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Omega 6 nutrient fact sheet

Omega 6 - fact sheet, daily requirement & more

Want to know more about omega 6 fatty acids? Then you'll find it here! In this article, I will give you lots of useful information about the n-6 fatty acid and its subtypes.

To begin with, I will summarize the basics in a brief profile of long-chain fatty acids and then go into more depth on the topics of intake, daily requirement, importance, overdosing, deficiency and ways to cover the daily requirement. You will also find special information for vegans and vegetarians and which forms of food supplements can be useful.

Here is in advance a short Overview for you:

  1. Profile
  2. Recording
  3. Daily requirement
  4. Meaning
  5. Overdose
  6. Deficiency
  7. Foods
  8. Vegan
  9. Food supplement

Notice: This article is not a substitute for medical advice, but merely provides general information about omega-6 fatty acids. Please consult your doctor if you feel unwell or want to prevent health problems with medical care.

Omega 6 PROFILE compact

Assignment: Polyunsaturated fatty acids, long-chain fatty acids
Synonyms: n-6 fatty acids
Important for: Oxygen transport, cell membrane component, skin, blood clotting,
Daily requirement: Linoleic acid: 2.5 % of total calories1 or 10-17 g/day2,3
Recording: by ingestion
Overdose: No fixed maximum supply1,2,3
Deficiency symptoms: including blood clotting disorders, susceptibility to infections, increased risk of heart disease
Food: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds
Food supplement: Mostly as capsules

Intake and forms of omega 6

Omega 6 fatty acids in walnuts

The long-chain omega-6 fatty acids are subdivided into Different forms - the most important are Linoleic acid (LA) and Arachidonic acid (ARA). The human body can synthesize LA into ARA4LA should therefore be classified as essential and ARA as non-essential.5

Since the conversion of LA to ARA requires the same enzyme systems as omega-3 synthesis, the latter is inhibited. Therefore, a good Ratio during recording of omega 6 and Omega 3-fatty acids(omega 6 to omega 3), for example, of 4 to 1.6

It is also important to know that omega-6 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictive effect, which increases the risk of Heart disease is increased. Care should therefore be taken not to consume too much or too little of the polyunsaturated fatty acid. In general, we in western, industrialized countries tend to consume too much omega 6.7

How much omega 6 do you need?

According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) a dietary intake of 2.5 percent of total calories is recommended for LA from the age of four. For Infants The increased requirement is 3.5 to 4 percent of total calories for children aged 1 to 4 years, falling to 3.0 percent for infants.1 Specifically these are For adults and a calorie intake of 2,000 calories approximately 6 g ALA. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a higher intake of 4 percent or 10 grams per day.3,5

In a position paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics values of 2 to 10 percent of total calories or even 5 to 17 grams per day are mentioned.2 No required intake was specified for AA, as the body can synthesize it itself with a sufficient intake of LA.

Why do we need omega-6 fatty acids?

We need omega-6 fatty acids for various processes and activities in the human body. Among other things, the fatty acids are essential for Transport of the oxygen and the Hemoglobin formation and also play an active role in the Blood clotting with. They also regulate the Cholesterol level in the blood.8

They are also an important component for the Formation of the cell membranetransport fat-soluble toxins to excretory organs and generally ensure the health of the skin. In men, the fatty acid is also used for Formation of sperm and testosterone required.

Here is an overview of the functions of n-6:

  • Oxygen transport
  • Formation of hemoglobin
  • Blood clotting
  • Regulation of the cholesterol level
  • Structure of the cell membrane
  • Transport of fat-soluble toxins to the excretory organs
  • Skin Health
  • Sperm ingestion and testosterone production

Is it possible to overdose on omega 6?

According to the EFSA, due to the insufficient data available No official Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). No toxicity has been detected to date.3 Since the omega-6 and omega-3 metabolisms compete for certain enzymes, as already mentioned, you should not consume too much omega-6, as otherwise the ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids will become severely imbalanced.

When does an omega-3 deficiency occur?

Since we in industrialized nations tend to consume more omega 6 than we need on average, it follows that only rarely lead to deficiency symptoms. People who are under a lot of stress, suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease or lead an unhealthy lifestyle with little exercise, lots of alcohol and smoking need more omega 6. The increased requirement can lead to a deficiency under certain circumstances.

