Why Omegas? What’s the fuss about using Omega 3 – 6 AND 9 for pets?
Linda Arndt (The Great Dane Lady) on the importance of balancing Omega 3,6 & 9
First, it has been my experience that most pet owners and sometimes their veterinarians (and physicians) only see the parts and do not see the “whole” and how the parts relate to that whole – especially the whole of wellness. Let’s look at how this relates to supplements.
One example I can give is the use of B Vitamins, another example is the use of Omegas 3-6-9. Let me explain……. B vitamins, in order to work properly need to be taken together, at the same time – they need work in concert with one another other so taking 1 kind of B vitamins is rather useless…. like trying to tap dance in Crocs – why bother?
But, when B’s are taken together in a “B Complex” combination, they work synergistically in the body, and together the B’s end up being greater as a whole, than the parts are individually. Ok let’s look at Omegas.
Omega’s 3-6-9’s also work better in combination with one another and the three Omegas together is greater than each of the Omegas given independently.
Many people question me as to why I feel it is important to supplement with a balanced Omega 3-6-9 product vs simply adding fish oil or flax to a diet. I am not a real proponent of adding additional oils to holistic diets, because they have often balanced the ratio and if you don’t add a balanced omega product to the food, you unknowingly disrupt the balance of the diet which can in turn cause skin issues.
Check on the package of pet food to see if it says “balanced omegas”. Those are the words you want to look for, not just the words”with omegas” — all foods have omegas regardless of the quality and stating they are “balanced” means something altogether different. There is a ratio that one wants on their omegas and when the oils are tapered with by adding additional other Omegas to an already balance diet, it disrupts the Omega balance on the dog food.
So the general rule of thumb is – if you use an oil supplement for your pet’s diet, used one that is already balanced in 3-6-9 Omegas. The one I used in feed trials and recommend is Ultra-Oil for Pets, because it is balanced in 3-6-9. Here is an article that will help you understand the need and benefits of all three Omegas in your diet and your pet’s diet.
-The Great Dane Lady
Omega 3, 6, 9
The Omega 3, 6 and 9 groups of fatty acids all contain essential fatty acids necessary for good health. The difference between them lies in the position of the first double bond from the methyl end or the Omega end of the carbon chain. As its name implies, the Omega 3 fatty acids have their first double bond at the 3rd position from the end of the chain, and likewise with the other two. Omega 6 has its first double bond at the 6th position from the end and Omega 9 has it at the 9th position from the end of the chain.
The following table represents the main fatty acids found in Omega 3, 6 and 9
Main components of Omega 3, 6, 9
Alpha-linolenic acid ALA
Eicosapentaenoic acid EPA
Docosahexaenoic acid DHA
Linolenic acid LA
Gamma-linolenic acid GLA
Dihomogamma linolenic acid DLA
Arachidonic acid AA
Oleic acid OA
The most important 2 fatty acids in the Omega 3 family are EPA and DHA as these are in limited supply and only found in any real quantities in oily fish and fish oil supplements. Although DHA is important for pregnant and nursing mothers and for young children for healthy development of the brain and vision, EPA can be considered the most important for everyone else as it is necessary for the efficient functioning of the brain and the body at a cellular level.
The Omega 3’s have anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant properties as well as many other important health benefits. They reduce inflammation and can provide protection against cardiovascular disease, arthritis, skin conditions, depression and other mood-related disorders. Omega 6
Although Omega 6 is generally classed as pro-inflammatory, paradoxically, GLA, when sourced dietetically, has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help the bloating and pain associated with PMS. It also maintains healthy skin, hair and nails and generally helps to bring about hormonal and emotional balance.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 interact with each other so the balance between them is crucial for good health. Together they affect the production of hormonal type messengers called eicosanoids, which has an impact on inflammation in the body and all functions at a cellular level.
Omega 9 also has many preventative qualities as its main component, Oleic acid, helps to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Borage oil contains both Omega 6 and Omega 9 in the form of Gamma-linolenic acid and Oleic acid and is in fact, one of the best sources of GLA.
PuraEpa (a human product) is therefore contains a blend of all 3 of the important fatty acids EPA, GLA and OA making it an excellent choice of omega 3 6 9 supplement.
(for pets – Ultra-Oil is a blend of all 3 of these important fatty acids as well.)
Benefits of Omega 3 6 9
Omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats. They are healthier than saturated fats and have many metabolic functions. There are many benefits of omega 3 6 9 supplementation.
Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Our bodies cannot manufacture them, and we must consume them in our diets. Omega 9 fatty acids are not essential. Our bodies need omega 9 fats, but we can manufacture them from other sources.
Omega 3 fatty acids prevent heart disease and the complications of heart attack. People who take omega 3 fatty acids have a lower mortality rate after heart attack than those who do not. Omega 3 EFA’s improve cardiac risk factors, and help prevent CHD. They normalize lipid levels, lower blood pressure and improve glucose metabolism.
Omega 3’s may be helpful in a number of other conditions, too. Rheumatoid arthritis, depression, autism, and many other conditions may be improved by taking omega 3 EFA’s. They are necessary for growth and development, especially in the development of nervous tissue, and may improve cognitive function and emotional health.
Omega 6 fatty acids compete for enzymes with omega 3 EFA’s, so the amounts of the two need to be properly balanced. Less research has been done on omega 6 EFA’s than on omega 3’s. Most omega 6 fatty acids produce an inflammatory response that may be necessary for healthy immune system function. Research is beginning to indicate that one omega 6 EFA is, however, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and may be even more important for healthy hearts than omega 3 oils.
Omega 9, as mentioned, is not an essential fatty acid. Omega 9 oils are monounsaturated, and are found in olive oil. Olive oil is known to have beneficial health effects, and omega 9 oils may be necessary for healthy immune system functioning.
The benefits of omega 3 6 9 include all of the benefits of all three types of fatty acid. The amounts and ratios of each fatty acid are balanced to optimal levels of each. Taking an omega 3 6 9 supplement is a good way to ensure that you are getting essential nutrients for your good health.
Many thanks to The Great Dane Lady for the invaluable content provided on this page.