Is There a Recommended Daily Intake for Omega 3 & 6?

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids essential to the human body. The ratio of these two fatty acids proves fundamental to their health benefits.

  1. Function

    • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have opposing functions; yet, both improve health in the appropriate balance. Omega-6 fatty acids increase blood pressure and inflammatory reactions while omega-3 fatty acids oppose these reactions.

    Types

    • Eggs are a good source of omega-6 fats.
      Eggs are a good source of omega-6 fats.

      Alpha-linolenic (ALA), Dexahaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) comprise the family of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats can be found in fatty fish, canola oil, flax seeds and walnuts. Linoleic acid (LA), Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and Arachidonic acid (AA) form the omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fat sources include: soybean, corn, safflower seeds, nuts, meat, poultry and eggs.

    Significance

    • Americans consume 10 times the quantity of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance contributes to increased inflammatory disorders in the U.S. The ideal ratio ranges between two to four times omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.

    The Facts

    • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established an Adequate Intake (AI) for healthy adults at 12 to 17 g/day LA and 1.1 to 1.6 g/day ALA. American Heart Association suggests eating a variety of oily fish at least two times a week in addition to plant foods rich in ALA.

    Warning

    • Excessive intake of either fat supplement can cause harm. Omega-3 fats can contribute to prolonged bleeding and suppression of the immune system. Omega-6 fats can lead to gastrointestinal upset.

    Considerations

    • Eating a variety of food sources, as encouraged in the Mediterranean Diet, increases the likelihood of obtaining the ideal balance of fatty acids from foods.

Related Searches

References

Resources

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Steffen Zahn Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

You May Also Like

Related Ads

View Blog Post

Thoughtful Acts of Service Kids Can Do This Holiday Season