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What may be the best ratios of any of omega 3s and omega 6s (ALA/DHA/DPA/EPA/LA/AA/GLA) and other fatty acids if related you can suggest ?

Answered on February 05, 2014
Created February 04, 2014 at 11:45 AM

It is suggested to consume an (omega 3 / omega 6) ratio of 1/1 to 1/4 and minimize total PUFA consumption.

We know not all omega 3s and all omega 6s are the same. Chris Kresser says only 5% of ALA is converted to EPA and only 0.5% is converted to DHA and he must have taken this from a research, but other factors are apparently the amounts of insulin and estrogen and I've read that pregnant women convert 21% of ALA to EPA and 4% to DHA in omegascience.org and that if you consistently consume ALA, its conversion to EPA and DHA increases in paleohacks. GLA and AA are different from LA and GLA is hardly found in human diet and since conversion of LA to GLA isn't sufficient even in people not lowering their LA intake and it's suggested to use some GLA(best of which is fresh capsulated evening primrose oil followed by hemp seeds or maybe hemp hearts in my opinion) to even them, for people limiting their LA or total omega 6 intake it may be highly suggested and even more beneficial to consume some GLA. For example I found my mild Reynaud's with an enough carb paleo AIP diet improves very much with the consumption of a tablespoon of hemp seeds a day, and though I'm not sure if the cannabinoids(the bad THC and the good CBD and others) mostly present in the hulls of the seeds are beneficial or harmful to me as a post schizophrenic, I will continue to use the seeds since evening primrose oil capsules are much more costly, evening primrose oil quickly goes rancid and other sources of GLA have the same disadvantages of evening primrose oil or worse and hemp hearts aren't even available in my country. For a comparison of GLA sources though it does not get into detail with hemp:

http://www.udoerasmus.com/articles/udo/epo_bo_index.htm

It is suggested that to increase the percent or the amount(I don't remember which or it wasn't written) of ALA converted to EPA and DHA a certain ratio(2.3) of ALA to LA should be consumed referring to a book. Both ALA and LA use the same enzymes when being converted and since AA is worse than LA, an advantage of consuming ALA must be reducing the conversion LA to AA but I think it's also the same enzyme that converts LA to GLA and I do not know how stabby is convinced that that excess LA impairs conversion of LA to DGLA and GLA, but he might have implied the ratio converted to DGLA and GLA than the amount, he wrote he is at:

http://thatpaleoguy.com/2012/01/19/are-diets-high-in-omega-6-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids-unhealthy/

I was diagnosed with schizophrania about 9 years ago and I'm on the minimum maintenance dose of quetiapine extended release and I remember I read that for schizophrenics supplementation with a high DHA/EPA ratio worsened some symptoms while a high EPA/DHA ratio was helpful and suggested. So I think ALA may be better for scizophrenics, at least actively scizophrenic ones, because it's converted to EPA much more than DHA.

It's obvious that a ratio of (omega 3 / omega 6) is not the same when the omega 3s and omega 6s are different, ie, there's a huge difference between 8 grams of ALA to 6 grams of LA + 2 grams of AA and 3 grams of EPA + 2 grams of DHA + 3 grams of ALA to 8 grams of LA though the ratios are the same.

So the questions are:

1) What may be the best ratios of any of omega 3s and omega 6s (ALA/DHA/DPA/EPA/LA/AA/GLA) and other fatty acids if related you can suggest ?

2) What sources may be the best for any of the omega 3s and omega 6s considering also other dietary needs and the other nutrients in them; and in what amount or ratio should they be consumed for possibly the best effects (it is hard to find the amount of each omega 3 and omega 6 in a food, and hence the necessity) ? (You may suggest red palm oil over almonds but that isn't available where I live and DHA rich algaes probably isn't available in most places, so an answer considering their unavailability may be needed) And also what to restrict to what extent to achieve the best ?

3) Can you please discuss these foods, which are also sources of omega 3s and omega 6s:

- Flax seeds, lignans of which I believe are beneficial generally, in the context of both good and bad diets.

- Chia seeds in the context of a mostly unprocessed diet without fish and without anything other excluded or restricted severely for my mom with hypertension and high cholesterol and triglyceride numbers. I believe her high cholesterol(total cholesterol around 290) numbers are caused due to her part of thyroid gland removed long ago, before when her numbers were normal, in a consequence of which she must be having some lowered LDL receptor activity, she has free t3 and t4 numbers close to the lower limits of the normal ranges inside the normal ranges with using 100 mcg levothyroxin about 6 times a week. I advised her not to forget her normal levothyroxin dose but I do not know to what extent the dose can be increased for the most benefit and HELP regarding this will be HIGHLY APPRECIATED. I'm constantly advising her for a better diet and she trusts what I say but she has a very bad approach about eating with probably bad emotional connections. She already used fish oil more than short term and considering fish oil is shown not to be beneficial in mid term and harmful in long term, I don't consider using fish oil for her and keep telling her to eat fish; but since cod liver oil and krill oil are a little different, can they help her ? Any other advice about her situation will be HIGHLY APPRECIATED.

