Q:

What are the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 or omega-9?

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Quick Answer

Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for the heart, immune system and against a range of diseases. Omega-6 fatty acids benefit the bones and brain, while omega-9 is naturally produced by the body if sufficient levels of other fatty acids are consumed, according to the National Institutes for Health.

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Full Answer

Omega-3 is beneficial for treating skin conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, some types of cancer and a number of other illnesses, University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Omega-3 has several positive effects on the heart, including a lowered risk of heart attacks, vascular resistance and cardiac death, in addition to avoiding abnormalities of heart rhythm. It is also recommended for healthy brain function, reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

Omega-6 is advised for nerve pain, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and breast cancer. It also has positive effects against eczema, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, cyclic mastalgia and multiple sclerosis, as well as osteoporosis and premenstrual syndrome, states UMMC.

Omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids may cause imbalances that are detrimental to health if they are consumed in excess, the National Institutes for Health advises. The proper balance of omega-3 and omega-6 acids is also important for avoiding inflammation, abnormal blood clots, immune system disorders and chronic diseases.

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