All about the Omegas

There’s new information being published about essential fatty acids and  omega 3s and 6s all the time. We’ve got all the latest and a reminder of what’s important.


  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fragile and can be destroyed when food is processed or stored. They are also prone to becoming rancid unless protected by antioxidants.
  • Many pet food recipes can be low in the omega-3 fatty acids, unless steps are taken to add omega-3 containing ingredients and protect them so that sufficient amounts remain to meet the pet’s needs in the finished product.
  • While the conversation used to be about 6:3 ratios it is now thought that it may be that the absolute amounts of fatty acids might be a more important factor in determining what happens metabolically.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid (LA) tend to be metabolised to produce more pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. However, LA plays an important role in the cell membrane helping to control the movement of substances and in the skin lays a role in limiting transepidermal water loss.
  • Some omega-6 fatty acids act in a different way. GLA – gamma linolenic acid – (from starflower/ borage) is produced in very small amounts from LA (the reaction is slow and easily disrupted). But external GLA can be rapidly metabolised to DGLA which results in its own metabolites which are less inflammatory and results in reduced production of omega-6 arachidonic acid and less of its more inflammatory eicosanoids.
  • The omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid), is broken down into DHA and EPA but this process is not always efficient. Omega-3s from marine sources are rich in EPA and DHA and do not need to undergo the complex conversion steps required of ALA to exert an effect.
  • EPA and DHA result in the production of resolvins which are anti-inflammatory and inflammation resolving. If more EPA and DHA is included in cell membranes it means that inflammation may be ameliorated.
  • Although recent discoveries about the role of resolvins explain a lot about the roles of 6s and 3s in inflammation, the actions are likely to be much more complex than we can currently identify as metabolism also results in the production of various eicosanoids such as cyclooxygenase (COX), lipoxygenase (LOX), leukotrienes and prostaglandins.


What omega fatty acid where? Check out the omega fatty acids in our products



Fascinated about the effects of omega-3s? We’ve got a great webinar by Anita Patel and there is a nice article here: