Omega-6 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are good for the body. Omega-6 fatty acids are only one of the two types of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are necessary for good health. The other one is the Omega-3s. The term “essential” refers to the fact that the body cannot produce them. It can get only them when consuming certain foods. The most healthful among omega-6 fatty acids are those that have linoleic acid. These covert to gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) and become prostaglandins which are molecules that assist in regulating inflammation and blood pressure also heart, gastrointestinal, and kidney functions.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in cereals, eggs, poultry, most vegetable oils, whole-grain breads, baked goods, and margarine. Additional researches conducted by nutritionists reveals that omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3s will only remain as “good” fats if you get balanced amounts of both. Most diets though are filled with omega-6s nutrients.
Omega-6 fatty acids have several health benefits including some healing powers on therapeutic oils with omega-6. The healing powers of this nutrient are attributed to the fact that it has high concentrations of GLA. GLA is processed by the body and converted to prostaglandins that can either block inflammation or encourage it. GLA supplements like borage oil and evening primrose oil can calm inflammation which makes Omega-6 fatty acids good for inflammatory conditions.
Omega-6 fatty acids with high GLA content demonstrate a number of beneficial effects such as:
— It reduces the pains undergone in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. The good prostaglandins can effectively reduce inflamed joints. And if used at the same time with a prostaglandin-inhibiting anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen, the effects will be improved.
— It relieves the pains of PMS, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts by making good prostaglandins and blocking the “bad” variety.
— It also decreases eczema and psoriasis symptoms. Omega-6 fatty acids are helpful in promoting healthy skin and hair, and in treating chronic skin illness.
— It helps clear acne and rosacea. The GLA content can lessen pore clogged up and developing lesions. The fatty acids can treat rosacea by reducing inflammation, limiting cell’s use of nutrients and stimulating contraction of blood vessels through prostaglandins.
— It also prevents and improves diabetic neuropathy because diabetics with GLA supplementation has improved nerve function and thereby prevents nerve deterioration from occurring.
There is no required daily intake for omega-6 fatty acids. It is recommended that you use vegetable oils for cooking. Although, these have no GLA, but they have linoleic acid which the body can convert to GLA. Omega-6 fatty acids sources do not have the same GLA content. For instance, borage oil has 16% GLA, primrose has 9%, black currant oil has 17%. For most ailments, take 1000 to 1,300 mg of borage oil daily. This can provide you with 240 to 300 mg respectively of GLA. Same dose of GLA can be found in 3,000 mg of evening primrose oil or 1,500 mg of black currant seed oil.
Omega-6 fatty acids should be taken with food. And the health benefits of omega-6 fatty acids often manifest after months of use. Omega-6 fatty acids have no known drug or nutrient interactions. Although, you need doctor’s supervision if you take omega-6 fatty acids over a long period of time. Periodic liver function tests may be required.