The Differences Between Omega 3 & Omega 6

The two essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, are vital for brain development, proper function of the immune system and regulation of blood pressure. Even though these two essential fatty acids are important to similar functions, the way in which they enter the body differs. Some of the differences between omega 3 and omega 6 is each is found in different foods, but may support the same functions in different ways.

  1. Omega 3

    • Of the three essential fatty acids, omega 3 is recognized as the most important, according Women to Women (Reference 1). Omega 3 halts inflammation that causes degenerative joint diseases. It counteracts the pro-inflammatory properties of its cousin, omega 6.


    • Sources of omega 3 fatty acids are found naturally in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, halibut, shrimps, mackerel and cod. You can get omega 3 in nuts and seeds including almonds, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds and mustard seeds. Oils with omega 3 include hempseed oil, chia seed oil, wheat germ oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil. Omega 3 laden fruits and vegetables are strawberries, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, soybeans, turnip greens, and spinach.


    • As reported by the Global Healing Center (Reference 2), omega 3 benefits brain function and averts cardiovascular disease. And those are just a few benefits. The Global Healing Center lists omega 3 fatty acid as useful for numerous medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, some cancers, asthma, attention disorders and digestive disorders.

    Omega 6

    • Omega 6 has an important roll in brain development, function of the immune system and regulates blood pressure, as reported by the Global Health Center. Omega 6 is known for triggering inflammation. There are several forms of omega 6, and one form had proven to be an anti-inflammatory, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.


    • Omega 6 fatty acids are naturally found in sesame oil, hempseed oil, chia seed oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, wheatgerm, grape seeds, pistachios, raw nuts and seeds.


    • Omega 6, like omega 3, protects against the risk of heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and skin diseases such as eczema and acne. Healthline (Reference 3) states that omega 6 supports many functions of the body including the production of steroids, muscle and reflex regulation, rate of cell division, proper kidney function, transportation of oxygen to tissues from red blood cells, monitors immune response, manages pressure in the blood vessels, joints and eye, prevent blood cells from creating clusters that can cause blood clots, and omega 6 maintains cell membrane structure.

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