March 26, 2020

Benefits of Omega-6 fatty acids

Olive Oil, Omega 3, 6 and 9

Olive oil provides the right amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in an optimal proportion.

In the previous chapter, we talked about Omega-3 fatty acids. This time, we’re going to focus on Omega-6 fatty acids, which are also essential. We need to give them to our dogs through food, as their organism cannot create them by itself.

Although the names are similar, we should differentiate between the functions of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as they sometimes work in the opposite way. Both help control hormones, but each one individually with different functions.

Omega-6 fatty acids account for the majority of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the food chain. They’re the predominant PUFAs in all diets, especially in the West, and produce proinflammatory metabolic products. The most common ones are linoleic acid and arachidonic acid.

Omegas in balance

The hormones in which Omega-6 fatty acids play a role are responsible for helping cell growth, blood clotting, and increased inflammation as part of the immune response. However, in the case of Omega-3 fatty acids, hormones boost the immune system and decrease inflammation. Therefore, for both fatty acids to work properly, there needs to be a good balance between the two in the diet.

Various studies have shown that the optimal ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acids in dogs’ diets is approximately six to one. This can reduce the incidence of some diseases, such as the appearance of tumours and sudden cardiac death.

Olive oil contains an optimal proportion of both acids, which makes it a highly recommended ingredient in the diet of our canine friends. Its balanced concentration in combination with the presence of oleic acid (55-83% of total fatty acids), Vitamin E and phenolic compounds creates a health-related benefit superior to the one produced by ingesting essential fatty acids in isolation.

The proinflammatory function of Omega-6

The inflammatory response triggered by Omega-6 fatty acids is essential for dogs in various situations, for example when they experience heat, redness, swelling, pain or loss of a certain function. The inflammatory response tells the body when processes must be started to normalise the situation.

What benefits does Omega-6 provide?

Like Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids play a vital role in brain development, help regulate blood pressure and maintain the functions of the immune system. In other words, they are as important to people as they are to pets.

Protects the skin

Omega-6 stimulates the growth of the dog’s skin cells and its coat. A deficiency of this acid can lead to skin problems such as itchiness and scaliness. This is because it affects the ability of the skin to heal.

What’s more, linoleic acid increases skin permeability. If there’s a deficiency of this fatty acid in their body, their coat becomes dull and dry.

Looks after the skeletal system

The consumption of Omega-6 has been scientifically proven to have significant benefits for numerous symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in humans. In dogs, it has been found to also provide good bone health.

Supports growth and the immune system

Diet is very important during the development and growth of puppies. Omega-6 helps make this growth proportionate.
A shortage of this essential acid can also lead to degeneration of the liver and kidney. The immune system is also highly dependent on the right amount of Omega-6.

Helps reproduction

Omega-6 fatty acids play a key role in reproductive health. An Omega-6 deficiency could cause a female to miscarry. Neither are males immune to reproductive problems caused by a lack of Omega-6. A deficiency in Omega-6 fatty acids in their diet could make them sterile.


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