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Thread: Are EFA's really essential?

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  1. #1

    Are EFA's really essential?

    So I've been reading Ray Peat. I know, I know, I lost many of you right there.

    But he raises a convincing argument about how unessential essential fatty acids actually are.
    I'd like to look at it from a paleo perspective on this thread.

    Has evolution failed? If not, how is it that after 10,000,000 years (or so) of human evolution there are essential nutrients, vital for survival and/or reproduction, that the body can't make for itself. Do we just need a 'little more time'?

    Yet, the body is quite capable of synthesizing numerous 'non-essential' nutrients from yet other 'non-essential' nutrients. How did that happen?

    Perhaps, just perhaps, ol' Ray Peat is right: if a nutrient is truly phsiologically 'essential' the body can synthesize it from other 'non-essential' nutrients and if can't synthesize it, it probably isn't essential after all.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Fish can't synthesize water. Does that mean they don't need it?
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Knifegill View Post
    Fish can't synthesize water. Does that mean they don't need it?
    OK, Ok, the hair-splitting begins....

    I think the only definition that we really need to agree on to discuss the straw horse proposal above is:

    nutrient - any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue

    (google'able)

    Water does not qualify as a nutrient by this definition, nor would oxygen, CO2,...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
    OK, Ok, the hair-splitting begins....

    I think the only definition that we really need to agree on to discuss the straw horse proposal above is:

    nutrient - any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue

    (google'able)

    Water does not qualify as a nutrient by this definition, nor would oxygen, CO2,...
    How about sodium then?

    "Sodium is a mineral, an essential nutrient. It helps to maintain blood volume, regulate the balance of water in the cells, and keep nerves functioning. The kidneys control sodium balance by increasing or decreasing sodium in the urine"
    Yep, necessary for you to live.

    And any other of a rather large number of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids...
    Vitamin C? You can't synthesize it, but you definitely need it. *See scurvy. Arrrgh Matey!
    Choline? You can't synthesize it... "common signs of choline deficiencies are fatty liver and hemorrhagic kidney necrosis... Choline low diets can also cause infertility, growth impairment, bone abnormalities, and hypertension. Choline deficiency is considered to both initiate and promote cancer activities."
    Thiamine? You can't synthesize it... "Thiamine deficiency commonly presents subacutely and can lead to metabolic coma and death."

    And on and on and on...

    That said... Essential Fatty Acids...
    You are probably getting plenty by eating primal foods.
    If you want more ALA, the "hard" one to get...
    Walnut oil makes a fabulous vinaigrette.
    I actually really like Chia seeds. *shrug*
    Eat some fruit... those kiwi seeds have ALA!
    I also eat purslane (aka that decorative Portulaca plant they sell at the garden center) in my salads, it's a little flowering plant, it's cute, fleshy succulent leaves, tasty too. And has ALA.
    I also grow and eat Shiso (aka Perilla)... I had no idea it was a good source of ALA until today. Awesome.
    This shit is not hard to get at all.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by cori93437 View Post
    ...And any other of a rather large number of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids...
    Vitamin C? You can't synthesize it, but you definitely need it. *See scurvy. Arrrgh Matey!
    Choline? You can't synthesize it... "common signs of choline deficiencies are fatty liver and hemorrhagic kidney necrosis... Choline low diets can also cause infertility, growth impairment, bone abnormalities, and hypertension. Choline deficiency is considered to both initiate and promote cancer activities."
    Thiamine? You can't synthesize it... "Thiamine deficiency commonly presents subacutely and can lead to metabolic coma and death."

    And on and on and on...

    That said... Essential Fatty Acids...
    You are probably getting plenty by eating primal foods.
    If you want more ALA, the "hard" one to get...
    Walnut oil makes a fabulous vinaigrette.
    I actually really like Chia seeds. *shrug*
    Eat some fruit... those kiwi seeds have ALA!

    I also eat purslane (aka that decorative Portulaca plant they sell at the garden center) in my salads, it's a little flowering plant, it's cute, fleshy succulent leaves, tasty too. And has ALA.
    I also grow and eat Shiso (aka Perilla)... I had no idea it was a good source of ALA until today. Awesome.

