Q:

What are omega 3, 6 and 9 good for?

A:

Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids benefit the human body by building healthy cells, increasing brain function, protecting against diabetes, keeping the brain younger and lowering cholesterol, according to WebMD and Dr. Andrew Weil. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential nutrients because the human body cannot produce them. Omega-9 fatty acids are produced by the body and are not considered essential.

Omega-3 fatty acids lower risks for heart disease and improve cholesterol. Mayo Clinic notes that studies show encouraging signs that this nutrient helps with cancer, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and depression. WebMD reveals that omega-3 fatty acids help rheumatoid arthritis, fetal development, asthma and Alzheimer's disease. Omega-3 fatty acids work by reducing inflammation in the body.

Omega-6 fatty acids enhance brain functions, assist with human development, stimulate hair growth, maintain bones and keep the reproductive system functioning normally, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. When people consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, inflammation actually increases. The right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is essential to receive the full benefits of these nutrients.

Omega-9 fatty acids lower HDL, or "bad," cholesterol and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Weil reveals that some omega-3 supplements include omega-9 in them, even though he considers omega-9 fatty acids to be unessential to the human diet. Weil recommends supplementing diets with omega-3 fatty acids since Americans already ingest too many omega-6 fatty acids in oils derived from seeds and nuts.


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