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The Health Benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids, and when derived from a well-structured diet can play a crucial role in the integrity of the plasma membranes in the cells of the body. The role of these fatty acids has been found to be associated with the regulation of blood pressure and the inflammatory response. 

In the last few years, there has been in increasing amount of data that associates omega-3 fatty acids with cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory action. On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids can only be obtained through food and supplements, as they are not produced in the body. Omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that help produce skin and hair cells, maintain bone density and contribute to overall genetic health. Both omega-3 and omega-6 have a particularly important effect on cognitive function and development.

Recommendations on healthy eating often include a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6. One of the main reasons why the Mediterranean diet has received so much praise is this healthy ratio of these two fatty acids. Omega-3 offers anti-inflammatory action, while excessive consumption of omega-6 has been linked to the progressive appearance of inflammation. In this context, more and more research studies are taking place to explore the relationship between omega-6 and cancer.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Recent research has shown that an omega-6:omega-3 intake ratio of 4:1 is associated with a 70% reduction in mortality. According to anthropologists, humans evolved with a 1:1 ratio. Today, however, some societies have an intake of 16:1. 

Which omega-3-rich foods should we opt for?

Chia seeds




Which omega-6-rich foods should we reduce consumption of?

Sunflower oil

Mayonnaise and packaged salad dressings

Sunflower seeds

Fried food and fast food

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