You already know about Omega-3 if you’re reading this.
But you’ve also heard a little bit about Omega-6 and Omega-9. They’re supposed to be good for you.
- Omega-3 is essential for survival.
- Omega-6 is also essential for survival.
- Omega-9 is NOT essential.
You DO NOT need to eat Omega-9 fatty acids. Period.
If anyone tells you Omega-9 must be consumed through foods, run, don’t walk, from them.
And if they tell you Omega-9 must be taken as a supplement, run even faster!
If you can roll up a newspaper and smack them upside the head before you start running, that’d be very nice. Thank you.
Makes you wonder why so many supplements boast Omega 3 6 9 on the label.
The human body is capable of making its own Omega-9 from other fats, so you don’t need to eat it.
Besides, Olive oil is full of Omega-9.
OK, how about Omega-6, then?
Well, Omega-6 is essential. People have died from Omega-6 deficiency, but that was a century ago.
In the last few decades, our diets have dramatically changed. Just about every food we eat has Omega-6 in it.
Omega-6 is everywhere.
- French fries? Yes, they’re fried in vegetable oils full of Omega-6.
- Snacks & Chips? Yup, them too.
- Cookies? Check.
- Fried chicken? Oh yea, tons of Omega-6 in there.
- Milk and eggs? Yes, they’re even in there.
- Meats? There’s plenty of Omega-6 in meats.
Why does just about everything have Omega-6 in it? Well, that’s because you need oils to cook and the cheapest oils are corn oil and soy oil. And these two oils are loaded with Omega-6.
But more Omega-6 is a good thing, right?
No. Not at all.
A little bit of Omega-6 is good. But too much Omega-6 is a disaster for your health.
We’ve gone from eating equal parts Omega-3 and Omega-6 to eating 20 times more Omega-6.
Our body is used to equal parts of these two good fats. But when you skew the ratio of these fats, then the problems begin.
Problems like obesity, arthritis, depression etc.
If there is so much Omega-6 in our diet, why are there Omega-6 supplements?
My point exactly!
Why is Omega 3 6 9 bad for you?
It’s bad because Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats compete. They compete for the same enzymes and they compete for position in your body’s tissues.
Think about it like musical chairs.
If you have 20 girls and 1 boy playing musical chairs, chances are the boy will lose.
You have one cell. Twenty Omega-6 and one Omega-3. Who do you think is going to sit in that chair?
Yes, Omega-6 wins almost all the time, even though your cells need BOTH Omega-3 and Omega-6 equally. The essential Omega-3 gets pushed out. This means you could be eating Omega-3 but your body is not feeling the benefits.
Then you begin to show symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency. By this time, your health has already been compromised. You may already have dry skin, achy joints, depression or belly fat.
Oh yea, belly fat. Omega-6 likes to get stored in the middle of your body. Omega-3 on the other hand, gets stored in the brain, eyes, heart etc.
So how do you get the benefits of Omega-3? By reducing the amount of Omega-6 in your diet.
Then why on earth do supplement companies sell you Omega-6 and 9?
Because people buy it!
It’s that simple.
- If you give someone just Omega-3. They’re happy.
- If you give them Omega 3 6, they are happier. Because it is more.
- If you give them Omega 3 6 9, they are thrilled. Because it is even more.
Bigger and more is better.
Omega 3 6 9 is seen as a better deal, a better value.
Omega 3 6 9 Marketing Gimmicks
I’ve seen Omega 3 6 9 marketed as:
- “Ideal Ratio”
- “More Complete”
- “Full Spectrum”
- “Triple Omega”
Don’t fall for it!
The next time someone tells you Omega 3 6 9 is better than just Omega-3, RUN! Run far and run fast!
|A dirty little corporate secret…|
|A few years ago, I did focus group testing for a very large tuna company.
They wanted to get into the fish oil business. They knew nothing about fish oil supplements. So I helped them.
Focus groups are education for marketers. A bunch of ‘average joe’ consumers are put in a room and a moderator asks them questions, while the marketers watch from behind a one-way mirror.
In this focus group, we learned that consumers preferred Omega 3 6 9 to just Omega-3 because Omega 3 6 9 was perceived as more complete.
The tuna executives listened intently and took all this in.
And they asked me to reduce the amount of EPA and DHA Omega-3 in their product and asked me to formulate a drop of corn oil and olive oil for Omega-6 and Omega-9 respectively. They thought they could charge more for it!
I couldn’t believe my ears!
I explained, disagreed and explained some more. But their minds were made up.
The consumer had spoken.
Those two uninformed and loud consumers, who had barely passed high school and had never touched a nutrition textbook, convinced a multi-billion dollar company to make an important nutrition decision that can seriously affect your health.
I was disgusted.
The tuna company then convinced the buyers at Walmart, Walgreens and CVS that this product would sell because it had been ‘focus-group-tested.’
So they made this lousy product and shipped it all over the country. But a surprise waited for them.
Real consumers thought the tuna company was trying to rip them off by putting the left over oil from tuna cans into pills and reselling them!
The product never sold.
About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.