1

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What is this PUFA?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 03, 2012 at 10:04 AM

What is this PUFA people are talking about? More info please!!! :)

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 11:29 PM

But is that an essential role? Wouldn't membrane fluidity be just fine if arachidonic acid was used instead of linoleic acid?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Cell membranes. Keeping them fluid.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Does linoleic acid have other uses in the body?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Mscott, true, except humans have no use for beta carotene except for retinol production. ALA has other uses in the body.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 04:55 PM

People today make a shit-ton of mistakes using modern chemical analysis, and we're supposed to just assume all their ducks were in a row back when they did chemical derivatisation to determine chemical composition? The study you point to (on Cliff's website) is not really clear, it hasn't been published so it's hard to critique.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 03:27 PM

The reason he's so enamored with 'ancient studies on fat-free diets' is because they were considered the proof that omega-3s etcetera are essential. *"I don't trust many studies prior to the advent of modern chemical analysis"* Why not?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Yeah everyone says he's cherry-picking studies, but what studies actually refute what he says? A good example is how people equate HFCS with fructose/sucrose and then blame fructose for the negative effects of HFCS (Cliff has talked about the difference at http://co2factor.blogspot.be/2012/04/big-fat-difference-between-hfcs-and.html).

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 02:55 PM

Without interrupting this peat discussion, that seems like it would mean beta carotene is essential and retenol isn't.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 01:18 PM

Well, he's as guilty of cherry-picking papers/studies that supports his theory as much as the next guy. He's totally sold on the idea that PUFA is bad, to the point of being so enamored with ancient studies on fat-free diets. I don't trust many studies prior to the advent of modern chemical analysis.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Come on, he's not focused on any aspect of nutrition except maybe the notion of stress. The thing I don't completely grasp is what proof he has that PUFAs aren't essential, but similarly I'm not convinced that they are essential either. I still have to see someone actually proving that he's wrong. Kurt Harris can't say anything else than 'he's full of shit' and other popular figures don't even try to read his articles.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Korion, I've read quick over a couple of Peat's articles. The crux of his argument centers on negative health outcomes from excess (or disproportionate) PUFA consumption. Like most who get hung up on a single aspect of nutrition, he's completely focused on PUFAs. He can't see the forest for the trees.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 12:56 AM

Mscott, humans have the enzymes capable of making AA and DHA (from LA and ALA), we do not however have the enzymes capable of de novo synthesis of LA and ALA.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 06, 2012
at 11:58 PM

One thing I still don't understand is why linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid are considered essential and arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid aren't.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2012
at 05:13 PM

You can't get down voted for comments! lol

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 04:00 PM

Well these are not my favorite articles by him but here goes : http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsaturated-oils.shtml, http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsuitablefats.shtml, http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Link to Peat's take on that? By no means am I an expert on biochemistry, but I'm interested in digging a bit.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I agree. MOre of an encouragement to at least try to find out on your own. +1 for that. Dont' be lazy.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:06 PM

That's actually a good answer, if you'd look past Kasra's extreme confidence (aka arrogance). So why the down-vote :)?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:05 PM

*"These are essential because humans cannot biosynthesize them, and actually are used to biosynthesize further important fats and biogenic compounds"* One day I'd like someone to get into this in more detail. I always wonder why Ray Peat thinks they are not essential.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:03 PM

Yeah I should have written that as an answer :)

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:50 PM

From a fellow chemist, +1 for a beautiful answer. (Not that you NEED any extra points!)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Related acronyms: MUFA = Monounsaturated fatty acids. SFA = Saturated fatty acids.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:44 PM

Folks tend to also dismiss ALA as important, instead focusing solely on DHA/EPA levels. Our DHA/EPA needs are naturally quite low, probably met by biosynthesis alone. ALA does serve other purposes in the body, so bypassing the ALA on the way to DHA/EPA may not necessarily be a good idea.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:42 PM

And now for less than neutral comments: Folks tend to eschew PUFAs because they claim they're so highly unstable and oxidizeable, which is somewhat true. PUFAs that have been treated with high heat while exposed to oxygen easily go rancid. Not the conditions within our own bodies however.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 03, 2012
at 02:50 PM

Just curious Korion: that is a perfect answer. Why a comment vs. an answer? (Is there some PH etiquette issue or convention I'm not aware of?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 03, 2012
at 10:34 AM

Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (see http://paleohacks.com/questions/1138/what-are-all-of-these-paleo-related-acronyms-and-terminologies). Probably the number one thing you want to avoid on any diet.

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4 Answers

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2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:40 PM

How about a more neutral defenition:

PUFAs are polyunsaturated fatty acids. By definition, they are fats with multiple unsaturations (double bonds) present in the chain. There are two major families of PUFAs: omega-3 and omega-6. The number determines where the first double bond is located. Omega-3 means 3rd carbon from the tail end, omega-6 means 6th carbon from the tail end.

The essential PUFAs are:

??-Linolenic acid:

what-is-this-pufa?

Linoleic acid:

what-is-this-pufa?

These are essential because humans cannot biosynthesize them, and actually are used to biosynthesize further important fats and biogenic compounds. The PUFAs you'll most likely hear about in Paleo circles are DHA and EPA.

