We all want to be healthy and make sure we are getting the correct nutrients, but at the same time, it's important to get the best value for the money we invest into our supplements.
Omega 3-6-9 supplements are often found alongside Omega-3 at most health food stores and pharmacies.
As the name suggests, these supplements are a combination of Omegas 3, 6 and 9, mixed together to form 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?
But all is not what it seems. Here are four reasons why 3-6-9 supplements are best avoided:
Omega-6 is an essential fat and an important nutrient in the diet. However, it's so common that very few people are actually deficient in it. The modern diet contains plenty of Omega-6 and even people on vegetarian and vegan diets can easily get more than enough.
Omega-6 is abundant in a variety of foods including vegetable oils (which are found in almost every processed food), nuts, cereals, bread, dairy, eggs and meat to name a few. Rather than Omega-6 deficiency, the real problem is that we're eating far too much Omega-6, which brings us on to the second reason to avoid Omega 3-6-9...
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 we're eating up to 20 times the Omega-6 that our body has evolved to process.
Omega-6 in large amounts has an inflammatory effect within the body, which definitely isn't a good thing. Inflammatory responses within the body have been linked to a variety of common diseases including:
Omega-3 on the other hand, has an anti-inflammatory response within the body and helps to counteract the effects of cellular inflammation and help to defend against these diseases. However, Omega-3 and Omega-6 are very similar in chemical structure and compete for the same digestive enzymes.
This means that when we're eating 20 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3, the Omega-3 is quite simply overwhelmed by the excess Omega-6 and the anti-inflammatory effects are lost.
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-3 and Omega-6 are considered "essential" fatty acids because 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.
So if Omega-9 can be made by the body and is also common in many foods, what is the point of taking an Omega-9 supplement?
Omega-9 in a supplement is usually nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
In Omega 3-6-9 supplements, the Omega-3 is the most useful. It is harder to get than both Omega 6 and 9, particularly for those who don't have much oily fish in their diet.
Unfortunately, Omega 3-6-9 supplements are often crammed with the cheaper Omega 6 and 9 oils and only very little Omega-3.
Furthermore, the Omega-3 is usually in the form of ALA from seeds, which is the least useful type.
Next time you're in your local health food store, check the label of an Omega 3-6-9 supplement. You'll probably find that the bulk of the content is made up of Omega-6, Omega-9 and Omega-3 ALA. There will be little to no Omega-3 DHA, which is the super useful form that we really need.
Unless specifically advised to do so by a professional, most people do not require a supplement containing Omega-6 and Omega-9.
Omega-6 is already very common in the modern diet and can actually negatively affect your health due to its inflammatory effects. Omega-9 is produced naturally by the body anyway.
Instead, most people would benefit from increasing their marine Omega-3 intake (in the form of DHA) and lowering their consumption of Omega-6,by consuming fewer processed foods and vegetable oils. This would go a long way towards bringing your omega fats back into a healthy balance.
If you don't eat much oily fish, increasing your intake of high-quality Omega-3 can be a challenge. This is where an algae-based Omega-3 supplement such as Omvits Omega-3 is a great convenient option to bring your omega fats back to a healthy balance.
Find out more here.
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