Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Nov

Dear Mark: O6:O3 Ratio, Green Drinks, and Shin Splints

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another series of Dear Mark questions and answers. I think you’ll find today’s choices pretty interesting. First, I field a question from an apparently healthy reader who’s doing everything right, losing weight, and controlling the quality of his fat intake – but he can’t seem to avoid a 20:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Next, I answer a question about green drinks, those vegan canisters of powdered, dehydrated, raw leafy vegetables that one mixes into juice or water for an instant daily dose of greens. They sounded silly, and I’ve dismissed them in the past, but as I did a bit more research my thinking began to change. Ideal? No. A fair compromise for some people? Maybe. Finally, I cover shin splints for a reader suffering from them, and I offer a bit of advice on how to avoid and treat the nasty things.

Let’s get it going.

Dear Mark,

I’ve been living primal for the past six months. I’ve lost 40 of the 80 pounds I wanted to lose and it hasn’t been hard at all. The only thing I’ve been having trouble with is the Omega 3:6 ratio. It doesn’t matter how precise I try to be with the fats I consume it always ends up being around 20:1. Help!

Thank you,

Alvaro

You wrote that your O3:O6 ratio is 20:1; did you mean to say “O6:O3 ratio”? Because that would make a huge difference. I’m going to assume the latter. I’m going to guess that you’re eating way more omega-6 than omega-3, because that’s a pretty common problem. If so, answer the following questions.

Are you still using crappy cooking oils? Check out this list of oils, review the PUFA content (most of which will be omega-6), and choose accordingly. Stick to olive oil, macadamia oil, butter, coconut oil, and ghee as you primary fats.

Are you eating lots of nuts? Newly Primal often go a bit wild with the nuts, because they’re delicious, they qualify as Primal, they make tempting snacks, they’re easy to overeat (being fingerfood and all), and they are calorically-dense. Many, if not most varieties are also significant sources of omega-6. Keep nuts to small servings, snacks, or as accompaniments to meals – not as whole meals themselves. Also, choose your nuts wisely. An ounce of almonds, for example (just 23 single almonds, contains over three grams of omega-6. An ounce of walnuts (14 halves) contains almost 11 grams of omega-6. An ounce of mac nuts (around 12 nuts) contains under one gram of omega-6. All that said, high O6 nuts can still be enjoyed, offer lots of other nutrients (many of which protect the fragile O6 fats from oxidation), and are certainly better sources of O6 than the aforementioned refined oils. Just be smart about it.

Are you eating lots of poultry and pork, rather than ruminants like lamb and beef? Poultry fat, although it’s delicious with roasted sweet potatoes or as crispy skin, has a good amount of omega-6. If you’re doing skin-on chicken thighs every night, you’ll be getting a big dose of omega-6 on a regular basis. Pork fat contains less omega-6 than poultry, but enough so that a pork heavy diet could leave you saturated with polyunsaturated fat. Plus, recent evidence suggests that some pork fat may be far higher in omega-6 than previously suspected (up to twice as much!). Beef and lamb, however, contain miniscule amounts of omega-6, with most of the fat being saturated and monounsaturated. Even conventionally-farmed beef and lamb have insignificant amounts (though it has far less omega-3 than grass-fed).

Are you taking fish oil or eating fatty fish? Do so.

Do a final run through on this handy guide to the omega-6 content of various foods and see what’s going on. I just linked to it yesterday, but it’s worth going over again (and even bookmarking).

However, if you truly are eating 20 times more omega-3 fats than you are eating omega-6 fats, it’s a good idea to ease up on all the fatty fish, flax, chia, and hemp. My sneaking suspicion is that you’re miscalculating something, somewhere. I’ve never come across someone who’s gone fully Primal and managed to maintain quite so lopsided an omega-6:omega-3 ratio (in either direction).

Dear Mark,

There are several “Green Drink” formulas on the market now – usually comprised of powdered dehydrated dark greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. Do these confer the same benefits as eating the vegetables, and are they readily absorbable by our bodies?

LOVE what you’re doing here, and thank you kindly in advance!

Richard

Normally, humans have trouble extracting massive amounts of nutrition from raw greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli. We might enjoy the crunch they provide, the texture, and even the taste, but the simple fact is that we are not equipped with the necessary cellulase – a digestive enzyme – to fully breakdown the cellulose that makes up around a third of said raw leafy vegetables’ cellular structure. Without breaking down cellulose, we can’t access all the vitamins and nutrients located therein. The impressive stomachs of certain animals, like cows and sheep and gorillas, contain billions of symbiotic microorganisms that make cellulase so the animal can derive the bulk of their nutrition from fibrous plants, but ours do not.

That’s why we cook, chew, blend, liquefy, ferment, sprout, and process our food. So that we can bypass our physiological limitations and access the nutrients. What about green drinks?

As you point out, green drinks consist of powdered, dehydrated vegetable matter. Dehydrating and then turning into powder leafy greens should, in theory, break down enough cellulose to make the nutrients bioavailable to humans, similar to the idea behind consuming vegetable smoothies. There’s some evidence that blending fruit and vegetables into smoothies makes them more bioavailable, though the quality of research varies:

  • In one, apple smoothies resulted in greater absorption of apple polyphenols, but the controls were poor – two others groups who either consumed cloudy apple juice or apple cider. I would have liked to have seen a group that simply ate whole apples.
  • Another review paper (PDF) found that, by and large, increasing the surface area of a food (by juicing, chopping, blending, or pureeing) increases the bioavailability of the nutrients in that food. In other words, the more pieces and the smaller those pieces, the greater the nutrient accessibility.

Since powdered vegetation has far more exposed surface area than even well-chewed whole vegetation, I think the nutrients should be plenty bioavailable – assuming dehydration preserves nutrients. Does it?

I’m definitely a fan of just eating the whole fruit or vegetable over a powder, but it seems like green drinks can be a helpful tool. If you’re interested, I’d suggest you try one out for a few weeks and see how you feel. Oh, and since we also know that fat improves absorption of many nutrients (it’s why I always cook my spinach in butter), be sure to mix it with coconut milk or add a couple egg yolks. I’d also seek out products that use gentle dehydration techniques, preferably freeze drying. A lot of the “raw vegan” green drink mixes should be gently dehydrated.

I would love to see an article covering shinsplints (and possibly other common running injuries?).

I’m not a new runner. I’ve run on and off for about 9 years. I wasn’t running much earlier this year and started over the summer – only to quickly get shinsplints, which I had never had before. At one point it was so tender to touch I could hardly stand to do power cleans. All of the information I’ve found is very traditional and does not address potential gait or shoe problems. The recommended therapy is ice and rest – which I’ve done with little improvement. This has been especially disappointing because I’ve already seen improvement just doing the Crossfit Endurance WODs (even though I have rowed most of them). I’ve found very little information about this problem out of the paleo/primal crowd so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to submit a question.

Faith

Ah, yes, the shin splint – every runner’s arch-nemesis. When I used to compete, we just assumed and accepted that shin splints were an inevitability. Pain was normal. Man, does that sound insane (and defeatist) now that I think about it.

First and foremost, analyze your gait. Are you a heel striker? Don’t be. Land on the midfoot to forefoot when you run. Wearing minimalist shoes or going barefoot will help with this and make the landing more natural and intuitive; wearing bulky running shoes with a prominent heel will make it more difficult.

Second, be wary of overstriding. I see a lot of runners (usually heel-strikers, but not necessarily) reach out with their feet as they land, taking huge strides and never quite allowing their bodies to catch up with their landing. Rather than land with their feet directly underneath their hips, they land with their hips trailing their feet. Instead of flowing along across the landscape like a gazelle, they’re plodding along in fits and starts, momentarily slamming on the breaks with every over stride. This is extremely stressful. Take shorter strides, land softly.

Third, don’t go too far too quickly. Moderate your running. Listen to the warning signs your body is putting out. If you’re hurting, stop. If you’re starting to get tight in the lower legs, slow down. The shin splint is merely your body throwing up its hands in frustration at being ignored for so long.

Fourth, don’t push off with your toes. You’re not jumping or bounding. You shouldn’t be doing a bunch of mini calf raises. You’re engaging in controlled falling. Move at the hips.

If you’re a fan of Crossfit Endurance, look into Pose running. That’s the method Crossfit Endurance creator Brian MacKenzie teaches, and it should help your form and pain issues.

As expected, the illustrious KStarr has a helpful hack for fixing shin splints. Go watch the six minute video and try his fixes. I’ve yet to be let down by his stuff (part of the reason why he’s coming to PrimalCon next year!).

I also came across an interesting set of drills designed to strengthen your calves for eccentric loading (which, during the course of running, your calves have to deal with after every stride). Try ‘em out; they’re pretty simple and can be done without any fancy equipment.

Got questions? Perfect, because I have answers. Send yours in and I’ll send mine out. Thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’ve been waiting for someone to take on the green drink topic… I’ve been skeptical as I always am with any processed powdered product. Maybe I’ll give it a try though

    Burn wrote on November 21st, 2011
  2. I’m a bit confused, your answer said – “Are you taking fish oil or eating fatty fish? Do so.” followed by “it’s a good idea to ease up on all the fatty fish”. Isn’t that a contradiction? I thought that fatty fish was healthy and contained omega 3s.

    Alex wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • ignore,, 2nd was advice for too much omega 3, sorry

      Alex wrote on November 21st, 2011
  3. I watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead recently. Despite comments in it that were decidedly anti-sat fat and anti-animal meats, I enjoyed seeing these people take control of their health and changing their lives purely through their diet.

    It did get me thinking about getting more vegetables into my diet, specifically getting a wider variety of vegetables in. I primarily eat summer squash, asparagus, and brussel sprouts, and always cooked. I try to eat more raw spinach and kale salads but its been hard to adjust to the taste; im always forcing myself to eat it. I thought about juice-supplementing myself (keeping the fruit content low), and specifically thought about mixing the juice mix with coconut milk to make it a more satisfying.

    However, a juicer is a huge investment, but I had no idea there were such raw-food vegetable powders. I think i might seek some out to give this thing a try, and if it works perhaps upgrading to a juicer later.

    cTo wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • I had a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer; I think it was about $100 and worked great! The novelty wore off after a few weeks though, and I ended up selling it to a friend. Another option is making a green smoothie, then straining out the juice with cheesecloth.

      Jules wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • try the omega juicer, works very well on low friction and low heat so it keeps more of the nutrients

        jason wrote on November 21st, 2011
        • I had the Omega Vert low speed. Built like a tank, prolly gonna live forever but slooow and I had to dig the fibrous stuff out of the pulp shoot with a bamboo skewer every time. I’ve got the Breville Juice Fountain Elite now and it is a high speed juicer but the juice comes out colder than the Omega. The high speed does mean more oxygen in the juice so you need to drink it right away before it oxidizes.

          Tina wrote on November 22nd, 2011
    • Or you can ‘blenderize’ your vegetables if you don’t want to shell out for a juicer. Check out healthyblenderrecipes.com for some really good juice and smoothie recipes. I juice most days and love how good I feel but, yeah, the juicer is an investment (and a commitment). I did borrow a friend’s Jack Lalanne Powerjuicer Pro for a week and that thing zoomed through the veggies including kale and celery which can clog up other juicers. Another friend has a cheaper version that we tried the other night and it worked really well, too.

      As for powders, they seem okay as a supplement but I don’t think they can be nearly as good as fresh, alive juice with all the enzymes, vitamins, and other good stuff still intact.

      Tina wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • I’d skip using vegetable powders and use whole fruits and vegetables.

        I do this with a Vitamix 1732 VS to blend veg/fruit combo. An investment but well worth it. This is the best kitchen purchase I’ve ever made and I do love my Kitchen Aid food processor and stand mixer.

        My drink today was made with one cup cold water then I added two cups of fruit that included a mix of fresh pineapple, frozen wild blueberries and frozen strawberries followed by two cups of greens that included fresh kale and baby spinach. About one minute later a delicious super healthy drink with not a trace of food bits.

        Lisa wrote on January 27th, 2013
    • I’ve tried nearly every powdered greens mix on the market, and from being a raw foodist many years ago, have come to the conclusion that just using fresh greens and blending them with a small amount of fruit is best.

      After a workout, try blending together either a nice handful of spinach or of kale (stalks removed if you don’t have a Vitamix or Blendtec) with water, and a mixture of whatever fruits you like. Try a little mango, a little banana, some raspberries, and maybe some lime. Whizz it together until smooth and lovely. Honestly, it’s delicious. The tricky part, though, is trying not to overdo it on the fruit.

      Even if you use those greens powders, they always need fruit added in order to taste palatable. Unless you’re brave and are willing to just gulp it down with your nose plugged, I’d suggest not altering your grocery list, and just try different fruit and greens combinations until you find a few that you enjoy. Leave your skins on kiwis and lemons and limes (if they’re organic). Cilantro and pineapple and lime and coconut are strangely delicious together. Experiment or check online for some well-loved recipes.

      Word to the wise… Don’t mix actual vegetables like broccoli into your green smoothies; keep the ingredients to fruit and leaves. It honestly just works better.

      Christina wrote on November 21st, 2011
  4. When the day arrives that O3 can be naturally found in commercial food choices, I’ll be one happy camper. Until then, I will stick to my grass fed beef and pastured butter and sing the praises on what a difference it makes in my life and past chronic inflammation.

    Jeff wrote on November 21st, 2011
  5. Man I eat chicken thighs pretty much every night. It’s one of the few things I can actually afford on a regular basis. Sucks to hear it’s actually high in omega-6. I’ll have to start eating canned fish instead I guess.

    Zachary Worthy wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Have you tried buying some of the tougher, cheaper cuts of beef and then slow-cooking them into stews, roasts, etc.? I’ve definitely been able to find the less desirable cuts of beef for around the same price as (or sometimes even less than) chicken thighs. Wait until they’re on sale, then buy a huge amount and prepare a nice big stew that you can freeze for leftovers.

      C. wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • Great idea! The pressure cooker is good for the tougher cuts, as well. Did ribs in it one night and they were falling off the bone in 20 minutes.

        Tina wrote on November 21st, 2011
        • Never thought of that – I will have to try it!

          C. wrote on November 22nd, 2011
        • Ps. I just did beef shanks for the first time in the pressure cooker and they turned out fantastic. Grass-fed, pasture-raised, $5.99 a lb, and done in 30 minutes! Gotta love that.

          Tina wrote on November 29th, 2011
        • Gosh, I wish I would have had that inorafmtion earlier!

          Mimosa wrote on December 1st, 2011
    • Try mixing it up in a stew – I love pork too damn much, and chicken, and beef isn’t by favourite meat. I love lamb though. So what I do is a lamb-and-sausage stew. I get the pork I love, and I get my ruminant serving too and that ‘dilutes’ the O-6 impact. Try chicken & lamb sausage stew; or beef sausage.

      Milla wrote on November 22nd, 2011
  6. Regarding the shin splints-I agree with everything that Mark said, particularly the POSE running. I used to have trouble with shinsplints, one year they were so bad the orthopedist sent me to get a bonescan to make sure I didn’t have any fractures.

    Anyway, a massage therapist was able to finally get me set on the right track. I don’t know all the anatomical terms, but will do my best to describe. There is a tendon that runs along the arch of your foot, around your ankle, and up (the inside) of your shin bone. Often if you are having shin pain, you can rub the tendon along your arch and it will feel “crunchy”-sounds strange but that’s the best I can explain it. Work on massaging the arch to get the kinks out. It was amazing what a difference this made for my shins-even when I was still wearing the heavy, “motion-control” shoes and heel-striking.

    juliem wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Totally agree with Mark’s advice for correcting shin splints. I was a rampant overstrider and heel-striker (even competitively) and shin splints plagued me for years. After I took a few POSE classes and started running with Vibrams and the shin splints completely disappeared even running 50 miles a week. Those pesky pillow-like shoes are nothing but trouble.

      Abel James wrote on November 21st, 2011
  7. Does anyone know what the most accurate info is on the fat composition of different cuts of pork? i.e. roughly how much saturated fat vs how much polyunsaturated fat for any given cut. We’ve been doing pork tenderloin at least once a week now and it seems pretty lean except for some fat streaks on the outside. How does that fare against say bacon fat or pork center loin cut? We love our pork but we don’t want to botch the O6:O3 ratio too much!

    Joe Brancaleone wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Have you looked at the nutritiondata site? – they have dozens of different pork products listed

      julianne wrote on November 21st, 2011
  8. In terms of shin splints, if they are of the posterior kind (inside of leg, above the ankle, not on the front or outside), then I may be able to offer some advice.

    In college I played baseball, and suffered terribly from posterior shin splints. The consensus was that I was a “pronator”. If you ask me, the real problem was that I had put on 20 pounds or so and the impact was causing my arches to collapse when running somewhat flat-footed. This was because of my weight and lack of leg/calf strength.

    They wrapped me, and I applied ice and all that stuff for YEARS, and nothing helped. The pain was so bad my legs would shake at times, and I had to run through it for sports.

    Years later, someone told me to simply do calf raised. Get on some stairs, hold a railing, and just do calf raises. Put your toes on the stair, and allow your heel to go down below the stair, and then all the way up on your tippy-toes. This was a stretch to do before every exercise, maybe 30-40 or so reps. Then, between exercise when at the gym, do calf raises (with or without weights).

    Over a period of about 3-6 months I went from severe pain to no pain at all, it was amazing!

    I was also fitted for custom orthotics, but as I continue to lose weight and get in better shape over the years, I am aspiring to one day get rid of my orthotics, along with the “motion control” sneakers for pronators. In fact, I recently switched from a motion control sneaker to a Saucony regular shoe with no issues. One step at a time, but still, no shin splint pain that plagued me for years.

    Helj wrote on November 21st, 2011
  9. Shin splints can be caused by flip flops. By not wearing them hardly as much as I used to, I pretty much cured mine. Just feel what your toes/feet/arch/calves have to do when you wear them, and you’ll see why they can mess up your feet so badly.

    And a big hearty sigh about my favorite treat: chicken skin…. guess I’ll have to save that for an every now and then treat, as we do make a lot of chickens because they’re cheap and I make them into lunches/dinners/stirfry etc.

    Kristina wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Have you tried Chacos flip-flops? They have contoured footbeds and are approved by the American Podiatric Assoc. I can’t usually wear flip flops for long periods of time because of fallen arches but the Chacos feel great on my feet. Expensive, unfortunately, but I keep my eyes peeled for sales.

      Tina wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • I was introduced to FitFlops and now have three pairs. They helped my bunion pain. I hate wearing closed shoes now.

        HillsideGina wrote on November 22nd, 2011
        • Thanks for the tip on the FitFlops! I will look for those for myself and my mom who has hammer toes and foot pain.

          Tina wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Definitely. I tried some flat sandals the other day for the first time in ages and I had shin splints for days. I was only walking around to get public transport etc. :|

      Audrey H wrote on November 24th, 2011
      • Late to thread, but I actually had the opposite experience. Wearing bulky “running” shoes always ended up with me having crippling shin splints.

        I started running in flat-as-a-board Chuck Taylors and the issue went away immediately. I also wear flat leather flip flops all summer and never have any pain.

        Erica wrote on February 26th, 2012
  10. I recently started drinking Magma Green Barley Grass mixed with water on an empty stomach (mid-morning) once a day. I will say I feel better when I drink it! This brand was recommended by Dr. Perricone in his Forever Young book.

    Kathy Wright wrote on November 21st, 2011
  11. shinsplints – had them a few times, but not since I found an odd fix: I sit on my knees and the tops of my feet, like a the japaense seisa position (think guys sitting in posture around a martial arts class), generally just through the commercials if if watching tv… the first few times you do it its agony, but the then it gets easy and the shinsplints vanish… i thought it might just be me but 3 or 4 guys i’ve shared this with got rid of them too. Maybe it won’t work if there are serious other problems elsewhere in your legs, but worth a try…
    good luck, they’re miserable…

    benjamin fujita-summers wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Just tried this, Ben and it seems to work great…I have been trying to convert from a heel lander to sort of mid foot/or on the ball….and I knew I would have to pay the price for awhile…this is a great stretch…

      Gman wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • This position stretches the tibialis antior, which is the culprit in anterior shin splints–the use of body weight really helps make this an excellent stretch for shin splints–but as you pointed out–ease into it!

      fritzy wrote on November 21st, 2011
  12. Hmmm…my A & P professor was a sports physician and he said that shin splints are due to over-training and the muscles pulling on the periosteum, the membrane that sheaths the bone.

    Lisa wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • He’s half correct–it’s from training incorrectly–specifically from heel striking (as Mark pointed out.) In order to heel strike, you have to dorsiflex (pull the foot up)–the action of the tibialis anterior. Do this thousands of times over, followed by landing hard on the heel when dorsiflexed and you have both concentric and eccentric pull on the muscle and underlying periostum over and over again (the eccentric force is probably the worse of the two.) The muscle becomes strained and the periosteum becomes inflamed. It’s a wonder every runner that heelstrikes doesn’t get them.

      fritzy wrote on November 21st, 2011
  13. I may be misinterpreting Mark’s response regarding green drinks, but is he saying that humans’ lack of cellulase means consuming a green drink mix is nutritionally more beneficial for the human body than consuming actual kale, spinach, broccoli, etc? Or is he saying that chewing reduces the need for cellulase, and that ultimately it is better to eat actual food than drink mix?

    Paul wrote on November 21st, 2011
  14. Really? I think the runner’s arch-nemesis is plantar fasciitis.

    Li wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Hey…that’s exactly what I was going to say! What a punny thing you said :)

      Milemom wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • I have plantar fasciitis right now and it’s awful!

      Missy wrote on November 28th, 2011
  15. Hey Daily Applers,

    Any thoughts on fermented cod liver oil? I’ve been taking Carlson’s regular Cod liver oil for a few months now. A Tablespoon a day gets me 3 grams of Omega 3s and some Vitamin D and A. The fermented Cod liver oil is much more dense in vitamin A and D, and is a lot more expensive, so I’m not about to take a tablespoon of the stuff. But the teaspoon I’ve been taking is only 1g of O-3s. Should I be supplementing with more fish oil? Anyone else have these thoughts?

    Alex wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • go to the westonaprice.org for cod liver oil info. I only use the fermented – its A and D are the ‘found in nature’ ratio and many others are ‘purified'(processed) and then the natural A and D are replaced with synthetic in altered ratio. Fermentation decreases rancidity, always an important consideration too.

      lisa wrote on November 21st, 2011
  16. I have anterior shin splints that just turned into chronic compartment syndrome…. Wonderful. I found an awesome naturopath that is treating me with prolotherapy, trigger point injections, and platlet rich plasma injections. So far so good. I am working on strengthing, stretching, and gait in the mean time. In case anyone is having as severe problems as me I suggest those things over getting surgery to have your fascia sliced open;)

    Tric wrote on November 21st, 2011
  17. Very informative! Thank you, Mark!

    Alex wrote on November 21st, 2011
  18. The comments you made on running were very interesting! Thanks!

    Meagan wrote on November 21st, 2011
  19. Thank you for the prompt response, as you suspected there was a mistake on my initial question, i meant O6:O3 ratio and after checking thoroughly, i found it to be more like 8-9:1.

    Thank you for the advice

    ALVARO wrote on November 21st, 2011
  20. Wow! Crazy ratio of omega 6 to 3. Thats gotta be a typo.

    Erik wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • No, it’s not a typo, it is 8 or nine times the amount of O6 to O3

      ALVARO wrote on November 21st, 2011
  21. Dear Mark,
    You are among many health authors who recommend taking fish oil. I was faithfully taken my Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil until I noticed that it causes my gums to bleed. I did some research and found out that fish oil is an unsaturated oil and thus is subject to oxidization in the body. (http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml) I want to quote the part that striked me most: “With just a normal amount of vitamin E in the diet, cod liver oil is certain to be highly oxidized in the tissues of a mammal that eats a lot of it, and an experiment with dogs showed that it could increase their cancer mortality from the normal 5% to 100%.” Ray Peat provides a throrough list of references but I am not a researcher so I am asking you if fish oil, and particularly cod liver oil is healthful or hurtful?
    Thank you for answer, and sorry if this topic was addressed. I could not find it.

