Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids. A Detailed Definitive Guide. Learn Why You Should Start Taking Omegas [RIGHT NOW]
This Omega Guide is fun to read.
Each omega fat (3-6-9) has its own unique health benefits. Interestingly, what seems to be the most important aspect is taking them in the right amounts (THE RIGHT RATIO)
So, what is the RIGHT RATIO of taking the Omegas?
…and find out which Omegas that are even known to cut belly fat, the reason why world-class models and bodybuilders use Omega oils to stay in perfect shape
My thoughts about this article… No matter how long you think it is, I beg you kindly read it all. There is something for everyone, starting with pregnant moms, newborn children till age 9 years, teenagers with acne, women with hormonal issues, menstruating women, menopausal women to our elderly parents and grandparents.
Just commit to reading it all. You will not regret
Most people have heard about the Omega-3, fish oil, seven seas (sold in Kenya) but most people may not know much about Omega 6 and Omega 9.
In fact, after reading this guide, you will start looking at some local expensive fish oils with skepticism.
Why? because they are far from complete!
What Are Fatty Acids?
Before we dive in, let’s define FATTY ACIDS: Fatty acids are BUILDING BLOCKS of any fat type. Assuming that a “FAT” (Example, Omega-3) is a house, Fatty acids would be the building blocks 😊
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
What are they?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, meaning that they have several double bonds in the chemical structure.
The term “polyunsaturated” refers to their chemical structure, as “poly” means many and “unsaturated” refers to double bonds. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature 😊.
Human bodies cannot produce Omega-3 and must be either eaten or supplemented. All nutrients our bodies cannot make are called essential nutrients.
This means Omega-3 oils are ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS.
There are 3 types of Omega-3 Oils.
You need to know them- they’re super important
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid):
ALA is the commonest Omega-3 fat. ALA is not active in human bodies and needs to be converted to the next two forms (DHA & EPA)
The process of converting ALA to DHA & EPA is very inefficient.
TIP: Not all omega-3 oils are all that helpful. When buying omega-3 fatty acids, consider the formulations that have added EPA & DHA for maximum benefits.
Seven Seas fish oil is ALA oil
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
This is the most important component of Omega-3 in human bodies. It is the key structural component of the human brain and retina of the eyes.
It is advised to start supplementing with Omega-3 + DHA even before conception, during pregnancy and continue giving your child Omega-3 + DHA to the age of 9 years.
Numerous researches have shown that DHA is very important in brain development in young children before age of 9 years (1)
Supplementing with DHA not only improves brain and neurodevelopment but also prevents adulthood obesity (2)
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
EPA comes from animal fats (not plant fats) especially fatty fish and most fish oils.
Flax Seed Oils are an especially important source of Omega-3 as they contain super important plant chemicals that block harmful effects of estrogen called LIGNANS.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of important fats that must be obtained from foods or supplemented by omega-3 supplements. The three main types are ALA, EPA and DHA.
Now you know
Not all Omega-3 comes from Fish. Some of the best Omega-3 comes from Flaxseed, Krill Oil & Chia.
Benefits of Taking Omega-3 Oils
1. Take Omega-3 for Your heart health:
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase “good” HDL cholesterol. They can also reduce triglycerides, blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaque.
In people with Diabetes and insulin resistance, it is advised to increase omega-3 intake to at least 2-3 times a week.
TIP: The commonest signs of insulin resistance are: Belly fat, Tiredness, Darkening around the neck, groin & armpits (Acanthosis Nigricans) and high appetite.
2. Take Omega-3 oils for anti-aging & Smooth Skin
Several scientific studies have demonstrated that Omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-oxidative properties, corrects sun damage to the skin (photoaging), skin cancer, skin allergies, dermatitis and skin wounds (7)
3. Take Omega-3 supplements for your Mental Health
Taking Omega 3 oils have been shown to reduce depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In similar studies, Omega-3 has also been found to be potent in preventing suicide related to depression and dementia (8, 9, 10 & 11).
