One thing is for sure, omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are ALL essential fats to have in our daily diet! Each type of omega comes from a variety of natural sources and therefore will also have slightly different health benefits associated with their use. Omega-3 fatty acids can typically be sourced from cold-water fish and various oils that can be supplemented into our diet to support our cognitive brain functions and heart health. Omega-6 can be derived from vegetable oils and can be useful in helping support our metabolism. Whereas omega-9 can be extracted from the majority of plant, nut and seed oils; with known benefits to our immune system and managing cholesterol levels. Therefore, a daily source of the three omega’s is essential for our health but it's crucial to get the right balance! An imbalance or overconsumption could contribute to increasing your risk of several chronic diseases; therefore maintaining a healthy daily balance of omega-3, 6 and 9 is vital! Orange-3 has generally considered the most important and popular omega supplement due to its long list of heart and brain-related health benefits. There is an abundance of just omega-3 and omega-3 and Vitamin D complex; this in itself can pose the question if omega-6 and omega-9 are needed…
The short answer is yes they are; a healthy balance of omega-3, 6 and 9 are all essential!
Do I need to take omega-6?
One of the main reasons why you might not find a vast majority of omega-6 supplements is largely down to the average diet being highly likely to prove plenty of the omega-6 fatty acids already! You can find omega-6 in sunflower, sesame and even corn oils just to name a few; which are commonly found in a typical diet. Therefore omega-6 supplements might be unnecessary as omega-6 is one of the easier fatty acid sources (out of omega-3,6 & 9) to add to your diet. It's believed that the average individuals consume plenty of fatty acids without needing omega-6 supplements at all! So, you might not need to supplement omega-6 into your diet with supplements but typically it's still a source of essential fatty acids that our body needs; we can just get them from natural sources much easier. If you are interested in taking omega-6 supplements for their skin and hair benefits then you might want to consult with your doctor or GP first to ensure this will be a safe course to follow; an imbalance or too much of any omega is not healthy!
Do I need to take omega-9?
Our bodies need omega-9 but like it needs omega-3 and 6. However, you might not (again) need to take any additional or supporting supplements to get omega-9 into your body as it can also be found as part of our diets already. Omega-3 and 6 are both considered essential fatty acids, largely as they cannot be made by your body and therefore must be consumed as a part of your diet. Omega-9, on the other hand, is not considered an essential fatty acid as our bodies can make it from other nutrients inside the body naturally. So if you are wondering whether or not you need to supplement omega-9 then it might not be essential but taking a combined omega-3,6 and 9 supplement (with the advice from your doctor) could still be beneficial to your health. To clarify, omega-9 is a good source of fatty acids that can be beneficial to the body, but supplementing them into the body is just not as important as they can be made with other nutrients on their own. Omega-9 is still important but our bodies can make it themselves.
Are omega-6 and 9 essential or nonessential?
We previously mentioned above that omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential for the body; the body requires the essential fatty acids that can only come from consuming omega-3 and 6 as part of our daily diet. This can be through the foods we consume or by taking suitable omega-3 and omega-6 supplements! On the other hand, as we also previously mentioned, omega-9 is not considered an essential source of fatty acids that must be consumed as part of your daily diet for the body to get a supply. This is due to the body being able to make its reserve of omega-9 fatty acid; therefore omega-9 is not considered an essential supplement to take daily. However, you can still supplement omega-9 if you have a valid reason to do so or if you have been advised to do so by your health care professional. This could be to help treat various skin conditions or improve the growth rate of hair.
How important are omega-6 and 9?
You could say that even though omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential that they are the only two out of the three that are important. Whilst this might sound accurate on the surface, the body can still benefit from a controlled and balanced source of all three omega types. This includes the ‘non-essential’ omega-9. A balanced and regular supply of all three of these types of omega fatty acid sources can be highly beneficial for the body; for reasons, we have continuously listed throughout recent posts. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are considered both essential and important but omega-9 is also still important. The body still needs omega-9 even if it can naturally produce it with our nutrients. If the body didn't need omega-9 then why would it need to produce it? The most important factor regarding omega-3,6 and 9 to remember is that consumption (via food or supplements) needs to be balanced to avoid any adverse effects on our health!If you need more information on the topic of the various types of omega then be sure to check out our recent Health Insider Blog posts; where we have gone through each omega in more depth. This includes potential side effects and dosage recommendations! You can also send our team a DM on Instagram if you require additional support with a personal query.