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View Full Version : omega 3 not just non essential, actually harmful


Stuart Mather
11-28-2007, 06:27 PM
Anyone else taken a look at Ray Peat's idea's about all PUFA's including the so called EFA's being not only not essential but very unhealthy.

I was particularly interested in his historical perspective on the actual 'original' research on so called EFA's

Not trying to sell anything here, just curious to hear what others think, particularly Garrett. I must say the very unstable nature of PUFA's, paricularly the '3's has always given me pause for concern, however undamaged they are when you first put them in your mouth. I mean human metabolism is basically one very complex oxidizing machine isn't it. Unstable lipids are going to start creating havoc pretty quickly? Mike Eades blogged recently on the importance of increassing the saturation index of cell membranes through consumption of SFA's rather than trying to keep them 'flexible' through PUFA consumption and SFA avoidance.

But I always thought the EFA PUFA's were sort of .... essential? Am I wrong to start questioning this nutritional article of faith?

Stuart

Allen Yeh
11-29-2007, 05:06 AM
Is this the article you are talking about?

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fats-degeneration.shtml

Mike ODonnell
11-29-2007, 06:26 AM
I think the main issue when comes to omega 3s is the balance of 3-6s as pertained to inflammation. The less 6s you have in your diet, the less need you have for 3s. While EPA controls inflammation and DHA has been claimed essential for brain health, at 3-5grams total per day are you really creating that much havoc? Also it has always been suggested to uptake your Vit E antioxidants when taking fish oil.

As for Sat fats, I don't think you will find many people here agreeing that they are important. However most his study references are either animals on Omega 3s only....or Sat (MCTs) only. I do not see any reference to a balance of both Omega 3s and Sat fats in diet. Also the control group may not have had a high Omega 6 intake, so excess Omega 3s can have a negative affect (as you want the ratio around 2:1 Omega 6s-3s). Anything when taken too much of will produce a negative impact....it's balance that is needed.

The long chain fats found in fish and some algae don’t interfere with animal enzymes as strongly as the seed oils do, and so by comparison, they aren’t so harmful. They are also so unstable that relatively little of them is stored in the tissues. (And when they are used as food additives, it’s necessary to use antioxidants to keep them from becoming smelly and acutely toxic.)
So are we talking about flaxseed oil as a source for omega 3s or fish oil? We already known the sloppy downcoversion process of flaxseed to the basic properties of fish oil (EPA/DHA). So I can see if flaxseed is the source of your omega 3s that you would need an excess of it.

About ten years ago I met a young man with a degenerative brain disease, and was interested in the fact that he (working on a fishing boat) had been eating almost a pound of salmon per day for several years. There is now enough information regarding the neurotoxic effects of fish oil to justify avoidance of the fatty fish.
Fish Oils have very little to trace amounts of Mercury nowadays as seen in independent tests......comparing fish oil supplementation to eating Salmon is like comparing a Mercedes to a moped.

Some of the current advertising is promoting fish oil to prevent cancer, so it’s important to remember that there are many studies showing that it increases cancer.
Did the people already have cancer? If so, additional oxidative damage to an already compromised immune system will of course not be good. Hell, put a person with cancer on GH and the cancer cells will grow too! Does that mean GH kills people?

In the real world we are dealing with people that have a Omega 6:3 ratio of 20:1 and higher. Omega 3 supplementation is needed to get that closer to 2:1. If you hardly never eat Omega 6s then you probably do not need much Omega 3s. Of course the more PUFAs overall one takes, the more oxidative damage that can occur. So best course is lower Omega 6s, take moderate 3s to restore balance and have some healthy Sat fats. I am sure he would agree that is not a bad model for health. Add in some IF and reduced calorie load and you have a pretty good model for longevity and health I would imagine.

Garrett Smith
11-29-2007, 07:14 AM
Ray Peat, as far as I know, is an armchair theorist. I got no different idea when I read his "About Ray Peat" page.

