To properly take care of your physical and mental health, it’s important to incorporate fatty acids into your diet to help manage your cholesterol and strengthen your heart.
However, given the sheer number of Omega fatty acids, how do you know which ones to take? Furthermore, which products containing these Omega fatty acids should you trust?
Fortunately, you don’t have to wade these fatty acid waters alone. By breaking down Omega 3, 6, and 9—the most common types of fatty acids—we’ll help you understand the differences and benefits of these three nutrient-packed must-haves.
Healthy Fats, Healthy Hearts
At first glance, the term “healthy fat” may seem like an oxymoron. Aren’t we supposed to avoid fatty foods? Well, yes and no.
When it comes to fats, there are two broad categories of fats: “good fats” and “bad fats.”
Bad fats are trans saturated fats. These fats are processed and have been shown to lead to a host of negative health consequences. Good fats, however, have been shown to promote overall health. These essential fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and include Omega 3, 6 and 9.
We’ll get into the fatty nitty-gritty later on, but for now, let’s take a brief look at these two types of “good fats:”
Almighty Omegas: Differences and Benefits
Omega 3, 6, 9 benefits abound and can help promote your overall health to help you live a longer and happier life. That said, there are a few key differences between these three important fatty acids. Let’s take a look.
If there were a “king” of Omegas, Omega 3 fats would rightfully rule. That’s because studies have shown that Omega 3 fats are incredibly beneficial when it comes to cardiovascular health.3
To better understand what sets Omega 3 apart from 6 and 9, let’s look at the fatty acid’s key characteristics.
Put simply, Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat composed entirely of hydrogen and carbon atoms. These acids contain more than one double bond, hence the name polyunsaturated fats.
Additionally, there are three types of Omega 3 fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
While understanding these different acids in their entirety requires a lot of chemistry, the biggest takeaway is that your body can’t produce Omega 3 on its own. Instead, this essential acid needs to come from the foods and supplements you consume.
How To Get Omega 3
As stated above, Omega 3 needs to come from your food and supplements. Luckily, Omega 3 is found in many popular foods. The most common Omega 3-containing foods include:
In addition to The Omega, other Cymbiotika products contain this all-important fatty acid. For instance, in Cymbiotika’s Golden Mind, a product designed to help fortify the brain and improve cognitive performance, Omega 3 (along with 6 and 9) is found in the formula’s organic sea buckthorn oil.
Benefits of Omega 3
While all polyunsaturated fats can help improve overall health, Omega 3 is particularly beneficial. Eating foods or taking supplements rich in Omega 3s may help:
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Lower high blood pressure
- Enhance fertility and infant development
- Reduce risk of certain cancers
In short, incorporating Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet may help improve bodily function to promote full-body wellness.
Similar to Omega 3, Omega 6 is a polyunsaturated fat that may be a significant boon to overall health. That said, Omega 6 hasn’t received the same positive attention as Omega 3—mostly because too much Omega 6 can cause inflammation and blood clotting.5
Still, Omega 6 can be beneficial when ingested with the right proportion to Omega 3.
Without getting too technical, the structure of Omega 6 differs from the structure of Omega 3 in one key respect: the placement of the first double bond in the molecule chain. Therefore, Omega 6 interacts with the body a bit differently than Omega 3.
In addition, Omega 6 contains the following types:
- Linoleic acid (LA)
- Arachidonic acid (ARA)
- Gamma linoleic acid (GLA)
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
The second acid, ARA, is particularly important as some studies show it may lead to inflammation. That said, other studies show that Omega 6 may actually reduce inflammation and clotting.
How To Get Omega 6
If fish is the primary source of Omega 3, nut oils are one of the primary source of Omega 6. Good Omega 6 fatty acids may be found in many nuts and seeds, including peanuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. In addition to plant these, tofu and fatty meats—such as pork and chicken thighs—are excellent sources of Omega 6.
Benefits of Omega 6
Although ingesting too much Omega 6 fats may lead to inflammation and blood clotting, research suggests that Omega 6 fats, when eaten alongside Omega 3, can provide a few benefits.5
These benefits include helping:
- Lower “bad” cholesterol
- Raise “good” cholesterol
- Balance blood sugar
- Improve circulation
In general, while Omega 6 may help promote overall health, it’s best to consume this fatty acid alongside its more well-received cousin, Omega 3.
Unlike Omega 3 and 6, Omega 9 isn’t considered an essential fatty acid because the body produces it. That said, it may still be beneficial to incorporate Omega 9 into your diet.
Omega 9 is a monounsaturated acid. This means that, unlike the polyunsaturated fats Omega 3 and 6, Omega 9 molecules contain only one double bond.
In addition, Omega 9 differs from its polyunsaturated cousins in that it contains just two different acid types: oleic acid (OA) and erucic acid (EA).
How To Get Omega 9
Omega 9 fats are very similar to Omega 3 in that it’s primarily found in plant and vegetable oils. It’s also found in many nuts and seeds.
The following are some of the most popular sources of Omega 9:
However, it’s important to remember that because your body naturally produces Omega 9, you don’t have to consume foods that contain Omega 9 to reap the benefits of this fatty acid.
Benefits of Omega 9
Like polyunsaturated fats, Omega 9 fats have been linked to a few health benefits.6 These potential benefits include:
- Improved cardiovascular functioning
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Full-body health support
- Increased cognitive performance
Although not considered an “essential” fatty acid, Omega 9 is nevertheless an integral part of good health maintenance.
From Alpha To Omega, There’s Cymbiotika
From triglycerides to lipids to Omegas, the list of must-have nutrients and chemicals can start to sound like an ancient language. Fortunately, you don’t have to decipher this dietary language alone.
That’s because Cymbiotika’s here to help—especially when it comes to demystifying the all-powerful Omegas.
The biggest thing to note is that although each Omega fatty acid can be found in food, only Omega 9 is produced by the body. To that end, let us help you meet your Omega 3 and 6 needs with our nutrient-packed supplements. From The Omega to Golden Mind, our products contain must-have Omegas that may help improve your overall health to live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Give your mind and body the health they deserve with Cymbiotika.
- Harvard Health Publishing. The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
- Science Direct. Health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/polyunsaturated-fatty-acid
- Harvard Health Publishing. Omega-3 fatty acids and the heart: New evidence, more questions. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/omega-3-fatty-acids-and-the-heart-new-evidence-more-questions-2021032422213
- Seafood Nutrition Partnership. What Seafood Is Highest In Omega-3s? https://www.seafoodnutrition.org/seafood-101/healthy-living/what-seafood-is-highest-omega-3s/
- Harvard Health Publishing. No need to avoid healthy omega-6 fats. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/no-need-to-avoid-healthy-omega-6-fats
- OnHealth. Omega 3 Foods: Health Benefits, Research, Best Supplements. https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/omega_3_foods
- ScienceDirect. Fatty Acids. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/fatty-acids
- ScienceDirect. Omega-9 Fatty Acid. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/omega-9-fatty-acid
- ScienceDirect. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/polyunsaturated-fatty-acid
- Supplement Science. Omega-9 Fatty Acids. https://www.huhs.edu/sites/default/files/files/Omega-9%20fatty%20acids%20article.pdf