Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 are all unsaturated fats. Omega-3s and omega-6s are polyunsaturated, while omega-9s are monounsaturated. Referring to their chemical structures, “unsaturated” refers to the double bonds of the molecules, “poly” means many and “mono” means one. The numbers represent the position of the final double bond in relation to the “omega,” or tail end of the molecular chains. For example, omega-3 molecules have a double bond that is three carbons from the omega end.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 1,000 mg
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of essential fatty acids that play important roles in your body. They are fundamental to many aspects of health, including fetal development, brain function, heart health, and immunity. The three most important types of omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). As the human body cannot naturally synthesize these fatty acids – and therefore are considered essential – they must come from the diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids fish – especially cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines – nuts and seeds, and plant oils.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a 20-carbon, polyunsaturated fatty acid. Its main function is to produce signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which play numerous physiological roles, including reducing inflammation. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a 22-carbon, polyunsaturated fatty acid. Given that it makes up about 8% of brain weight, it plays a very important role in contributing to brain development and function. DHA is an important structural component of the brain phospholipids, as well as the lipids in the nervous system. DHA is naturally found throughout the body and is most abundant in the brain, eyes and heart. Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA ensures that the cells in the brain, retina, heart and other parts of the nervous system develop and function properly throughout all stages of life. Its role of supporting brain health and normal neural function is extremely well documented and supported by clinical research. Current research suggests adequate levels of DHA may support the normal cognitive development of a fetus and have positive impact a woman’s mood after pregnancy. The high demands of the fetus and maternal requirements for DHA seem to point to a decline of this nutrient during pregnancy and lactation. While omega-3s support normal fetal neurodevelopment, research also indicates that omega-3s may support a normal birth weight as well. Since breast milk naturally contains DHA, it is important that breastfeeding women consume this nutrient to support both their health and the health of their developing infant. Life’s DHA is a fish-free and sustainable source of DHA from algae.*
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 50 mg
Like omega-3s, omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are also considered essential. The most common omega-6 is linoleic acid, which the body can convert into longer omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid (AA), which is naturally found in meat and eggs. Linoleic acid is another omega-6 fatty acid, and sources include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), AA also produces eicosanoids. However, rather than reducing inflammation like the eicosanoids produced from EPA, the eicosanoids products from AA are more pro-inflammatory. Although that may sound negative, pro-inflammatory eicosanoids play an important role in the immune system – therefore, balance is always key. A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 ranges between 1:1 and 4:1.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids 125 mg
Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated, meaning they only have one double bond. Because the body is capable of producing omega-9s, they are considered nonessential fatty acids. However, just because your body doesn’t need it, does not mean that it cannot reap its benefits. Oleic acid is the most common monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Top sources of omega-9s in our diets include canola oils, olive oils and almonds. Like the other omega fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids may contribute to cardiovascular health through supporting healthy cholesterol and insulin regulation.