Omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in cell structure and tissue health. Once digested, these fatty acids also help form other compounds that regulate a variety of our body’s responses, including inflammation.
There are also several types of omega-6 fatty acids: Linoleic acid (LA) is the most common dietary omega-6, and it is found mostly in vegetable oils such as canola, corn, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower. Arachidonic acid (AA) is found in peanut oil, meat, eggs and dairy products. After consumed, LA is converted to arachidonic acid (AA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). Some research touts GLA as anti-inflammatory.
Recently, some reports have suggested that excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation and lead to disease. However, advisory statements from the American Heart Association, World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization state there is no rationale to support a specific ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s . In fact, some research suggests higher intakes of omega-6 fatty acids may be even more beneficial if combined with a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet.