Nutrition 101: What are Omega 9's?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In 1992, “Lorenzo’s Oil” was a heart warming hit at the box office starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon, who portrayed sympathetic parents who searched for a treatment for their son Lorenzo, who suffered from ALD (adrenoleukodystrophy), a genetic disease that progressively destroys the myelin sheath of the brain in young boys. In 1996, Phil Collins recorded the song “Lorenzo” for his “Dance Into the Light” album using words written by Lorenzo’s mother Michaela out of her love and commitment to her little boy.

Lorenzo’s parents studied medical research and learned that the brain damage caused by the genetic disorder ALD was linked to a build up of dangerous long chained fatty acids in the blood. They learned that oil containing oleic acid (Omega 9's) was able to destroy the fatty acid build up and slow the progression of the disease, and in the late 80’s, Lorenzo’s Oil was discovered.

So what is oleic acid?

Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid and is considered one of the healthier sources of fat in the diet. Oleic acid makes up 55-80% of olive oil and 15-20% of grape seed oil and is commonly used in foods as a replacement for animal fat sources that are high in saturated fat. Diets richer in oleic acid have been shown to slow the development of heart disease and to promote the production of antioxidants. Oleic oil also seems to be a great moisturizer as well. Using olive oil on the skin has been a common practice in Italy and Greece for centuries, so if you are looking for a natural moisturizing option, look no further then your pantry.

Oleic acid or Omega 9 is not an essential fatty acid because the body can produce it provided the essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6 are included in the diet. But, if you want to make sure you are covering your Omega 9/oleic acid needs include several of these foods into your meal and snack planning,

• Olive Oil
• Olives
• Avocados
• Almonds
• Peanuts
• Pecans
• Pistachio nuts
• Cashews
• Hazelnuts
• Macadamia Nuts

And if you are looking for a good movie for a quiet night at home, check out “Lorenzo’s Oil” by Universal Pictures.

You can learn more about adrenoleukodystrophy, the Lorenzo's Oil disease:
The United Leukodystrophy Foundation
The Myelin Project

So what food or nutrient do you want to know more about? Let me know and I will see what fun info I can find.

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I am going to watch the film again! Great real life story, better dramatized than documented...
Feeling for once more lucky to be Greek. You certainly know we are producing the best olive oil in the world [sorry my Italian and Spanish friends (-: ] Report
Good information, thanks! No wonder I love EVOO. Report
I love Olive Oil and I love olives. Favorite sandwich is 4 olives crushed on wheat bread with Laughing Cow Light Cream Cheese. I put olive oil on all my salads, plus I also use flaxseed all the time. Good stuff! Report
love that movie! I know of teh benfits of all the oemga's but OO is so caloric!!! Then a Dr once told me that the benefits outweigh the calories so much that I should not 'figure' in those calories in my daily caloric intake. so each time i drizzle OO, I convince myself it's for heart health and I don't 'count' it. Report
I use olive oil and have always bought the "Extra Virgin". But the other day I noticed the "pure" olive oil was much cheaper and I am on a tighter budget. What's the difference? And is there any difference between the generics and brand names as far as you can tell?
(I also use Canola for baking). Report
I love all of these foods but I'm wondering in what amounts should you consume them in order to get the best benefits. Report
I have been working out regularly for over a year now. I am doing great and have really nice muscle tone now. I just started the Flat Belly Diet because I have a small love handle around my stomach that is hiding my six pack. I have come to understand that getting enough of the right oils is key to optimal health. I will be following a mediterranean diet from now on. I am eating nuts every day now and will continue to do so. I have been through a lot of trial and error food choices over the last year and I finally get what it is that my body wants and needs. Wishing everyone success in finding their key to optimal health. Report
I've read many similar articles about the benefits of monounsaturated fats and omega 9's & 3's. They all specifically mention Olive Oil. My question is, what is the difference, in this instance, between Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I use EVOO in almost everything but have been wondering if I should switch to plain Olive Oil. I know that EVOO goes through another pressing but does it make a nutritional difference. Is EVOO just as good as Olive Oil????? Report
Great movie and great info!
Thanks Report
We went out and got the movie after reading this. What a great set of parents those are.! I too use olive oil daily but never thought about puttting some on my pets food. Will try that too. Report
No wonder they say to use olive oil whenever possible. its pricier but well worth it. To be honest, even for my cats, to get their coats shinier and healthier, I put a few drops of olive oil on their food once per day. Report
We get plenty of omega 9 from our regular North American diet so I would never have to worry about it. There are supplements out there that give you all 3-6-9 but I really think it's not neccessary. We should focus on getting the 3 & 6 because our body doesn't produce those. Especially the omega 3. If you are not a fish lover you may want to consider including flaxseeds or flax oil into your diet. It makes a big difference. Report
My nutrition instructor in nursing school played this movie at the beginning as an introduction to the course, and tears aside (the whole class, the two macho guys included) it was a truly enlightening story to many things, thanks for the reminder :) Report
I remember watching the movie Lorenzo's Oil years ago. Thanks for the article and the helpful information. Report
I thought I heard it all...You learn something new everyday! Report
Thanks so much for this info. I do a lot of cooking with olive oil and grapeseed oil. I'm glad to read that it contains the oleic acid. Report
Great article...Thanks! Report
This is great information. I take Flaxseed oil daily along with Omega does this mean I should add 9 and does anyone know if there is one pill combined with 3 and 9? Report
Lorenzo's Oil was a fabulous movie. I had never heard of that disease before that movie. This article is great and thank-you for providing me with more information on the Oleic Acid. Report
Great info!!! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
We can eat fat??? Oh my! What happened to the good old days of dry toast and PAM spray? I love flax oil and all the oils... Fat can be good! Report
Thanks for the info.

Thanks for the good information. Report
Thanks for information I have never used EVOO. I take 1000mg gel flaxseed oil daily and I do use extra virgin olive oil. Report
If you put extra virgin olive oil around your eyes when you go to sleep you will look much more fresh and younger when you wake up. I would like to add that olives oil can only be used for frying at low temperature as it goes bad if you heat it too much. So for high temperature I suggest to use corn oil or something like it. Report
Very interesting! I'll have to get that movie, too. Report
I use EVOO in as many recipes as possible - LOVE IT! Report
Thanks for sharing, I have been using EVOO for some time now. Report
I eat almonds, avocado, and olive oil every week. I also use olive oil as a moisturizer and it is FABULOUS for the skin. Report

AMIE Report
Thanks for the info. We use olive oil for everything now. We love nuts too, of course in moderation.

Have a healthy day

Kitt Report
Thank you for this information. I was not aware of Omega 9 and its benefits. I'm happy to say that in spite of my lack of awareness, my body knows what's good for it as I love and eat all of the items of the list! Report
Great reminder that there are some healthy fats we need in our daily diet Report
That is one movie I will have to watch. We thought we were doing OK on the proper oils but never heard of Omega 9. thanks for the info! Hey I love your new info site already! Pat Report
I have watched the movie 'Lorenzos' Oil' it was very good. There are so many things that we know nothing about. I have learned a lot by being on this site, and i really appreciate it. Report
This article is very helpful on explaining what omega oils are. Report
WOW! I that was a very touching article. I am consuming a lot of the mentioned items anyway. I glad to know they have more health benefits than I realized.

B. Report
m Report
Thanks for the valuable information! Report
Thanks so much for this information. Now I know what the omega 9 is. I take flaxseed oil everyday and it has the omega 3, 6 and 9 in it. until now, I did not know what the 9 was. Report
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