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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Omega 9


Omega 9 or more commonly known as Oleic acid, is a monosaturated fat; however this type of fatty acid is not considered an essential fatty acid since our body has the natural ability to produce it in very small amounts. Production of Omega 9 fatty acid is done in the presence of other essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6.

The Omega 9 fatty acid may not be an essential fatty acid but it has been known to lower cholesterol levels and may also be involved in the anti-inflammatory response of the body as well.

There are several foods that have been known to have a high content of Omega 9. Olive oil tops this list along with avocados, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and sesame oil.

History and Origin

After the essential fatty acids were first discovered in 1923 and were called Vitamin F, further studies revealed that they should be classified as fats rather than vitamins. Although Omega 9 is essential to the body’s overall development and involved in the anti inflammatory response, it is still technically not an essential fatty acid.

Ancient Uses

The most important source of Omega 9, which is olive oil, has a long and fruitful history. Being a traditional crop from the Mediterranean, it has been used in cooking, soaps, and primarily as fuel for oil lamps. Olive oil is pure fat and was a healthy food source and had no known adverse effects.

Omega 9 had never been heard of in ancient times basically since ancient discoveries were mainly focused on which food was safe and which foods were considered unsafe to eat. Olives and olive oil were considered staples and were therefore widely accepted as food sources. It was also discovered that it was used for religious rituals as well as for medicinal properties.

Modern Uses

The discoveries of foods that are rich in Omega 9 have made consumers all the more aware of what to eat to increase the intake of this fatty acid. Omega 9 is important in lowering blood cholesterol levels that can significantly lower your risk for heart attacks. It is also known to increase the body’s anti inflammatory process to help fight off infection and diseases. Some experts also believe that one or two tablespoons of virgin olive oil can provide adults with enough oleic acid to ensure healthy arteries, reduced insulin resistance and may also protect the body from certain types of cancer.

Aside from the uses of Omega 9 fatty acids, a person with a deficiency of Omega 9 may have eczema-like skin eruptions, cracking or peeling finger tips, hair loss, noticeable behavioral changes, growth retardation, dry mucus membranes, irregular heart beat and may also lead to miscarriages.

Side Effects

Omega 9 fatty acids have no reported side effects. Your body can tolerate Omega 9 in large doses and it is also advised that you consume it gradually all throughout the day to reap its advantages. If you are taking anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications, it is a precaution to take Omega 9 fatty acids due to increased risk of bleeding. You should therefore consult your doctor if you would like to try taking in Omega 9 if you are using these medications.

Read also: Causes of Halitosis

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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