No, I am not a genius, I began preaching high fat very early on in the minds of most people who have been reading me, but only because I joined in with those who had objected to low fat since it’s advent. I went along with others. Smarter than I, because I was just smart enough to recognize their more developed point of view.
As we wrap up our fat discussion, the most important thing that you can grasp, is to lose the low fat focus. That needs to go away, now. You should purposefully avoid buying all low fat labeled foods from this point forward. The healing properties of fat are enough to change the face of health in America. Why? Not because fat is a miracle cure, but because the lack of fat is a miracle disease starter; And we have mastered lack of fat.
So, let’s review what we have done so far with our fat discussion before moving forward. In part one we discovered the why behind eating fat. In part two we got further into the discussion of fat for energy, in what I would call a mind blowing discussion in the energy. This is why we can effectively fast an individual for thirty days without them suffering energy consequences. With minimal carbohydrates used to fuel the brain, fat stores can fuel the body.
In part three the discussion moved to the source of fat in the diet. Getting away from dirty meats, and eating clean meats. I do not promote vegetarian living, nor do I think it is wise. Acceptable perhaps, but I do understand why it is so highly promoted in our culture. However, every study that I have ever seen that differentiates omnivore vs herbivore lifestyle choices, has NEVER referenced the source of meat as a clean, grass fed or free range animal. So I don’t buy them as being relevant to my life when they are studying commercial quality meats, but they are relevant to the average American, and the average American could be better off being a vegetarian, if unwilling to change the source of their meat.
The China study is a good example, loaded with wisdom when it comes to garbage meats, but little to say about healthy meats. This is probably a good time to switch gears a little. Even though this is a fat discussion, and I am discussing meat as a source of that fat. I eat more plant based fat sources per day than meat. Coconut oil, almonds, pecans are all part if my daily consumption. In addition, it is the 13 servings of fruits and vegetables that I am committed to achieving on a daily basis (mostly veggies), so do not try to label me as an Atkins guy, that is not my way.
In part four we got into Leptin, that little hormone one that turns you into a fat burner. It is perhaps the most important hormone in your body that we know of at this time, there are many little hormones, but this guy rocks! Learning about Leptin puts us in the right frame of mind to increase our trust of putting fat molecules in our body.
Lastly we got to part five, discussing coconut and saturated fat, and all the awesome benefits of eating saturated fat, and that leaves us here, the collective. Part six is the last part you’ll get to read without buying the E Book, and I guarantee if you have enjoyed these, you will love the whole book, with included video education. It is a resource that you will want to reference as you make shopping and eating decisions.
The rest of this post, is to focus you in on Omega 3 fat. ALA, EPA, DHA. The big three of healthy fats. And they are Essential Fatty Acids because you need these, but you don’t make these. You have to eat them or supplement them. I am a fan of eating first, and supplementing second. You might think that supplementing is easier than having to eat these healthy fats, but if I were to tell you that you would want to strive to hit ten to twenty grams of this fat daily, that should send up an alert regarding your ability to suck down enough supplements. Twenty 1,000 mg pills a day… You better eat some in your diet first, trust me, else you’ll be burping up fish oil all night long.
So what is the difference between ALA, EPA and DHA? The source of the fat is one way to differentiate it. The other is by its size, and ultimately it’s purpose. When we dig into the research, we are led to see the difference between the heart health benefits as purported by most research. That difference suggests that you will gain greater benefit from consuming EPA and DHA over ALA.
EPA and DHA come from fish, whereas ALA comes from flax, seed, and green plants. The omega 3 then, that comes from eggs, or grass fed beef and dairy, is derived from these plant sources and are expressed in the fat or milk from the animals (ALA). Most research is pointing to fish derived fat, in order to get the heart health benefits, however the research might not be convincing to some researchers.
“The science is tricky to interpret,” says Nestle. She argues that early humans evolved in an environment—and on a diet—that did not have an abundance of fish, yet they were fit enough to survive. “I think plant sources are highly underrated and that most of the fuss about omega-3s is about marketing, not health,” Nestle says.
Now whether or not early humans had access to fish is more difficult to ascertain in my mind, but I agree that fish sources might not have been as accessible as plant sources. I do however believe that the necessity of some EPA and DHA is trustworthy and deserves supplementation in most people, well, all people outside of Greenland Eskimos (fish eaters of all fish eaters).
Many are aware of the concerns of toxicity in eating fish rich in omega 3, especially the longer living species like tuna, or salmon. The longer a species lives, the more potential it has to absorb toxins like dioxins and PCB’s and of course, mercury. This is why we have moved to supplementation as a better source for omega 3. We have chosen Pure Pharma as our manufacturer because we trust the cleanliness, we trust the third party that certifies the molecular distillation process. There are other brands that would stand up to this test, but your first priority in supplementation, is making sure there is a process to clean the supplement. Therefore, if you are buying cheap fish oil, you are making a grave mistake.
But let’s get back on track, I mentioned up to 20 grams a day. Why? How? Well, if you are eating EPA/DHA exclusively, I don’t think you need to hit that level. But if you are active, exercising hard, and wanting to be as healthy as possible, and if you are eating a larger percentage of ALA (vegetarian sources), from chia, flax, sesame, nuts… Then hitting 20 grams might just be necessary.
Which brings us back to the differences between the three oils. As we originally said, They are all essential fatty acids, so you need to eat them. ALA happens to have the ability to be converted in the body into EPA, but it takes at least five steps of conjugation. When further explored we see that brain function is more dependent on these long chain amino acids, EPA/DHA then on ALA. This is important when considering your efforts to increase omega 3 levels.
ALA is considered a parent precursor to EPA and DHA because of its convertibility, but only 8% has been shown to be converted into EPA on average and only 0-4% of DHA. This conversion can most definitely go higher in people consuming high levels of ALA (me), and especially in people who maintain lower levels of insulin (me), but is not likely to improve in anyone with elevated insulin (most of America). This is because a specific enzyme aids this conversion, and is often the limiting factor, and is further suppressed by high insulin levels (delta 6 desaturase is the enzyme).
What I just said, is that you probably cannot convert enough ALA to EPA and DHA, unless you are eating to reduce your insulin levels, and that your overall intake of ALA is very high. So you might just need some supplementation.
The question that I have likely created, that has no direct answer, is how much do you need then? And I cannot answer that without a consult. But I can say, minimum average daily consumption of Omega 3 should be around 5 grams, and as stated earlier, top out around 20 grams. If you aren’t supplementing with some level of Fish Oil, then I don’t really know what else to say other than start. I would find it odd, when even the unhealthy cultural view, has been that fish oil is necessary, and that view has been around in culture for a decade at least. Just stay away from the cheap garbage. Thinking about it, my kids have been taking fish oil since they were born.
Thanks for digging in with me. I’ll be posting the link for the book in a few weeks when I get it all organized. Be blessed and Be well! - Dr. E