We all want to be healthy and make sure we are getting the correct nutrients, but at the same time, we also want value for money. Omega 3-6-9 supplements are often found alongside Omega-3 at most health food stores and pharmacies. Omega 3-6-9 is usually a mix of different oils - such as flaxseed, sunflower and fish - to provide an "ideal ratio" or "complete spectrum" of omega fats. As a consumer, this may sound appealing - why buy only Omega-3 when you can get Omega 3, 6 and 9 for a similar price?
Here are four reasons why 3-6-9 supplements are best avoided:
Most people already get too much Omega-6 - Omega-6 is an essential fat and an important nutrient for the body. However, very few people are actually deficient in Omega-6. A lot of the food we eat in modern diets contains plenty of Omega-6. Even those on vegetarian and vegan diets are rarely deficient in Omega-6, as it's found in a variety of food sources including vegetable oils, nuts, cereals, bread, dairy, eggs and meat to name a few. In actual fact, we are eating far too much Omega-6 in our diets...
Too much Omega-6 is bad for you - If Omega-6 is an essential fat, why does it matter if we have too much of it?
Lots of Omega-6 should be a good thing, but it isn't. The human body is designed to handle a ratio of 1:1 Omega-3 to Omega-6. The reality is that the average person has a ratio of closer to 1:20, meaning that the Omega-3 is vastly outnumbered. This is bad. Omega-6 in large amounts (without enough Omega-3 to counteract it) has an inflammatory effect within the body, which can lead to a variety of diseases including cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
So, the question is - why would we want to increase our already high Omega-6 levels further by taking an Omega 3-6-9 supplement? Our money is better spent trying to rebalance the ratio by increasing our intake of Omega-3 only, whilst also decreasing the amount of Omega-6 we eat.
Omega-9 is not an essential fatty acid - Omega-3 and Omega-6 are considered "essential" fatty acids as our bodies cannot make them and must, therefore, be consumed as part of our diets. Omega-9, on the other hand, is not an essential fatty acid, as our bodies can make them when required from other nutrients. Furthermore, Omega-9 is easily found in many food sources such as olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado and soy.
Omega-9 in a supplement is usually nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
The Omega-3 content is often very low - Omega-3 is harder to get than Omega 6 and 9, particularly for those with little oily fish in their diet. Omega 3-6-9 supplements are often crammed with the cheaper, less useful Omega 6 and 9 oils with very little high quality Omega-3.
Unless specifically advised to do so by a healthcare professional, most people do not require a supplement containing Omega-6 and Omega-9. Instead, a high quality Omega-3 supplement and lower consumption of Omega-6 is all you need to bring your omega fats into balance.