An omega 6 deficiency manifests itself through the following Symptoms:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Growth disorders

What are good sources of long-chain fatty acids?

Omega 6 fatty acids from pumpkin seed soup

AA is generally found in animal products such as meat and eggs, while LA is mainly found in many plant-based foods such as Nuts, seeds and oils is contained. As we in Germany tend to consume more omega 6 than necessary, the exact omega 6 content is of secondary importance. Instead, the ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is much more important.

The following list therefore contains foods with a good content of long-chain fatty acids and an appropriate omega ratio:

  • Hemp oil (56.0 g LA per 100 gram)
  • Walnuts (41.5 g LA per 100 gram)
  • hulled hemp seeds (27.46 g LA per 100 grams)
  • Rapeseed oil (14.95 g LA per 100 gram)
  • Soybean (9.8 g LA per 100 grams)
  • Flaxseed (5.45 g LA per 100 gram

Tip: Foods with a high omega 6 content but a rather poor omega ratio are sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pine nuts, as well as sunflower seed oil, sesame oil and safflower oil. I therefore recommend rapeseed or olive oil for frying or salads.

What do vegans and vegetarians need to know about omega 6?

The long-chain omega-6 fatty acid is divided into the fatty acids AA and LA. While AA is rather problematic, as the fatty acid increases the potential for inflammation, LA is required for many processes in the human body. It is therefore a good thing that AA is mainly found in animal products such as meat or eggs and that the body can convert LA into AA.

This means that if you eat enough LA as a vegan, you will also be well supplied with the necessary amount of AA. With a balanced plant-based diet that includes nuts, seeds and oils, your supply of omega 6 is basically guaranteed. This is another reason why omega 6 is recommended by the DGE for vegans as a non-critical nutrient have been classified.9

Should one supplement omega 6?

I have already mentioned several times that most people consume too much omega 6 rather than too little. Therefore, when it comes to omega supplements, I would prefer to focus on a good microalgae oil with omega-3 fatty acids. Because with such a supplement, you can optimize your supply and the ratio of omega fatty acids and get enough of the critical nutrient omega 3.

You can find more information about this in our article on the Omega 3 supply. There you will also find a corresponding Omega-3 food supplementsthat I can recommend to you.

Omega 6? It all depends on the right ratio!

As you have learned today, your supply of long-chain fatty acids depends primarily on the ratio of omega fatty acids that you use to optimize the synthesis of fatty acids. With an intake of around 10-15 grams of LA per day, you are well supplied with omega 6, which also promotes your heart health.5

While omega-6 supplements are not really necessary, it can make sense to consciously integrate nuts, seeds and oils with a good omega ratio into your diet. In addition, I generally recommend a balanced diet and plenty of exercise in order to actively promote your health.

I welcome comments with questions, criticism or ideas on the subject of long-chain fatty acids!

All the best,

Julian from CareElite

PS.: You want to know how to actively live healthier? Find out more in the linked article! You can find even more information on nutrient supply in our articles on Iron or Vitamin K. Have fun!


1 German Society for Nutrition e. V.: Fat, [22.12.2021].

2 G. Vannice, H. Rasmussen (2014). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults. In: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114 (1), pp. 136-153, available online: [22.12.2021]

3 European Food Safety Authority (2012). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol, [22.12.2021].

4 S. Eilat-Adar, T. Sinai, C. Yosefy & Y. Henkin (2013). Nutritional Recommendations for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. In: Nutrients 5 (9), pp. 3649-3683, available online: [22.12.2021]

5 European Food Safety Authority (2009). Labelling reference intake values for n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, [22.12.2021].

6 Center of Health: Sunflower Seeds - Healthy Energy Providers, [22.12.2021].

7 Center for Health: Essential fatty acids, [22.12.2021].

8 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Evidence-based guideline on fat intake and prevention of selected diet-related diseases, [22.12.2021].

9 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Supplement to the position of the German Nutrition Society regarding population groups with special nutritional needs, [22.12.2021].

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Julian Hölzer

Julian Hölzer

Hi, my name is Julian and I am a trained vegan nutritionist. In 2016 I started to get involved with veganism and quickly learned how big an impact our diet has on the environment and how diverse plant-based diets can be. That's why I want to inspire you to get involved with veganism too.

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