The good omega-3 essential fatty acids help the body make anti-inflammatory hormones. The bad omega-3 essential fatty acids help the body make pro-inflammatory hormones. Both omega-3's and omega-6's are essential, which is to say, we have to have them to live and we have to get them from out diets.
But what about omega-9's? Are they essential? Non-essential? Good? Bad? Here are five things you need to know about the most common form of fat you eat and the most common form of fat in your body.
- The -9 in omega-9 just refers to the location of the last double bond of carbon in the chain of carbon atoms that makes a molecule of an omega-9 fatty acid.In plain English, a double of bond of carbon is where a molecule can add or subtract other chemicals. The farther away it is from the end, and omega-9 is as far as it can get, the more different ways the body can make it. That won't be a surprise when you learn that:
- Omega-9 fatty acids are the fatty acids we store in body fat.Our bodies have a little omega-3 and a lot more omega-6, and lots and lots of omega-9. Our fat cells can make omega-9 fat from the fatty acids we don't burn for fuel, and there is also an abundance of omega-9 fatty acids in lard, bacon fat, chicken fat, butter...you get the idea.
- The best "omega-9 oil" is sea buckthorn oil.The sea buckthorn is a berry bush that grows beside the sea, not in the sea. The oil of the berries is especially rich in omega-9 fats. If you are skinny, then sea buckthorn oil may help you put on the pounds.
- If there is an inherent problem with omega-9's in your diet, other than eating too much, it's that they tend to go rancid when exposed to the air.Every cell in the human body wears a "rain slicker" of fat to keep it from being dissolved in the bloodstream. We have to have fat. But fats that have been oxidized and gone rancid before we eat them can damage the delicate linings of cells. Fresh fats don't do this, although eating too much causes other health issues.
- The chief of the omega-9 health benefits is weight gain.Some athletes, especially wrestlers, take omega-9 supplements to "make weight." But if you follow a grueling exercise schedule, you won't have a problem taking off the weight you gain.