Omega-3, omega-6, omega-7, and omega-9 fatty acids are all important dietary fats. Each of these fas has different benefits for your health. However, it’s important to get the right balance of omega-3, -6, -7 and -9 fatty acids. Certainly any imbalance may cause a number of health issues.
The difference is more than just a number.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that cannot be produced by your body. Therefore, you have to get them from your diet. The term “polyunsaturated” refers to the structure. The term “poly” means many and “unsaturated” refers to double bonds. Together, this means that omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds. “Omega-3” refers to the position of the final double bond in the structure. Thus, there are three carbon atoms from the “omega” end of the molecular chain.
There are many types of omega-3 fats, which differ based on their chemical shape and size. Here are the three most common:
EPA: Reduces inflammation and depression
DHA: Important for brain development
ALA: The body uses this for energy
In conclusion, these fatty acids can be extremely important in many different ways for your body. In addition to improving brain, bone, and joint function, they also reduce risks of cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and diabetes. Omega-3’s will also provide athletic benefits. They are responsible for the body’s blood clotting and the brain’s cellular development.
Some of the best sources of Omega 3’s are found in mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, chia seeds, walnuts, garlic, flaxseeds, and even a variety of green vegetables.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also polyunsaturated which need to be provided through diet. However, the only difference between these and the 3’s is the positioning. The last double bond is six carbons from the omega end of the molecule.
These are primarily used as an energy source. The most common omega-6 is linoleic acid, which can be converted into arachidonic acid. These aid in the immune system. Although, too many can create some health issues and the modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 fatty acids than needed. So in reality, instead of looking to add more of these, a lot of people should work on cutting down. Nevertheless, some omega-6 fatty acids have shown benefits in treating symptoms of illnesses.
Other Common Omega-6 Fatty Acids:
GLA: improve symptoms of arthritis
CLA: studies have shown this omega-6 fatty acid can reduce body fat.
Sources of this omega can be found heavily in vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.), mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, margarine, and in various nuts.
Omega-7 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids. Meaning, it’s seven carbon atoms from the end of the chain. Omega-7 has recently been brought to the light of discovery as researchers determine its benefits. One important thing scientists have discovered about this fatty acid is its placement in foods containing palmitic acid. This acid is one of the most heart-damaging fats we can consume. Omega-7 works against that palmitic acid by providing oppositional benefits. In short, it reduces inflammation and insulin resistance where palmitic acid increases it.
This fatty acid is produced within the body but may also be found in food. Common items include sea buckthorn, macadamia nuts (and oil), baker’s yeast, butter, eel, egg yolk, some cheeses, avocado, and in various types of fish.
Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated, meaning they only have one double bond. It’s located nine carbons from the end of the fatty acid molecule. These fatty acids can be produced by the body and are actually the most common in the body. However, consuming foods rich in omega-9 fatty acids instead of other types of fat may have a number of beneficial health effects. The health benefits include triglyceride reduction, lower risk of diabetes, improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation.
You can find sources of this fatty acid in olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, olives, almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and sesame seeds.
Are trying to get that perfect ratio in your diet? AMPD Beauty Greens contains an essential fatty acid blend that is designed and dosed for women.