|Omega-6 fatty acids are a class of polyunsaturated fatty acids that includes linoleic and arachidonic acids. Linoleic acid comes
from commonly consumed animal and vegetable products and is the predominant fatty acid in vegetable oils. Studies show linoleic acid decreases LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. Omega-6 fatty acids are fatty acids where the term "omega-6" signifies that the first double bond in the carbon backbone of the fatty acid, counting from the end opposite the acid group, occurs in the sixth carbon-carbon bond.
Omega-6 fatty acids are one of the structural components in cell walls and membranes throughout the body. They are also involved in a complex interaction that leads to the production of prostoglandins in the body. Arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is one of the most important precursors of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. These precursors are jointly referred to as eicosanoids since they have 20 carbon atoms. Once processed by the body, GLA is converted into prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that can either block inflammation or promote it. The body uses prostoglandins to control inflammation, dilate blood vessels, and regulate immune function. Omega-6 fatty acid supplementation, in the form of GLA from EPO or other sources, may assist nerve function and help prevent nerve disease experienced by those with diabetes. A deficiency in essential fatty acids (including GLA and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid) can lead to severe bone loss and osteoporosis.