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Chris Masterjohn on inflammation, omega-3, omega-6

Discussion in 'Polyunsaturated Fats, Seed Oils' started by Tom, May 14, 2015.

  1. Tom

    Tom Member

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    Transcript from video, 13:00-21:00, see below.


    Note:

    Ray Peat said on one of the "politics and science" radio shows with John Barkhausen that Chris Masterjohn is a very good researcher. He said his only disagreement with him is on the essentiality of the "essential fatty acids". Masterjohn is not a fan of the anti-inflammatory drugs, the COX inhibitors. Aspirin can to some extent be considered such a drug.

    It should be mentioned that Masterjohn believe that we only need extermely small quantities of the "essential fatty acids". At one point he says 0.5% of calories during growth and development is enough, and adults that suffer from degenerative diseases or want to build muscles would also need this much, but other adults possible nothing (if b6 and other nutrients are provided). However, if they are provided from liver, just 0.12% of energy would be enough. He suggests 1% of energy for pregnant women.

    Almost anyone following a typical Peat diet will obtain vastly more than this. Orange juice alone has 0.8% of calories as PUFAs.

    Still, I think it is worth discussing whether an extreme PUFA restricted diet devoid of liver and egg yolks but high in shellfish (rich in EPA) in conjunction with aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs can cause issues. The issues described by Masterjohn would especially be digestive or auto-immune disorders (I devopled this problem myself from ingesting large quantities of curcumin/turmeric and ginger, despite reasonable intakes of arachidonic acid and low epa/dha intake).

    I also read about how cats developed reproductive failure on an AA deficient diet (they cannot make AA out of linoleic acid). Although miniscule quantities of AA was required to prevent this problem, more was required in the presence of fish oil.

    ----


    Chris Masterjohn:

    "When people try to talk about proinflammatory things being bad and anti-inflammatory things being good---

    I feel like inflammation is an essential process that is the reason that we're all alive today. And I think it gets a bad rap, and I think if you wanna be proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory, you are taking sides in a homeostatic balance that you don't understand. Homeostasis is all about balance, and so if your body's not trying to take sides, and if you're trying to take sides in that war… we should reflect a little bit about that.

    And so you know back in the 1990s for example, where a lot of the ideas were developed about omega-6 fatty acids being inflammatory and omega-3 fatty acids being anti-inflammatory, we did not understand that when inflammation stops, there is an active process of resolving the inflammation. All we knew was you could initiate inflammation and then we kinda thought that
    it's supposed to just dissipate and if it's not dissipating it´s because we have too many proinflammatories, and the focus on omega 3´s being anti-inflammatory was on EPA - which is a fatty acid that's especially high in fish oils - being able to inhibit the initiation of inflammation

    By basically interfering with the metabolism of arachidonic acid or AA which is the corresponding omega-6 fatty acid, the thought was that since arachidonic acid is the omega-6 fatty acid that's used to initiate inflammation, what we wanted to do is get enough EPA to block that function and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, meaning most over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and some prescription pain anti-inflammatories are all based on blocking the enzymes that metabolize arachidonic acid into these supposedly pro-inflammatory molecules that initiate inflammation.

    So all of this focus was on interfering with the initiation of inflammation and all those things were called anti-inflammatories and now this is the school of thought that high-dose fish oil came out of, because the high dose fish oil is supposed to supply enough EPA to block the function of arachidonic acid. And what the high dose fish oil is doing is essentially the exact same thing as the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Those fatty acids, you want in small quantities and that´s the nutritional fact, but when you take high doses fish oil, you're relying on a pharmacological effect, that´s essentially the same as taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Now the problem with that is that over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are COX inhibitors (that's not all of those drugs but the bulk of them are COX inhibitors). COX is the enzyme that metabolizes arachidonic acid. Those are all tied to especially the digestive distress and to some degree to auto-immune disorders.

    And we also know going back to the 19th century that cod liver oil, which is a form of fish oil that happen to be very rich in fat soluble vitamins was very helpful when used in small quantities, but when used in huge quantities could also lead to severe digestive problems and possibly some auto-immune disorders. Very similar side effects between the over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and high doses of marine oils. So why is that? Well in the past decade what we've discovered is that inflammation resolution is an active process that the body deliberately engages in.

    And there are two raw materials used for the process of resolving inflammation. The first is arachidonic acid, the supposedly inflammatory bad guy. Again the COX enzymes, the ones that are inhibited by anti… so-called anti-inflammatory drugs. Those enzymes metabolize arachidonic acid during inflammation and resolution, in order to resolve inflammation. So what we now know is that these over-the-counter so-called anti-inflammatory drugs interfere with the initiation
    of inflammation and interfere with the resolution of inflammation, and the same is probably true of the high dose fish oil, which is designed to mimic the effects of those drugs.

