Why you should stop taking omega 3

Quick Health ScoopThe three main omega fatty acids are called omega-3, omega-6, và omega-9The omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) và the omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) are both essential fatty acids, meaning your toàn thân can’t make them và you must get them from foodThe omega-9 oleic acid is non-essential, meaning your body can produce it, but you can also get it from foodThe key is consuming the right balance of omega-3 omega-6, & omega-9 to support your overall health and wellbeing

You’ve probably heard about the fatty acids called omega-3, omega-6, & omega-9. While they differ in chemical structure, these mono- và polyunsaturated fats all play important roles in proper body functioning. Omega-3 và omega-6 fatty acids provide structural tư vấn to your body’s cell membranes, supporting their fluidity & flexibility which is necessary for cells khổng lồ function và communicate effectively. For example, the omega-3s EPA and DHA are found in large quantities in your brain and eyes, and tư vấn your body’s eyes, brain and heart health. Because these fatty acids are vital to your health, it’s important that you get enough of them in the right balance.

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But what’s the difference between omega-3, omega-6, & omega-9? Is one better than the other? Which foods provide the best sources of these fatty acids? & what are the benefits of each? 

What’s the Difference Between Omega-3, Omega-6, và Omega-9?

Without getting into a detailed chemistry lesson, the omegas omega-3, omega-6, & omega-9 fatty acids differ in their chemical structure & physical properties. Omega-3s & omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning they have more than one double bond. Omega-9s are monounsaturated fatty acids, which means they have one double bond. Unfortunately, humans lack the enzymes necessary to lớn insert a double bond in polyunsaturated fats lượt thích ALA and LA, which make them essential fatty acids và can only be obtained through food or supplements. Similarly, the omega-3s EPA and DHA can be made in the body through ALA, but the conversion rate is very low,1,2 therefore EPA và DHA should be consumed through food or supplements to lớn achieve the desired levels in the body. Let’s break down some of the specific omega-3, omega-6 và omega-9 fatty acids our bodies need: 


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This essential polyunsaturated fatty acid is found in flaxseeds, walnuts & their oils. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): This long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily found in seafood lượt thích salmon, oysters, and crab. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Like EPA, this long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily found in seafood. Good sources include salmon, tuna & sardines. 

Is Omega-3 the same as fish oil? Because fish oil is an excellent source of the omega-3s EPA và DHA, sometimes the names are used interchangeably. But all seafood và even algae contain the omega-3s EPA và DHA in varying amounts. 


Linolenic acid (LA): This essential polyunsaturated fatty acid is primarily found in vegetable oils, nuts và seeds.


Oleic acid (OA): This monounsaturated fatty acid is found in avocados, olives and olive oil. 

These polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the healthy fats that you should focus on daily, và you should limit or avoid saturated fats & trans fats lượt thích butter, shortening & lard.3 

Omega 3 Sources & Benefits


Omega-3 Food Sources

Your best bet for getting adequate amounts of omega-3s lies in the sea, especially oily, cold-water fish. But you can also find omega-3s in non-seafood và plant sources as well.4

Seafood: cod, herring, krill, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, oysters, & anchoviesOils: flaxseed, soybean, & canola oilsChia seeds, flaxseeds, và walnutsOmega-3 fortified foods (like eggs, yogurt, juices, & milk)

Omega-3 Benefits

Heart Health Support

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of heart disease.5,6 According to the most comprehensive đánh giá to date of the omega-3s EPA and DHA và their relationship khổng lồ coronary heart disease—EPA and DHA intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, especially for those who are considered to lớn be in a “higher risk population” such as those with higher blood triglyceride levels or low HDL (good) cholesterol.7 There is so much evidence on EPA and DHA và heart health, the FDA has issued a Qualified Health Claim, stating “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA và DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (See nutrition information for total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol content).”

Brain & Eye Health Support

Omega-3s are found in large quantities in the brain and eyes. In fact, DHA is the most abundant fatty acid found in both your brain & eyes. In your brain, DHA helps neurons transmit messages that allows your body toàn thân to communicate and function normally. In your eyes, DHA plays an important role in allowing you to lớn see clearly in different lighting conditions.

Omega 6 Sources và Benefits

Omega-6 Food Sources

Look to healthy sources for getting adequate amounts of omega-6, especially plant-based foods.4

Plant-based oils: corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil Nuts và seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnutsMeat, eggs, và dairy products 

Omega-6 Benefits

Like omega-3s, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids lượt thích LA are important to cell membrane structure and function. While replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fatty acids is a healthy choice, taking too much omega-6 fatty acids may be detrimental to lớn your health. Thanks to the Western diet, most Americans typically consume too much omega-6s compared khổng lồ omega-3s from vegetable oils & processed foods, with an out-of-proportion ratio of 20:1.8 Ideally, aim for a omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 1:1, or a maximum ratio of 5:1.9 The key is to lớn increase the amount of omega-3s in your diet and also replace vegetable oils with olive oil, which is a rich source of omega-9 fatty acids. The reason? A more balanced ratio provides anti-inflammatory benefits, while an unbalanced ratio can be pro-inflammatory.10 

Omega 9 Sources & Benefits

Omega-9 Food Sources

Look to healthy sources for getting enough omega-9, especially plant-based foods.4

Plant-based oils: almond oil, avocado oil, canola oil, olive oilNuts & seeds: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, rapeseed, sunflower seedsAvocados, olives

Omega-9 Benefits

Support heart health. When you replace saturated fats lượt thích butter with oils rich in omega-9 like olive oil, you are reducing your cholesterol intake và increasing the ”good” (HDL) cholesterol and lowering the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. 

Do I Need Omega-3, Omega-6, và Omega-9?

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of all three main omegas—including food sources & health benefits—you know you need these fatty acids in your diet, as they all play important functions in the body. Focusing on these healthy fats instead of saturated fats is also good for your heart health as well. The trick is lớn consume these fatty acids in the right ratio. Most Americans eat 14 lớn 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.11 The best way to balance out your omega consumption is not by cutting back on healthy omega-6 fats, but by increasing your consumption of omega-3s. If you don’t eat a lot of cold-water fatty fish, talk khổng lồ your doctor about fish oil supplements or omega-3 supplements.

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The Bottom Line

To function properly, your body toàn thân needs the omegas omega-3, omega-6. Và omega-9 fatty acids. Your body can’t produce omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food or supplements Because your toàn thân can make omega-9, it’s considered a non-essential fatty acid—but it’s still important for health reasons. Research shows that omega 3-6-9 benefits your health, especially in their ability to support heart health, as focusing on these healthy fats instead of saturated fats reduces your intake of dietary cholesterol. You need all three of these healthy, unsaturated fats, but the key is consuming the right balance of omega-3, omega-6, và omega-9.

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.

Learn More About The Omegas & Heart Health:

This information is only for educational purposes và is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.



Burdge GC, Jones AE, Wootton SA. Eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids are the principal products of α-linolenic acid metabolism in young men. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):355-364.Burdge GC, Wootton SA. Conversion of α-linolenic acid khổng lồ eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic & docosahexaenoic acids in young women. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):411-420.