A Reply To Ray Peat On Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

staytuned

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I'm not smart enough to understand why the author of this article (VP at WAP) is wrong and RP is right... can anyone clarify?

http://www.apinchofhealth.com/low-carb/ ... ciency.php
Unfortunately, Peat does not understand the use of EFA by the human body. He is trained in hormone therapy and his training in fats and oils has been limited to misinformation as far as the polyunsaturated fats and oils are concerned.

Research on EFAs is voluminous and consistent: EFAs are types of fatty acids that the body cannot make, but must obtain from food. We do not make them because they exist in virtually all foods, and the body needs them only in small amounts. The body does make saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids because it needs these in large amounts and cannot count on getting all it needs from food.

There are two types of EFAs, those of the omega-6 family and those of the omega-3 family. The basic omega-6 fatty acid is called linoleic acid and it contains two double bonds. It is found in virtually all foods, but especially in nuts and seeds. The basic omega-3 fatty acid is called linolenic acid and it contains three double bonds. It is found in some grains (such as wheat) and nuts (such as walnuts) as well as in eggs, organ meats and fish if these animals are raised naturally, and in green vegetables if the plants are raised organically.

Essential fatty acids have two principal roles. The first is as a constituent of the cell membrane. Each cell in the body is surrounded by a membrane composed of billions of fatty acids. About half of these fatty acids are saturated or monounsaturated to provide stability to the membrane. The other half are polyunsaturated, mostly EFAs , which provide flexibility and participate in a number of biochemical processes. The other vital role for EFAs is as a precursor for prostaglandins or local tissue hormones, which control different physiological functions including inflammation and blood clotting.

Scientists have induced EFA deficiency in animals by feeding them fully hydrogenated coconut oil as their only fat. (Full hydrogenation gets rid of all the EFAs; coconut oil is used because it is the only fat that can be fully hydrogenated and still be soft enough to eat.) The animals developed dry coats and skin and slowly declined in health, dying prematurely. (Interestingly, representatives of the vegetable oil industry blame the health problems on coconut oil, not on fatty acid deficiency!)

In a situation of fatty acid deficiency, the body tries to compensate by producing a fatty acid called Mead acid out of the monounsaturated oleic acid. It is a 20-carbon fatty acid with three double bonds named after James Mead, a lipids researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles who first identified it. An elevated level of Mead acid in the body is a marker of EFA deficiency.

According to Peat, elevated levels of Mead acid constitute proof that your body can make EFAs. However, the Mead acid acts as a "filler" fatty acid that cannot serve the functions that the original EFA are needed for. Peat claims that Mead acid has a full spectrum of protective anti-inflammatory effects; however, the body cannot convert Mead acid into the elongated fatty acids that the body needs for making the various anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Peat also asserts that polyunsaturated fatty acids become rancid in our bodies. This is not true; the polyunsaturated fatty acids in our cell membranes go through different stages of controlled oxidation. To say that these fatty acids become "rancid" is misleading. Of course, EFAs can become rancid through high temperature processing and it is not healthy to consume these types of fats. But the EFAs that we take in through fresh, unprocessed food are not rancid and do not become rancid in the body. In small amounts, they are essential for good health. In large amounts, they can pose health problems which is why we need to avoid all the commercial vegetable oils containing high levels of polyunsaturates.

Peat’s reasoning has led him to claim that cod liver oil causes cancer because cod liver oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids. Actually, the main fatty acid in cod liver oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid. The two main polyunsaturated fatty acids in cod liver oil are the elongated omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which play many vital roles in the body and actually can help protect against cancer. Furthermore, cod liver oil is our best dietary source of vitamins A and D, which also protect us against cancer.

Actually, Peat’s argument that polyunsaturated fatty acids become harmful in the body and hence cause cancer simply does not make sense. It is impossible to avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids because they are in all foods.

EFAs are, however, harmful in large amounts and the many research papers cited by Peat showing immune problems, increased cancer and premature aging from feeding of polyunsaturates simply corroborate this fact. But Peat has taken studies indicating that large amounts of EFAs are bad for us (a now well-established fact) and used them to argue that we don’t need any at all.

