People tend to think negatively of fat, but the body needs certain types to work correctly. Omega-9, sometimes called oleic acid, refers to a family of fatty acids that a person needs to maintain good health. These fatty acids are believed to play a role in disease prevention and the proper functioning of other necessary fats.
Fatty acids are chemicals that are needed if the bodily systems and organs are to function properly. There are other fatty acids that the body also needs, including omega-3 and omega-6. Although omega-3, -6 and -9 are commonly grouped together, there are noteworthy differences between them.
Omega-3 and -6 are essential fatty acids. They are considered essential because the body needs them but cannot produce them under any circumstances, which means that they must be obtained either through a person’s diet or through supplements. Omega-9, however, is not truly an essential fatty acid. The reason is because a limited amount of it is produced by the body, but this production is only possible when the other omega fats are present.
Oleic acid is believed to play an important role in reducing the likelihood of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is also believed that it aids in lowering cholesterol and improving the immune system. If there is a deficiency, a person may experience a number of side effects, including skin eruptions, hair loss, and painful joints. Reproduction may also be affected, causing male sterility or a woman to miscarry.
It is commonly believed that omega-3 and -6 produce more benefits than -9. Researchers think that these fatty acids cannot function to their full potential without omega-9, however. In many instances, the limited amount of oleic acid that is produced by the body is not sufficient for a needs. Most people, therefore, need to consume more.
One of the best food sources from which a person can obtain oleic acid is olive oil. It is also found in other vegetable and animal fats, such as sesame oil and chia seed oil. Other foods that contain it include avocados, macadamia nuts, and pecans. A person can also obtain the necessary amount from supplements, which have no widely recognized side effects.