Fatty acids are listed in the Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) database (link is external) by their molecular name, such as 18:4 or 16:0. The most common omega-3 fatty acids are linolenic (18:3), EPA (20:5), DHA (22:6). The most common omega-6 fatty acids are linoleic (18:2) and arachidonic (20:4). In order to see the content of omega- 3 and omega- 6 fatty acids:
- Click on “Full Report (All Nutrients)” at the top of the screen, underneath the name of the food.
- Scroll down to the next to last header on the page and click on the green button with a white plus mark next to “Lipids”. A list of common fatty acids will appear. As noted above:
- Common Omega-3 fatty acids are: linolenic (18:3), EPA (20:5), DHA (22:6)
- Common Omega-6 fatty acids are: linoleic (18:2) and arachidonic (20:4)
- A detailed listing of systematic scientific and common names of fatty acids is available at the Fats & Fatty Acids page (link is external) of the Nutrition Data website. Omega-3 and omega-6 isomers include "n-3" and "n-6" markings.
- Add the amounts of all Omega 3 fatty acids to get a total amount for Omega 3s. Add up the amounts of all Omega 6 fatty acids to get a total amount for Omega 6s.
Please be aware of the serving sizes listed for each food (i.e. 100 grams of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, etc.). You may need to adjust these values to accurately determine the fatty acid content of a portion of food.