Omega 6 Fats

library / Omega 6 Fats

Omega-6 fatty acids are a family of unsaturated fatty acids.

In general, omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation. Research shows that Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower. This fatty acid imbalance is believed to increase the risk of a number of chronic illnesses including: heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, mood disorders, ADHD and cancer.

Excess omega-6 fats interfere with the health benefits of omega-3 fats; in part because they compete for the same enzymes. A high proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fat in the diet shifts the body's state toward the pathogenesis of many diseases: prothrombotic, proinflammatory and proconstrictive.

The main vegetable oils used in cooking (palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower) provide more than 100 million metric tons annually. Of this, more than 32 million metric tons is omega-6 linoleic acid while only 4 million metric tons is omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.


Daley, C.A.; Abbott, A.; Doyle, P.; Nader, G.; and Larson, S. (2004). "A literature review of the value-added nutrients found in grass-fed beef products". California State University, Chico (College of Agriculture).; Simopoulos, Artemis P. (October 2002). "The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids". Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 56 (8): 365–379. PMID 12442909.; Simopoulos, Artemis P. (September 2003). "Importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids: evolutionary aspects". World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics 92 (Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Ratio: The Scientific Evidence): 1–174. Karger. doi:10.1159/000073788. PMID 14579680. ISBN 3805576404.; Calder, Philip C. (June 2006). "n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 83 (6, supplement): 1505S–1519S. American Society for Nutrition. PMID; McNamara RK, Carlson SE.Role of omega-3 fatty acids in brain development and function: potentialimplications for the pathogenesis and prevention of psychopathology.Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Oct-Nov;75(4-5):329-49. Reprod Nutr Dev. 2005 Jan-Feb;45(1):1-28. Young G, Conquer J.Omega-3 fatty acids and neuropsychiatric disorders.Reprod Nutr Dev. 2005 Jan-Feb;45(1):1-28.