Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Updated:Mar 18,2014


A recent American Heart Association science advisory concludes that omega-6 fatty acids – found in some vegetable oils, nuts and seeds – are a beneficial part of a heart-healthy eating plan. The advisory was published in the Jan. 26, 2009 online issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.


Advisory highlights:
  • Most people should consume at least five to ten percent of their total daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, which are natural sources of omega-6, may help reduce heart disease risk. Saturated fats are found in meat, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils, such as coconut and palm oil.
  • Higher intakes of omega-6 may improve insulin resistance, reduce diabetes risk and lower blood pressure.

Why is this important?

  • There has been debate as to whether omega-6 fatty acids lead to arterial inflammation, a marker for heart disease.  The advisory explains why omega-6 fatty acids are in fact heart-healthy and are not pro-inflammatory.
  • American Heart Association scientific advisories are based on a careful analysis of peer-reviewed studies.  The studies are reviewed by a team of experts who then reach conclusions based the full body of scientific evidence.

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