4. Take Omega-3 oils in Weight Loss & Belly Fat control
Several studies have demonstrated that taking the right amounts of Omega-3 oils, together with proper diet and exercise can help reduce waistline circumference.
Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. (12).
A scientific meta-analysis showed that obese individuals may benefit from reducing abdominal fat (Belly Fat) with fish oil supplementation especially when combined with life modification intervention.
5. Take Omega-3 for Liver Your Liver Health
6. Take Omega-3 Supplements to Fight Acne
Did you know that taking Omega-3 supplements have been shown to control acne vulgaris? People with severe acne vulgaris tend to have low Omega-3 (EPA). Increasing EPA consumption decreases acne, tremendously (15).
Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory. Acne flareup is an inflammatory response/process due to sebum buildup, leading to bacteria accumulation.
7. Take Omega-3 to reduce all inflammations
Omega-3 fatty acids are a potent anti-inflammatory.
What is inflammation anyway, you ask? In the simplest terms, inflammation is redness, swelling, pain, and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body.
Example, acne is a local skin inflammation. Arthritis is a local joint inflammation.
7. Take Omega-3 to prevents and Improve memory loss (dementia)
Indications have been seen of a protective effect of fish consumption and the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive decline. A moderate intake of EPA+DHA may postpone cognitive decline in elderly men (20).
8. Take Omega-3 Supplements for Healthy Bones & Muscles
Bodybuilders know this better than anyone else. You find that almost every bodybuilder under professional guidelines takes omega-3 supplements.
Omega-3 supplements increase bone density and muscle build while improving body fat distribution. (21).
Taking Omega-3 oil supplements prevents muscle loss and bone loss, the reason why bodybuilders rely on Omega-3 to prevent muscle wasting (22).
9. Take Omega-3 Oils to Prevent and improve Asthma.
Yes, that is right!
Every human being on planet earth would benefit taking Omega-3 oils, regardless of your age.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Unlike Omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties, some omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammation😱 .
Wait, you mean they can cause or worsen the inflammation?…
Yes! Some Omega-6 oils can worsen the inflammation and even cause diseases or death.
Which are these that cause inflammation, you ask?
Most liquid cooking oils we use are forms of Linoleic Acid and these are the pro-Inflammation.
That explains why eating deep-fried foods can worsen conditions like acne.
Why? Because Linoleic Acids are pro-inflammatory.
Taking too much quantities of Omega-6 linoleic acid oils can lead to heart diseases, plaque, heart attacks, cancer, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases.
There are several forms of Omega-6 but for the sake of simplicity and understanding what you need, we will discuss the better Omega-6 oil, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Unlike Linoleic Acid Oils that can cause heart diseases and other inflammatory conditions, GLA oils are anti-inflammatory and have many medicinal properties.
Yes, they have been shown to improve a lot of painful conditions
GLA primarily comes from plants. The main sources of GLA are
- Borage seed (Borage oil) – Contains 23% GLA
- Black currant seed (Blackcurrant oil) – Contains 17% GLA
- Evening primrose (Evening primrose oil) – Contains 10% GLA
The most potent source of GLA is Borage Oil and it is not surprising that taking borage oil supplements for as little as one week is enough to notice a huge anti-aging effect on the skin.
Benefits of Taking Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) Supplements
Since GLA oils are potent anti-oxidants, it is not surprising that they put most inflammatory conditions in check.
GLA Oils Helps to Control Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Almost every woman should be taking GLA oils – like seriously. Just read on to see why.
The commonest symptoms of PMS that can be treated by GLA are breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, depression, irritability, foggy thinking, and headaches.
Taking Borage oil or evening primrose oil has been shown to reduce breast pain and tenderness that occurs before monthly periods. This works especially better if taken with Vitamin-E (25)
The dose required to combat breast tenderness with GLA is 1-3 grams a day.
Having these symptoms before periods is NOT NORMAL as most women believe. Pain is not a lifestyle at all.
