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Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and Health:

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Old 11-11-2006, 02:35 PM   #1
mrsD
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Post Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and Health:

I am hoping to continue this topic on this forum. This first post is going to be a bit of history (nostalgia for me) as an introduction.

Just over 10 years ago we bought our first computer. This opened the internet to me through my son. At that time I was struggling with some health problems, which I found were related to nutrition and diet. A friend was told by her physican to read "Enter the Zone" a nutrition book by Barry Sears, PhD.
In it were 2 chapters on the chemistry of fatty acids and how they work in the body. Well, a lightbulb went off in head, and I started reading other authors. My friend asked me to read this and explain it to her.

Another one I found was Dr. Donald Rudin, MD--"Omega 3 Oils, a Practical Guide". At that time, the older version of his work was the only one available.

So fortified with this knowledge I started in earnest to provide these oils for myself, son, and husband. Within 3 mos, my GERD was gone, my asthma in remission, my stress symptoms gone, energy up. My son who wanted help with acne issues, tried them and no longer needed his ADHD medication (which he had been on for 5 yrs). His acne also improved dramatically. So I used the internet to search for more information. And what I found, turned my private life and professional attitude completely around. I was just ahead of the herbal "revolution", the complementary movement in medicine. I attended seminars, continuing ed courses and some programs given by one of my employers.

I found OBT forums, and began to look for ways to help others. The data were there, but not commonly in forms readily available to the public. It was still pretty complex, ivory tower stuff. I was attacked, and flamed regularly, for my enthusiasm. Those days, however, have passed.

Today this information has made it to psychiatrists, and medical doctors.
We have RX version of fish oil called Lovasa (previously called Omacor).


We have 2 prenatals now to help new mothers and the developing baby.
PrimaCare
Duet DHA
http://www.primacareefa.com/

We finally have DHA and AA added to infant formulas in USA. (we were just about the last industrialized nation to do so).

We have OTC DHA supplements easy to find:
Neuromins (the original) and
Expecta http://www.meadjohnson.com/professio...ectalipil.html

We have common easily available Omega foods now.
Omega-3 eggs
Smart Balance Peanut butter
Smart Balance spreads (2 types)
Smart Balance mayo
Nutrition bars with Omega-3 (eg: ZonePerfect)
Flax oil cereals
to name but a few

More physicians understand this concept today than before. The family of anti-inflammatories called NSAIDs block the formation of molecules derived from ALA (from flax)--cox-1 and LA (from most other vegetable sources) cox-2. The introduction of cox-2 inhibitors on RX like Vioxx and Celebrex (which are now considered not totally safe for long term use), have also opened the educational doors. The reasons for their negative impact are directly associated with fatty acid chemistry. In fact there are now warnings for all NSAIDs RX and OTC about long term use and possible harm to the cardiovascular system (they suppress an important Cox-2 cytokine that dilates blood vessels).

People still do not understand Omega-3 importance because of this complexity of the chemistry.

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/71/1/343S

edit: 1-29-14--removed one dead link, but here is another new
one from Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenti...d_interactions

Suffice it to say, you don't have to UNDERSTAND it all, but just be aware that documentation that is trustworthy does exist, and therefore we need to take advantage of this knowledge to improve our health, and futures.

So the journey for us/me this past 10 years has been very very exciting.

I am going to be adding to this thread, some of the data from my old EFA threads from the other forum. And new information as it becomes available.
I hope to see others here post on this thread, their experiences, as well.
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Last edited by mrsD; 01-29-2014 at 02:15 PM. Reason: fixing data regarding Lovasa
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Old 11-11-2006, 06:17 PM   #2
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Is there a difference between EPA and DHA? Is one more important than the other?
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Old 11-11-2006, 07:40 PM   #3
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Default Thank you, mrsd.

Because of you I long ago became very aware of the need for Omega 3. I have taken fish oil sporadically, and when I eat meat, chicken, eggs, it is most often grass fed, free range, etc. So my Omega 3 intake is quite good.

