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WHAT ARE OMEGA FATTY ACIDS AND WHY ARE THEY BENEFICIAL TO MY PET?

Updated: Jun 2

What are Omega Fatty acids and why are they beneficial to my pet?

Dietary fats, as well as specific fatty acids, are essential in the diet humans and animals, as recognized in the nutrient recommendations for pet food provided by the National Research Council (NRC) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).


Fats and fatty acids:

· Provide energy

· Aid in fat-soluble vitamin absorption

· Modulate inflammation

· Act as a precursor to eicosanoids and prostaglandins

· Serve structural roles as a component of cell membranes

· Promote healthy growth and development

· Positively affect skin and coat health.

· The type of fatty acids fed to a patient, as well as the total amount of fatty acids in the diet, have the additional potential to improve or impair health



What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, a type of fat that animals and humans can’t make.

The term “polyunsaturated” refers to their chemical structure, as “poly” means many and “unsaturated” refers to double bonds. Together they mean that omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds.

“Omega-3” refers to the position of the final double bond in the chemical structure, which is three carbon atoms from the “omega,” or tail end of the molecular chain.

Since our pets bodies can’t produce omega-3s, these fats are referred to as “essential fats,” meaning that pets have to get them from their diet.


What are omega-6 fatty acids?

Like omega-3s, omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, the last double bond is six carbons from the omega end of the fatty acid molecule.

Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential, so your pet needs to obtain them from their diet.

They mainly provide energy. The most common omega-6 fat is linoleic acid, which the body can convert to longer omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid (AA)

Like EPA, AA produces eicosanoids. However, the eicosanoids that AA produces are more pro-inflammatory.

Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids play a key role in the immune system. However, when the body produces too many, they can increase the risk of inflammation and inflammatory disease.


Some omega-6 fatty acids have shown benefits in treating symptoms of chronic disease.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in certain oils like hemp seed oil and evening primrose oil. Research suggests that GLA may have some health benefits. For example, GLA may help reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions.


What is GLA? And why is it so beneficial to my pet?

· Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid. It’s most commonly found in plant seed oils such as hemp seeds and evening primrose. GLA is essential for maintaining brain function, skeletal health, reproductive health, and metabolism. It’s also essential for stimulating skin and hair growth. It’s important to balance omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Nutritionists believe that many pets consume too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. Paying attention to that balance can help reduce your pet’s risk of many chronic diseases.