    This shit is not hard to get at all.
    THANK YOU! i intuitively grok'd that kiwi seeds had ALA in them, years & years ago while I was foraging my way around the Big Island of Hawaii'. Passion fruit seeds & kiwi seeds!

    Purslane & shiso are nice. Korean grocers have big ol shiso leaves in stacks for sale, they are lil powerhouses of nutrition...
    "Science is not belief but the will to find out." ~ Anonymous
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
    OK, Ok, the hair-splitting begins....

    I think the only definition that we really need to agree on to discuss the straw horse proposal above is:

    nutrient - any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue

    (google'able)

    Water does not qualify as a nutrient by this definition, nor would oxygen, CO2,...
    Clarification:

    A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment.They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Methods for nutrient intake vary, with animals and protists consuming foods that are digested by an internal digestive system, but most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil through their roots or from the atmosphere.

    Water is widely used in chemical reactions as a solvent or reactant and less commonly as a solute or catalyst.
    Most of the major components in cells (proteins, DNA and polysaccharides) are also dissolved in water.
    Water is a good solvent and is often referred to as the universal solvent. Substances that dissolve in water, e.g., salts, sugars, acids, alkalis, and some gases – especially oxygen, carbon dioxide (carbonation) are known as hydrophilic (water-loving) substances, while those that are immiscible with water (e.g., fats and oils), are known as hydrophobic (water-fearing) substances.



    without water our cells cannot create energy or describe any shape.
    blood would fail to flow
    digestion would cease


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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by quelsen View Post
    Clarification:



    without water our cells cannot create energy or describe any shape.
    blood would fail to flow
    digestion would cease
    Hi Quelsen,

    I worked with a group of Russian electrochemical researchers for about 5 years. I had at least half a dozen shouting matches with them in the first year alone. They usually won, it was their company after all, no fun at all.

    Then I had an epiphany, it dawned on me that most of our arguments came down to using different definitions for the same terminology. We each assumed we were talking about the same thing but turns out we weren't. That experience taught me that the first thing to do in technical debate is agree on the definitions of the terminology framing the debate, don't assume all parties agree on definitions.


    With that said, do you really think I'm arguing that water isn't 'essential' to life?
    Really?
    (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

    (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
    Hi Quelsen,
    ....With that said, do you really think I'm arguing that water isn't 'essential' to life?
    Really?
    I knew this raw foodist/health food store owner in Maui, who hadn't had a drink of water in about 3 years. He did drink coconuts & eat raw juicy fruit & sprouts everyday though, getting his water that way. I'm not endorsing this, but it is kinda funny that he technically never drinks any water from a spigot, water filter or bottle.
    "Science is not belief but the will to find out." ~ Anonymous
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    "The flogging will continue until morale improves." ~ Unknown


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
    Hi Quelsen,

    I worked with a group of Russian electrochemical researchers for about 5 years. I had at least half a dozen shouting matches with them in the first year alone. They usually won, it was their company after all, no fun at all.

    Then I had an epiphany, it dawned on me that most of our arguments came down to using different definitions for the same terminology. We each assumed we were talking about the same thing but turns out we weren't. That experience taught me that the first thing to do in technical debate is agree on the definitions of the terminology framing the debate, don't assume all parties agree on definitions.


    With that said, do you really think I'm arguing that water isn't 'essential' to life?
    Really?
    Yes i actually thought that. i read and reread your assertion and it just seemed a bit too far fetched to actually let it go. <shrug> sorry
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
    Has evolution failed? If not, how is it that after 10,000,000 years (or so) of human evolution there are essential nutrients, vital for survival and/or reproduction, that the body can't make for itself. Do we just need a 'little more time'?
    Evolution is not a force that directs us toward some goal of eventual perfection. It is simply the changes that result over time due to pressures on survival.

    Would it be nice if we could just synthesize every nutrient and micronutrient that was essential for our survival? Sure, that'd be great. But apparently, whatever mutations and genetic changes that might be required for this to happen, have not happened. Oh well, with mutations you win some you lose some.

    On the plus side, we did evolve the ability to procure these essential nutrients by various means from our environments... and this seems to have worked pretty well for us so far.

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