I just last week received some results I think I can attribute to those things, along with the fact that I avoid almost all transfats.

My "bad" cholesterol has become slightly high (probably not a surprise at my age), but, my "good cholesterol" is high too. And the ratio causes my cholesterol results to be great. Risk of cardio problem is actually well bellow average because of the ratio.

Love,

rose
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:23 PM   #4
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Wink Hi Wendy....

All the the fatty acids have a function.

We can make our own (from the first essential ones-- ALA and LA).

Eventually thru many complex steps we do make EPA and DHA. Females moreso than males. I found a factoid a while back that females convert up to 20% efficiency (because they have to provide DHA for the developing baby), and males only around 4-5% from the essential precursors.

Fish have EPA and DHA in them because they eat smaller fish, who eat
smaller ones, who eat algae that live in the ocean. EPA is considered
more anti-inflammatory, as it inhibits the formation of Cox-2 cytokines (prostaglandins which are microhormones that signal cells) DHA is an integral part of cell membranes, and very important in the nervous system.
Here is what Dr. Sears says:
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/T040900.asp

EPA has a more global effect in the body, on many systems:
http://pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdru...eic_0104.shtml

They are both important, and they occur together as well.

Humans have extremely high concentrations of DHA in the brain. And this fact has led anthropologists to the theory that humans actually evolved on a fish diet, enabling brain development.

This article is very readable and even has pictures !! something often missing in the subject matter. LOL It explains alot in easy to understand terms.
http://www.fi.edu/brain/fats.htm

I am not a very good writer, and this subject is really hard to convey, so check out that last link. It is very good!
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These forums are for mutual support and information sharing only. The forums are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

Last edited by mrsD; 01-29-2014 at 07:38 PM. Reason: removing expired links
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:39 PM   #5
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Wink That is great Rose....

HDLs are where its at now anyway. My hubby's are very high, 73 at last reading!

It is also very important to remove transfats from the diet. The article quoted in the last post has transfat data near the end.

We are slowly getting them out of our food chain, but it is very slowly.
Wendy's has done some removal, and Kentucky Fried Chicken has announce intentions to remove them completely. They are very very common in
restaurant food and are very very bad for us.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news0..._transfat.html

Denmark has completely banned them in that country.

NYCity is discussing a ban for them in restaurants, so you may see more stories in the press about this subject.

With all of these changes, based on the fatty acid chemistries, we should see a significant improvement in cardiovascular health, and neuro syndromes in the future.
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All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.-- Galileo Galilei

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These forums are for mutual support and information sharing only. The forums are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

Last edited by mrsD; 01-29-2014 at 07:39 PM. Reason: removing expired links
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Old 11-13-2006, 04:37 PM   #6
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Post Supplements...

At one time supplements of EFAs were basically the only way to improve
EFA status easily.

Flax oil
Evening primrose/borage/black currant oils
Fish oils

When we started this in our home, I was taking and having my son take,
one cap of each. This was a long time ago.

Now we have many food choices available to us, to make this easier.
I get my ALA Omega-3 from food now. But I do use fish oil now and then,
for my arthritis flares. But not everyday, anymore.

Flax oil is very unstable and oxidizes easily/quickly. Caps should be stored in the frig like the liquid oil itself. Flax oil is the basic essential fatty acid that we need to have every day. The ratio between Omega-3 and Omega 6 should be as close to 1:1 up to 1:5 as possible. In USA the Omega-6 consumption is quite high, so people typically do not need to supplement it. In fact they need to cut back on it some so the ratio becomes closer. The advantage to using flax oil, is that it is the FIRST ingredient in a long chemical sequence for the synthesis of compounds useful to the body. Some is eventually converted to EPA and DHA, but the intermediate uses are also important. People with poor skin/acne, dry skin, mouth sores, etc do well on flax oil supplements.
Flax liquid oil itself tastes better than other oils, and mixes well into food.
You can mix it with cottage cheese, equal parts with butter melted and resolidified makes a good spread, mix into drinks/smoothies, mix with salad dressing ingredients like Good Season's for salads. Now we have several food choices that do this for you. Smart Balance peanut butter has 1000mg of flax oil in each tablespoon. Smart Balance spread also has this done for you.

