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Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids and are an essential part of the diet. They are important for the normal functioning of the body. These essential fatty acids have to be obtained from external sources, especially through food, since the body cannot synthesize them. Omega 6 fatty acid, also known as linolenic acid, is essential for heart health and also plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the body. Hence including omega 6 food sources is necessary for the overall health of the body..

Health Benefits

As mentioned earlier, omega 6 belongs to the class of essential fatty acids that is required by the body. Since these polyunsaturated fats are not processed in the body, they have to be obtained from olive oil, walnuts, chicken and other sources of omega 6. Given below are some of the benefits.
  • Including omega 6 in the diet is beneficial and has proven to reduce the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries, due to the formation of plaque) etc.
  • This essential fatty acid is also known to prevent degenerative diseases like arthritis, cancer, disorders of the brain like depression and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and also respiratory disorders like asthma.
  • Omega 6 fatty acid is also an effective remedy to treat acne, rosacea and other skin problems. It rejuvenates the damaged cells, repairing them and improving their functions. The end result is you look fresh, with skin that glows with health.
  • Omega 6 is also an effective remedy to treat skin disorders like eczema and atopic dermatitis.
  • Taking evening primrose oil, which is a supplement of omega 6, is beneficial for women, as it reduces the severity of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms like irritability, soreness and tender breasts, bloating sensation and fluid retention. In menopausal women, it relieves night sweats and hot flashes.
  • Foods containing omega 6 fatty acids help in enhancing thermogenesis (production of heat in the body), prevent muscle damage, relieve fatigue and strengthen the bones and muscles.
  • Other omega 6 benefits include preventing osteoporosis and other bone disorders, regulating hormones in the body, and also aiding in metabolism.
Side Effects

Anything taken in excess is harmful. Similarly, though omega 6 is an essential fatty acid, if it is taken over the required amount then it turns 'unessential' and can cause a lot of health problems. When it comes to omega 6 vs omega 3, both the essential fatty acids are necessary for the proper functioning and the overall health of the body. It is essential to balance these fatty acids in the body, since both of them play a vital role in the growth and development of the body. An imbalance can lead to the inflammation of the tissues and muscles in the body. It also makes the body more vulnerable to hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune disorders, blood clotting problems, etc. It is also advisable for patients with seizures to avoid taking supplements of omega 6 as these can cause seizures, which can be severe in intensity. It can also increase the risk of prostate cancer, since it may trigger the abnormal growth of prostate tumor cells.

Over consumption of omega 6 can be harmful to health so it is advisable to maintain a balance between the intake of foods that are rich in these fatty acids in your diet and reap the benefits.