Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega 6 Fatty acids are a class of polyunsaturated fats which have been growing in prevalence in modern diets. Some research suggests that too many Omega 6 fats can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. This research is not conclusive, but for most people, the amount of Omega 6 fats should be reduced and the amount of Omega 3 fats should be increased. Foods high in Omega 6 fatty acids include certain vegetable oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise, nuts and seeds, snacks, fast foods, cookies and cakes, processed pork products, fatty chicken cuts, dairy and eggs, and fatty beef cuts. Of all these sources nuts, seeds, lean pork, chicken, beef, butter, and eggs can be considered healthy in moderation. The rest should be avoided.

Omega-6 fatty acids are used for many conditions, but so far, the best information that science can provide is that putting arachidonic acid, a particular omega-6 fatty acid, doesn’t improve infant development. Not enough research has been done on omega-6 fatty acids to judge whether or not they are effective for other uses.

Omega-6 fatty acids are used for reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering total cholesterol levels, lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, raising “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels, and reducing cancer risk.

Most of the information we have on omega-6 fatty acid supplements comes from studying specific omega-6 fatty acids or plant oils containing omega-6 fatty acids.

Dietary sources of omega-6 fatty acids include:

hulled sesame seeds.
durum wheat.
whole-grain breads.
most vegetable oils.


The appropriate dose of omega-6 fatty acids depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for omega-6 fatty acids. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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