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Thread: Plant sources of Omega 3 - just different or useless? page

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    Sonnenblume's Avatar
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    Plant sources of Omega 3 - just different or useless?

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    First I want to make clear that my question is not about if plant sources might be a substitute for Omega 3s from fish, I know they are not. My question is if there are reasons against consuming them in foods like hemp seeds/hemp oil/flax seed/walnuts etc. as they are usually come with at least equal amounts of Omega 6s. My concern is that the Omega 3s from those sources do not count at all and I just increase my Omega 6 intake when having some hemp seeds e. g. I know it is a different type of Omega 3 but is it still an addition to my "Omega 3 account"? I do not eat those products in excess but I am somewhat fond of hemp seeds/protein powder (even that contains some fat). Thank you for your thoughts!

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    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    My experience is that saturated fat is the most important. Omega fats are all in the polyunsaturated fat category. My experience is that as long as non-animal sources of fat are not a significant staple, you are fine. The biggest question you should ask about nuts/seeds is the anti-nutrient content and rancidity. Proper processing like soaking and drying along with eating the whole nut instead of it's oil should eliminate these concerns.

    I also wouldn't recommend O3 supplementation except in the worst of cases, but that's clearly not what you are asking about.
    Last edited by wiltondeportes; 12-15-2011 at 12:57 AM.

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    Stevenhamley's Avatar
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    ALA has about a 5% conversion to EPA and <1% conversion to DHA (give or take). EPA and DHA are the ones that matter. You find them in grass-fed beef/lamb/pork, eggs and fish, etc.

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    IcarianVX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevenhamley View Post
    ALA has about a 5% conversion to EPA and <1% conversion to DHA (give or take). EPA and DHA are the ones that matter. You find them in grass-fed beef/lamb/pork, eggs and fish, etc.
    Just to add a bit to this (I totally agree) is that women can convert the ALA from plant sources to DHA much better than men. Still up in the air as to why, but it is like 10x the conversion rate, iirc.

    You need some polyunsatruated fats, but not as much as most people believe. The biggest factor behind the "get your omega-3s" is the fact that people's o6 : o3 ratios are way out of whack. Instead of telling people just to cut way the hell back on their o6's (like going primal would do for you) they just tell you to up the amount of o3s. While more o3s is not bad in general, you don't need ass-loads of them as long as you keep the o6 levels in check.
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    Uncephalized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IcarianVX View Post
    Just to add a bit to this (I totally agree) is that women can convert the ALA from plant sources to DHA much better than men. Still up in the air as to why, but it is like 10x the conversion rate, iirc.
    Perhaps an adaptation to greedy menfolk not sharing their hunting spoils back in the day? Or women prehistorically ate more vegetables and needed to be able to convert them better? Maybe chicks just dig flax...

    Quote Originally Posted by IcarianVX View Post
    You need some polyunsatruated fats, but not as much as most people believe. The biggest factor behind the "get your omega-3s" is the fact that people's o6 : o3 ratios are way out of whack. Instead of telling people just to cut way the hell back on their o6's (like going primal would do for you) they just tell you to up the amount of o3s. While more o3s is not bad in general, you don't need ass-loads of them as long as you keep the o6 levels in check.
    I would add that there is a good reason to focus on lower o6 intake rather than higher o3 intake, which is that eating a bunch of PUFA of any kind puts serious oxidative stress on your body and is probably just as bad as having an unbalanced ratio is. PUFAs oxidize way too easily to make them a high percentage of your fat intake.
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