Omega-6 fats have amazing benefits especially for muscle growth and sustaining radiant health but they are also dangers associated with their over-consumption. If you have not read part 1, you can go check it out here and part2 is here.
Table of Contents
OMEGA 6 FATTY ACIDS
Omega 6 are also polyunsaturated fats which are essential for human health since the body cannot make them on its own.
They are required for energy production and anabolism in the body which means building muscle and burning fat. However, over-consumption of omega-6 fats can lead to high inflammation which in turn means heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.
Omega 6 Categories
Omega 6 come in 3 categories based on their molecular structure:
- Linoleic acid or LA which has an 18-carbon chain. It is found in canola, peanuts, corn, soy and sunflower oils,
- Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA which has an 18-carbon chain but has slight differences from LA. It is found in evening primrose oil which is used in supplements.
- Arachidonic acid or AA which has a 20-carbon chain and is found in red meat, poultry and especially eggs.
All three types have their 1st double bond in the 6th position of the fatty acid which is why they are called omega 6.
Omega 6 Sources
The types of food that are high in omega 6 are everywhere. These include:
- Meat and animal fats,
- Regular and grass fed eggs,
- Nut-oils and plant-based oils, such as canola, corn, soybean, and sunflower oil.
- Hemp seeds
- Most nuts and seeds.
The need for Balance between omega-3 and omega-6
Balance is everything in life. We need a healthy balance of cell creation and cell destruction in our bodies. Omega 6 and in turn Arachidonic Acid (AA) helps with the breakdown of unhealthy cells (which may lead to disease) and their removal from the system.
When omega 6 levels become too high, we begin breaking down healthy cells and we end up with a lot of indisposed, dead cells in our system. That causes inflammation levels to go up which leads to problems such as prostate enlargement, prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. So omega-6 fatty acids are highly inflammatory.
However omega 6 and AA are necessary for muscle growth especially in athletes since they are highly anabolic and thus play a big role in androgen production (testosterone and sex hormones).
On the flip side, omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and also increases the production of ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid) which helps with establishing this much needed balance between creation and destruction in our cells and bodies. It is also responsible for building and growth.
However, if omega 3 is also too high, we will end up having too much growth and not enough breakdown which can also lead to brain degeneration. For that reason, we need a balance between the two: the ideal ratio according to EFA expert Udo Erasmus is 2:1 (omega 3 to omega 6).
In the same light, avoid taking supplements that contain omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 at the same time as they will easily tip the scale of the 2:1 ratio in the favor of omega 6, putting you at risk for inflammation.
As a closing note, always remember to never drive the consumption of omega 6 too low as the omega 6’s (and AA’s) play a very important role in androgen and sex hormone production. In other words, if you ignore your omega-6 intake, your sex life will suffer.
This is it for part 3 of my articles series on fat. In the next part we will talk about the type of fat that you must avoid at all costs in order to protect your health.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Putting together this article took a bit of time but it will only take you a second to click on the Share buttons below and show your support to this blog.
Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Until then stay strong, healthy and free!
by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200
- Hibbeln, Joseph R. (June 2006). “Healthy intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 83 (6, supplement): 1483S-1493S. American Society for Nutrition. PMID 16841858.
- Okuyama, Hirohmi; Ichikawa, Yuko; Sun, Yueji; Hamazaki, Tomohito; Lands, William E.M. (2007). “3 fatty acids effectively prevent coronary heart disease and other late-onset diseases: the excessive linoleic acid syndrome.” World Review of Nutritional Dietetics 96 (Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease): 83-103. Karger. doi:10.1159/000097809.