Omega-6 fatty acid

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Template:Fats Omega-6 fatty acids are fatty acids where the term "omega-6" signifies that the first double bond in the carbon backbone of the fatty acid, occurs in the omega minus 6 position; that is, the sixth carbon from the end of the fatty acid. See essential fatty acids for more detail on the naming system.

The biological effects of the ω-6 fatty acids are largely mediated by their interactions with the ω-3 fatty acids, see Essential fatty acid interactions for detail.

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

Dietary sources of omega-6 fatty acids include:

Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-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. [2]

List of omega-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

Health effects

Some medical research has suggested that excessive levels of omega-6 acids, relative to Omega-3 fatty acids, may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression[1]. However, more recently, the Cochrane Collaboration reported only a decrease in myocardial infarction[2].

See also

External links

  • [3] Omega-6 fatty acids cause prostate tumor cell growth in culture
  • [4] Omega-6 fatty acids linked to major depression


  1. Simopoulos AP (2002). "The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids". Biomed Pharmacother. 56 (8): 365–79. PMID 12442909.
  2. Hooper L, Al-Khudairy L, Abdelhamid AS, Rees K, Brainard JS, Brown TJ; et al. (2018). "Omega-6 fats for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease". Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 11: CD011094. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011094.pub4. PMID 30488422.

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