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1. Harris WS, Mozaffarian D, Rimm E, et al. Omega-6 fatty acids and risk for cardiovascular disease: a science advisory from the American Heart Association Nutrition Subcommittee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism; Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; and Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. Circulation 2009;119:902-7 [review].
2. Gordon DJ. Lowering cholesterol and total mortality. In: Rifkin BM, ed. Lowering cholesterol in high-risk individuals and populations. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc; 1995:33- 48.
Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that perform essential functions in the human body. The most abundant member of this family in food and in the body is linoleic acid. Other members include gamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid. Linoleic acid is considered an essential fatty acid since it cannot be synthesized by the body. However, other members of the omega-6 family can be made from linoleic acid.
Omega-6 fatty acids have numerous important roles in the body.1 They contribute to the structure and function of cell membranes and play a part in the regulation of gene activity inside the cell. Arachidonic acid is especially abundant in the brain, and may be important for normal brain development of the fetus and infant. Both arachidonic acid and gamma-linolenic acid can be converted to prostaglandins and related substances that affect inflammation, blood clotting, smooth muscle tone, and many other body activities.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.