Evening Primrose oil provides the GLA that is necessary for conversion to long chain fatty acids.

Evening primrose oil has been the most commonly used, and sometimes in high doses. I found however, that only a little of this goes a long way. Really high doses can cause diarrhea. Also there is concern for those with seizure disorders that it MAY (rarely) increase seizure frequency. But the only really documented cases came from those taking antipsychotic drugs and high dose primrose. And these were not many.

At one time very high doses of primrose (or the others supplying GLA) were
used for PMS control, or other female menstrual problems. One can search the net and find many older articles about its various uses.

If you are really aggressive about this subject you can have a fatty acid
blood profile done. Some parents on OBT on the Tourette's board did that years ago. I recall two posts from parents where GLA was found very low or lacking. People vary genetically in the expression and metabolism of fatty acids. There are so many steps and enzymes to go thru, that errors can occur. So testing may be a very good tool if you can have it done.
For example in folate chemistry (a B-vitamin) there have been 25 genetic errors found in folate methylation, so far. So it is very possible that subtle errors in EFA chemistry also lead to disease states as well.

The EPA and DHA definitions are well explained on the post before this.

I contacted EFAMOL corporation years ago and asked about the AA content in their Efalex product. This was the only fish oil product that listed on the label the AA content (arachidonic acid). They answered me that ALL fish oils contain trace amounts of this long chain fatty acid, and it is not removed by distillation/purification processes.
AA is a fatty acid that is very important to developing nervous systems..the fetus, infants and small children. It is included in baby formulas now in this country. However, in huge amounts, it is a precursor to vasoconstriction and
platelet clumping...ie. heart attacks. There are no AA supplements for adults.
However it is common in some foods. Meats, chicken, turkey, eggs are the prime sources. The higher the fat content the higher the AA content. AA levels are lower in Omega-3 eggs.

Here is another complex article on AA..:
http://www.acnp.org/G4/GN401000059/CH059.html

So while supplements do exist, and we use some of them still in our home,
our culture has changed, and provides now food sources to enable people to enrich their diet and not need to swallow capsules of most of the EFAs.

If you want significant anti-inflammatory actions, high dose fish oil may be the only way to go. Eating fish will not provide enough for some conditions. Really high dose use however, should be supervised by a doctor. Fish oil has some anti-clotting effects, and
can interfere with some drug therapies and other treatments. The highest physican supervised patient I have seen was a 12gram/day dose. This was to treat an autoimmune kidney disease/failure (which it succeeded in preventing kidney failure).

edit: 1-29-14....
many links I used to have in this thread have been removed from the internet. They may be still there with new addresses, but that is difficult to find today.

This link to Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon is quite good:
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente...nuts/omega3fa/

and
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ss11/fats.html

http://www.biologicnr.com/fatty-acids-101/

http://drbenkim.com/articles-omega-3-fatty-acids.htm

This is a link to Thorne about GLA specifically:
http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/9/1/70.pdf
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All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.-- Galileo Galilei

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These forums are for mutual support and information sharing only. The forums are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

Last edited by mrsD; 01-29-2014 at 07:56 PM. Reason: removing expired links
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:04 AM   #7
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Question More questions re: EFA's MRSD

Gosh - I am really trying to understand this. I read all the articles you posted. Since I have FM and RSD I understand that EFA
Omega 3 and 6 are good for inflammation. My diet is very poor for various reasons thus I need the supplements. Now - I am also deficient in Vitamin D (1(18). I have read where a protocal for low D is synthetic 50,000 pils once per week for 4 -6 weeks Or maybe 8. Anyway that does work as I know someone who did it. Her level jumped from 8 to 60 (25-)H) However, my naturopathic dr. says to take the natural D (which contains A also) . I was taking 4,000 natural D a day and then realized I was taking 10,000 A a day. I read where this was the max per day.

