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Omega-6 fatty acid

Types of fats in food
See also
See Nomenclature of essential fatty acids for terms and discussion of ω (omega) nomenclature.

ω−6 fatty acids (also spelled n−6 or omega-6 fatty acids) are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids which have in common a carbon–carbon double bond in the ω−6 position; that is, the sixth carbon from the end of the fatty acid.

The biological effects of the ω−6 fatty acids are largely mediated by their interactions with the ω−3 fatty acids fatty acids. (See Essential fatty acid interactions for more information.)

Linoleic acid (18:2), the shortest chain omega-6 fatty acid, is an essential fatty acid. Arachidonic acid (20:4) is a physiologically significant ω−6 fatty acid and is the precursor for prostaglandins and other physiologically active molecules.

Some medical research has suggested that excessive levels of ω−6 fatty acids, relative to ω−3 fatty acids, may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression. Modern Western diets typically have ratios of ω−6 to ω−3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.[1]


Dietary Sources

Dietary sources of ω−6 fatty acids include:[2]

  • nuts
  • cereals
  • whole-grain breads
  • most vegetable oils
  • eggs and poultry
  • baked goods

List of ω−6 fatty acids

Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Linoleic acid 18:2 (n−6) 9,12-octadecadienoic acid
Gamma-linolenic acid 18:3 (n−6) 6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid
Eicosadienoic acid 20:2 (n−6) 11,14-eicosadienoic acid
Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid 20:3 (n−6) 8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid
Arachidonic acid 20:4 (n−6) 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid
Docosadienoic acid 22:2 (n−6) 13,16-docosadienoic acid
Adrenic acid 22:4 (n−6) 7,10,13,16-docosatetraenoic acid
Docosapentaenoic acid 22:5 (n−6) 4,7,10,13,16-docosapentaenoic acid
Calendic acid 18:3 (n−6) 8E,10E,12Z-octadecatrienoic acid

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ "Grass Fed Beef: Health Benefits." California State University, Chico College of Agriculture.
  2. ^ "Supplements: Omega-6 fatty acids." WholeHealthMD.

Additional sources

  • "The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids."
  • "Omega-6 fatty acids cause prostate tumor cell growth in culture."
  • "Omega-6 fatty acids linked to major depression."
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Omega-6_fatty_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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