Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids
The Basics of Fatty Acids
Fatty acids (FA) serve as important building blocks of human cell membranes and regulate inflammatory processes. There are two main types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, availabe in animals and tropical plants. Unsaturated fats usually are liquid at room temperature, available in vegetables, seeds, and fatty fish.
Unsaturated fats are classified as polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) mainly include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) include
omega-9 fatty acids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) α-亞麻酸, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 二十碳五烯酸, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 二十二碳六烯酸. Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid provided in the diet or through supplementation.
Human body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA but the conversion is very inefficient. Therefore dietary intake of EPA and DHA is necessary. EPA and DHA both, having potent anti-inflammatory properties, play a crucial role in the development of the brain and central nervous system.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids
Omega-9 MUFA are components of animal fat and vegetable oil. The main type of omega-9 Fatty Acids is oleic acid 油酸, which is found in olives, nuts, seeds, and animal fats.
Relationship of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 Fatty Acids are a part of every cell in human body therefore changes in the dietary composition of fatty acids render a direct effect on the concentration of fatty acids in human cell membranes. As a result such changes have the effect on the amount of inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory eicosanoids 花生酸 produced by human cells.
Traditionally, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet was approxmately 2:1; recently, an increase in the use of vegetable oils in the western diet has raised that ratio to 20:1. The current recommendation to improve the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids intake. Equally reducing the amount of omega-6 FA (vegetable and seed oils) intake will help improving this ratio.
- Animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids: herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, swordfish, mussels, tilapia, halibut, flounder, and pollock.
- Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids: flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, and hazelnuts
- Sources of omega-6 fatty acids: safflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil
- Sources of omega-9 fatty acids: olive oil and animal fat
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) 共軛亞油酸, a healthy trans fat, is a form of linoleic acid 亞麻酸, an omega-6 Fatty Acid. CLA is opposed to the very unhealthy industrial trans fats found in processed foods and is primarily found in the meat and milk of grass-fed ruminants, like cows.
Coconut oil, a medium-chain triglyceride, is a healthy saturated fat. It’s a great cooking oil for replacing vegetable oils which are very high in omega-6.
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