Now for the EFA part. The naturopathic dr. also recommended Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil - 1 T a day. The directions on the bottle say one half teaspoon. The ingredients in one half teaspoon are 5,750 A, 575 D , 145-375 EPA and 150-360 DHA. Wow! If I take 1T - I thought I'd really be overdosing on the A. Also, I am taking the D. which contains 1,000 A in every 400 D capsule.
I called to be sure these were the correct directions. He said "yes" I can take 1 T of this CLO because it is natural A not synthetic. I am not overdosing. However, he did say to cut back on some of the natural D and switch to synthetic. Yet , I'm still getting about 36,00 A a day with the CLO.

Questions? Should I just be taking a regular fish liver oil instead of the one with all the A to get the maximum EFA's?
What do you think of the dosage of A in 1T - too high?
I read about the one in the article you posted. which is supposedly recommended. However, it was originated from plants not fish oil. I'm confused. Sorry I can't remember the name now. I read it earlier. Is A important for my condition. Should I take some CLO and some regular fish oil?

So - in light of all this info - can someone - mrsd help me out with this. I Also, because of the FM and RSD and Mer. Per. what would an appropriate dose of these EPA's be? The Blue Ice doesn't have that much in just one half teaspoon. I had previously been taking Icelandic at Icelandic.com and that had a lot more /EPA and less A.
Hope I am not confusing you. Just trying to do this correctly to try to get out of this chronic pain. I figured this is worth a try. The Dr. also said I should try to get my D level up to 80 and I would get some pain relief. He is big on D. Thanks, Sydney
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:39 AM   #8
mrsD
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Lightbulb The A in cod liver oil

Is retinol, not betacarotene. Your doses are still not that high, unless you are planning on getting pregnant or are pregnant already.
Here is what Dr. Mercola has to say about it:
http://www.mercola.com/forms/carlsons.htm

Vit A retinol has been implicated in birth defects..so it is low or not present
in most prenatals.

Betacarotene is the type of A present in vegetables, and it has to be converted to real A in the body. If someone is hypothyroid, this often fails, and the skin
turns an orange color as the betacarotene builds up there. (this happened to me).

If you want to increase your fatty acids only--it is best to use fish BODY oils, in addition to the cod liver oil you are currently using. The fish oils I have been discussing are fish BODY oils, not CLO. As long as you are being supervised by a doctor, I would defer to him/her.

Extremely high Vit A intake has been linked to pseudotumor cerebri.. but that is very high doses, which you are not yet at.

The doses typically used to treat acne by dermatologists are in the 25,000 IU to 50,000 IU range. You are far below that.
Most prenatals today have had Vit A removed, or drastically lowered, and betacarotene substituted.
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These forums are for mutual support and information sharing only. The forums are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

Last edited by mrsD; 01-29-2014 at 07:58 PM. Reason: removing expired links
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:28 PM   #9
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Red face Thanks Mrs D

Thanks for the clarfication of synthetic vs. natural Vit D. Looks like I am OK with the Cod Liver Oil. However, I think I will also get some regular fish oil. Unfortuantely, I also have high choleserol (388). triglycerides((207) and worst of all my CRP is 5.3. I am afraid to take the statins because of my FM condition. Don't want to risk additional muscle problems.
Due to numerous meds over the past 2 - 3 years and lack of activity I have gained about 70 pounds. It seems no matter what I eat I just gain the weight. It is very frustrating. I went from a petite size to a woman's. Not very good for my conditions or my body.
Thanks for all the links to various web sites. I wish I had your talent. You amaze me. I love research and am determined to find something to get rid of this pain and be able to walkk again. I just keep researching and trying.
Thanks
Sydney
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Old 11-15-2006, 06:12 PM   #10
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Question you are welcome, Sidney...

I think you have a typo in that last post... D instead of A?
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