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Fish oil and the Great PUFA controversy

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  • Fish oil and the Great PUFA controversy

    While I think all us primals can agree the highly processed and mostly oxidized polyunsaturated fats crowding shelf space with our beloved olive oil or muscling out our favorite saturated fats in restaurant cooking are pretty much awful, there seem to be a lot of opinions after that.

    Classic primals say to limit O6 and intentionally seek out O3 to combat inflammation for a long, pain free life.

    A lot of the relaxed primals and traditional foodies lean towards eating natural foods with a little to no supplementation and let everything work itself out naturally.

    And then Peat avoids it entirely, saying excess O3 isn't needed when O6 is also limited.

    (Ignoring the laundry list I'm on to treat a gut issue,) I don't generally trust supplements; I'm even super suspicious of the D I take in the winter to stave off the SAD. Lately I've been told to take a high dose of O3 for shoulder pain (chronic injury). Is it possible this is just more CW that started out right and went a little too far? Is there a safe (reliably not oxidized or tainted) O3 supplement? Can sardines be made palatable??

    Basically, are O3s worth it?

  • #2
    O3s are necessary to undo the damage of 06. If you could eliminate O6 you probably wouldn't have any specific requirement for a fatty acid designed to resist cell membranes freezing in arctic fish. I eat sardines a few times a week and find them quite palatable but I also like a bit of chicken etc. As far as joint pain is concerned I would try making some bone broth as I am convinced that everything needed to heal a joint is to be found in an animals joints.
    Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
    www.primaljoy.co.uk

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    • #3
      I don't understand all the PUFA tech-talk around here. Thought you just eat real food and things work out.

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      • #4
        Real food is fine but inevitably some people have more damage to undo and some peeps love spicy chicken wings so much that they can't do without them
        Pufas polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in seeds and cold water fish. They have evolved these fats to avoid freezing at low temperatures. Mammals like us don't store fat in this way as no matter how cold we get we don't go solid....and if we do it means we are dead. Pufas provoke an inflammatory response in mammalian tissue. Omega threes undo the damage done by omega 6 as they are anti-inflammatory. The jury is out on whether they are of any benefit in the absence of omega 6 pufas.
        This is important stuff in the quest for nutritional perfection.
        Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
        www.primaljoy.co.uk

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MaceyUK View Post
          Mammals like us don't store fat in this way as no matter how cold we get we don't go solid....and if we do it means we are dead. Pufas provoke an inflammatory response in mammalian tissue. Omega threes undo the damage done by omega 6 as they are anti-inflammatory.
          Okay, that's the first time anyone put it in a way that makes sense. I eat fatty fish almost every day (O3), chicken almost never (O6), eggs/nuts most days (O6). No idea what that means. Guess need to calc a ratio or something...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by KimchiNinja View Post
            Okay, that's the first time anyone put it in a way that makes sense. I eat fatty fish almost every day (O3), chicken almost never (O6), eggs/nuts most days (O6). No idea what that means. Guess need to calc a ratio or something...
            I gotta admit, I agree with you on the real food should sort things out bit. Especially if your real food ate its own real food. Though, the food I can get here most likely didn't.

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            • #7
              I supplement fermented cod liver oil for me and my kids. But the DHA and EPA in it is just a sidebar to all the other great stuff.... A,D, K (butter oil form), and as they say, the thousands of other molecular structures known and unknown. But in a teaspoon there is 500mg of DHA. Good for cognitive development and all....my boys dislike seafood so this is one reason to supplement in a concentrated form ....but for all intensive purposes FCLO actually IS a real food in my book rather than a supplement.

              Edit: rather than adding another comment Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): An Ancient Nutrient for the Modern Human Brain
              Last edited by Neckhammer; 11-19-2013, 10:22 AM.

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              • #8
                I do 2Tbs of chia seeds every morning, hydrated in H2O:

                Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Seeds, chia seeds, dried

                Very good natural plant source of O3's. Lots of fiber, in fact almost all the carbs are in fiber form. It'll take your GI tract a while to adapt to the fiber, so if you go this route increase amounts very gradually.
                Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                • #9
                  Context. Context is all that matters.

                  Where did the n3:n6 ratio myth start? Does anyone really think that matters? It is no surprise people with better n3:n6 are healthier, but it isn't because of the ratio. Clearly, it is far easier to get n6 into the modern diet, so people with better n3:n6 ratios simply have a much lower intake of polyunsaturated fat. THAT is the true causative relationship, here. A higher n3:n6 ratio simply correlates with a lower overall intake of PUFA, but it is the low PUFA intake that is causative, not the ratio. This is an important article to read because it so amazingly accurate:

                  Fats and Oils: The importance of temperature

                  The melting and freezing points of fats play a major role in the human body. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are stable at 98.6 degrees F. Polyunsaturated fats are not. Polyunsatured fats maintain their liquid form at negative degrees. Consider that putting arachidonic acid inside the human body puts it something like 150 degrees ABOVE its melting point. Consider that putting coconut oil inside the body is only putting it around 10 degrees above its melting point. Consider placing your hand inside a pot of boiling water and the damage it would do to your hand, and that's only at 115 degrees above your body temperature. The human body temperature is extremely hot compared to polyunsaturated fat - hotter than your hand in boiling water. Context is everything.

