Updated 8 June 2021 Jae Haroldsen

Omega fatty acids contain bonded carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens. The Omega designation is based on the Greek alphabet; alpha and omega are the beginning and the end. Omegas 3, 6, and 9 are determined based on where the last double-bonded carbon is located from the tail end (Omega) of the molecule. 

Omegas 3 and 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids meaning their molecules have more than one double-bonded set of carbon atoms. For Omega 3, the last double bond occurs three carbons from the end. For Omega 6, it is six away. Besides providing energy, polyunsaturated fats are turned into signaling molecules called eicosanoids.  

Omega 9 is a monounsaturated fat because it has only one double-bonded carbon located at nine carbon atoms from the end. Saturated fat has no double-bonded carbon atoms. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are considered essential fatty acids because they cannot be made by the human body and must be consumed. These fats are further divided into plant oil and fish oil. 

Plant Oil 

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is present in plant sources like canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil, chia seed, and walnuts. ALA may benefit the 1heart, 2nervous system, and reduce 3inflammation. The liver can convert ALA into polyunsaturated fats found in fish oils. This conversion is small and inefficient.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for ALA consumption is 1.6 grams for males over age 14 and 1.1 grams for females over age 14. 

Fish Oil 

Omega-3 fatty acid fish oils are found in cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel. The dominant ones are eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA and their derived eicosanoids support brain and cardiovascular functioning, inflammatory response, and the immune and endocrine systems.

Studies have shown EPA and DHA are necessary for proper human 4fetus brain, eye, and immune development. There are also promising possible benefits of EPA and DHA supplementation in preventive medicine for 5heart health, 6anxiety, 7cognitive functioning, and 8improved memory in elderly adults. 

 EPA supplementation may notably improve symptoms of 9major depression by reducing inflammation in the brain. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not object to 10heart health claims made on Omega 3 supplements. 

There is no set RDA for EPA or DHA consumption. Research studies use a daily combined range between 0.5 to 1.8 grams, and the American Heart Association recommends a combined EPA/DHA daily consumption of 1 gram. 

Omega 6 Fatty Acids 

Omega 6 fatty acids are also considered essential fatty acids. Linolenic acid is the most common omega 6 fatty acid and is often found in skincare products. 

Eicosanoids produced from Omega 6 fatty acids are more inflammatory in nature. Having the right amount of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids is important for a healthy immune system.  

However, Western society generally over consumes Omega 6 oils found in corn oil, soybean oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds. This overconsumption increases the risk of inflammatory diseases. The best-balanced Omega 6 to 3 consumption ratio is between one and four Omega 6s to one omega 3. 

Omega 9 Fatty Acids 

Omega 9 is a monounsaturated fat the body can produce and is not considered essential. However, 11studies show diets high in monounsaturated fats may reduce insulin resistance, create less inflammation, and benefit other issues related to obesity. 

Olive oil, cashew nut oil, almond oil, and avocado oil are high in Omega 9 Fatty Acids. 

Origin Nutraceutical 

In 2019, Grandview Research estimates the Omega 3 supplement market was valued at $5.18 billion. They predict this market will continue to grow as consumers become more aware of Omega fatty acids' possible benefits to the cardiovascular system, cognitive functioning, and inflammation reduction. They estimate a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% from 2020-2027. 

To get started on adding a Fatty Acid supplement to your brand, contact Origin Nutraceutical today. 

This information has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided on Omegas 3, 6, 9 supplements is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

The content of Origin Nutraceutical's website is for information only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Origin Nutraceutical is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those taking Origin Nutraceutical products, should use the information, resources, or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Origin Nutraceutical gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of the content. 

Sources: 

1Geleijnse, Johanna M et al. “Alpha-linolenic acid: is it essential to cardiovascular health?.” Current atherosclerosis reports vol. 12,6 (2010): 359-67. doi:10.1007/s11883-010-0137-0

2Seifar F, Khalili M, Khaledyan H, Amiri Moghadam S, Izadi A, Azimi A, Shakouri SK. α-Lipoic acid, functional fatty acid, as a novel therapeutic alternative for central nervous system diseases: A review. Nutr Neurosci. 2019 May;22(5):306-316. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1386755. Epub 2017 Nov 29. PMID: 29185388

3Akbari, Maryam et al. “The effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on inflammatory markers among patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 15 39. 5 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12986-018-0274-y

4Coletta, Jaclyn M et al. “Omega-3 Fatty acids and pregnancy.” Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology vol. 3,4 (2010): 163-71. 

5Wei MY, Jacobson TA. Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid versus docosahexaenoic acid on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2011 Dec;13(6):474-83. doi: 10.1007/s11883-011-0210-3. Erratum in: Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2012 Feb;14(1):93. PMID: 21975919.

6Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Nov;25(8):1725-34. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229. Epub 2011 Jul 19. PMID: 21784145; PMCID: PMC3191260.

7Narendran, Rajesh. "Improved Working Memory but no Effect on Striatal Vesicular Monoamine Transporter Type 2 After Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation." Plos One. 2012. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046832

8Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D, Nelson EB, Ryan AS, Blackwell A, Salem N Jr, Stedman M; MIDAS Investigators. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement. 2010 Nov;6(6):456-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013. PMID: 20434961.

9Liao, Yuhua et al. "Efficacy of Omega-3 PUFAs in Depression: A Meta-Analysis." Nature. 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5 

10"FDA Announces New Qualified Health Claims for EPA and DHA Omega-3 Consumption and the Risk of Hypertension and Coronary Heart Disease." Food and Drug Administration. 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5 

11Finucane, Orla M. et al. "Monounsaturated Fatty Acid–Enriched High-Fat Diets Impede Adipose NLRP3 Inflammasome–Mediated IL-1β Secretion and Insulin Resistance Despite Obesity." American Diabetes Association. 2015.https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/64/6/2116.long

Robertson, Ruairi. "Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids: A Complete Overview." Healthline. 2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-6-9-overview#omega-9

"Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional

"Omega 3 Supplements Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report." Grandview Research. 2020. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/omega-3-supplement-market

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