Fish oil is famous for its omega-3 content. But there's another kind of omega fatty acid called omega 6. Fish oil and many other foods include these fats, but they are sometimes combined in the same capsule or serving size.
You might wonder if your fish oil has both, and if it does, whether it needs both or if one is enough. If you take fish oil for its omega-3 content, you don't need to worry about getting enough omega-6 from your diet. Your body doesn't make omega three on its own and must get it from food sources like fish, nuts, and leafy greens.
Omega 3 and omega 6: What are they?
There are three types of omega fats: omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. All of these fats are heart-healthy, but they have different benefits. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are considered essential fatty acids, meaning they are necessary for health, but our bodies can't make them, so we have to get them through our diet.
Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory. They are found in nuts, seeds, and seafood, especially salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies.
These fats also have other health benefits, including improving heart and brain health and reducing cancer risk. Omega-6 fats are also anti-inflammatory but can cause large amounts of inflammation. These fats are found in nuts, seeds, oils, and meats.
How much omega-6 should you eat?
If you are getting your omega-3 from fish oil, you don't need to worry about omega-6. The amount of omega-6 in a daily fish oil supplement is minimal. For the rest of the population, the recommended intake of omega-6 is about 10% of your daily calories.
So, if you eat 2,000 calories daily, you would need 20 grams of omega-6 per day. It's normal to have small amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 in your blood. But when one type of fat becomes too high or too low, you can experience health problems like asthma, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes.
There is no recommended daily amount (RDA) for omega-3, even though it is essential to good health. There is, however, an RDA for omega-6, with the goal being a ratio of 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 in your blood. The average American diet, however, is much higher in omega-6.
The benefits of omega-3
From the list above, you can see that omega-3 has many benefits. These benefits include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and improved brain and nerve health. Omega-3 also aids in weight loss, especially in belly fat.
The primary sources of omega-3 are fish oil supplements and walnuts. Other sources of omega-3 include flaxseed, hemp seeds, and fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Most of us don't get enough omega-3 in our diets, and the benefits are clear.
The benefits of omega-6
Omega-6 has many benefits but can be harmful if you have too much. So, getting the right amount is critical. Omega-6 is anti-inflammatory, which is why it's recommended for people who suffer from arthritis. It also helps with weight loss.
One of the most notable benefits of omega-6 is its ability to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build up in your blood vessels and cause health problems like heart disease.
The primary sources of omega-6 are soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and various nuts and seeds. Again, many people need to get more omega-6, so it's essential to get the right amount.
Finding the right balance
As mentioned, the recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2:1. So, if you get 20 grams of omega-6, you should only consume 10 grams of omega-3. Keep in mind that the RDA for omega-3 is 0 grams. So, even if you eat fish daily, you will need more omega-3.
For omega-6, you can get the recommended amount from nuts, oils, seeds, and certain grains and legumes. You can also get small amounts of omega-6 from vegetables, dairy, and eggs.
The best sources of omega-3 are fish, seeds, and nuts. You can also get omega-3 from animal sources like eggs, dairy, and meat. The problem, though, is that most sources of meat, eggs, and dairy are high in omega-6 as well.
Fish oil is a great way to get omega-3. But don't worry about getting omega-6 if you only take fish oil. You probably get plenty of omega-6 if you eat a balanced diet, especially if you eat a lot of nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
It's important to remember that the health benefits of fish oil are primarily attributed to its omega-3 content. If you take fish oil supplements and need more omega-3, you still get real help from the supplements.