1

votes

PUFA avoidance and the growing brain

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 23, 2012 at 5:08 AM

A common thing around here seems to be avoidance of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This is a pretty strong theme in Ray Peat's writing. My question is about how far this should go when applied to children.

Given that the brain contains a large amount of the essential fatty acids (something like 25% by weight I believe), is there a potential risk that a diet seeking to minimize PUFA's in the diet may cause impaired brain development in children by not providing enough for the development of brain cell membranes?

If you do have children, would you worry about the PUFA content of their diet being too low if they got the majority of their fats from pastured ruminants and coconut oil?

Thanks for your answers, y'all.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 24, 2012
at 12:45 PM

I don't understand that study though, how does that prove EFAs are essential? How do they know it's not some other nutrient?

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:39 AM

There are actually lots of fatty acids involved. But according to this abstract (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835893/) it is "...reasonable to assume that linoleic acid is directly involved in the sebaceous lipid synthesis...". They found that especially in acne patients the PUFA fraction in sebum is often reduced and MUFA content increased.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 23, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Thanks for the answer. Interesting study too, it seems like pretty extreme circumstances are needed for EFA deficiency too arise. As a side note, I thought sebum could be made from palmitic acid? I could be wrong about that though.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 23, 2012
at 04:44 PM

There is enough PUFA in ruminant fat. No need to worry unless you go raw vegan.

F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on April 23, 2012
at 04:05 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acid

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:18 AM

Can you give some references?

0ead271762198cb1344fdc104b42bbbd

(268)

on April 23, 2012
at 08:51 AM

The proof that PUFAS are essential (cannot manufacture, or cannot manufacture enough) is that highly artificial diets completely lacking in all PUFAS produce bad health outcomes that are resolved through the addition of PUFA-containing oils.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on April 23, 2012
at 07:18 AM

No I'm just curious, where's the proof?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:52 AM

@Korion - Really?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:25 AM

@Korian-I don't know, I'll admit that. But I'm currently unaware of evidence that we can endogenously synthesize them. And if we never consumed a single molecule of polyunsaturated fatty acid, what would the synaptic membranes in our brain be made of?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on April 23, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Where is there proof that does fatty acids are essential?

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3 Answers

6
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 23, 2012
at 05:38 AM

I don't think there is any need to try to complicate things. They are growing children with growing brains. They need to eat. Make sure they have plenty of animal proteins and a variety of garden type vegetables some nuts, some seeds, and some fruit available. Include safe starches like tubers as well. The rest will take care of it's self.

2
74b00bbfe9ba0f647bb154ed5f923cb4

(156)

on April 23, 2012
at 05:56 AM

Feed them oily fish (like salmon) twice a week, and you're most likely covered for omega-3. Getting enough omega-6 isn't difficult, it's actually hard to not get too much.

1
E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:45 AM

Essential Fatty Acid deficiency does exist. (Example: http://www.ajcn.org/content/53/5/1217.short) The infants in this study were fed a MCT-Oil based formula and became EFA deficient, yet these are very isolated circumstances.

An EFA deficiency also can be seen at the skin, as linoleic acid is a precursor for sebum, the skin/scalp would be dry and flaky. But as Andy already said, if you focus on whole foods there's nothing that could go wrong. Since coconut oil and ghee both have amounts of 2-4% PUFAs, I wouldn't take them as the only sources of fat. Koroneiki olive oil has PUFA amounts ranging from 5 to 10% (and lots of tocopherols).. just an idea.

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:39 AM

There are actually lots of fatty acids involved. But according to this abstract (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835893/) it is "...reasonable to assume that linoleic acid is directly involved in the sebaceous lipid synthesis...". They found that especially in acne patients the PUFA fraction in sebum is often reduced and MUFA content increased.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 23, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Thanks for the answer. Interesting study too, it seems like pretty extreme circumstances are needed for EFA deficiency too arise. As a side note, I thought sebum could be made from palmitic acid? I could be wrong about that though.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 24, 2012
at 12:45 PM

I don't understand that study though, how does that prove EFAs are essential? How do they know it's not some other nutrient?

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