How solid is the evidence behind omega 3-6 balance and it's importance?
It seems to me unrealistically difficult to get a good balance from whole foods, even when consciously attempting to limit 06. I don't even hit 1/5 ratio without supplementing. One would need to consume fish every day and minimize O6 to even hit the lower end of recommended and even in that instance I would have a hard time getting Vitamin E as the only significant source seems to be nuts which are very omega 6 heavy.
So the question is, how can the ratio recommendations be consistent with the paleo philosophy if it's not really possible to hit the ratio with real foods and realistic diets?
Bonus question: How can I get good amounts of vitamin E without nuts? Seems I need to either consume nuts or quite large amounts of very specific veggies and even then it's barely hitting the mark.
- Context -
With other things like Vitamin D or A or Magnesium even though it can commonly recommended to supplement, all of those things have realistic ways of being obtained without supplementation. ( Sun, liver, carrots, decent soil )
asked bywtfgod (310)
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on April 22, 2014
at 05:23 PM
I'm actually in roughly the same boat as the OP.
Ever since going paleo I've bordered on obsession with my n6:n3 ratios + total PUFA levels and yet find it nearly impossible to approach 1:1 or even 4:1 with a whole foods diet unless nearly all my animal flesh comes from oily fish. Also, my total PUFA is usually 10+ grams, sometimes like 20, and fish just adds more highly oxidizable PUFAs!
Most days where my PUFA is far under 10 it's because I didn't eat much fat. My almost-daily egg yolks are a big hit, the occasional pork or chicken a slam of n6, and dare I throw in a few almonds and an avocado I'm out of the ballpark... Then you have the trace amounts in olive oil and other paleo staples which really adds up on a high fat diet. I think you'd have to eat 80% of your meat in the form of beef, preferably grass fed and expensive, then limit eggs, avocado, nuts, and olive oil more than I already do...
5:1 might be reasonable but still requires considerable diligence and chronic avoidance of seemingly healthy whole foods...
I'm starting to lay off and just make sure I get enough omega 3 and don't eat industrial seed oils or other super-concentrated n6 sources. I can't be eating $10 steaks and $10 wild-caught salmon fillets all the time. I eat mostly plants and just a bit of quality meat.
on April 21, 2014
at 08:52 PM
There's little need for obsession over ratios. If you eat healthy fats (of any variety: saturated, MUFA, omega-3, omega-6…), you're doing good. Eat whole foods, not processed foods. Eat whole foods, not food isolates.
Chicken fat may be high in PUFA, but it is not corn oil. Pork might have some PUFA, but it is not canola oil.
on April 21, 2014
at 03:33 PM
on April 21, 2014
at 04:59 AM
I don't find an ideal Omega-3:6 ratio all that difficult to achieve. If you eat fatty fish a couple times a week, you're starting at a surplus of 3 against 6. If you eat grass-fed animals, the ratio starts to hit 1:1. You throw in some coconut oil, butter ghee, and tallow, and you're still at an optimal ratio. Olive / avocado oil, nuts, and seeds drags you down a bit, although, macadamia nut oil has a 1:1 ratio, and hemp oil is a 2:1 - 3:1 ratio of 6 to 3.
It looks like anything in the 5:1 and under is ideal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
From some rough tracking, I seem to come in at 3:1 - 4:1 most weeks.
For the vitamin E, check out red palm oil. (Vitamin E comes in 8 isomers.) CoQ10 helps to recycle E.