Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that stabilize metabolic processes in the body. These compounds maintain the integrity of cell membranes, potentiate the synthesis of hormone-like substances, reduce psycho-emotional stress, and improve the functional state of the skin.

Let’s take a closer look at what omega-6 acids are, their functions, and their food sources.

Omega-6 acids enter the human body with food in the form of complex fats.

They cannot be synthesized in our body, which is why they are called essential. A deficiency of this type of fatty acid in the body causes the development of eczema, infertility, nervous disorders, liver and heart diseases, growth retardation, and hair loss.

Types of omega-6

  • Linoleic acid. It “controls” the growth and development of embryo tissues (together with omega-3 acids), regulates the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and B vitamins, promotes the synthesis of hormones and digestive enzymes, accelerates the elimination of waste substances from the cell, and reduces nervous excitability. Natural sources: sunflower, soybean, olive oils.
  • Arachidonic acid. Fats of this type are conditionally substitutable because they are synthesized from linoleic acid. It is a precursor of hormone-like substances (prostaglandins), increases blood flow to the muscles, supports cell division, and accelerates the growth of lean muscle. This type of omega-6 is found in beef, pork, turkey, chicken, eggs, salmon, and cattle liver.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid. It participates in the processes of intracellular respiration, maintains blood viscosity, regenerates cell membranes, normalizes lipid metabolism, improves the functioning of the immune and nervous systems, and is responsible for the synthesis of full-fledged spermatozoa. The main sources are evening primrose (primrose), black currant, and rosehip seeds.

Effect of omega 6 on the body

These acids have anti-sclerotic, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and sedative effects. They also protect blood vessels.

Useful properties of omega-6 fatty acids:

  1. accelerate metabolic processes in the cell.
  2. improve cognitive brain functions (memory, attention).
  3. strengthen bone tissue.
  4. alleviate the manifestations of premenstrual syndrome (eliminate sweating, shortness of breath, pain, and irritability).
  5. accelerate detoxification processes in the liver.
  6. normalize the psycho-emotional state.
  7. reduce the frequency and “strength” of skin rashes.
  8. strengthen the immune system.
  9. accelerate the process of losing weight (due to the normalization of lipid metabolism).
  10. dissolve “bad” cholesterol (together with omega-3).
  11. eliminate dryness, peeling, and itching of the skin.
  12. normalize the functioning of the reproductive organs (due to the activation of sex hormones).
  13. stop the destruction of nerve fibers.
  14. prevent the spread of inflammation, and reduce the likelihood of their development (subject to the consumption of omega-3).
  15. prevent the risk of developing cancer.
  16. eliminate dry eyes.
  17. regulate the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, and protein substances.
  18. accelerate the growth of lean muscle.

For adults, the daily intake of omega-6 is 5-9 grams (5% of the total caloric intake). Remember, the beneficial properties of omega-6 are manifested only in the presence of omega-3 fats.

The optimal ratio of omega-3 triglycerides to omega-6 is 1:6.

Deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids

Due to the prevalence of dietary sources of omega-6, the daily fat requirement is covered in full. However, in some cases, acute lipid insufficiency develops.

Factors leading to omega-6 deficiency in the body:

  • prolonged fasting.
  • avoidance of fatty foods, including due to ignorance of what omega-6 is.
  • adherence to strict weight loss programs (mono-diets).
  • pathologies of the digestive tract and liver.

Symptoms of omega-6 fatty acid deficiency:

  • fatigue, weakness.
  • mood swings.
  • increase in blood pressure.
  • depressive states.
  • memory impairment.
  • dryness of the skin.
  • weight gain.
  • frequent infectious diseases.
  • nail delamination, brittle hair, skin rashes (most often, wetting eczema).
  • Increased cholesterol and platelets in the blood.
  • hormonal disorders.
  • premenstrual syndrome (hot flashes, irritability, chills).

Excess omega-6 fatty acids

An excess of omega-6 acids is no less harmful than a lack of them. Excessive consumption of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids leads to the development of cardiovascular pathologies, inflammation in tissues and organs, increased blood viscosity, and malfunctioning of the immune system. An excess of these compounds is a common cause of psychoemotional disorders and prolonged depression.

Content of omega 6 fatty acids (g) in 100 g of products

  • Grape seed oil 72.
  • Sunflower oil 66.
  • Wheat germ oil 57.
  • Corn oil 54.
  • Soybean oil 50.
  • Peanut oil 35.
  • Pine nuts 33.
  • Sunflower seeds 32.
  • Pumpkin seeds 19.
  • Peanuts 15.
  • Flaxseed oil 14.
  • Pistachios 13.
  • Olive oil 12.
  • Walnuts 11.

Omega-6 fatty acids for beauty

Consider the beneficial effects of omega 6 on the skin:

  • Moisturizing effect. Fatty acid molecules are embedded in the lipid layer of the skin, preventing moisture from evaporating from the deeper layers of the skin.
  • Rejuvenating effect. Omega-6 lipids are involved in the synthesis of their own collagen.
  • Anti-inflammatory effect. Polyunsaturated fats accelerate the healing of microcracks on the skin, especially in eczema, acne, and allergic rashes. At the same time, they stimulate the production of hormones that protect the dermis from infection.
  • Firming effect. Increase the elasticity of the walls of capillaries and blood vessels, resulting in a reduction of “bruises” under the eyes. In addition, omega-6 fats prevent nail splitting and hair breakage.

Thus, omega-6 triglycerides have a complex effect on the human body. Namely, they improve immunity, maintain cell integrity, normalize lipid metabolism, and retain moisture in the dermis. These acids are used to treat osteoporosis, eye pathologies, alcoholism, atherosclerosis, eczema, acne, allergies, oncology, ulcers, and tuberculosis.

Remember, the lack of essential fats in the daily menu is fraught with lipid metabolism disorders. As a result, hormonal dysfunctions occur, blood clotting increases, the level of “bad” cholesterol rises, weight is gained, and skin condition worsens.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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