OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS

OTHER NAME(S):

Acides Gras Essentiels N-6, Acides Gras Oméga-6, Acides Gras Omégas 6, Acides Gras Polyinsaturés, Acidos Grasos Omega 6, AGE, AGPI, Huiles d'Oméga 6, N-6, N-6 EFAs, N-6 Essential Fatty Acids, Omega 6, Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Omega 6 Oils, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, PUFAs.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Omega-6 fatty acids are types of fats. Some types are found in vegetable oils, including corn, evening primrose seed, safflower, and soybean oils. Other types of omega-6 fatty acids are found in black currant seed, borage seed, and evening primrose oils.

Omega-6 fatty acids are used for many conditions, but so far, the best information that science can provide is that putting arachidonic acid, a particular omega-6 fatty acid, in infant formula doesn't improve infant development. Not enough research has been done on omega-6 fatty acids to judge whether or not they are effective for other uses.

Most of the information we have on omega-6 fatty acid supplements comes from studying specific omega-6 fatty acids or plant oils containing omega-6 fatty acids. See the separate listings for gamma linolenic acid, as well as evening primrose, borage, and black currant.

How does it work?

Omega-6 fatty acids are found everywhere in the body. They help with the function of all cells. If people don't eat enough omega-6 fatty acids, cells won't work properly. Too much omega-6 fatty acids can change the way cells react and have harmful effects on cells in the heart and blood vessels.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Taking omega-6 fatty acids does not seem to prevent the progression of MS.
  • Infant development. Adding the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid along with an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to infant formula does not seem to improve brain development, vision, or growth in infants.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early research suggests that taking a combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids twice daily for 3-6 months does not improve symptoms of ADHD.
  • Heart disease. Population research suggests that different kinds of omega-6 fatty acids affect the heart and blood vessels differently. In the body, some kinds appear to be protective whereas others might worsen the disease. However, the omega-6 fatty acids shown to be more harmful when found in higher amounts in the body are not the ones typically eaten in the diet or found in supplements. How our body makes these types of omega-6 fatty acids is dependent on other health and lifestyle factors.
  • A lung disease called COPD. Early research suggests that breathing problems are worse in people with COPD who eat large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Early research suggests that taking a combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for 3 months can improve reading, spelling, and behavior, but not coordination or movement in children with DCD.
  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that people who have more linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid, in their body are less likely to develop diabetes than people with less.
  • Diarrhea in infants. Early research suggests that infants fed formula supplemented with an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid and an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the first year of life have a lower risk of diarrhea.
  • Respiratory illness in infants. Early research suggests that infants fed formula supplemented with an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid and an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the first year of life have a lower risk of lung problems.
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL).
  • Increasing good cholesterol levels (HDL).
  • Reducing the risk of cancer.
  • Eyelid swelling.
  • To improve recovery after laser eye surgery.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of omega-6 fatty acids for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Omega-6 fatty acids are LIKELY SAFE when consumed by adults and children over the age of 12 months as part of the diet in amounts between 5% and 10% of daily calories. However, there is not enough reliable information available to know if omega-6 fatty acids are safe to use as medicine.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Omega-6 fatty acids are LIKELY SAFE when consumed as part of the diet in amounts between 5% and 10% of daily calories. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking omega-6 fatty acid supplements if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

High triglycerides (a type of cholesterol): Omega-6 fatty acids can raise triglyceride levels. Do not use omega-6 fatty acids if your triglycerides are too high.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of omega-6 fatty acids depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for omega-6 fatty acids. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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