Omega 3 vs 6 vs 9: Benefits and Differences

omega 3 and omega 6 benefits

What are Omega Fatty Acids?

Your goal as a parent is to provide your baby or kiddo with the finest nourishment possible. You might have observed that omega fatty acids are essential to their diet. These beneficial fats are crucial for their physical and mental growth as well as general wellness. We will discuss what omega fatty acids are in this article, why they are important for your child’s health, and the best way to include them in their daily meals. Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids each have various health benefits but they are all important for your child's optimal growth and development.

Understanding Omega Fatty Acids

Our bodies need omega fatty acids to function properly, and each type supports many physiological processes in a distinctive manner.(1)

In the early years of life, omega fatty acids are crucial. They promote brain growth, intellectual capacity, and clarity of vision. Omega-3 fats in particular have been associated with decreased risk of behavioral issues in kids, as well as improvements in learning ability and memory. In addition to promoting immune system development, omega-3s have protective effects that help mitigate infection risk and allergic reactions. Consuming a variety of foods rich in the different omega fatty acids are extremely beneficial to development. 

What are the types of omega fatty acids and what do they do?

Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 are the three primary subtypes of fatty acids. They are are essential for an infant's and toddler's well-being. Each category has specific attributes and roles throughout the body. The functions of each form of fatty acids and how they influence babies and young children are given below.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Alpha-linolenic acid is principal omega-3 fatty acid, also known as ALA. The two most well-known omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, can be made by the body in small amounts from ALA.

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is found in aquatic foods such as fatty fish. It functions in the body to help balance inflammation, foster cardiac wellness and healthy blood pressure, and assists with cognitive function.(5)
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is widely present in oily fish, seafood, and solutions made from algae. It is crucial for the growth and function of the brain, particularly throughout pregnancy and the initial stages of life. DHA has a significant role in human brain and eye development, supporting cognition and visual perception. (6)

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These fatty acids play an essential role in the general well-being and growth of newborns and toddlers. They (2):

  • Aid Brain Development: DHA, especially, is crucial for the growth of the brain and neurological framework, enhancing mental and learning abilities.
  • Improve Vision: DHA helps the retina to grow and stay healthy, boosting the vision.
  • Enhance immune function, by strengthening the body's defenses to help lower risk and severity of diseases, reactions, and asthma in infants and young children.
  • Decrease inflammation by promoting an optimal inflammatory response and possibly decrease risk of chronic infections.

Several health benefits, such as a reduced likelihood of heart disease, enhanced memory, and improved inflammatory responses have all been linked to the intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Another class of polyunsaturated fats is omega-6 fatty acids. Although kids require omega-6 fatty acids in moderation, they must keep a proper equilibrium alongside omega-3 fats for the body’s immune system and inflammatory response to function properly. Linoleic acid, also referred to as LA, is the principal omega-6 fatty acid.(7)

Pro-inflammatory eicosainoids originate from the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, also called ARA.  ARA can be made by the body from LA. Eicosanoids control inflammatory processes, blood coagulation, and various other cellular functions.(8) However, ARA also plays an important role in visual and neurodevelopment. Nevertheless, consuming too many omega-6 fats, particularly from packaged and deep-fried foods, can cause an omega-3 fatty acid imbalance and encourage persistent inflammation. 


omega 3 and omega 6 benefits

Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

These fatty acids are also essential for the health and growth of children. Their roles include (3):

  • Supporting the central nervous system; ARA is critical for brain growth, promoting intellectual development.
  • Promoting the ongoing growth of healthy skin through preservation of moisture and maintaining its inherent protecting barrier.  
  • Enhancing cell development and proliferation, which helps young children grow and achieve their full potential.

Omega-9 Fatty Acids

Because they have only one double bond in their molecular makeup, omega-9 fatty acids are considered a monounsaturated fat. Omega-9 fatty acids are not regarded as essential because the human body can create them in small quantities. Oleic acid is the name of the predominant omega-9 fatty acid.