- Walnuts in the context of both good and bad diets.

- Hemp seeds, especially considering its cannabinoids in relation to post schizophrenics.

- Almonds, hazelnuts and avocados in a comparison.

4) I'm sure most of us find themselves in need of acquiring vitamin e from foods high in LA. Why are tocopherols other than alpha not generally considered a source of vitamin e ? Is it possible to fulfill the vitamin e requirements with tocopherols other than alpha ? How much of other tocopherols can do the job of a certain amount of alpha tocopherol ? How severely is a diet without red palm oil lacking tocotrienols ? Are there other significant tocotrienol sources than red palm oil and supplements and how much tocotrienols do they have(for example, when compared to red palm oil or in amounts) ?

5) What can be the best addition to oils to better protect their freshness ? Options include different sources of vitamin e, astaxanthin, different carotenoids such as lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and maybe some dried ground spices and not their extracts can do the job also such as turmeric and ginger and sumac and thyme and probably there are many other opitons...

6) How to notify users with a nickname with a space in it in a question ?

For the amounts of omega 3s in meat animals:

www.intechopen.com/download/pdf/19989???

For a series on omega 6s, the link above at which stabby commented

For nutrients in foods according to the USDA database you can look at:

www.nutritiondata.com

http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/fatty-acids

Harmen has a good reply about benefits of ALA here:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/138896/alpha-linolenic-acid-underrated-neolithic-agent-of.html#answer-142943

Currently I try to keep a ratio of (EPA+DHA) / LA over 1/4 with only dietary elements and calculated with added EPA+DHA converted from ALA at a ratio of 5.5%.

Thanks in advance, I hope most of the people will learn from this page

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Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 04, 2014
at 10:10 PM

I don't blame you for eating it, it sounds delicious. Almond butter typically uses almonds with skins on but I don't care too much about that; I don't see anything wrong with hulled seeds either, it's more of a matter of taste/texture preference if you ask me. I personally prefer almond butter because it's high in monounsaturated oleic acid and I love the taste of almonds and salt.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 07:55 PM

I know, I just couldn't stop myself, it may be related with the urge to eat in a depressed mood. I guess almond butter is generally made with almonds with skins and that you wrote it knowing tahini is made with hulled and generally roasted sesame seeds.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 04, 2014
at 07:13 PM

Tahini which is already a pretty high fat food (predominantly Omega 6), mixed with honey (a sugar), carob syrup (a sugar from a legume), and bananas (filled with sugar) sounds quite horrendous from a health perspective. I think it might have the same nutritional profile as a deep-fried Twinkie. Sorry. If you want to eat tahini by itself it's probably not that bad in moderation (personally I would rather have almond butter), but the stuff you add to it makes it ideal for gaining weight and developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 06:33 PM

So what's your opinion on tahini ? In the past a few weeks I often found myself eating tahini that is almost certainly heat-processed because nothing is implied about it. I was eating it mostly mixed with raw honey or carob syrup and bananas or boiled pumpkin. Though I have been suggesting my mom to limit LA and how to do it and that tahini is much worse than sesame and seeds due to the way it's processed, she eats it most days with something like carob syrup and most likely bread.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 04, 2014
at 03:40 PM

I actually agree with you, I think that while PUFAs are harmful in excessive quantities, they do get demonized in the Paleo community probably a little too much. For one, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, so we do need to get it somewhere in the diet. Secondly, it is very commonly found in foods like birds, nuts, pigs, reptiles, avocados, olives, which are all perfectly healthy and paleo. As a matter of fact, the human body is composed of roughly 11-12% linoleic acid (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/32/11/2198.full.pdf), so I don't see what's the big deal.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on February 04, 2014
at 02:51 PM

I think question #5 could be worth its own thread too. I often hear about how antioxidants in oils can preserve nutrients from thermal oxidation, but I've never seen much data on which antioxidants preserve x% of x nutrient when cooked at x degrees for x minutes in x oil. Vitamin C seems to be used often, but who fries food with a sprinkle of vitamin C. I tend to just go for the red palm oil + turmeric combo when in doubt.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:41 PM