Much like Eades vs. Colpo, Eades treats obese patients directly, Colpo just theorizes about it and plays victim. I treat people with major inflammation. Fish oil, in significant amounts, helps everyone feel better. Black Box trumps theory.

Peats, as far as I know, uses no Black Box testing at all. He just flings about studies that benefit his predetermined bias. Again, if researchers are using rancid/oxidized fish oil (who expects researchers to know the first thing about quality fish oil? I don't!) then they will see negative health effects. I Black Box it, CFers do too, and fish oil ends up being at the top of all of our lists as the one absolutely necessary supplement.

I spend a lot of time picking my fish and cod liver oils, so comparing results of all fish oils in one lump sum is not beneficial to the whole PUFA arena. Also, Peats does lump in seed oils into his whole presentation.

Peats talks about the horribly oxidative and hot environment of the body that will be detrimental to the PUFAs. That's all theory, totally ignoring the built-in antioxidative mechanisms capable of protecting valuable PUFAs.

Peats is wrong on this one, IMHO. I'm not a big fan of his tone either.

Mike ODonnell
11-29-2007, 08:28 AM
Much like Eades vs. Colpo, Eades treats obese patients directly, Colpo just theorizes about it and plays victim. I treat people with major inflammation. Fish oil, in significant amounts, helps everyone feel better. Black Box trumps theory.

Well put....I concur.

I think the take home message is, high levels of polyunsaturated fats in a diet increase free radical oxidation and increase risks of disease. Omega 3s are needed to balance the inflammation issue but too much is also not good as Eskimo's eating nothing but whale blubber have no heart disease but tend to die from strokes (internal bleeding!) or the inability to stop bleeding from a papercut. Substitute more MUFAs (olive, avacado) or healthy Sat Fats (Grass fed or MCTs) as a dietary fat calorie rather than PUFAs. (including cooking) Also probably interesting to note that Paleo man probably got the majority of his fat calories from healthy Sat Fat sources (aka grass fed animals) and smaller amounts of Omega 3 and 6s. Also in reference to Paleo man...the more stable fats he ate, the less he needed anti-oxidants...hence how he could keep healthy eating meat and sat fats but could get sick on a diet high in PUFAs unless he ate high amounts of fruits (antioxidant vitamins).

I also came across this excellent page that has more than you ever wanted to know about fats, the lipid hypothesis and cholesterol ties to PUFA oxidation.
http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/skinny.html

High serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered, free-radical-containing (polyunsaturated) fats. Just as a large police force is needed in a locality where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency to heart disease and cancer. Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.

Mike ODonnell
11-29-2007, 01:51 PM
Hell I might be the only one putting way too much thought into this....but food for thought. If you are not the "average" person with a huge omega 6 imbalance, have a high intake of sat fats from grass fed butter/meats that contain amounts of omega 3s....maybe fish oil is not neccessary. However most people are not this healthy.....so fish oil is still a valid supplement for the general public who will never jump on the high sat fat bandwagon. Too bad. Butter anyone?

Great post and topic Stuart...thanks for the mental workout today.

Mike ODonnell
12-03-2007, 07:07 AM
Mike Eades blogged recently on the importance of increassing the saturation index of cell membranes through consumption of SFA's rather than trying to keep them 'flexible' through PUFA consumption and SFA avoidance.

on that note...this study shows something interesting
Cancer cells, like ripe fruit, are much softer than healthy cells, scientists said on Sunday in a finding that could help doctors diagnose tumors and figure out which might be the deadliest.

Cancer cells taken from people with pancreatic, breast and lung tumors were more than 70 percent softer than benign cells, the scientists wrote in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSN0134353020071202

Sat fats and Cholesterol help keep the cells strong and stiffer....excess polyunsaturated fats make the cell membranes more flabby by replacing the sat fats within the cell....Hmmmmmmmmmmmm