The omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid - GLA-, arachidonic acid - AA -) are a type of essential polyunsaturated fat.
Like the omega-3 fatty acids, they are unsaturated in the molecule because they have double bonds between carbon atoms, and they are essential oils (EFA) because the body can not produce them and therefore must be obtained through food.
Photo of essential fatty acids food sources: Avocado, vegetable oils, nuts and seafood.
What are the properties of omega-6?
What are omega-6 for? The body needs fatty acid omega-6 to work properly. The main functions of linoleic acid are the following:
- The functioning of neurons and chemical transmissions.
Benefits of omega-6
Besides the basic functions discussed in the previous point, it was found that the intake of omega-6 fatty acids offers a number of benefits for the body.
Among all the advantages they provide, the following are included:
Beneficial properties for the circulatory system
The ingestion of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acid or supplements that contain this principle lowers triglycerides, lowers cholesterol, prevents blood clots in the arteries by preventing platelet aggregation and the pressure decreases slightly pressure.
Moreover, this cardioprotective role is also enhanced by the ability of these oils to increase the transmission power of the heart muscle and mantain a regular rhythm, preventing diseases such as arrhythmias.
For its ability to improve circulation, it can be used in cases of impotence related to lack of blood supply to the penis.
Hair loss: It can also be used in case of hair loss related to a lack of blood supply to the hair follicle.
It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in diseases of the joints. So food, or especially supplements, may be well suited to reduce the swelling and relieve pain in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The use of supplements containing gamma-linoleic acid may be a natural alternative to conventional treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It seems that this component reduces the levels of prostaglandins that are responsible for many inflammatory processes.
Diseases of women
Gamma-linolenic acid contributes to the production of prostaglandin E1, a kind of hormone that reduces inflammatory processes.
This property is very useful in the treatment of negative symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, both as regards their physical and psychological aspect.
The use of evening primrose oil supplements help reduce bloating, pain in the head, pain, or increased breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, back pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, urinary problems, diverse manifestations in skin, including dry, cold sores and acne, etc.
On the psychological help fight depression, irritability, aggressiveness, anxiety attacks, etc.
The use of this oil is an alternative without contraindications to the use of prostaglandin inhibitors or hormones. It also seems to have a positive influence in the treatment of other diseases of women as certain infertility problems related to women's hormonal problems, ovarian cysts or breast lumps (fibrocystic breast disease).
Omega 6 for diabetes
The use of this oil helpful as an aid in the treatment of diabetes. On the one hand this oil helps to maintain stable insulin levels; moreover, prevents the side effects of this disease in the nervous system provides for some patients, among which there is a general feeling of tingling or numbness of the members.
Their use in laboratory mice has shown it was able to prevent vision problems, retinopathy or atherosclerosis caused by excess of sugar in the blood.
Nuts are high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
- Eczema: In external use, gamma-linoleic acid is used to treat eczema, especially atopic eczema, a disease of chronic allergy related problems that attacks the skin giving it a texture like leather.
Its application during 3 or 4 months is very positive to reduce itching, dryness and prevent peeling of the skin. It is an alternative treatment to steroids and topical immunomodulators.
- Acne: topical application also reduces blackheads, pimples and acne inflammations in general. This property is caused by the capacity of its oil to dilute the accumulation of fats in the pores of the skin, which prevents these from blocking and displaying the same defects that characterize acne.
- Muscle strains and tears: Rubbing evening primrose oil on torn muscles helps to relx them and reduce pain, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Uses and dosage
See dosage, precautions and contraindications in the study of evening primrose, borage or cassis.
- Supplements: Another form of consuming omega-6 fatty acids. It can be found in seed oils of black currant, borage or evening primrose.
Contraindications of omega-6
Relationship between omega-3 and omega-6
For proper functioning of the body, the appropriate relationship between essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 has to be established. Currently there is a higher proportion of omega 6 intake compared to Omega3, that ranges between 10: 1 to 20: 1, when the proper ratio would be 4:1, ie four parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3.
This enormous superiority of omega-6 may be responsible for certain diseases, such as heart problems, depression, diabetes. etc. The solution is to increase foods containing more omega-3, take supplements, or reduce the amount of foods rich in omega-6.