                  Now, I'm not saying wild salmon and raw almonds are the same as soybean oil. These foods come loaded with antioxidants and vitamins (specifically Vitamin E) to help your body deal with the oxidation of the PUFA's and stabilize it. I still find beef and lamb far healthier than salmon and almonds, but I don't think they are agents of disease, here. The refined vegetable oils clearly are, though. They are stripped of their protective antioxidants, so they cause major damage in the body. Now, let's understand that EPA and DHA are far LESS STABLE than the ALA-based omega 3's and the omega 6's found in the polyunsatured seed oils because they are much longer-chain fatty acids (more open bonds = more instability). Fish oil is more prone to rancidity than soybean oil, it's refined THE SAME WAY, and we're putting that in our body as a health food? Huh? It's WORSE.

                  There probably isn't much of a reason to be scared of fresh, raw nuts (save weight gain, allergens and their fattening nature) or fresh, wild salmon, but RUN AWAY from their isolated oils.
                  Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-19-2013, 09:41 AM.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                  • #10
                    ^Great explanation. Probably one of the best write-ups I've ever seen on this topic.
                    Depression Lies

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                      Polyunsatured fats maintain their liquid form at negative degrees. Consider that putting arachidonic acid inside the human body puts it something like 150 degrees ABOVE its melting point.
                      Huh? I put bottles of olive and avocado oils in the the fridge before because I wasn't thinking when I got home from the store and the next day they were solids. My fridge is not in the negative temperatures.

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                      • #12
                        The science is far from complete but my judgment calls are:

                        • circulating DHA is an effective partial antidote to LA toxicity
                        • ALA is not valuable
                        • O3 supplements are dubious / overprocessed

                        So I eat fatty fish regularly, not to hit some O3 quota but because it's practical food with high total nutrients.
                        37//6'3"/185

                        My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Primal Moose View Post
                          Huh? I put bottles of olive and avocado oils in the the fridge before because I wasn't thinking when I got home from the store and the next day they were solids. My fridge is not in the negative temperatures.
                          Avocado and olive oils are almost entirely monounsaturated fats. They have a low saturated and polyunsaturated fat content. Monounsaturated fats solidify at refrigerator temperatures, and are suitable for human body temperatures.

                          It is the polyunsaturated fats we are concerned about. Put a bottle of soybean or safflower oil in the fridge and see what happens. Then move them into the freezer for a week and see what happens.
                          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Finnegans Wake
                            Clarify, please?

                            If one is merely swapping out ω-6 for ω-3 on a 1:1 basis, the overall amount of PUFAs consumed would remain constant.

                            One would have to substitute ω-6's with SFAs and MUFAs to lower absolute PUFA levels.
                            They aren't. These are what the studies show:

                            People with a higher n3:n6 ratio are healthier.

                            Great. Now let's consider the SOURCE of omega 6 in the American diet come largely from polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

                            What the studies ACTUALLY show:

                            People who eat far less unsaturated vegetable oils (likely they're more health-minded and don't eat much fried food and takeout) are healthier than people who eat lots of fast food and foods saturated in polyunsaturated oils.

                            Their n3:n6 ratio isn't greater because they eat more omega 3, it's because they eat less omega 6. Simply taking a diet full of omega 6 and dumping lots of omega 3 into it to improve the ratio isn't going to help, it's going to make things worse because you're just supplementing a high PUFA diet with even more PUFA. You need to REDUCE omega 6, which in turn REDUCES PUFA.

                            Since the American diet is low in omega 3 and high in omega 6, people with a high n3:n6 ratio simply eat less omega 6, which means they eat overall much less PUFA. That's it. People who eat low PUFA diets are going to have a much higher n3:n6 ratio than the average American.
                            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Finnegans Wake
                              Sorry, that was a lot of verbiage but did not answer my question. You stated that a higher n3:n6 ratio simply correlates with a lower overall intake of PUFA, and I asked how swapping out ω-6 for ω-3 on a 1:1 basis would lower absolute PUFA levels. E.g., if the ω-3:ω-6 ratio is an unhealthy 9:1 (say, 9 g. to 1: g.), the total PUFA is 10 g. If we ratchet that to a healthful ω-3:ω-6 of 7:3 (swinging 6 g. of ω-6 over to 6 g. of ω-3), the total PUFA remains 10 g.

                              Either your statement that lower total PUFA makes one healthy is incorrect, or that higher relative amounts of ω-3 are healthy is incorrect.

                              So again, if one replaces ω-6 with ω-3 one a one-to-one basis, PUFA levels would not be reduced. One would need to replace some of the PUFAs with SFAs or MUFAs.
                              Your assessment makes no sense.

                              First, your assessment that (your phrasing was completely backwards BTW) a 1:9 n3:n6 ratio is unhealthy and a 7:3 n3:n6 ratio is healthful is completely unfounded for the reasons I mentioned above. The studies that "show" a correlation between n3:n6 ratio are baseless because they chase after a confounding factor. There is no causative link between n3:n6 ratio and health, only correlation, which I pointed out in my post. The correlation is the healthy people that show a higher n3:n6 ratio simply eat less PUFA.

                              Second, it is the SOURCE of PUFA that matters. An n3:n6 ratio of 1:9 is much healthier than an n3:n6 ratio of 7:3 if the former ratio is caused by regular consumption of eggs, chicken and raw nuts and the latter ratio is caused by extreme consumption of fish oil supplements.

                              I believe wholeheartedly that PUFA is the worst fat to put into the human body in an apples-to-apples approach. Beef is superior to salmon. Macadamia nuts are superior to almonds. Coconut is superior to avocado. However, if you're going to put PUFA into your body, it is important that the source is considered. PUFA is the most dangerous fat to put in your body, so the more refined it is, the more damage it is going to do. The more PUFA in your diet, the more it is important you stick to whole foods.

                              It is impossible to do what you're saying. You can't just swap out n3 for n6 unless you do it with refined oils. It has to be done in a whole-foods context.
                              Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-19-2013, 11:41 AM.
                              Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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