Finally, it should be stressed that certain components of the diet actually reduce (but do not eliminate) our requirements for EFAs. The main one is saturated fatty acids which help us conserve EFAs and put them in the tissues where they belong. Some studies indicate that vitamin B6 can ameliorate the problems caused by EFA deficiency, possibly by helping us use them more efficiently.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary G. Enig, PhD is an expert of internationalrenown in the field of lipid biochemistry. She has headed a number of studies on the content and effects of trans fatty acids in America and Israel, and has successfully challenged government assertions that dietary animal fat causes cancer and heart disease. Recent scientific and media attention on the possible adverse health effects of trans fatty acids has brought increased attention to her work. She is a licensed nutritionist, certified by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, a qualified expert witness, nutrition consultant to individuals, industry and state and federal governments, contributing editor to a number of scientific publications, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association. She is the author of over 60 technical papers and presentations, as well as a popular lecturer. Dr. Enig is currently working on the exploratory development of an adjunct therapy for AIDS using complete medium chain saturated fatty acids from whole foods. She is Vice-President of the Weston A Price Foundation and Scientific Editor of Wise Traditions as well as the author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol, Bethesda Press, May 2000. She is the mother of three healthy children brought up on whole foods including butter, cream, eggs and meat.
 
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j.

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Essential fatty acids have two principal roles. The first is as a constituent of the cell membrane.

I think Peat believes these membranes don't exist. Peat uses Gilbert Ling's theory of the cell. Peat thinks Gilbert Ling debunked the theory of the cell in current use.

The other vital role for EFAs is as a precursor for prostaglandins or local tissue hormones, which control different physiological functions including inflammation and blood clotting.

I think Peat considers the prostaglandings bad.

Scientists have induced EFA deficiency in animals by feeding them fully hydrogenated coconut oil as their only fat. (Full hydrogenation gets rid of all the EFAs; coconut oil is used because it is the only fat that can be fully hydrogenated and still be soft enough to eat.) The animals developed dry coats and skin and slowly declined in health, dying prematurely. (Interestingly, representatives of the vegetable oil industry blame the health problems on coconut oil, not on fatty acid deficiency!)

Peat thinks the accelerated metabolism increased the requirements for nutrients. When they weren't given, the animals died. He mentioned an experiment that replicated one of those "EFA"-deficient diets, but adding vitamin B6, and the animals didn't die.

In a situation of fatty acid deficiency, the body tries to compensate by producing a fatty acid called Mead acid out of the monounsaturated oleic acid. It is a 20-carbon fatty acid with three double bonds named after James Mead, a lipids researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles who first identified it. An elevated level of Mead acid in the body is a marker of EFA deficiency.

Peat thinks mead acid is healthy, so this is another reason to restrict PUFAs.
 

staytuned

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Wow thanks! That was super fast... I wonder how much of this is actively contested. Mead acid, prostglandings, etc. It is sorta crazy to me that this stuff hasn't been figured out for sure over the last 50-80 years.

I was reading this post about the changes in body building over the last 80 years: http://www.westonaprice.org/mens-health ... -specimens
What was most remarkable to me were these excerpts:
Frank Zane, Mr. Olympia champion from 1977-79, was still eating the old way with plenty of eggs, lamb, beef, pork, heart, liver, raw milk, protein powder, vegetables, fruit with some potato and brown rice, educating his readers on the misconception of cholesterol and warning against over-consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

And this guy, Tony Sansone, who was sharing this protocol in the 1930's said this:
Another Physical Culturalist who advised against over-consumption was Tony Sansone, but Sansone understood the importance of flesh foods, including animal fats and organ meats. He wrote extensively on nutrition for bodybuilders and recommended nutrient-dense "foundation" foods such as milk, eggs, butter, meat, vegetables, fruits, and some whole grains, in that order. He also stressed the importance of organ meats such as liver, kidney, heart and cod liver oil and recognized the need to drink whole raw milk instead of pasteurized and skimmed. He believed goats milk was more nutritious and easily digested than cows milk. Fresh butter and cream were his preferred fats. He also recommended six to eight glasses of water per day.
Tony Sansone wisely stressed the importance of generous amounts of fat in the diet to allow the complete utilization of nitrogenous (protein) foods in building muscle tissue--a fundamental and important fact that would be lost as the era of protein supplements took hold. He also knew that weight loss was not a matter of simple calorie counting, as cellular uptake or utilization of food varied on an individual basis. In anticipation of Dr. Atkins, Sansone recommended his foundation foods of milk, eggs, meat, vegetables and fruit for strength and health, and starchy foods as weight manipulators. His recipe for gaining weight was to add more high-carbohydrate foods such as bread and potatoes to the diet, and for losing weight to simply reduce or remove them. Tony Sansone’s caveat to lose no more than two pounds of fat per week is still the standard used in bodybuilding today.

Seems like the knowledge was once there and then further human tinkering was involved by introducing supplements, protein powders, soy, etc.... all to make a buck I would assume.
 
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j.