Anything may be managed as long as it's feasible with the possible foods for the given objective and there's necessary data on it. Maybe there is not data on it or just you haven't seen it but anecdotal evidence can also be helpful and it's obvious that there's a huge difference between consuming a given amount of ALA versus EPA+DHA+DPA for example, even for a pregnant woman. A part of the question I can't be overthinking is levothyroxine(T4) dosing to regulate ldl receptor activity, maybe I shall ask that seperately.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:38 PM

Yes, I'm much less paleo than I used to be. I was a paleo skeptic initially, eventually becoming more or less "mainstream" paleo, and then over time I've become increasingly skeptical of paleo dietary prescriptions, but still think the general template is correct. I'll edit and elaborate a bit above.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:31 PM

You have quite a different view, especially among the paleo world, I wonder what backs up your statements.

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3 Answers

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 05, 2014
at 12:00 AM

For one, the optimal ratio varies with fat intake. In tropical climates fat intake is lower (trust me, I live in Michigan but I have also lived in Brazil), and O6/O3 can be higher. The higher the fat intake, the more balanced it has to be.

When Matt11 elaborates, I would like to see how he addresses other variables. For example he seems to be convinced that MUFA are much better than SFA when it comes to human health. If that is the case, how does one separates the protective effects of one and possible damage of the other, examples olive oil or avocado, high MUFA/high PUFA. He also says that coconut oil is suboptimal. If coconut oil is suboptimal, and it is an oil correlated with zero heart disease in large and varied populations, having high SFA/low PUFA, how is it suboptimal...

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:14 PM

What I've gleaned on the topic over the years:

  • Paleo recommendations for total PUFA in the diet (<4%) and ratio of omegas (<4:1) are both too low. Upwards of 10% PUFA in diet is fine, and a ratio of 10:1 is perfectly fine. Some studies of hunter-gatherer diets (Cordain, et al) came up with this incredibly low PUFA amount, basing it largely off of lean ruminant game. Fish, fowl, small animals, insects, pigs… these are higher in PUFA and make up a significant amount of HG diets. There's also nothing out there (to my limited knowledge) that suggests that high PUFA is detrimental when consumed in a whole food matrix (i.e. not chemical extracted vegetable oils). As for the ratio, return to the wide array of PUFA-laden animal product… those are going naturally be higher in omega-6s than omega-3s, with cold-water fish being the exception.
  • Needs for EPA/DHA are overstated. Look at the natural conversion of ALA to longer chain omega-3s, that's a clue to how little longer-chain omega-3s we need. Pregnant and lactating women have high rates of conversion and it makes sense given what their doing biologically. The need for EPA/DHA exists because of the nasty vegetable oils which drastically distort the profile of dietary fats. If you eliminate the problematic refined fats, EPA/DHA needs decrease. This is now the recommendation in paleo circles: no more massive fish oil dosing to achieve balance, it's a matter of eliminating the wrong fats.
  • In terms of omega-3s, consuming ALA is a good idea. There's so much epidemiology out there supporting plant-sourced omega-3s (ALA) as being positive for health.
  • Eating a real food diet means everything falls into normal ranges. And thus all this mental masturbation is largely unnecessary.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:31 PM

You have quite a different view, especially among the paleo world, I wonder what backs up your statements.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 04, 2014
at 03:40 PM

I actually agree with you, I think that while PUFAs are harmful in excessive quantities, they do get demonized in the Paleo community probably a little too much. For one, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, so we do need to get it somewhere in the diet. Secondly, it is very commonly found in foods like birds, nuts, pigs, reptiles, avocados, olives, which are all perfectly healthy and paleo. As a matter of fact, the human body is composed of roughly 11-12% linoleic acid (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/32/11/2198.full.pdf), so I don't see what's the big deal.

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:10 PM

I think you're overthinking this one. There isn't any data for health outcomes based on these micro fat ratios. The information you're asking for has never been studied. Also, it's very difficult to actually wield these numbers into form. I avoid excess omega 6, eat omega-3 foods on a weekly basis, I don't eat nuts / seeds (excluding coconuts), and I feel good. Managing DPA against ALA and other fats isn't going to be practical at all unless you're living on supplements / soylent green and weighing / calculating the fat percentages of everything you eat.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on February 04, 2014
at 01:41 PM

Anything may be managed as long as it's feasible with the possible foods for the given objective and there's necessary data on it. Maybe there is not data on it or just you haven't seen it but anecdotal evidence can also be helpful and it's obvious that there's a huge difference between consuming a given amount of ALA versus EPA+DHA+DPA for example, even for a pregnant woman. A part of the question I can't be overthinking is levothyroxine(T4) dosing to regulate ldl receptor activity, maybe I shall ask that seperately.

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