Whats the Difference between omega-3 and omega-6?

old message Whats the difference between omega-3 fatty acids and omeg... Darrell Miller 11/09/05


Date: November 09, 2005 09:41 AM

Whats the difference between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6?

Omega-3 is the name of a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). There are two main families of PUFA: Omega-3 (N-3 PUFA) and omega-6 (N-6 PUFA).

Omega-3 (n-3 PUFA)
The Predominant sources of omega-3s are fish oil and vegetable oils. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids:

1. alpha linolenic acid (LNA) is an important plant-based source of omega-3s, including such foods as tofu, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseed.

2. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are very long-chain fatty acids obtained from cold-water ocean fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel, albacore tuna and salmon – hence, fish oil.

Omega-3s are required for normal human health. They affect many physiological processes including cognitive function, visual acuity, immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, anti-thrombotic and anti-arrhythmia activities along with having major effects on whole body glucose and lipid metabolism.

Omega-6 (n-6 PUFA)
Vegetables are the main source of omega-6s. There are two main omega-6 fatty acids:

1. arachidonic acid(AA)

2. Linoleic acid (LA)

The most important omega-6 is LA. This is found in large amounts of western diets in corn oil, safflower oil and soy bean oil.

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