Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid with immune-boosting properties.

What are its health benefits?

There are many benefits to omega-6 fatty acids, but only if taken in moderation. Like omega-3, omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body. Of the essential fatty acids (omega-3, 6 and 9), omega-3 and 6 are the most essential, and balancing the required amounts is key – people may ingest too much omega-6 (from processed seed and vegetable oils) and too little omega-3.

Health benefits of omega-6 include brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation.

Do you have a deficiency?

Omega-6 is prevalent in Western diets and deficiency is rare. But there are a number of health problems that can arise from a lack of this essential fatty acid. These reportedly include:

More serious complications can lead to:

  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Infection and the inability to heal
  • Kidney damage
  • Sterility
  • Growth problems
  • Behavioural problems
  • Miscarriage

Find it in these foods

Sources of omega-6 include the following:

  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

There is no RDA based on scientific evidence but it is recommended that at least five to ten percent of your daily kilojoule intake comes from omega-6 fatty acids – an amount that most of us already eat every day. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough omega-6, discuss supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist.

Know the overdose risks

It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in your diet. Most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation while omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation. Researchers believe that, for optimal health, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio should be about 1:5. This means that we should take in 1g of omega-3 for every 5g of omega-6.

When consumed in excess, omega-6 can adversely affect health. An overload can cause the following side effects:

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

Shop online at Clicks.co.za for your omega oils

Clicks' pharmacists have selected the most trustworthy and affordable supplements for you. If you'd like to stock up on your monthly intake through the convenience of online shopping, go here for your omega oils.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015