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staytuned said:
Seems like the knowledge was once there and then further human tinkering was involved by introducing supplements, protein powders, soy, etc.... all to make a buck I would assume.

My theory is that reduction of the intelligence of babies is magnified as the number of years of PUFA consumption accumulate. The trend of PUFA consumption hasn't stopped.
 
J

j.

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staytuned said:
It is sorta crazy to me that this stuff hasn't been figured out for sure over the last 50-80 years.

I think they've been figured out in the 40s already. That sugar helps with diabetes was figured out and reported in the 1800s.
 

staytuned

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Mead acid and prostglandings sound like they are still up for debate? I know nothing about either, but am certainly interested since they seem to be the crux of the argument around PUFA intake... at least from the above author.
 

Mittir

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Mary Enig earned her MS and PhD from University of Maryland in Nutritional Science.
There is a big difference in training in biology and nutrition. I seriously doubt they
receive in depth training in scientific methods. These programs are more like applied
science. RP's argument is that there is no scientific evidence to declare
omega-3 and omega-6 as " Essential Fatty Acids. People are still
using Burr's article published in 1930 to make their
point. That study was disproved soon after that publication. Someone has to prove
that omega-3 and omega-6 are essential and they have to figure out the the
amount required to avoid deficiency. RP"s whole site is full of
studies on PUFA. This article explains it well.
http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/un ... fats.shtml
 
J

j.

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Mittir said:
I seriously doubt they receive in depth training in scientific methods.

Those who receive training in scientific methods seem to overwhelmingly disagree with Ray Peat, so I don't know if the distinction matters.
 
J

j.

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staytuned said:
Mead acid and prostglandings sound like they are still up for debate?

I don't know about those, but on the issue of PUFA being essential or the theory of the cell there is no debate, they just ignore Peat's views. They published a study to justify the belief that PUFAs are essential in the 30s. That has been refuted. They just ignored the refutation and keep citing that same study to justify their beliefs. Same with Ling's arguments that the cell theory in current use is wrong. They just ignore him. Same thing with Broda Barnes' arguments that low thyroid is the main reason for heart disease.
 

pboy

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this may be a terrible analogy...but to me PUFA's are like the frame (like the frame of a car), once built, it doesn't get burned or used...it just is. As long as you kept putting fuel in the tank, the car runs on the fuel and the frame stays the same. If for some reason you had nothing else to burn but absolutely needed to energy you could rip off some of the frame and burn it for fuel. Bad example, I know... but basically I don't think PUFA's are necessary as long as you consistently have enough easier to burn fuel and are already structurally sound. But if you were growing, or somehow had damaged cell membranes due to injury or starvation, you might need a little for repair purposes...but would likely get them incidentally from the small amounts already present in most food. Mead acid is probably like a placeholder...to keep the cell still integral, until the proper PUFA can be inserted...as to not prevent the membrane or cell from having to collapse. Because Mead acid cannot be used for inflammatory prostaglandin purposes like PUFA's can, having Mead acid instead of pufas is a safe way to ensure that the cell never over inflames itself, similar to taking asipirin. I honestly have no idea what to think at this point...but all I know is that large amounts of PUFA are not necessary, I do fine with the incidental amount in food, and that almost all foods containing large amounts of PUFA are inflammatory or allergenic, or hard to digest, for one reason or another. I also think a small amount of extra PUFA in a healthy person would get metabolized quickly by the liver and not be a big deal. Only an overload or in an already impaired person would it really affect the metabolism
 

BingDing

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My understanding is that lipid peroxidation is exactly the same as fat turning rancid on the kitchen counter. And it does happen in the body. The "yellow streaks" of coronary disease are rancid PUFAs that the immune system couldn't clear from the artery walls. Liver spots or lipofuscin is rancid PUFAs and iron (and maybe copper).

Whether linoleic acid and linolenic acid are essential or not seems pretty academic. Enig says we need very little in our diet and can't help but get enough, and agrees we should avoid refined seed oils. Who cares what it's called?
 

staytuned

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BingDing said:
My understanding is that lipid peroxidation is exactly the same as fat turning rancid on the kitchen counter. And it does happen in the body. The "yellow streaks" of coronary disease are rancid PUFAs that the immune system couldn't clear from the artery walls. Liver spots or lipofuscin is rancid PUFAs and iron (and maybe copper).

Whether linoleic acid and linolenic acid are essential or not seems pretty academic. Enig says we need very little in our diet and can't help but get enough, and agrees we should avoid refined seed oils. Who cares what it's called?

Makes sense, thanks for the share. Not familiar with Enig, will google to find out more.

