Omega 6 fatty acids are a kind of fat that’s present in certain foods and supplements. Omega 6 fatty acids occur naturally in certain plant foods, like vegetables and nuts. Some vegetable oils, including soyabean oil , contain high amounts of those fats.
Omega 6 carboxylic acid s are a kind of essential fatty acid (EFA) belonging to an equivalent family as omega 3 fatty acids.
EFAs are fats that the body needs but cannot make on its own. Therefore, people must get EFAs by eating the foods that contain them or taking supplements.
This article looks at how omega 6 fatty acids function within the body, their benefits, and their food sources.
Are omega 6 fats healthful?
Omega 6 fats belong to a gaggle of unsaturated fats referred to as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Omega-3s and omega-9s are other sorts of PUFAs that folks commonly get through their diet.
Some research suggests that early humans consumed equal amounts of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in their diets which this was beneficial to their health.
However, nowadays, many of us within the U.S. eat much more omega-6s than omega-3s. Researchers believe that the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats during a typical Western diet is 20-to-1 or higher.
Omega 6 fats are common in processed foods like cookies and crackers, also as in nutriment and fried foods.
Potential health problems
Some studies suggest that consuming too many omega 6 fats could lead on to certain health problems.
A 2018 study found an association between a better dietary intake of omega 6 fats and inflammation that caused tissue damage and disease.
The Arthritis Foundation say that omega 6 fatty acids may trigger the body’s production of pro-inflammatory substances, potentially worsening symptoms in people with arthritis.
Other research has linked diets high in omega 6 fats to obesity.
However, not all experts agree on whether omega 6 fats are harmful, with some stating that human studies on obesity and omega 6 intakes are limited and inconclusive.
Other researchers say that there’s no conclusion on whether omega 6 fatty acids cause or prevent inflammation which there’s a requirement for more clinical trials.
There have also been some positive research findings. For instance, a review of 30 studies found that higher levels of omega 6 fats within the body were linked to a lower risk of heart condition .
Dietary recommendations for omega 6 fatty acids
With the conflicting and inconclusive information about omega 6 fats, how do people decide what percentage to eat?
A person may consider following the recommendations of health authorities on the adequate intake (AI) of omega 6 fatty acids and unsaturated fats generally .
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) list the AIs for linolic acid , which may be a sort of omega 6 carboxylic acid . These are as follows:
- Females aged 19–50: 12 grams (g) per day
- Females aged 51 and older: 11 g per day
- Males aged 19–50: 17 g per day
- Males aged 51 and older: 14 g per day
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offer some advice on consuming unsaturated fats, but they are doing not provide specific guidance on omega 6 fatty acids.
The USDA’s recommendations on oil intake ask all unsaturated fats, including vegetable and nut oils, dressing , margarine, fish, avocados, and nuts.
The USDA guidelines recommend:
- Females aged 19–30: 6 teaspoons (tsp) per day
- Females aged 31 and older: 5 tsp per day
- Males aged 19–30: 7 tsp per day
- Males aged 31 and older: 6 tsp per day
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that folks limit saturated fat to but 10% of their daily calories. They also advise people to avoid trans fats altogether.
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Food sources of omega 6 fatty acids
People getting to increase their intake of healthful fats should adjust the ratio of fats in their diet by increasing their consumption of omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats, which are another sort of heart-healthy fat.
Some research suggests that eating more omega 6 fats and not enough omega 3 fats can potentially cause health problems.
Some of the foods that have higher amounts of omega 6 fatty acids include:
- Walnuts: 10.8 g per 1-ounce (oz) serving
- Grapeseed oil: 9.5 g per tablespoon (tbsp)
- Pine nuts: 9.3 g per 28-g serving
- Sunflower seeds: 9.3 g per 1-oz serving
- Sunflower oil: 8.9 g per tbsp
- Corn oil: 7.3 g per tbsp
- Walnut oil: 7.2 g per tbsp
- Cottonseed oil: 7.0 g per tbsp
- Soybean oil: 6.9 g per tbsp
- Mayonnaise: 5.4 g per tbsp
- Almonds: 3.7 g per 1-oz serving
- Tofu: 3.0 g per half cup
- Vegetable shortening: 3.4 g per tbsp
It is important to recollect that a number of these foods, especially the oils with the very best omega 6 content, contain little to no omega 3 fatty acids.
If an individual eats these foods, they ought to balance their omega 6 intake with omega 3 rich foods, like fatty fish, flaxseeds, seaweed, and walnuts.
It is also important to notice that a lot of fried and processed foods contain corn, cottonseed, or soyabean oil . If an individual eats tons of those foods, their omega-6 intake could also be much above their omega-3 intake.
People may take supplements that contain omega 6, omega 3, or a mixture of omega-3, omega-6, and omega 9. These supplements often contain animal oil , linseed oil , or borage seed oil.
There is no definitive research to verify whether these oil supplements are helpful or harmful.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health say that omega-3 supplements don’t reduce the danger of heart condition . However, they’ll help with symptoms of atrophic arthritis and should also help lower triglyceride levels.
As researchers haven’t widely studied these supplements, it’s best for an individual to ask their doctor before taking any sort of carboxylic acid supplement.
Although omega-6 fats are a kind of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, people should consume them carefully . Like all fats, omega 6 has 9 calories per gram and may cause an excessive calorie intake if people eat too many foods containing them.
As experts don’t agree on whether omega 6 fats are harmful, the simplest approach could also be to specialise in a spread of healthful, whole foods that contain differing types of unsaturated fats.
At an equivalent time, an individual should attempt to limit or avoid fried and processed foods.
Most people may enjoy eating a balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, also as monounsaturated fats.
If an individual has questions on a healthful diet or is curious about taking supplements, they ought to speak with a doctor about the simplest choices for them.