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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 8:23 am 
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With many authors recommending people to consume a lot of Omega 3, I was a bit surprised when some time ago I ran into this article:

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/when-it-co ... not-better

Not all of the evidence is rock-solid (it rarely is), but it seemed convincing enough.

What do you think about it?

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:20 am 
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I think that the issue usually overlooked in discussions and research about o3 is that o6 consumption is ignored in the discussions. It seems likely to me that the benefits are related to the ratio of o3/o6. Some of the earliest studies of fish oil showed much more benefit than more recent studies. During those years, the consumption of o6 (grain oils, grain-fed meats) has increased dramatically. It could be that increasing o3 consumption is only of much benefit if the o6 goes down at the same time.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:56 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
I think that the issue usually overlooked in discussions and research about o3 is that o6 consumption is ignored in the discussions.


It doesn't seem to be the case this time, as the author explicitly recommended several times to lower Omega 6 consumption no matter what.

His main point is oxidative damage is being caused by Omega 3, so the higher the consumption, the bigger the damage. He also argues that while high dosage can be beneficial in the short term on people with specific pathologies (e.g. arthritis or heart stroke survivors), there is no proof that the same benefits apply to a healthy person, while it appears logic that oxidative damage would accumulate in the long term, to the point it can become an issue.

This is just a short summing up though, I recommend to read the full article.

Jungledoc wrote:
It seems likely to me that the benefits are related to the ratio of o3/o6.


Think you two agree on this: http://thehealthyskeptic.org/how-much-o ... on-omega-6

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 11:07 am 
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Robb Wolfe was one person pushing huge volumes of O3 in order to offset the years of excess O6 most people have accumulated. He still recommends mega doses for people "all banged up" but once things are under control, he relaxes his recommendations dramatically. I think Chris Kresser was a big influence on that change.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 7:36 am 
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TBH I had to look up Wolfe, I'm not really into the paleo movement. But I remember John Berardi saying he took (and advised to take) something like 3 softgels per meal, with 3 meal per day IIRC. That dosage, using the run-of-the-mill 180/120 softgel, is probably over 3g/d of Omega 3, assuming the softgel doesn't only contain EPA and DHA but also ALA.

(edit: BTW I've been losing confidence in the soundness of Berardi's advice over time due to some things like the issue we're discussing and others like this one)

Kresser said in a comment:

Quote:
the 1g/d refers roughly to the total amount of polyunsaturated omega-3s. So it depends how much of the 1200 mg capsule is omega-3, not just EPA & DHA


The other "nutritionally significant" Omega 3 being ALA according to Wikipedia. It is implied there are other Omega 3 but they might not be of interest for our discussion (and actually, I've never read anywhere about something other than EPA DHA and ALA)

When I was researching Omega 3 supplements, I realized most only advertise the EPA and DHA content, only a minority either state ALA content, "other Omega 3s" or "Total Omega 3" amount (on a sidenote I found this interesting because some brands appear to have no ALA in their gels)

With Kresser recommending to stay under 1 g/d, that means for some brand even 3 softgels per day may be too much.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 7:51 am 
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EPA is the most important but DHA can be converted to EPA quite easily. ALA can be as well but very inefficiently. ALA is almost always from plant sources, DHA and EPA from animal sources. I don't think that Berardi's levels are outrageous. It's the 20g/day recommendations that are questionable. From my way of thinking, if our ancestors could get all they needed from food, there needs to be a real good reason to supplement beyond that point. Since our ancestors ate wild meat and fish, that's a little more than we would get froma modern diet but not a huge amount. Whether that puts us in the 1 or 3 grams/day range is debatable.

BTW, when these guys talk about Omega 3, they mean DHA/EPA since ALA is such an inefficient source.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 10:59 am 
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20 g/d really seems an awful lot, from what I've gathered 4 g/d is prescription level for the short term.

Anyway, this reflection of mine started when I was about to increase my Omega 3 supplementation from 1 to 3 grams as a result of many authors pushing for it, especially because I don't think there are many ways left to decrease my Omega 6 consumption: I'm already fairly restricted as far as grains go. So what I'm mostly concerned with is the "indirect" intake from e.g. meat (though I've never really attempted to put in numbers how much Omega 6 I am really eating)

At the end of the day what's important would be finding the sweet spot between increased oxidative damage from Omega 3 supplementation and benefits reaped from moving the n-3/n-6 ratio close to the optimal ratio.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 11:46 am 
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I wouldn't get too wrapped arround getting the optimal ratios. As long as you minimize grains and veg oil, you're O6 will be low enough. Then just get a reasonable amount of O3. It's going to average out over time. Once you're down to the range that you're even considering the amount of O6 in meat, the incremental benefits and risks are minimal.

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