Omega-6: A Healthy Fat With More To Love
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) seem to be taking the health industry by storm. This is due to their incredible health benefits and the fact that they’re contained in foods that are pretty tasty!
The “essential” in Essential Fatty Acids communicates the fact that the body needs these fats for optimal health, but they cannot be made in the body and therefore have to be consumed trough the diet.
The acronyms used to refer to EFA’s can get overwhelming, but the most common to remember are Omega-6, Omega-3, EPA, DHA, and ALA. This article however will focus on Omega-6 EFA’s and why it is important to find a balance in this nutrient. Its true that there can be too much of a good thing, but complete elimination is not the answer.
Omega-6 and inflammation
Omega-6 is the sister Fatty Acid to the well-known Omega-3, also known as Fish Oil. While it does not get as much attention, Omega-6 plays many vital roles in the body. It is important to the overall structure of cell membranes and is a significant source of energy. The risk of heart disease is greatly reduced when saturated fat and trans fats are replaced with this Essential Fatty Acid.
Some other impressive benefits of Omega-6 include neurological and brain health, skin and hair growth, bone health, regulating metabolism, and encouraging a healthy reproductive system. Research shows that consuming healthy fats, like Omega-6, can have major benefits to brain health making it possible to reduce or completely avoid memory and neurological conditions associated with aging. When it comes to healthy air growth and preventing hair loss studies show supplementing with Omega-3 and Omega-6 had positive outcomes for women.
The two primary EFA’s, Omega-6 and Omega-3, are most beneficial when there is a balance between the two. Consuming more Omega-6 than Omega-3 can create a state of inflammation in the body. The standard Western diet is high in Omega-6 located in many snack foods and fast foods. While Omega-6 is heavy in these poor food choices there are healthier food choices that contain this fat.
The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 commonly consumed is between 10:1 to 20:1. Finding a balance of 4:1 is the best to prevent inflammation. Why is this necessary? Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory while Omega-3 is neutral making a diet that contains a lot of Omega-6 and little Omega-3 a pro-inflammatory diet.
This is important because chronic inflammation in the body will lead to many health concerns and chronic diseases. Not only can inflammation cause chronic disease, but can also exacerbate existing chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, cancer, inflammatory bowel conditions, and cardiovascular disease.
Omega-6 fatty acids are good for the heart.
Everything in moderation
Remember, Omega-6, while pro-inflammatory, is still necessary and produces positive benefits. It is just important to maintain the proper ratio and consume healthy sources of this Essential Fatty Acid. Some great Omega-6 food options include flax seed, acai, hempseed, nuts, and certain seeds. These items can be easily mixed into healthy meals like salads and smoothies.
Unfortunately, even “healthy” foods are coated with vegetable oil which is commonly high in Omega-6 as an attempt to improve their taste. To ensure a balance between these two EFA’s a diet inventory can be taken. This can be done through a 24 diet recall or looking at food choices over a week. After this is complete record the foods that are high in Omega-6 and those that are rich in Omega-3. If there is a imbalance it can be corrected easily by adding in more Omega-3 foods like fresh fish and many vegetables.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids are essential for optimal health. A imbalance can create inflammation in the body, but this can be corrected through diet and supplementation. An imbalance may be indicated if there is pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints. Replacing high, unhealthy Omega-6 foods with healthier options and Omega-3’s is a quick and easy way to eliminate these painful side effects. The issue with an imbalance in these is not entirely taking in too much Omega-6, but not taking in enough Omega-3.
Foods that provide vitamin D include: fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon.
The essential vitamin for women
Codeage Women’s Fermented Multivitamin is a premium formula made with real whole foods, organic herbs and fermented essential vitamins for optimal hormonal health, energy and digestive support. We’ve also included your daily dose of boron and omega-3 from micro-algae for enhanced cardio health as well as a synergistic blend of probiotics and enzymes for digestive health and wellness.
Vitamin A is an important vitamin for its role with bone growth as it helps stimulate bone-building cells called osteoblasts. Other functions of vitamin A include the formation and maintenance of teeth bones, soft tissue, white blood cells, the immune system and mucus membrane. Vitamin A palmitate or retinol palmitate is a form of vitamin A known as a retinoid (retinol) which is a bioavailable form of vitamin A meaning it can usually be used and absorbed by the body more efficiently than other forms of vitamin A. Vitamin A palmitate can also play a role in several areas, including your eye, skin and the immune system.*
We have also added vitamin B into Codeage Women's Fermented Vitamin. Vitamin B is great in helping you body convert food into energy. It is hard for people to get this vitamin unless they are including red meat in their daily diet. Vitamin C cannot be produced by the body and so it is essential to add this nutrient through supplements. It is however found in many fruits and vegetables and gives your immune system the energy it needs to live good lifestyle. Vitamin D is great for our bodies to absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones. Lastly, vitamin E is available in many healthy foods, however it is hard to get enough through a daily regimen. We have added vitamin E to protect and nourish your skin.
It can be easy to see Omega-6 as the enemy of good health and completely eliminate it from the diet. But this response is excessive and can actually create other issues like not fueling the brain with the fats that it needs to function properly. Rather than eliminating this fatty acid focusing on healthy nutrient dense sources along with ensuring that Omega-3 isn’t lacking in the diet will produce the healthful outcomes desired. An all or nothing approach should not be taken with this nutrient.