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What is the difference between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?

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Dr. R. Kannan Mutharasan
Internal Medicine - Cardiology

In brief: The structure

The difference is where the unsaturated chemical bond is in the "tail" of the fatty acid -- 3 positions away from the end (that's where OMEGA comes from -- last letter in the greek alphabet) or 6 positions away.
The reason this matters is that biochemically, omega-3 fatty acids get turned into anti-inflammatory signaling compounds, while omega-6 fatty acids may get turned into proinflammatory ones

In brief: The structure

The difference is where the unsaturated chemical bond is in the "tail" of the fatty acid -- 3 positions away from the end (that's where OMEGA comes from -- last letter in the greek alphabet) or 6 positions away.
The reason this matters is that biochemically, omega-3 fatty acids get turned into anti-inflammatory signaling compounds, while omega-6 fatty acids may get turned into proinflammatory ones
Dr. R. Kannan Mutharasan
Dr. R. Kannan Mutharasan
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