to lose or maintain weight when used as part of a healthy diet.
Shouldn’t I be scared of eating fat?
Since the 1970s, there has been a fear around eating fat.
Too much saturated fat can lead to heart disease, but unsaturated fats can be a healthy part of your overall diet and can help to protect your body from disease.
Saturated fats are found mostly in red meat as well as full fat dairy products such as butter. When eating in too high of a quantity, these saturated fats can lead to problems.
Omega 6s are unsaturated fats. They have many benefits for your brain, bones and metabolism.
Omega 6s can also help to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and raise your HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
How much Omega 6 do I need?
Ideally, you want to consume Omega 6s and Omega 3s daily. It is recommended to get a ratio of 1:1 up to 4:1 of Omega 6s to Omega 3s.
This may look different for everyone depending on your age or sex.
Babies ages 1 to 3 years should get about 7 g of Omega 6s a day.
Children ages 4 to 8 years should get about 10 grams of Omega 6s per day.
The recommendation of Omega 6s for men aged 19-50 years is 17 g per day, whereas the recommendation for women aged 19-50 years is about 12 g per day.
If you are not sure of your specific needs for omega fatty acids, speak to your healthcare professional.
How can I get Omega 6s?
Some foods that are high in Omega 6s are:
- vegetable oils such as soybean or corn oil
- sunflower seeds
It is always best to try to meet our nutritional needs with foods, but it is not always possible. If you are finding that you can’t get enough omega fatty acids with your food, you can add in a supplement.
Most omega supplements will contain Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids in the recommended proportions.
Omega 6s are part of a healthy diet, just like all of the other vitamins and minerals that we need on a daily basis. When consumed in moderation, fats are part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember to discuss supplements with your healthcare provider!