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Keeping your Omega 6 levels balanced with flaxseed oil

Keeping your Omega 6 levels balanced with flaxseed oil

Why your body needs Omega 6 fatty acids 

What exactly is Omega 6?  How is it different to the other omega oils you keep hearing about?  If you’ve heard about all the different omega fatty acids and wondered exactly what they were, this article should help.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats in your diet.  They’re nutrients that your body uses in much the same way as it uses vitamins, minerals, or amino acids; and they are a major component of your cell membranes. 

Scientists categorise fatty acids as either Omega 3, 6 or 9 depending on their chemical structure. Omega 6 fatty acids may help to maintain heart1, skin and hormonal health, IF they’re in balance with the other omegas in your diet.  Your body also uses Omega 6 fatty acids to form a family of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, which can affect your health and wellbeing in several ways.

The perfect Omega 6 balance

Research suggests that our bodies need an Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance of around 2-4:1 for optimal health and wellbeing.  Unfortunately, our Western diets often have a ratio that’s closer to 14-25:12.  

In these ratios, the prostaglandins our bodies produce may be more pro-inflammatory than anti-inflammatory.  This means that rather than supporting your health, Omega 6 fatty acids may have a negative impact upon it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid Omega 6 fatty acids altogether.  However, it does mean that you need to ensure your intake is appropriately balanced with your intake of other omega fatty acids.

Flaxseed oil: one of nature’s most balanced Omega 6 sources 

Although Omega 6 fatty acids are present in many wholegrain and plant foods, one of the most balanced natural omega sources is flaxseed oil.  Flaxseed oil is pressed from the seeds of the flax bush (Linum usitatissimum)

Omega ratios can vary naturally between individual flaxseed oils, but an Omega 3 content of up to 65% is not unusual.  The remaining fatty acids include both Omega 9 and 6, which makes flaxseed oil an ideal choice to support a balanced intake.

What should you look for in a flaxseed oil supplement?

Omega 6 oils are particularly sensitive to heat and oxidation, so ensure that any flaxseed oil supplement you choose is cold-pressed.   Many people find capsules are more convenient to take than a liquid, and they certainly oxidise less easily.  If you prefer a liquid, however, make sure you store it in an airtight bottle in the fridge.

Also, if possible, look for an organic flaxseed oil, which will be certified as being free of toxic residues from pesticides or fertilizers.  The less of these substances 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 http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/flaxseed-oil-000304.htm

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Keeping your Omega 6 levels balanced with flaxseed oil

What are Omega 6 fatty acids? Why your body need Omega 6 fatty acids & how they can they help to maintain your heart, skin & hormonal health?

Why your body needs Omega 6 fatty acids 

What exactly is Omega 6?  How is it different to the other omega oils you keep hearing about?  If you’ve heard about all the different omega fatty acids and wondered exactly what they were, this article should help.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats in your diet.  They’re nutrients that your body uses in much the same way as it uses vitamins, minerals, or amino acids; and they are a major component of your cell membranes. 

Scientists categorise fatty acids as either Omega 3, 6 or 9 depending on their chemical structure. Omega 6 fatty acids may help to maintain heart1, skin and hormonal health, IF they’re in balance with the other omegas in your diet.  Your body also uses Omega 6 fatty acids to form a family of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, which can affect your health and wellbeing in several ways.

The perfect Omega 6 balance

Research suggests that our bodies need an Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance of around 2-4:1 for optimal health and wellbeing.  Unfortunately, our Western diets often have a ratio that’s closer to 14-25:12.  

In these ratios, the prostaglandins our bodies produce may be more pro-inflammatory than anti-inflammatory.  This means that rather than supporting your health, Omega 6 fatty acids may have a negative impact upon it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid Omega 6 fatty acids altogether.  However, it does mean that you need to ensure your intake is appropriately balanced with your intake of other omega fatty acids.

Flaxseed oil: one of nature’s most balanced Omega 6 sources 

Although Omega 6 fatty acids are present in many wholegrain and plant foods, one of the most balanced natural omega sources is flaxseed oil.  Flaxseed oil is pressed from the seeds of the flax bush (Linum usitatissimum)

Omega ratios can vary naturally between individual flaxseed oils, but an Omega 3 content of up to 65% is not unusual.  The remaining fatty acids include both Omega 9 and 6, which makes flaxseed oil an ideal choice to support a balanced intake.

What should you look for in a flaxseed oil supplement?

Omega 6 oils are particularly sensitive to heat and oxidation, so ensure that any flaxseed oil supplement you choose is cold-pressed.   Many people find capsules are more convenient to take than a liquid, and they certainly oxidise less easily.  If you prefer a liquid, however, make sure you store it in an airtight bottle in the fridge.

Also, if possible, look for an organic flaxseed oil, which will be certified as being free of toxic residues from pesticides or fertilizers.  The less of these substances 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 http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/flaxseed-oil-000304.htm
Keeping your Omega 6 levels balanced with flaxseed oil
 

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