5 Signs That You're Deficient in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 are two essential fatty acids that your body doesn't produce, but that it needs in order to carry out certain functions. Keep reading to learn five symptoms that can indicate an essential fatty acid deficiency.
5 Signs That You're Deficient in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are vital in any healthy diet.

This is because our body cannot produce them and because they are basic components of the structure of our cells.

You may have never heard or thought about them until now. In fact, even as important as they are, many people still tend to forget about them. Essential fatty acids a re usually found in fats, specifically those in:

A lot of people are afraid of eating healthy fats because they’re afraid they’ll literally “make them fat.” But in reality, y our body needs a regular dose of these healthy fats.
They serve multiple functions and processes that are vital for your health, including your metabolism.

Today, we propose that you increase your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. You’ll not only notice the difference in your health, but your body will be grateful for it!

Omega-3 and 6: What Are Essential Fatty Acids?

Foods rich in fatty acids sitting on a wooden table

We know that there are plenty of products that are artificially enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 out there nowadays.

There are smoothies, as well as different kinds of milk and butter with these added components.

This helps and we can’t deny it. However, given that your body doesn’t produce these essential fatty acids, the ideal option is to go for natural sources like salmon, nuts, linseed, and broccoli.

  • Linoleic acid (omega-6) is the most well-known long-chained fatty acid, which is mostly found in all types of seeds, dried fruits, and oils such as sunflower oil.
  • On the other hand, you can find omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish, seafood, legumes, olive oil, nuts, and almonds.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are structural components of cellular membranes and are needed for an infinite number of organic processes.

They are also an important energy source for your body.

Signs That You’re Deficient in Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids

Dry skin due to a deficiency of fatty acids

1. Dry Skin

Without a doubt, one of the most typical  clinical signs of a deficiency of essential fatty acids is dry skin.

This is very common in young children if they do not get enough of these fatty acids in their diets.

Skin problems are often a direct result of not getting enough omega-3 and omega-6. When this occurs, you are more susceptible to infections and wounds take longer to heal than usual.

2. Premature Births

The causes of the increase in rates of premature births are not precisely clear. However, f actors such as the mother’s age, tobacco use, stress and low levels of omega-3 and omega-6 could be some of the triggers.

These essential fatty acids favor the correct development of the fetus during pregnancy.

They’re comparable to high-quality “gasoline” that ensures correct cell function and the “assembly” processes that are necessary for a baby to reach full term.

Diet is obviously key during pregnancy, and elements such as vitamin D, calcium and essential fatty acids are undeniable allies.

3. Heart Problems

Eating foods rich in omega-6 helps has an incredible protective effect on your heart. They provide energy and may help reduce cholesterol, as well as triglycerides.

On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce the risk of suffering from thrombosis and aid in reducing the growth of atherosclerotic plaque. They can also help regulate inflammation.

It’s important to keep this in mind and try to consume these natural sources of essential fatty acids regularly.

4. Extreme Fatigue

Tired woman sitting on the edge of a bed

No matter what weight-loss diet you are on, you should never completely exclude the consumption of fats. Especially omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

One of the other issues this can cause is an acute lack of energy.
A large number of your calories should come from healthy fats, so it is essential to include them in your meals every day in reasonable quantities.

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5. Greater Chance of Developing Inflammatory Diseases

Person experiencing joint pain in their hand

When we say inflammatory diseases, we are talking about rheumatoid arthritis, for example.

The main virtue of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is that they can relieve inflamed joints and morning stiffness. They may help reduce swelling and pain, and can potentially be effective natural anti-inflammatories.

However, remember that it’s important to eat them daily. You’ll only reap the benefits if you’re consuming them consistently.

In conclusion, we’re sure that you’ve heard about omega-3 and omega-6 on multiple occasions.

However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t about a trendy way of eating. It’s about maintaining your well-being and quality of life.

So, what are you waiting for to increase your intake of these healthy fats?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Desnoyers M, Gilbert K, Rousseau G. Cardioprotective Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Dichotomy between Experimental and Clinical Studies. Mar Drugs. 2018 Jul 10;16(7):234.
  • Kendall AC, Kiezel-Tsugunova M, Brownbridge LC, Harwood JL, Nicolaou A. Lipid functions in skin: Differential effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on cutaneous ceramides, in a human skin organ culture model. Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2017 Sep;1859(9 Pt B):1679-1689.
  • DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH. Importance of maintaining a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio for reducing inflammation. Open Heart. 2018 Nov 26;5(2):e000946.
  • Balta I, Stef L, Pet I, Iancu T, Stef D, Corcionivoschi N. Essential Fatty Acids as Biomedicines in Cardiac Health. Biomedicines. 2021 Oct 14;9(10):1466.
  • Spector AA, Kim HY. Discovery of essential fatty acids. J Lipid Res. 2015 Jan;56(1):11-21.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.