What are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids?

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are scientific names for two different categories – or families – of essential fatty acids. These names are derived from the chemical composition of the fatty acid molecules. Omega-3 fatty acids include Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Omega-6 fatty acids include Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), Linoleic Acid (LA), and Arachidonic Acid (AA). The body needs a balance of each fatty acid, regardless of the family it belongs to. For this reason, it may be easier to think not in terms of families but simply about the importance of each of these essential fats; like vitamins, the body needs all of them for good health.