Omega 3, 6 & 9

Omega, 3, 6 & 9

Omega 3, 6 and 9 are all types of unsaturated fatty acids, fats that are good for you. Omega 3, 6 and 9 are different from each other with respect to their chemical structures (double bonds) - their properties and health benefits differ.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats called 'essential' as our bodies cannot produce these by themselves so we have to get our needs met through our diet. Omega-9 fatty acids, however, aren’t ‘essential’ as the body can produce them.


Where to find Omega 3, 6 & 9

Foods high in Omega-3

Omega-3 fats are a particular type of polyunsaturated fat usually found in:

  • oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • omega 3, 6 & 9 - Salmon
  • Cod liver oil (usually taken on a spoon or as a capsule)
  • flax seeds
  • white fish and shellfish like mussels, oysters, squid and crab
  • soybeans
  • tofu

Foods high in Omega-6

Omega-6 are also healthy unsaturated fats found in:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • omega 3, 6 & 9 - Spinach leaves
  • seeds
  • nuts and cooking oils such as linseed, corn and soybean oil
  • meat, poultry, fish and eggs

Foods high in Omega-9

Omega-9s are the most plentiful of the fatty acids. Unlike omega-6 and omega-3 they are not considered 'essential' as we can make omega-9s from unsaturated fat in our bodies. 

Omega-9 is usually found in:

  •  animal fats 
  • olive oil
  • omega 3, 6 & 9 - Olive Oil
  • canola oil
  • peanut oil
  • sunflower oil. 

Fish oils can also be taken in omega supplements form on a spoon or in capsules.


Benefits of Omega 3, 6 and 9

The three omega fatty acids have their own benefits.

Omega 3 fish oil benefits

  • Reduces risk of blood clots
  • Improves heart health
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Lower the risk of diseases like arthritis
  • Supports mental health
  • Improve concentration in children

Omega is always one of the most popular heart health supplements. The British Heart Foundation recommends eating oily fish at least once a week and to increase this to two to three portions weekly if you have had a heart attack. Omega-3 intake is also thought to be associated with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A recent study has also shown that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women. Omega 3-fatty acids are found in concentrated levels in the brain and are believed to improve cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning. For this reason, some experts recommend taking omega as a brain power supplement.

According to research, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear to have low levels of essential fatty acids. Some trials suggest omega-3 supplements may benefit these children by helping to improve their concentration and behaviour. A recent study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry* linked low levels of omega-3 to increased levels of anxiety, poor memory and increased hyperactivity in adolescents. More research is needed in this area.

Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are important for growth and development. In pregnancy omega-3 assists with the development of the baby's nervous system. Infants who get too little omega-3 in the womb may be at risk of developing vision and nerve problems. Other signs of an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, mood swings, poor circulation, poor memory, dry skin and heart problems.

Omega-6 benefits

  • Supports blood cots for wound healing
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps skin conditions like eczema
  • Reduces nerve pain

Omega-6 fatty acid does the opposite to omega-3 - helping our blood to clot which is important for wound healing. Omega-6 also boosts the immune system and is believed to help dry skin conditions such as eczema. Like omega-3, the omega-6 fatty acid is important for normal brain function and behaviour. Children with ADHD appear to be deficient in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Few people have a shortage of omega-6 fatty acids as it is found in most cooking oils.

Omega-9 benefits

Although not a perfect replacement, omega-9 fatty acids can be used by the body as a substitute for omega-3 and omega-6 if these essential fatty acids are in short supply. Olive oil is a rich source of omega-9 and is linked to many health benefits. However, it may be the high polyphenol content in olive oil rather than omega-9 itself that holds the key to good health. 

Polyphenols are thought to have anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and antibacterial properties. Omega-9s may play a role in helping to reduce LDL ('bad') cholesterol and raise HDL ('good') cholesterol and to control blood sugar levels.


Taking Omega 3, 6 and 9

How much Omega 3, 6 and 9 should you take per day?


Recommended dosage: You should aim to have two portions of fish a week. It’s recommended that adults and children over 12 years consume 140g of fresh fish, or one small can of oily fish per portion. Children aged seven to eleven should try to eat between one and one and a half small fillets per portion. Children aged between four and six should eat between half and one small fillet or two to four tablespoons of fish per portion. Younger children aged 18 months to three years should eat between a quarter and three-quarters of a small fillet or one to three tablespoons per portion. Alternatively, you can take a daily omega-3 supplement.

If you are pregnant, it’s recommended that you eat a maximum of two portions of oily fish per week. If you take blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin or are due to have surgery, you should get advice from your doctor before taking fish oil supplements as these can also thin your blood.

Side effects: Consuming more than 3 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding and lead to blood in the urine and nosebleeds. Omega-3 can also cause bad breath, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, heartburn and diarrhoea. Omega-3 supplements can also interact with blood-clotting drugs.

Check out Chemist Direct’s range of omega-3 supplements.


Recommended dosage: The recommended amount of omega-6 is 17g a day for men and 12g a day for women (aged 19 to 50). Here is how much omega-6 you’ll find in 100g of these foods:

  • Almonds: 12g
  • Cashew nuts: 8g
  • Mayonnaise: 39g
  • Sunflower seeds: 34g
  • Walnuts: 37g

Omega-6 can also be found in evening primrose oil supplements.

Side effects: Omega-6 can cause chronic tissue inflammation, swelling, water retention, headaches, nausea and loose stools. Taking too much omega-6 can raise your blood pressure, cause blood clots and increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack. If you have a history of seizures you should not take omega-6 supplements.


Recommended dosage: Consuming between one and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day should provide enough omega-9 for an adult. You should divide this dosage up throughout the day as it’s more beneficial to take olive oil as a time-released supplement than to take your entire daily dose in one go.

Side effects: If your diet is high in fat and cholesterol you could consume too much omega-9, putting you at increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. You could also build up too much omega-9 in your body if it lacks sufficient omega-3.


Should you take Omega 3, 6 & 9 supplements?

The combined benefits of omega 3, 6, and 9 are incredibly important to your health and wellbeing. However, the intake of omega 3, 6, and 9 in the average Western diet is often lower than recommended. Supplements offer all the benefits of the individual fatty acids and provide a balanced amount.


Who should not take Omega 3, 6 & 9 supplements?

You should avoid taking omega 3, 6 and 9 supplements if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding. You should also avoid it if you have a history of seizures or are due to have surgery. You should also get medical advice before taking these supplements if you have a history of heart problems.


How to choose an Omega 3, 6 & 9 supplement

When choosing a supplement, make sure you read the ingredients first. If it contains anything you aren’t sure of, do some research so you know exactly what you are taking. You also need to choose a supplement that has the right dose for you, to give you the right balance of enough without over-supplementing.


Buy Omega Supplements


Bottom line

Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids are all very important dietary fats which you can find in a healthy balanced diet. Alternatively, our range of omega supplements can help you reach the right amount of these fatty acids at the appropriate dosage.




Related Articles: