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How to explain PUFAs are bad?

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  • How to explain PUFAs are bad?

    I need to explain as scientific as possible to my dad why PUFAs are unhealthy. I'm not good at doing research. But I've come this far:
    Pufas have double carbon bonds and the open space between these double bonds allows oxidation to occur. Because of oxidation, molecules can lose electrons which will turn the molecules into free radicals. Free radicals try to "gain" back their electron by taking an electron from another molecule. This forms a chain reaction which can damage DNA.
    I hope I am right, as I said, I'm not good at doing research.

    But if I'm right so far, I have 2 questions. Why does oxidation make molecules lose electrons? I can't really figure out what oxidation exactly is.
    And, why does this chain reaction of "exchanging electrons" damage DNA?
    well then

  • #2
    first question:
    Redox (oxidation/reduction) reactions involve the losing or gaining of an electron, respectively, by a molecule. oxidation is losing (OIL) and reduction is gaining (RIG) - mnemonic OIL RIG. reduction is gaining as it refers to the "reduction" of the overall charge of the molecule - e.g., gaining an electron is the gaining of one negatively charged particle, e.g., the complete charge of the molecule decreases by 1 arbitrary charge unit. (electrons charge -1, protons charge +1, neutrons are neutral, etc. if more interested, go take a chemistry class and then a biology class - both will help you understand nutritional information.) Oxidation makes molecules lose an electron because that is the definition of what oxidation is. so if you see anything about PUFAs being oxidized, it means that that poly-unsaturated fatty acid chain has lost an electron due to overheating or chemical intervention. This means that the PUFA is POSITIVELY CHARGED compared to its previous state after having lost an electron. (electrons are -1, so losing an electron means you lose one overall -1 charge, so you are +1 compared to what you previously were. not +1 overall, necessarily, but +1 compared to before the oxidative reaction.) that is the DEFINITION of oxidation - ergo, oxidation makes molecules lose electrons because that's what oxidation is.

    2) a fatty acid chain, such as in a PUFA, in a +1 charged state compared to its natural state, is liable to "steal" electrons from other molecules - including your DNA or protein structures. this is to say - the PUFA *gains* an electron (RIG - reduction is gaining!) or becomes reduced by stealing an electron from another intracellular molecule like DNA or a structural protein. since reduction is GAINING an electron, this means that the donor molecule is LOSING and electron, and what is losing? (oxidation is losing! OIL RIG!) this means that the donor molecule is OXIDIZED. ergo, DNA or another donor molecule has lost an electron, become positively charged compared to its previous state, and is liable to bind to things electromagnetically that it would not have otherwise.

    Gadsie, working up from this concept can be tough. Analogizing from molecular theory to biological reality is always going to be theoretical and not 100% accurate, so don't be too overly terrified of so-called "oxidizing foods!" and too bent on "antioxidant sources!" because it is by necessity an oversimplification. People do PhDs on this stuff and it still doesn't get more straightforward than what I've outlined above - it only gets more complex and specifically circumstantial. Having said that, this model does seem to hold for PUFAs and oxidative stress. And... go, jimhensen! If you need more explanation, feel free to PM me; I used to teach high school chem/bio before I left to do more postgrad so I've got a few resources up my sleeve I can link you to if you need. However, as I stated in the first paragraph - the best thing you can do to understand the above shizzle is to take chemistry, take biology, and do your best to absorb *specifically* the molecular principles from each. It is seriously, seriously worth it.

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    • #3
      The problem is not that oxidised PUFAs may damage other molecules. The problem is that oxidised PUFAs form small, dense LDL, which more readily gets into the walls of inflamed arteries to form plaques that does healthy LDL
      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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      • #4
        I'm betting there's an MDA blog post that makes it very understandable?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bananabonobo View Post
          first question:
          Redox (oxidation/reduction) reactions involve the losing or gaining of an electron, respectively, by a molecule. oxidation is losing (OIL) and reduction is gaining (RIG) - mnemonic OIL RIG. reduction is gaining as it refers to the "reduction" of the overall charge of the molecule - e.g., gaining an electron is the gaining of one negatively charged particle, e.g., the complete charge of the molecule decreases by 1 arbitrary charge unit. (electrons charge -1, protons charge +1, neutrons are neutral, etc. if more interested, go take a chemistry class and then a biology class - both will help you understand nutritional information.) Oxidation makes molecules lose an electron because that is the definition of what oxidation is. so if you see anything about PUFAs being oxidized, it means that that poly-unsaturated fatty acid chain has lost an electron due to overheating or chemical intervention. This means that the PUFA is POSITIVELY CHARGED compared to its previous state after having lost an electron. (electrons are -1, so losing an electron means you lose one overall -1 charge, so you are +1 compared to what you previously were. not +1 overall, necessarily, but +1 compared to before the oxidative reaction.) that is the DEFINITION of oxidation - ergo, oxidation makes molecules lose electrons because that's what oxidation is.

          2) a fatty acid chain, such as in a PUFA, in a +1 charged state compared to its natural state, is liable to "steal" electrons from other molecules - including your DNA or protein structures. this is to say - the PUFA *gains* an electron (RIG - reduction is gaining!) or becomes reduced by stealing an electron from another intracellular molecule like DNA or a structural protein. since reduction is GAINING an electron, this means that the donor molecule is LOSING and electron, and what is losing? (oxidation is losing! OIL RIG!) this means that the donor molecule is OXIDIZED. ergo, DNA or another donor molecule has lost an electron, become positively charged compared to its previous state, and is liable to bind to things electromagnetically that it would not have otherwise.

          Gadsie, working up from this concept can be tough. Analogizing from molecular theory to biological reality is always going to be theoretical and not 100% accurate, so don't be too overly terrified of so-called "oxidizing foods!" and too bent on "antioxidant sources!" because it is by necessity an oversimplification. People do PhDs on this stuff and it still doesn't get more straightforward than what I've outlined above - it only gets more complex and specifically circumstantial. Having said that, this model does seem to hold for PUFAs and oxidative stress. And... go, jimhensen! If you need more explanation, feel free to PM me; I used to teach high school chem/bio before I left to do more postgrad so I've got a few resources up my sleeve I can link you to if you need. However, as I stated in the first paragraph - the best thing you can do to understand the above shizzle is to take chemistry, take biology, and do your best to absorb *specifically* the molecular principles from each. It is seriously, seriously worth it.
          Ok, I think I understand it better now, but how come PUFAs oxidize then? yes, for example because they are heated, but why (or rather how) does heating cause oxidation?
          well then

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          • #6
            Is there maybe a book/dvd whatever that explains all this in detail? School is utter bullshit, I do the highest level available but I still don't learn sh*t
            well then

            Comment


            • #7
              This page doesn't answer why PUFA is more prone to oxidation (that could probably be answered with a good organic chemistry class) but it does have lots of information.
              What You Should Know About Fatty Acids
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #8
                What I tell people is that PUFAs easily go rancid and turn into something like transfat. But I don't know if that is a close enough approximation.
                __________________________
                age 56, type 2 diabetes, swimmer
                low carb since 2006 thanks to Jenny, primal since Jan. 2012

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pamsc View Post
                  What I tell people is that PUFAs easily go rancid and turn into something like transfat. But I don't know if that is a close enough approximation.
                  Well I want to be a %100 prepared when my dad starts another conversation about how meat will give me heartattacks. He just said it at dinner. I asked him "So tell me why saturated fat is bad" he said, straight forward "yeah I don't know"
                  Gets me so frustrated
                  well then

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                    This page doesn't answer why PUFA is more prone to oxidation (that could probably be answered with a good organic chemistry class) but it does have lots of information.
                    What You Should Know About Fatty Acids
                    Thanks
                    well then

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      school is shit, but stick it out - chemistry is one of those things that you just have to bull whack your head against the wall until you get it. i had to do a few gazillion hours of problem sets in university before i could remotely grasp what the hell anyone was talking about with regards to oxidation. also remember that you're essentially asking two sets of questions: first, the chemistry set, which you're probably just going to have to accept that you won't be able to explain from first principles unless you make the effort and take first-year college chem (which is a lot less bullshit than in high school). second, the biology set, which is not settled science - it's very highly EVIDENCED science (in favour of paleo, duh!), but the models for nutritional PUFAs in bodies are not as well defined and obvious as either side of the controversy would like to suggest. (as a rule, basic chemistry is pretty up or down, but nutritional biology is... always shades of gray with mega levels of interaction, because it's a much more complex system we're considering.) that's biology for you though - and now you have to learn about experimental design and statistics to get why.

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                      • #12
                        oh, and i realize i may not have answered how heat causes oxidation in my PM to you. here:

                        Thermal inputs (light, heat, ultraviolet, etc) to an atom cause electrons to become more energetic. So the negatively charged electrons on the outermost orbit of an atom can whizz around faster, which also means they whizz around slightly farther away from the positively charged nucleus of the atom. That increase in orbit velocity and distance means they can escape the attraction of the nucleus more easily - so when the molecule gets heated enough, one atom in the molecule gets excited/whizzy/zippy enough to go shooting off and eventually winds up attached to something else, leaving the original molecule with a net positive charge until it can steal back either the same electron or a different one. That's how PUFAs get oxidized. (And other things too - PUFAS just have this happen at characteristically lower levels of thermal input.)

                        Another way to oxidize something is chemically, with a strong reducing agent. Here you'd be mixing one chemical with another in solution that likes to steal electrons. Remember, OIL RIG, Reduction Is Gaining, so a molecule of a strong reducing agent is going to greedily suck an electron away from the other molecule - and since Oxidation Is Losing, that second molecule would be oxidized. Think acid-base reactions.

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                        • #13
                          This video is pretty good:


                          Also:
                          Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be dangerous to your health

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