Most people have heard of "omega-3" or at least seen the word stamped on food packaging in the supermarket, but few people know another substance as important as: omega 6. As omega 3, omega 6 it is an essential fatty acid for the functioning of the human body. However, we do not produce these acids and we have to consume them through food.
What is the omega-6?
The main function of omega 6 is to encourage cell growth is central to the development of the brain, muscles, skin and hair. Therefore, it is much sought after by athletes. Another important benefit is it also keep the nervous system functioning properly.
This fatty acid is also important in the production of hormones that activate the immune system, reduce fluid accumulation in the body are responsible for blood vessel spasms, pain and inflammation. These last two are critical for health because our body needs the pain to prevent damage and inflation is a way to activate the immune system.
The lack of these hormones can cause a variety of brain disorders such as depression, multiple sclerosis, bipolar, schizophrenia, attention deficit, among others.
There are many types of omega 6, and which has more proven benefit is the linolenic acid (GLA) which is found in various vegetable oils including evening primrose oil (EPO), borage oil and blackcurrant seed oil.
Despite the omega 6 generally be responsible for inflammation, the GLA does the reverse job, working as a powerful anti-inflammatory and slowing the aging process by improving the functioning of the lungs, heart, autoimmune conditions such as diabetes and metabolic abnormalities.
Researchers found that GLA regulates inflammation of the master molecule called nuclear factor kappa beta, or NF-kappaB, preventing inflammation that can cause serious illness, with atherosclerosis.
This condition is an inflammatory process that can be improved with proper dosage of GLA. In studies with Animas and humans, the GLA has also shown that reduces the tendency of platelets to aggregate and clogged blood vessels, which can cause more serious problems.
Other surveys also point to consume GLA helps prevent and fight diabetes, obesity, cancer and asthma. To complete the GLA also brings the benefit of decreasing the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides while increasing the amount of HDL (good cholesterol).
Other benefits of omega-6:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Studies indicate that omega 6 consumed by evening primrose oil (EPO) reduces pain, swelling and morning stiffness. However, other studies have not shown results.
Research shows that people who have deficiency of fatty acids in general are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Women over 65 who took GLA supplements combined with EPA (type of omega 3) had less bone loss in three years comparing those who took a placebo.
- Diabetic neuropathy
Research shows that omega 6, especially GLA. reduces symptoms of nerve pain if taken for six months or more. However, it is more beneficial for those who have control of the blood sugar level.
- Breast cancer
A study indicates that GLA inhibits tumor activity in patients with breast cancer. Other research has shown that women who consume GLA start to respond better to medication tamoxifen, compared with those not taking the supplement. However, some researchers believe that a diet rich in omega-6 can lead to the development of this cancer.
- Breast tenderness
Research indicates that evening primrose oil may help reduce chest pain in people suffering with clinical breast pain and reduce symptoms to a minimum in people suffering with no clinical mastalgia. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that the primrose oil was not effective for more severe pain.
Studies indicate that consuming GLA, either alone or combined with omega 3 lowers blood pressure. One study followed men with hypertension who took 6g of blackcurrant oil (rich in GLA) and blood pressure decreased significantly compared to those taking placebo.
Scientists also studied people with leg pain caused by blood vessel blockage. The subjects had a reduction in systolic blood pressure after taking GLA combined with omega 3.
Studies show that consuming evening primrose oil helps reduce the symptoms of eczema. But one study that looked at patients who took the 16 oil 24 weeks found no improvement.
The omega 6 is popularly known for decreasing the symptoms of allergies. One study showed that women have less allergic GLA in the blood and breast milk than those who are not allergic. However, there are no studies that prove the relationship.
- Attention deficit
A lot of research suggests that children who suffer from attention deficit disorder have low levels of fatty acids, which are essential for brain and behavioral health. But researchers who have primrose oil for patients found no results.
side effects and warnings
As some omega 6 fatty acids help to develop inflammation, be careful with their consumption. Studies show that excess omega 6 can be related to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
People suffering with seizure disorder, should take extra care. There are reports that supplements such as evening primrose oil, cause seizures. Reports worsen also in combination with anesthetics.
Other concerns have to be taken: consume sources of GLA during pregnancy can lead to premature, excess of omega 6 can lead to development of prostate tumor, doses above 3000 mg per day of GLA can cause increased inflammation and primrose oil has side effects such as headache, abdominal pain, loose stool and naúsas.
People who take drugs also have to take care with the use of supplements of omega 6. If you take any of the following medications, talk to your doctor before.
- Blood-thinning medicines: omega 6 supplements combined with blood thinning drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix) can increase the risk of hemorrhage.
- ceftazidime: GLA may increase the effect of the antibiotic ceftazidime, which may cause problems.
- cyclosporine: Consuming omega 6 supplements with cyclosporine (used to suppress the immune system after organ transplantation) may increase the immunosuppressive effects of the medication.
- Chemotherapy: GLA can boost the effects of cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, carboplatin, Zavedos, mitoxantrone, tamoxifen, vincristine and vinblastine;
- phenothiazines: The combined primrose oil with phenothiazines (for treating schizophrenia) seizures which may have side effects. This can also happen with other omega 6 supplements.
The omega 6 must be consumed in proportion to omega 3 ratio in a two to one. That is, you should consume twice as much omega 6. However, many people who have a diet rich in frozen food, fast food and other high-calorie foods consumed at a rate 15 to one. This excess can cause a number of health problems.
But when it comes to GLA, most people do not consume enough either because of an inefficient diet and because the enzyme responsible for processing the substance becomes less active with age.
omega 6 sources
The main sources of omega 6 are olive oil, wheat germ, grape seeds, pistachios, sesame oil, pumpkin seeds, chia seed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, nuts and seeds in general. How are common foods in the diet of most people, do not try to consume more omega 6 without talking to your doctor first.
In addition to the popular evening primrose oil (EPO), the GLA can also be found in black currant seed oil, hemp seed oil and borage oil.
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