Take GLA Supplements to control Acne
Multiple research has demonstrated that taking GLA oils can clear up both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne (26).
Take GLA Supplements for Infertility
Yes, Evening Primrose Oil has been used for centuries together with other supplements to remedy infertility.
Besides being effective in hormonal imbalance, GLA increases the fluidity of cervical mucus, allowing the sperms to swim easier.
It is for the same mucous fluidity property that makes GLA oils good for preventing vaginal dryness caused by hormonal imbalance and menopause.
One study done on foxes showed that supplementation with evening primrose oil can significantly improve sperm motility and viability (27) suggesting that men with low sperm viability, count and motility should take GLA oils.
Take GLA for Menopause Symptoms (Evening Primrose Oil)
Taking GLA oils significantly reduces symptoms of menopause (28). Combining Black Cohosh with Evening primrose oil could be all a woman needs to naturally get rid of menopausal hot flashes.
Take GLA oils for Healthy Bones
Taking GLA together with Omega-3 oils rich in DHA & EPA reduces osteoporosis in aging population, especially menopausal or pre-menopausal women.
GLA Oils Improves Rheumatoid Arthritis.
One study showed significant improvement in rheumatoid arthritis after taking Borage oil & Evening Primrose Oils (29).
GLA oils Treat Eczema.
Studies have shown that people with eczema may have a defect in their bodies that inhibits their ability to form GLA naturally from the dietary source linoleic acid.
Breast milk from mothers of children with newly developed atopic eczema was shown to have low levels of GLA and its metabolites, supporting this notion (30).
Mothers breastfeeding children with Eczema should increase their GLA intake, especially borage oil.
GLA oils significantly improve skin condition (Anti-Aging)
Borage oil and Evening primrose oils are the best anti-aging supplement sellers in our office. In fact, some women tend to pre-order doses to last them six months just because of how well they work.
One study showed that GLA improves skin elasticity, decreases wrinkles and fine lines, moisture and fatigue resistance (31).
GLA in Diabetes & Obesity
Reading further, you will realize just how important GLA oils are in reducing obesity, belly fat, pre-diabetes, diabetes and managing diabetes complications.
Advanced nutritionist and endocrinologists treating patients with diabetes heavily use GLA oils (especially borage oil) to manage this condition and its complications.
Take GLA oils to Prevent Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.
A defect in the enzyme that converts dietary fatty acids to GLA may predispose people to develop insulin resistance (“pre-diabetes”), suggesting that GLA supplementation may prevent these conditions (32).
Take GLA oils to treat Diabetic Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)
This is HUGE!
People With diabetes tend to experience pain, especially on their feet and legs.
GLA oils & Belly Fat
This may sound too good to be true, but it is the truth. Research has shown that taking borage oil improves overall fat distribution, especially the brown fat.
Brown fat is what accumulates on the mid-section, AKA belly fat, love handles, muffin tops – however, you call them 😊.
The same results have been demonstrated in rats where GLA causes even fat distribution and burning (thermogenesis) of stubborn brown fat (35).
GLA From Evening Primrose Oil & Easy Laboring
There is no scientific data that support that evening primrose oil shortens labor when having a child, yet so many positive reviews indicate that it actually does.
Saying there is no scientific data may simply means, research has not been done comprehensively.
Well, we do know that GLA fats have a direct effect on prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are used to induce labor. A prostaglandins suppository is inserted into the vagina to promote cervical ripening and induce labor😀.
This may support the reason why midwives have successfully used evening primrose oil at 36-37 weeks gestation to induce and ease labor.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a special type of Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) in a family of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid found mostly in the meat and dairy products derived from milk and meats of ruminant animals (animals that chew cud like cows and goats)
Conjugated linoleic acid is commonly taken by mouth for weight loss. It is also often used for bodybuilding and fitness to reduce body fat deposits, increase lean muscles and improve immune function.
Beauty models know this secret too well.