    Sasha wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • I mentioned lipid peroxidation in the omega 6 omega 3 article Mark linked to. This is indeed a big issue. Both omega 6 and 3 are highly unstable due to multiple carbon to carbon double bonds. I had this issue when I first started taking big doses of omega 3. To keep stable in cell membranes polyunsaturated fat can quickly deplete your anti-oxidants. If you start depleting them you will notice that omega 3 is no longer as effective as when you started to take it. Both vit E and vit C will be depleted, hence you might even get symptoms of mild scurvy like bleeding gums. I suggest you take mixed natural tocopherols – vitamin E 500iu per day and vit C – Ester C is the best form 2000 mg per day, and decrease both omega 6 and omega 3 intake as low as you can while still getting a balance. You could also add CoQ10, which is also a protective antioxidant

      julianne wrote on November 22nd, 2011
      • Does this mean we should reconsider fish oil supplementation altogether? My omega 3 supplement (1150 mg) does list “natural tocopherols” and I also take a Vitamin E that is mixed tocotrienols and tocopherols (100IU) and Vitamin C that is buffered calcium ascorbate along with bioflavonoids (1,000mg). I do try to avoid omega 6 vegetable oils but have dietary sources as from nuts and chicken. Thank you for any thoughts you have on this.

        Tina wrote on November 27th, 2011
  22. “There’s some evidence that blending fruit and vegetables into smoothies makes them more bioavailable, though the quality of research varies:”

    As a smoothie entusiast… Toad LOVES to hear this! I’ve actually known for a while that blended greens allows your body to absorb up to 4x as many nutrients as chewed, raw greens. So, cook or blend my friends!

    Enjoy your big ass salads too :)

    Primal Toad wrote on November 21st, 2011
  23. I wonder if chicken’s notoriously high O6 is due to the common chicken diet of grains, rather than chicken DNA. Same with pork.

    Does anybody know if chickens eating a primal diet (sprouts, insects, lizards) have a more favorable O6:O3 ratio? And likewise with primal pork (fed vegetables, meat, and fungi)?

    If only there were home testing kits for O6:O3, that would clear up a lot of the guesswork…

    Timothy wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • I was wondering myself about how one monitors their O6:O3, how did the reader figure the 20:1 intake?

      Michael wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • nutritiondata.self.com

        This is how i figured it out

        ALVARO wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • Nutritiondata.com is also the site I have used to find O6 and O3 information. It is very detailed, tough I wonder how updated the site is since it is still wishing visitors a Happy New Year for 2011. :-D

        Paul wrote on November 22nd, 2011
    • Free range chicken is higher in O3 than factory chicken, i don’t know the exact ratio though and that also applies to pork

      ALVARO wrote on November 21st, 2011
  24. The best thing I’ve found to treat shin splints is daily epsom salt soaks, loosening the tibialis anterior muscle (the front muscle of the shin) with massage and acupuncture, and rest from the offending activity. Most make a full recovery in 3-4 weeks.

    Doug wrote on November 21st, 2011
  25. Chi Running. Great book on how to run properly and prevent shin splints

    rb wrote on November 21st, 2011
  26. The question on green drinks was answered brilliantly! Personally I believe that wholesome nutrition benefits can only be gotten from cooked veggies. But the green drinks also seem to be a pleasant alternative.

    Adan Harris wrote on November 21st, 2011
  27. Thanks for this post Mark! It’s interesting that you brought up pork fat…I have been struggling with acne break outs here and there, despite having gone primal for about 1 1/2 – 2 years now. Weight maintenance is a breeze, but I haven’t been able to break the acne cycle completely. I recently purchased Cordain’s book on diet and acne. He mentions that pork may need to be avoided, but he seems to link it more to the saturated fat content, not the omega-6 content. I had been eating a lot of bacon, sausage, and pork tenderloin in my diet, and since I have cut this out (and started taking fish oil daily), I have noticed that my acne has significantly been reduced. Cordain talks a lot about O6 to O3 ratio, but I was unaware of the more inflammatory effects too much pork might be having on me (and I wasn’t buying into the saturated fat argument as a reason to reduce my pork intake). Thanks for shedding a little more light on the subject!

    primalpal wrote on November 22nd, 2011
  28. My O3 and O6 amounts for today: Omega-3 fatty acids10503mg
    Omega-6 fatty acids11214mg

    ALVARO wrote on November 22nd, 2011
    • That’s practically 1 to 1. What’s the problem? forgive me if I am missing something.

      beans mcgrady wrote on November 22nd, 2011
  29. WRT the shin splints, there are some really good solutions here that address the root of the problem, mine doesn’t, but I had a lot of success keeping shin splint pain away by compressing my lower legs. I used under sized slip over soccer shin pads with the pads pulled out, like a sock over my lower leg that fit very tight, you could also use a bandage compress but they come apart easier, it works but I think you’d be better off with strengthening the calves and stop heel striking. Good luck!