By assisting in the reduction of bad ("LDL") cholesterol content and sustaining an appropriate amount of cholesterol in the human body, omega-9 fatty acids support cardiovascular wellness.(9)

Benefits of Omega-9 Fatty Acids

Despite the fact that omega-9 fatty acids are not essential, newborns and toddlers can still benefit from eating them. They promote heart health and cardiac wellness by helping to maintain the body's cholesterol at acceptable levels. (4)

Which omega is most popular and why?


else toddler formula omega for brain support

Omega-3 fats tend to be the most well-known omegas. The growing recognition of these fats can be attributed to a number of factors:

  1. The positive health impacts of omega-3 fats, especially DHA and EPA, have been thoroughly studied. Many research investigations have examined their beneficial impacts on a variety of medical conditions, including decreased inflammation, improved vision, mental clarity, and heart health. The investigations have helped omega-3 fatty acids become more popular and widely recognized.(10)
  2. Omega-3 fats seem beneficial for numerous individuals because they have a variety of health advantages. The advantages involve lowering the likelihood of cardiovascular illness, encouraging neurological development and functioning, enhancing cognition, improving vision, lowering inflammation, and maintaining a healthy weight.(11)
  3. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are often unequally distributed in the present-day diet, particularly omega-6 fats dominating in comparison to omega-3. The increased intake of commercial and processed meals, especially those that are heavy in omega-6 fatty acids, is frequently blamed for this discrepancy (12). The awareness of the disparity has generated excitement about boosting the intake of omega-3 fats fatty acids to reestablish an ideal equilibrium.
  4. Supplements that have omega-3 are becoming increasingly popular as a practical means to enhance omega-3 intake. Supplements like these provide a concentrated level of EPA as well as DHA, thus rendering it simpler for people to consume the recommended amounts of omega-3 fats.
  5. For general well-being and health, omega-3 fatty acid consumption is regularly advised by several health organizations, including the American Heart Association. They help omega-3 fats to receive a greater reputation.(13)

Although omega-3 fatty acids are well-known, it's important to remember that a proper equilibrium among omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids is important for optimal wellness. Utilizing a variety of food items that offer each of the three kinds can improve your overall health. Every kind has specific roles and perks.

Omega 3 vs 6 vs 9

The main distinctions between omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids are shown in the following table:

Fatty Acid





Brain health, anti-inflammation, heart health, eye health



Immune system, cell growth, brain function



Heart health, anti-inflammation

Which foods contain these fats?

It's important to remember that different dietary sources may contain different quantities of omega fatty acids. You can guarantee an appropriate amount of omega fatty acids in your daily meals by including a number of these items.

Fatty Acid



Fatty Fish: Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel

Oils: Cod liver oil, krill oil, algal Oil

Nuts & seeds: Walnuts, chia, hemp, and flaxseeds

Fortified Foods


Oils: Soybean, corn, sesame, sunflower, safflower, evening primrose oil

Nuts & seeds: Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds


Olive Oil 


Nuts & seeds: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts

Does your toddler really need all kinds of omega acids?

While it is critical that children acquire adequate nourishment by incorporating a range of omega fats in their daily meals, the particular requirements might differ based on their age, general well-being, and food habits. Here are a few important things to keep in mind while choosing omega-fatty acids for young children:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: DHA is particularly important for the growth and operation of the nervous system. They are crucial for children's healthy development and continual growth. Toddlers may benefit from consuming foods high in omega-3 fats, such as oily fish, or from plants, including chia and flaxseeds.
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: These are similarly important considering the development and growth of children, although the standard Western diet frequently has them in higher quantities. Omega-6 fats should be present, but keeping the ratio in check is critical. A healthy proportion can be maintained by restricting overeating omega-6 fatty acids through fried or processed foods and maintaining an inventory of whole food.
  • Omega-9 Fatty Acids: Since the human body can make certain omega-9 fats on its own, they are not considered essential fats. Omega-9 fatty acid-rich foods, including olive oil and avocados, can still help with cardiac wellness and have anti-inflammatory properties, among other extra health advantages.


In conclusion, omega fats are crucial for an infant and toddler's optimal development and healthy growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain growth and functions, cardiovascular wellness, and inflammation management. They can be obtained from oily fish, seeds such as chia, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Vegetable oils, nuts, & seeds contain omega-6 fatty acids, which enhance growth and immune system function but have to be regulated by omega-3 intake. Omega-9 fatty acids are considered non-essential, but consuming them in foods like olive oil, avocados, and almonds can positively affect heart health. As parents, you can ensure your children get the nutrients they require to maintain healthy development and general well-being by giving them a diverse diet incorporating these omega-rich foods.

The content and advice provided in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child.



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