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The Top Benefits Of Omega 3, 6, and 9

November 24, 2021

By Cecile Kehoe, Founder & Chief Science Officer, DreamBrands

Cecile Kehoe, chief science officer

I’m sure by now you have heard of Omegas. They are fatty acids of differing compositions and structures. The big three are Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. We'll break down each of these and their benefits below.

Table of Contents

Essential Fatty Acids

Fish oil is one of the most popular supplements on the market—and it’s no surprise why. Fish contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, one of the best superfoods out there. These fatty acids are linked to immune support, increased wellness, and longevity. Omega-3s are so important to our health that even the government has made a point to recommend them.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 by the Federal Government recommend that an adult eat eight or more ounces of various seafood, such as shellfish or fish every week. Supplements are also a good alternative to getting in omega-3s.

Fatty acids are essential for our body systems, including the circulatory and respiratory systems, skin and hair health, brain, and other organs. Of the essential fatty acids, three are the most critical: omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. However, our bodies cannot produce omega-3 and -6, so we have to ingest them. Read on to learn more about these superfoods and how you can incorporate them into your diet.

Benefits of Omega-3, -6, and -9

All three omega fatty acids can play an important part in your overall health. Here is the breakdown of their main benefits.

Omega-3

Let’s start with the heavy hitter, Omega 3.

omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated acids (PUFAs)—meaning they contain more than one double bond. Three different forms of Omega 3s differ in composition and the position of their double bonds.contains three common fats:

  • DHA is docosahexaenoic acid
  • EPA is eicosapentaenoic acid
  • ALA is alpha-linolenic acid

Omega-3 acids are essential fatty acids. Since the body does not produce them, they must be consumed from food or supplements. The main food source of Omega 3s (DHA and EPA) is seafood while ALA is found in flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils.

ALA must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body but that process is not very efficient so it is best to consume DHA and EPA directly.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine sets the adequate daily intake of Omega 3 at 1.6g for men.

Health Benefits of Omega 3

There is a large store of clinical data supporting the health benefits of DHA and EPA. I’ll summarize a few benefits here and list one study per benefit if you are inclined to investigate more thoroughly.

  • Heart health: Omega 3 helps manage blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels1
  • Brain and eye health: It has been shown to support improvement in cognitive performance2
  • Manage weight: Omega 3 may help manage weight and waistlines3

    And now some breaking news! Three new studies that have just been released show even more potential benefits of Omega 3.

    • Study shows that together with Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of autoimmune disease4
    • Omega-3 content of red blood cells (Omega-3 Index) is linked to cell membrane integrity (which can be predictive of risk of death from multiple diseases) and this evidence may move the industry closer to creating Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Omega fatty acids.5
    • Higher Omega-3 levels were associated with a lower NLR (neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio). This is the balance between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Both a low Omega-3 Index and an elevated NLR can signal systemic inflammation.6

    Omega-6

    Omega-6 fatty acids are also polyunsaturated essential fatty acids but differ in chemical composition from Omega 3s. The main sources of Omega-6 fatty acids are corn, soybean and canola oils, borage oil, and evening primrose oil.

    The most common Omega-6 fatty acids are linoleic acid and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Linoleic acid supports heart health and reduces LDL cholesterol.

    A Word About Omega 6 Intake

    The Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine sets the adequate daily intake of Omega 6 at 17g for men. We should be wary of this guideline, though. The ratio of Omega 6 to 3 is very important. Research shows that we should be looking at a ratio ranging from 1:2 to 1:5 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Therefore, this guideline is way off.

    The issue is that we consume a higher amount of Omega 6 compared to Omega 3 because of the number of vegetable oils and processed foods in our Western diets. Some people consume anywhere from 15:1 to 50:1 Omega 6 to 3. This can lead to inflammation in the body.

    Our Mdrive Omega supplement has a ratio close to 4:1 Omega 3 to Omega 6. We do need Omega-6 fatty acids in our diet to help with skin and hair health, maintain bone health, support cell membranes, and regulate metabolism, but too much can be pro-inflammatory. Diet is key here. You should limit refined vegetable oils and instead opt for olive oil.

    Omega-9

    Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), meaning they only have one double bond. They are not essential fatty acids since the body can produce them, but you can consume them. Two great sources of Omega 9 are olive oil and avocados. They are important for good health. The Mediterranean diet is high in MUFAs.