    BG wrote on November 22nd, 2011
  30. Any Muay Thai athletes reading the shin splint post? I’ve only been doing muay thai for about 4 months now and the first 30 minutes of class is skipping rope. My body, leg muscles, and cardio are all keeping up with the warmup but my shins are in absolute agony 10-15 min into the session. If I push myself throuth the entire 30 minutes, I’m left almost completely immobilized and can barely stand up for the actual practice session. I’ve tried stretching 10-15 min before, rubbing thai balm on them, RICE, etc. Luckily my trainer is OK with me moving onto the stationary bike once they begin to hurt. I’d prefer to continue skipping rather than riding the bike since the bouncing movement and leg strengthening is such an important part of the sport. Anybody have any tips to help reduce/avoid the pain while skipping? Everything’s done barefoot so no worrying about un-natural padding from shoes. This is a completely different form of activity compared to running that involves calve muscles and forefeet only so it’s hard to know if I’m doing something improperly. Any help would be well appreciated!

    beef Stu wrote on November 22nd, 2011
    • Does the pain feel deep in the shins? Considering the activity that’s causing the pain, it’s probably posterior shin splints. I used to get those when I did martial arts–between the jump rope and bag training, my shins really hurt.

      The only thing I can think to do is take breaks. It’s difficult to know if your form is causing it without seeing you jump but I could see it being due to landing with a pronated foot, jumping too high or landing too hard.

      Maybe trying mixing it up by frequently switching the types of jumps you are doing–I would think landing alternating tandem (one foot in front of the other) might help. Maybe throw in some double-unders–less jumping but twice the workout.

      Good luck!!

      fritzy wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  31. In response to the question on running, I was a runner my entire life, even coached long-distance running, but it was so bad for my joints that I had to stop.

    Now I take walks an hour each day. I don’t like using treadmills or taking the same route more than once a week, so I incorporate my walks into my daily routine.

    If I go to the grocery store, I park in the lot and walk around that neighborhood for an hour. Just a half hour from the car and another half hour back, and I’ve gotten in my exercise for the day.

    Walking = great way to get your heart-healthy cardio!

    Rich Stevens (@richardstevens2) wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  32. I have tried 2 green drinks:

    Green Vibrance: Tastes awful but has over 100 organic dried freeze greens with digestive enzymes and 40 billion good bacteria per serving. It has to be kept frozen for maximum effectiveness. There was slight immediate benefit with digestion and energy. But on paper this is the best green product.

    Greens from Trace Minerals: Now this product tastes good and its insanely effective. I fear it has something in it that shouldn’t be there legally. I just started taking it 2 weeks ago with buttermilk and it gave instant energy that was sustained and i feel better. I was tempted to drink it 3-4 times a day. I don.t know what the side effect could be but it feels awesome. Now i realize why its even more effective with fresh made organic buttermilk as Mark mentioned that with fat body can absorb more nutrients.

    Amit wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  33. Mark,

    Those tips for preventing shin splints are very helpful and also consistent with the ChiRunning technique which is an excellent resource for low-stress, injury-free running.

    Alykhan

    Alykhan - Fitness Breakout wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  34. I used to be vegan and went through a lot of green drinks. My favorite is Amazing Grass. Best of the bunch. :) I don’t use them anymore; I eat more veggies and more variety now that I’m primal than I did as a vegan!

    Joanne wrote on November 24th, 2011
  35. My doctor recommended a golf ball muscle roller for my shin splints, great tool for massaging, worked surprisingly very well helped and me recover faster than any other treatment! trust me your going to want to check it out!!
    http://zzathletics.com/Golf-Ball-Muscle-Roller-Massager-GBMR1.htm

    Paige wrote on January 30th, 2014
  36. Simply desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your
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    สอนทำกุญแจ wrote on December 24th, 2014

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