I'm trying to build up enough understanding to convince my family to stop taking omegas... so much press about how beneficial they are, hard to convince the counterpoint without a deep understanding.
 

aquaman

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she seems to be getting her wires crossed on Peat's arguments:

1) peat says that all fats have a few percent of PUFA, which she also states
2) he says avoid it in the huge extremes of the modern diet which could be up to 50% PUFA
3) her suggestion of the needs of the "EFAs" would likely be met with the 2-4% naturally occurring in a "Peat" diet
 

himsahimsa

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Peat addressed the "dry coat" issue as an experimental error that was corrected by one of the B vitamins, I think B6.

As I read him, he does not really say that PUFAs are always absolutely bad. If they were, we would all already be dead. I think he is pointing out that in a normal environment we would be getting PUFAs in very small doses, like a gram or two a week, (because they are part of everything that qualifies as food and simply can't be totally avoided), and in that case maybe they could be put to some good use or got rid of... As appropriate. The modern problem is that we are drowning in PUFAs and their rancid permutations and the constant onslaught disrupts and poisons everything. We are so overloaded there is no hope of dealing with them harmlessly.

The writer of the article at the top of this thread clearly did not read Peat for himself and try to follow his argument.
 

pboy

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the thing people never talk about or mention is this...out of the omega 3 and 6 in our bodies, and the composition of breastmilk, about 95% of it is the initial linoleic and linolenic acid, and they serve membrane potential. Only 5% is actually converted into EPA, DHA, and arachadonic acid. Our bodies are very careful about when they do this because once converted (elongated) the DHA, EPA, Arachadonic acid becomes unstable and prone to oxidation and free radical set off. They also must go through multiple oxidation steps in the peroxisomes before being fit to enter the mitochondria to provide fuel. This is an energy sapping process. Regular linoleic and linolenic acid can quite easily be oxidized for energy just like oleic acid, and aren't very hard to deal with or prone to oxidation once in the body and if originally fresh. So basically what Im saying is this....all the stuff peat says about PUFAs being bad is true, but it only applies to already formed Arachadonic acid, DHA, and EPA...basically what you would only get in fish, meat, and a tiny amount in eggs. Not even milk has any of these, 0. Fish oil is like the worst thing you could take. As for linoleic and linolenic? they are pretty neutral like olive oil granted they aren't oxidized or roasted before you eat it. If you ate it in a fresh raw form it would be hardly different or more noticeable, if at all, from olive oil or something like that. So basically, pre oxidized fat of any kind is harmful, and the elongated DHA, EPA, and AA are harmful from the diet. Normal pufa, basically all 18 carbon fats...oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic adic, granted they are fresh, are neutral to metabolism and not that hard to deal with. I don't recommend eating nuts and seeds for other reasons, but the fresh 18 carbon 3's and 6's aren't really any kind of deal at all
 
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May I note RP's conclusion on this issue, in order that RP and pboy can both be heard fairly:
To minimize the accumulation of the highly unsaturated fatty acids with aging, it's probably reasonable to reduce the amount of them directly consumed in foods, such as fish, but since they are made in our own tissues from the "essential fatty acids," linoleic and linolenic acids, it's more important to minimize the consumption of those (from plants, pork, and poultry, for example)
[EndQuote]
source: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fa ... ions.shtml (conclusion)
 

gretchen

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Fwiw, my hormonal issues worsened considerably in less than a year of increasing omega-3's. My aging process as a result of 10 years of daily intake is greatly complicated..... I suspect I might be feeling a lot better right now if I'd never bought in. What a load of garbage.
 
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gretchen said:
Fwiw, my hormonal issues worsened considerably in less than a year of increasing omega-3's. My aging process as a result of 10 years of daily intake is greatly complicated..... I suspect I might be feeling a lot better right now if I'd never bought in. What a load of garbage.

Agree, g. I've stated my view elsewhere, but if you'll allow me, perhaps it may bear repeating:
The marketing of PUFAs is a scam perpetrated on the public so that the ten major food corporations, which control all national food brands in the US, can extract enormous profit from the waste products they would otherwise need to pay to dispose of -- namely, vegetable and fish oils. Indeed, RP asks why such degradation of the food supply cannot be punished as a crime.
 

schultz

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j. said:
I think Peat considers the prostaglandins bad.

I was reading one of the Alzheimer's articles on Ray's site and he says...

"When dietary PUFA are not available, the body produces a small amount of unsaturated fatty acid (Mead acids), but these do not activate cell systems in the same way that plant-derived PUFAs do, and they are the precursors for an entirely different group of prostaglandins."

So I wonder if the prostaglandins made from Mead acids would be beneficial?
 
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