    So by being anti-inflammatory, and deciding that instead of helping the body resolve inflammation, we're gonna be against an essential body process. We´ve also forced against the essential body process of resolving inflammation. And what that means is that when we rely on these drugs or pharmacological effects of foods that are used in unreasonable doses to mimic the
    effects of those drugs, is that we interfere with the process we wanted to interfere with, and then we interfere with processes that we didn't even know about.

    And the result is that we end up with more inflammation using the anti-inflammatory drugs, because we didn't understand that starting inflammation is a good thing when it is targeted correctly, and resolving inflammation is a good thing. So I think what we want to focus on is providing the body with all the raw materials that it needs to both initiate, correctly target,
    and resolve inflammation, and taking away any possible inhibitors of the body's natural processes in doing that.

    So I think what we want is the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, which is found especially in egg yolks and liver, and to a lesser extent in other terrestrial animal fats. And we can also synthesize to some degree from plant oils, and then we also want DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that also is critical to the resolution process of inflammation, and that´s found to some degree in fish oils and other marine fats, and also in other terrestrial animal fats, especially if they are grass fed, and again we can synthesize a little bit from from plant oils.

    But we also want to get rid of these drugs like COX-inhibitors, the over-the-counter so-called anti-inflammatory drugs, and we also want to get rid of approaches like high dose fish oil, where we're consuming way more than we would otherwise consume of those fatty acids in the diet. And then finally I think we need to clear up our language a little bit and stop talking about things as proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory, stop talking about inflammation as it´s a bad thing, and instead start talking about how can we get the body to naturally regulate, correctly target, that process of inflammation."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de_KjyBZpLs
     
  2. Amazoniac

    Amazoniac Member

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    Such a shame that this thread got lost..
    Thank you for the transcription, Tom!
    Just ressurecting it..
     
  3. pboy

    pboy Member

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    shark oil also
     
  4. Gl;itch.e

    Gl;itch.e Member

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    Ray might take issue with his view of inflammation too. He believes that healing is possible without inflammation
     
  5. Such_Saturation

    Such_Saturation Member

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    Dude, the snake oil, do you want these gains or not?
     
  6. pboy

    pboy Member

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    I used to think like that, where there was necessary inflammation..but now I realize
    its not the best idea...like...just straight thyroid and positive neuro's and hormones are the best thing, and basic iodine and vitamin C and stuff like that, for taking care or irritants or stresses. Its like in life, its subtle but...this might be a profound statement, but like...in life, people feel in a stressed condition, so they...'FIGHT, or PUSH' their way out of it...and they might get out of it, but the damage to their psyche and wiring and heart usually turns them into a more cold selfish person. Its like...you have to gracefully do what you do, you cant fight or lose principles in order to overcome a stress, which is what I see inflammation as, it might get you over something, but it leaves damage and/or bad vibes in the memory portions of cells and your mind, which later have to be worked out, if you want any chance of feeling the beauty of life again. Its...the person who just faught and stepped over people and got some BS job that hurts the planet and society just to get out of their situation, so then they have money and a 'respectable' house, but now theyre unable to see life as an art and relax and feel the goodness, now they think life is a fight that it takes survival of fittest fight mode to 'achieve anything' so they're always tense, and now their job is agains their better nature and they have to go full into it to keep their position. A non inflamed way to do that situation would be to like...gracefully find a condusive harmonious job and get out that way so your principles and way of living and seeing life isn't damaged. Its a basic thing, in our society. Its why medical community is obsessed with 'killing' things, and poisoning to try to achieve health. People are ingrained with the belief that you must be ruthlessly tough and voiolent or aggressive, and that health means being the tougher being, with the bigger stick, who can act and lie better to do what they need, ect. But that comes with a heavy karmic cost, to where basically your whole sense of goodness in life, you become choked off from the higher good feelings and spirit when you do that, and in that state life is a living hell, regardless of how sedated or occupied they try to get. Its probably the same thing in the body...if you inflame to defeat something, it might defeat that one thing, but will leave a scar

    you guys think im trippin?

    obviously one little inflammation is no thing, but like...making that the main way of dealing with things could add up to a rigid scarred body and/or memory in the immune system
     
  7. Such_Saturation

    Such_Saturation Member

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    I think inflammation is definitely necessary in an environment that is inflamed, but by leveraging every "uninflamed" moment that you have you can start to change that environment and expand this bubble of uninflamed tissue or uninflamed reality around you, then it becomes unessential.
     
