Omega 6 fatty acids: what they are and why you need them What exactly are Omega 6 fatty acids, and why do some experts say they’re bad for us?  How does Omega 6 differ from Omega 3 or 9?  If you find all the information about the omega family confusing, this article should help to clear things up. First, the basics. Fatty acids are the building blocks that make up the mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated  fats and oils in our diets.  Our bodies require them in the same way they require other nutrients, e.g. amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Fatty acids are divided into three major groups according to their chemical structure: Omega 3, 6 and 9.  Omega 6 fatty acids can help to maintain heart1, skin and hormonal health, IF they’re in balance with the other omegas in your diet.  Omega 6 fatty acids also play a role in forming hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, which can affect our health and wellbeing in various ways.  They also make up a significant proportion of our cell membranes. What’s the right Omega 6 balance? Research suggests that we need an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of around 2-4:1 to support optimal wellbeing and health.  Unfortunately, the balance of these fatty acids in our Western diet is often closer to 14-25:12. In these ratios, the prostaglandins that we produce can actually create inflammation in our various systems, rather than countering it.  The result is that instead of supporting our health, Omega 6 fatty acids may make certain inflammatory conditions worse. Of course, this isn’t to say that we should avoid Omega 6 fatty acids completely.  However, it does mean that we need to ensure our intake is in balance with our intake of other omega fatty acids. Flaxseed oil is one of the most balanced natural Omega 6 sources Many wholegrain and plant foods contain Omega 6 fatty acids. However, none of them contain Omega 6 in a more naturally balanced ratio with other omegas than flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the flax (Linum usitatissimum) bush. Omega ratios can vary somewhat between individual flaxseed oils, but an Omega 3 content of anything up to 65% is not unusual.  Because the remaining fatty acids include both Omega 6 and 9, flaxseed oil is an ideal choice to provide a balanced omega intake. What to look for in a flaxseed oil supplement Omega 6 oils are particularly heat-sensitive, so ensure that any supplement you choose is cold-pressed.   They also oxidise easily, so it’s important to store liquid flaxseed oil in a completely airtight bottle in the fridge. Or, alternatively, choose a capsule – not only do many people find capsules more convenient to take, but encapsulating the oil helps to prevent oxidation. Finally, try to find an organic product.  If the flaxseeds have been grown organically, they’re certified as being free of toxic residues from pesticides or fertilizers.  And the fewer of those you take in, the better! 1William S. Harris, Dariush Mozaffarian,; Eric Rimm, Penny Kris-Etherton, Lawrence L. Rudel, Lawrence J. Appel, Marguerite M. Engler, Mary B. Engler, Frank Sacks. Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Risk for Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2009;119:902-907 2
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4 simple food swaps that to help keep your energy levels up


Wish your energy levels were higher? It all starts with your cells…

If you regularly wake up tired, and then end each day sprawled out on the couch, you’ve probably wished for more energy. To make that happen, it helps to understand your body’s energy-production process.

If you zoom in to a cellular level, you’ll find that every single cell in your body contains several little organelles called mitochondria. Each mitochondrion acts like a tiny digestive system: taking in nutrients like glucose and oxygen and transforming them into ATP – your body’s chemical form of energy.

Every process in your body – e.g. movement, communication between cells, or synthesising proteins and hormones – is powered by ATP. So you can see why it’s important to make enough of it.

Of course, other systems in your body also affect your mitochondria’s ability to do their jobs. But everything starts at that cellular level.

What you eat affects your energy, so try these four simple food swaps

You’ll know from personal experience that some foods leave you sluggish and tired, while others make you feel vibrant and energetic. Here are a few simple swaps that may help to give your energy levels a boost:

  • Choose spinach or other dark, leafy greens over iceberg lettuce: dark green, leafy veges contain folate and other B-vitamins, Vitamins C and K, plus minerals like Iron and Magnesium. Each of these nutrients plays either a direct or an indirect role in helping your mitochondria to produce cellular energy.
  • Choose whole grains over white bread: whole grains take your body longer to break down, so their energy is released over a longer period, which helps to avoid blood sugar crashes. Plus, whole grains contain more B-vitamins, Iron and Magnesium too.
  • Choose green smoothies over pure fruit smoothies: while pure fruit smoothies may sound healthy, they can be very high in simple sugars (the kind that give you an energy spike, followed by a crash). Swap out some of that fruit for dark, leafy greens to enjoy all the taste with more nutrients and less sugar.
  • Choose water over caffeinated drinks: caffeine can artificially boost your energy, but that’s usually followed by a crash. Plus, caffeinated drinks tend to be dehydrating. Keeping your body hydrated, by contrast, will help to flush out the toxins and waste products that can leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued.

Bonus tip: consider taking a CoQ10 supplement

Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a little-known nutrient that plays a vital role in helping your mitochondria to create cellular energy. That’s why it’s often described as “nature’s spark plug”.

Our bodies do produce CoQ10 naturally, but the older we get, the less of it we create.

Nutra-Life CoQ10 300mg provides double strength CoQ10* in a convenient, one-a-day capsule to supplement your body’s natural CoQ10 levels.

Our tip? Ask at your local pharmacy or health food stores for Nutra-Life CoQ10 300mg to supplement the energy swaps in this article.