    Benefits of Omega 9

    There is no recommendation for Omega-9 fatty acids intake since they are nonessential. The most common Omega-9 fatty acid is oleic acid.

    Although nonessential, Omega-9 fatty acids have great benefits. They help lower triglycerides, support weight loss, maintain immune function, and help improve mood.

    The Difference Between Omega-3, -6, and -9

    These omega fatty acids are different in their physical properties and chemical structure. Fatty acids are classified into two types: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids have a single bond between their molecules, and they have hydrogen molecules. Examples include palm oil, coconut oil, butter, cheese, etc.

    Unsaturated fatty acids have one, double, or triple bonds in between their molecules. Examples include vegetable oils (corn, canola, sunflower) and fatty fish (salmon and mackerel). Saturated fats can hike bad cholesterol in your body, increasing your chances of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, unsaturated fats are known for their health benefits.

    Omega-3 and -6 are polyunsaturated fats, meaning our bodies cannot produce them and have to be ingested in food and supplements. Omega-9 is a monosaturated fat. Our bodies synthesize it from the unsaturated fats we consume.

    The Ratio of Omega-3, -6, and -9

    All three Omega fatty acids play an important role in your body. Since you can’t produce Omega 3s and Omega 6s, you need to consume them through food or supplementation. Remember, food with fats has a mix of different ones so it is critical to understand what you are eating and choose wisely.

    Omega 9 may be nonessential but the proper amount is needed for a healthy body. The important thing is to consume the three Omegas in the right ratios. Mdrive Omega supplies you with the three omegas in a healthy proportion to improve your overall health.

    Balancing Your Omegas

    Excessive consumption of the wrong omega fatty acids can have an adverse effect on your health. Currently, consumption of omega-6 to omega-3 acids lies around 16:1. Our bodies are not adapted to this level of omega-6 consumption.

    Studies show that the overall ratio should be a low one. A ratio of 4:1 for omega-6 to omega-3 was linked to a 70% decrease in total mortality and is the ratio you should aim for in your day-to-day.

    Men's Health Benefits of Omega-3, -6, and -9

    man outside holding coffee

    These fatty acids are beneficial for men in different ways. Benefits of taking omega-3, -6, and -9 include:

    • Heart health support
    • Helps provide joint support
    • Helps support brain health
    • Immune system support
    • Can help reduce inflammation

    The Best Sources Of Omegas

    You can get omega-3, -6, and -9 from your diet or take supplements. To get an optimal amount of omegas from your diet, eat two portions of fish per week and cook using olive oil, or use it as a salad dressing. Try to reduce omega-6 by lowering the intake of vegetable oils and foods fried in refined vegetable oils.

    And when it comes to supplements, quality matters. Choose a supplement that has the balanced ratio of the omegas you need, like Mdrive. Mdrive is created by people just like you to help you fuel your drive. Our supplements contain clinically tested ingredients to give you energy and wellness when you need it. Find out more today.

    REFERENCES

    1. Jain, A.P., Aggarwal, K.K., Zhang, P.Y., Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease, European Review for Medical and Phamacological Sciences (2015) 441-445
    2. Martí Del Moral A, Fortique F., Omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive decline: a systematic review. Nutr Hosp. 2019 Aug 26; 36(4): 939-949.
    3. Hill, A.M., Buckley, J.D., Murphy, K.J., Howe, P. RC., Combining fish oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) vol 85, no.5 pg.1267-127
    4. Hahn, J., Cook, N. R., Alexander, E. K., Friedman, S., Walter, J., Bubes, V., Kotler, G., Lee., I., Vitamin D and Marine omega3 fatty acid supplementation and incident autoimmune disease: VITAL randomized controlled trial”, BMJ 2022;376. (2022)
    5. McBurney, M. I., Tintle, N., L., Harris, W. S., Omega-3 Index directly associated with a healthy red blood cell distribution width, Prostaglandins Leukot Essent fatty Acids. 2022 176:102376.
    6. McBurney, M. I., Tintle, N. L., Harris, W. S., The Omega -3 index is inversely associated with the neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio in adults, Prostaglandins Leukot Essent fatty Acids 2022 177:102397



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