If you have been reading along with our previous blog posts exploring the various types of omega then you may already know some of the characterises that make omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 different! Here on our blog, we have already looked at the different types of food you can get various omega fatty acids from and how much per day (in supplements) is a safe amount of omega to consume. After all, whether you consume omega-3,6 or 9 through the foods you eat or by taking supplements; it’s important to ensure you are taking a safe amount to not overload the body will too many fatty acids. An unbalanced or unstable amount of omega fatty acids or fish oil inside the body can trigger adverse side effects like high blood sugar, low blood pressure or even Vitamin A toxicity! Maintaining a balance of all three types of omega (3,6 and 9) could be classed as a similarity between the three types of omega, but there are also quite a lot of differences across the board. Again things like dosage and daily serving suggestions (via food or supplements) might be similar but things like health benefits, sources of omega and even their fatty acids are all different amongst the three types of omega. So, with that in mind, let’s explore what makes omega-3,6 and 9 all different from one another to help further your understanding of them…
What are the main differences between omega-3, 6 and 9?
Whilst there are a few similarities between omega-3,6 and 9 (they can all be beneficial for our health being one of them), they are quite different. Everything from their necessity, fatty acids and even specific health benefits can all vary between them. So, let's now look into four of the most notable differences between omega-3, 6 and 9…
There are many differences between omega-3,6 and 9; the most notable difference being necessity! It’s believed that only omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential for the body as the fatty acids from omega-3 and omega-6 cannot be made by the body on their own. In contrast, omega-9 can be produced using nutrients already being consumed and present inside the body. Therefore, only omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential whereas omega-9 - is not.
- Source of omega…
Each type of omega can be extracted from a different source; although there is some overlap as some vegetable oils (safflower oil and sunflower oil) can be a source of both omega-6 and omega-9. Although, for the best source of omega-3 it’s advised to consume cold-water fish for high levels of essential EPA and DHA fatty acids. Fish such as salmon, mackerel and even herring are all great sources of high levels of omega-3. Cod liver oil is another popular source of omega-3 fish oil; all of these sources of omega can help improve heart health and support cognitive function.
- Fatty acids
Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 all have fatty acids that differ significantly from one other. For instance, omega-3 can be high in EPA, DHA and ALA fatty acids; all serving their function for the body as well as coming from different food sources! Whereas, omega-6 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that is responsible for hair growth, skin repair, bone strength and even regulating metabolism. Omega-9 is considered to have a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) that can be synthesized endogenously inside the body; therefore only considered a particle fatty acid and not essential!
- Health benefits!
Perhaps one of the more significant differences between omega-3,6 and 9 are their believed health benefits as each omega is ‘responsible’ for different functions and regulations inside the body. Omega-3 is known as the ‘best’ for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-6 is believed to be responsible for ensuring that our skin, hair, bones and even immunity are all healthy and supported. Whereas, omega-9 has been linked to reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol as well as increasing ‘good’ cholesterol. If you want to learn more about the different health benefits of omega-3,6 and 9 be sure to check out the Health Insider Blog! You can find several posts exploring their many benefits.
Which omegas are essential?
We have previously discussed how only omega-3 and omega-6 are sourced of essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own; therefore only omega-3 and 6 (oils) are considered essential! Although, you can still consume omega-9-rich foods or supplements if you need to; just make sure all the omega oils are balanced and taken as part of a healthy diet.
Is omega-9 essential to take?
So, to clarify what we just mentioned, omega-9 is not strictly considered essential as it's only considered a source of a partial fatty acid that can be made via other nutrients inside the body; therefore deemed non-essential. Whereas omega-3 and omega-6 can only be consumed into the body and not naturally produced on their own; therefore essential!
Is a combined omega-369 supplement recommended?
Combination omega supplements are very popular for individuals who want to ensure that their intake of omega (via supplements) is balanced and convenient. Whilst you can take a combination of omega-3,6 and 9 they are known to, generally, not provide any additional benefit over taking just an omega-3 supplement on its own! An omega-3 (fish oil) supplement is the most essential omega supplement to take if you are not getting enough omega-3 from your diet! Omega-6 can also be considered an unnecessary supplement as it’s present in many foods therefore adding additional omega-6 supplements on top could mean you are over-consuming omega-6! To clarify, an omega-3 supplement is the most important (if not eating omega-3-rich foods), as omega-6 can be found in most foods and omega-9 is not deemed essential.
Necessity, fatty acids and omega sources are all a part of what makes omega-3,6 & 9 so different!For additional information on omega oils and fatty acids; be sure to check out the Health Insider Blog; filled with helpful posts that explore not just the benefits of omega-3,6 & 9 but also what makes them different. Including which types of omega fatty acids are essential for your health! If you still require additional support, you can send us DM on Instagram and we will try to help answer any questions you may still have.