DHA:

what-is-this-pufa?

EPA:

what-is-this-pufa?

These are elongated omega-3 PUFAs and are biosynthesized in humans from ALA. The conversion rate is low (less than 15%), so that's why folks advocate supplementing with fatty fish. DHA and EPA are fairly rare in food sources - fatty seafood being the best source.

Omega-6 PUFAs (LA, in particular) are fairly common in plants. Getting adequate amounts of omega-6s is typically not difficult.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:50 PM

From a fellow chemist, +1 for a beautiful answer. (Not that you NEED any extra points!)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:44 PM

Folks tend to also dismiss ALA as important, instead focusing solely on DHA/EPA levels. Our DHA/EPA needs are naturally quite low, probably met by biosynthesis alone. ALA does serve other purposes in the body, so bypassing the ALA on the way to DHA/EPA may not necessarily be a good idea.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:05 PM

*"These are essential because humans cannot biosynthesize them, and actually are used to biosynthesize further important fats and biogenic compounds"* One day I'd like someone to get into this in more detail. I always wonder why Ray Peat thinks they are not essential.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:42 PM

And now for less than neutral comments: Folks tend to eschew PUFAs because they claim they're so highly unstable and oxidizeable, which is somewhat true. PUFAs that have been treated with high heat while exposed to oxygen easily go rancid. Not the conditions within our own bodies however.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 04:00 PM

Well these are not my favorite articles by him but here goes : http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsaturated-oils.shtml, http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsuitablefats.shtml, http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 04:55 PM

People today make a shit-ton of mistakes using modern chemical analysis, and we're supposed to just assume all their ducks were in a row back when they did chemical derivatisation to determine chemical composition? The study you point to (on Cliff's website) is not really clear, it hasn't been published so it's hard to critique.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 06, 2012
at 11:58 PM

One thing I still don't understand is why linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid are considered essential and arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid aren't.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Link to Peat's take on that? By no means am I an expert on biochemistry, but I'm interested in digging a bit.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Does linoleic acid have other uses in the body?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Korion, I've read quick over a couple of Peat's articles. The crux of his argument centers on negative health outcomes from excess (or disproportionate) PUFA consumption. Like most who get hung up on a single aspect of nutrition, he's completely focused on PUFAs. He can't see the forest for the trees.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Mscott, true, except humans have no use for beta carotene except for retinol production. ALA has other uses in the body.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 12:56 AM

Mscott, humans have the enzymes capable of making AA and DHA (from LA and ALA), we do not however have the enzymes capable of de novo synthesis of LA and ALA.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Come on, he's not focused on any aspect of nutrition except maybe the notion of stress. The thing I don't completely grasp is what proof he has that PUFAs aren't essential, but similarly I'm not convinced that they are essential either. I still have to see someone actually proving that he's wrong. Kurt Harris can't say anything else than 'he's full of shit' and other popular figures don't even try to read his articles.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 02:55 PM

Without interrupting this peat discussion, that seems like it would mean beta carotene is essential and retenol isn't.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Yeah everyone says he's cherry-picking studies, but what studies actually refute what he says? A good example is how people equate HFCS with fructose/sucrose and then blame fructose for the negative effects of HFCS (Cliff has talked about the difference at http://co2factor.blogspot.be/2012/04/big-fat-difference-between-hfcs-and.html).

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 07, 2012
at 11:29 PM

But is that an essential role? Wouldn't membrane fluidity be just fine if arachidonic acid was used instead of linoleic acid?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 01:18 PM

Well, he's as guilty of cherry-picking papers/studies that supports his theory as much as the next guy. He's totally sold on the idea that PUFA is bad, to the point of being so enamored with ancient studies on fat-free diets. I don't trust many studies prior to the advent of modern chemical analysis.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 07, 2012
at 03:27 PM

The reason he's so enamored with 'ancient studies on fat-free diets' is because they were considered the proof that omega-3s etcetera are essential. *"I don't trust many studies prior to the advent of modern chemical analysis"* Why not?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 07, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Cell membranes. Keeping them fluid.

1
87b7d250ea30415ed4c1afd809f4053f

on June 06, 2012
at 02:12 PM

Poly-unsaturated fatty acids "PUFAs are easily oxidized by oxygen and heat, and form much higher amounts of toxic lipid peroxides than saturated or monounsaturated oils. These lipid peroxides cause oxidative damage, and their intake needs to be minimized. Some oils, such as canola and perilla, are high in alpha linolenic acid, which when heated, can lead to the formation of carcinogens and mutagens."

read on... http://integrativemed.kumc.edu/school-of-medicine/integrative-medicine/health-topics/healthy-cooking-oils.html?site=mobile

0
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:36 PM

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:06 PM

That's actually a good answer, if you'd look past Kasra's extreme confidence (aka arrogance). So why the down-vote :)?

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I agree. MOre of an encouragement to at least try to find out on your own. +1 for that. Dont' be lazy.

0
C250cd5da05ca54ad3133630ff614573

(175)

on June 06, 2012
at 02:32 PM

If you want to reduce PUFAs consumption stop eating all vegetable oils, margarine, and mayo. You can use coconut oil and butter instead.

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