Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Written by Kimberly Clark
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Omega-6 fatty acids belong to a group of fats referred to as "good" or "polyunsaturated" fats. Similar to omega-3 fatty acids, they are essential for regular bodily functions and must be obtained from the things we eat. But unlike omega-3s, omega-6 fatty acids tend to appear in abundance in the typical American diet.

Linolenic acid (LA) is the component of omega-6 that is considered most beneficial to our bodies. The body subsequently converts LA to gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which further breaks down to a hormone-like substance known as prostaglandin E1 (PE1). Included amongst the functions of PE1 are such things as triggering inflammation, regulating blood pressure, and inducing labor.

Examples of things that we eat that are good sources of omega-6 fatty acids are most vegetable oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, etc.), eggs, poultry, and whole grain breads. Some dietary supplements that can be added to the diet to increase the amount of omega-6 available to the body are evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil. Most nutritionists believe that including foods rich in omega-6 in our diet is easy enough without supplementation, although there is no reason not to supplement if your diet cannot fulfill the requirements.

Omega 6 Health Benefits

It is believed that several health maladies are improved through supplementation with omega-6 fatty acids. Included among these is the reduction of pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The nutrients obtained from omega-6 fatty acids can also assist in the improvement of the condition of psoriasis because the resultant lesions are deficient in LA.


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