Omega-3, 6 & 9: The technical bit

Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 all contain essential fatty acids that all provide a multitude of health benefits Their difference lies in the position of the first double bond from the methyl end or the omega end of the carbon chain. As their names imply, omega-3 fatty acids have their first double bond in the third position from the end of the chain, omega-6 fatty acids have their first double bond in the sixth position from the end of the chain and omega-9 fatty acids have their first double bond in the ninth position from the end of the chain.

  • The main components of omega-3 include Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).
  • The main components of omega-6 include Linolenic Acid (LA), Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Arachidonic Acid (AA).
  • The main component of omega-9 is Oleic Acid (OA).

All omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are much healthier than saturated fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids (EFA’s) due the fact that our bodies cannot manufacture them, so they must be consumed in our diets. Omega-9 fatty acids are known as monounsaturated fats and are not classed as essential fatty acids because our body can manufacture them.

Omega-3, 6 & 9 combined have positive effects on:

  • The cardiovascular system
  • Metabolism
  • Mental and cognitive function
  • Joints and the nervous system
  • The immune system

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