Benefits of CLA
1. CLA Helps in Fat loss & Even Fat distribution
Talking of belly fat and Omegas, CLA is even more powerful when it comes to managing an even distribution of body fats.
Taking conjugated linoleic acid by mouth daily might help decrease body fat in adults. Further evidence shows that taking CLA reduces appetite, which may decrease total calorie intake. It is one of the most effective weight loss supplements out there.
It is even more interesting to note that adding conjugated linoleic acid to milk might help decrease body fat in obese adults 💪.
In children, taking 3 grams of conjugated linoleic acid daily seems to help reduce body fat, significantly.
2. CLA May Help Decrease Blood Pressure.
There is clear evidence that adding CLA to blood pressure medications (ace inhibitors) makes it easier to stabilize blood pressure levels.
3. CLA Supplements May Improve Allergies & Asthma
Taking conjugated linoleic acid for 12 weeks seems to improve well-being in people with hay fever allergies. Taking CLA for 12 weeks seems to improve breathing, airway clearance and ability to exercise in people with asthma.
4. CLA May Prevent Breast Cancer
Conjugated linoleic acid blocks estrogen signaling in human breast cancer cells. CLA compounds possess potent antiestrogenic properties that may account for their antitumor activity on breast cancer cells.
5. CLA May Reduce Colon & Rectal Cancer Risks
6. CLA May Increase Strength
Some research shows that taking CLA, alone or along with creatine and whey protein, helps increase strength and improve lean tissue mass in people who are strength training.
7. CLA May Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis
Early research suggests that taking CLA alone or along with vitamin E, reduces joint pain and morning stiffness. Lab studies demonstrate lower swelling markers of swelling after taking CLA, compared to pretreatment in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Word of Caution:
Do not take CLA if you are diabetic as it may lead to fatty liver disease (see above under Omega-3) or if you are about to have a surgery. It may cause you to bleed more than usual.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids
Omega-9 are purely essential fatty acids, meaning our bodies can make Omega-9 from other fats. They are Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs).
However, consuming high doses of omega-9 has many health benefits.
High consumption of Omega-9 fats decreases bad cholesterol, heart attack-causing triglycerides especially in patients with diabetes by 22% (36).
Another study found out that feeding rats with Omega-9 greatly improved inflammation and insulin resistance (37). Insulin resistance is the commonest cause of darkening around the neck, armpits and the groin, a condition called Acanthosis Nigricans.
Should you Take Omega Supplements or get them from Diet?
The main issue is that, although most cooking oils are forms of Omega-6, the specific Omega-6 that you should take as a supplement is GLA oils discussed above.
It is very difficult to get enough GLA from common foods without supplementation.
Omega 3 are almost never enough in majority of the population. The benefits are so many, you wonder why everybody is not taking Omega-3 with DHA & EPA.
From the opening paragraphs of Omega-3 oils, we found out that EPA & DHA are more important forms of Omega-3 oils
You will notice that most Omega-3 oils are fortified (added) with EPA & DHA.
The higher these two components are, the more expensive is the Omega-3, the greater the benefits.
The Medically recommended Omega 3-6-9 Ratio is 2:1:1.
This means per every 2grams of Omega-3 you take, you should take 1 gram of Omega-6 and 1 Gram of Omega-9.
It is for these reasons why you will find Omega 3-6-9 in supplements, in a perfect ratio.
Since Omega-9 can be produced in our bodies, it is rare to find a supplement for Omega-9 alone.
Since Omega-6 form of linoleic acid (most cooking oils belongs to this group) causes inflammation and Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) is anti-inflammatory, Only GLA Omegas are commonly sold as supplements.
Their health benefits are too many, you wonder why everyone, especially women are not taking GLA oils.
Where to Buy Omegas in Kenya?
We have all these omega oils and we can even help you decide which ones you should take for your unique needs.
It’s Your Turn
Which of these Omega Fats are you willing to try and for what purpose? Kindly leave your comment below and you may win a free bottle of your favorite Omega.