  8. pboy

    pboy Member

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    ^^ nice, very well put
     
  9. SQu

    SQu Member

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    I agree. I know from experience that nothing will work in my case if it doesn't feel good. You could say It's likely that my dopamine is low and that's why what I need will also make me feel better, or you could say what I really need is to lower stress, which happens to feel good. Or that food that digests well is soothing to the gut and always also appealing to the appetite. Or you could say that nothing good can come of approaching life and health mechanically, forcefully, without joy, and that would be true too.
     
  10. EnoreeG

    EnoreeG Member

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    First, thanks Tom for this discussion. It's come at an opportune time in my journey toward better health.

    For many reasons, I think Peat, not Masterjohn, should reconsider his stance on essential fatty acids (I'll just say PUFA hereafter). Peat assumes PUFA not essential because he assumes there is no lipid bi-layer membranes on cells and mitochondria. Scientists like Masterjohn assume the bi-layer exists, and that linoleic acid (the parent omega-6) is a critical component, responsible for the passage of oxygen and other materials through the membrane. Once Peat makes these assumptions (non-essentiality of PUFA, no such thing as membranes) he then proceeds to recommend eliminating PUFA from the diet, or at least minimizing it. He leaves his followers with this blanket rule, yet proceeds to recommend foods that have substantial PUFA content, I guess hoping that no one will check up on him and call him on it. It's hard to maintain a following of careful investigators this way.

    So true. I think Masterjohn may be distorting the case (toward the minimum side), but certainly, in the average Joe's concept of things, generally people get way more PUFA in their diets (even on many peoples' interpretation of a Ray Peat diet) than they need. And even people who shun the truly vile sources of PUFA, like refined seed oils, but still eat even moderate quantities of grains and nuts, are getting way more PUFA, though it may be ever so pristine and healthy, than what they need.

    Between the two, I think Peat distorts the story a bit more than Masterjohn, who at least speaks with numbers and percentages and allows a reader to make meaningful measurements. Peat seems to leave people to fend for themselves when it comes to actual numbers.

    So it's good you invite discussion. Your Masterjohn quote is a great opening. It's sad that he had to focus on the "inflammation" issue, but that's where he sees the public as being so heavily misinformed, so he churned out most of his prose in that regard. I believe we do need to let the body take care of the inflammation issue without monkeying with our balance of different PUFA components, and just eat whole, natural foods which will provide a balance.

    Personally, I think an extreme PUFA restricted diet is deadly. Peatarians are fortunate that they don't follow Peats guidelines explicitly (as to restricting PUFA) but only "in their minds" because some of his food recommendations supply ample PUFA, as you say, Tom, to maintain health. What I would advise people to do is take each food item they use, and go check it out on a "nutrient content" website and write down the amount of PUFA supplied. You will be amazed. I use one of these sites almost daily, and sometimes a dozen times in a day, just to check minerals, vitamins, fats, etc.

    For me, what is most important is to get my PUFA in as virgin and fresh a state as possible with few exceptions. Definitely not as a supplement, not as a refined product (except for what comes through in butter and olive oil) and uncooked most times. I do agree with Peat that oxidized PUFA is a threat to our systems. Meat and eggs I cook lightly, mostly to take off the surface bacteria. Some green veggies I steam, but that's to make the minerals more available, and so the fragile PUFA (especially parent omega-3 which is often more abundant in greens than is omega-6) may get compromised. But to compensate for that loss, I also eat a salad of fresh, above-ground vegetables, straight from my garden, which will have the traces of PUFA about as fresh and unoxidized as is possible before it hits my digestive system. What is important to me is to preserve the life-sustaining character of the PUFA, not avoid it (and definitely not overdo it). It's only oxidized and damaging PUFA I want to avoid.

    The one complaint I have with Masterjohn in this presentation is where he said "So I think what we want is the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid....". No, I don't disagree that arachidonic acid is a valuable derivative of omega-6. It, and it's own derivatives are quite valuable. I complain that even arachidonic acid should not be singled out, as though it is the important part of the parent omega-6 (Linoleic Acid). From what I've read, every time we eat any Linoleic Acid, over 90% of it goes into cell and mitochondrial membranes to perform it's transfer functions. Only small percentages get broken down into the derivatives that help with inflammation, immunity, etc. The more you are replacing cells with new cells (as in a diseased state, in an inflamed state, or while working hard or stressing), the more omega-6 you need to have on hand as a fresh supply from food. (Not from fat stores).

    As to your question regarding digestive disorders, I'll point out that the digestive tract has one of the highest cell-replacement rates of any organ. It takes only 24-48 hours before most cells have to be replaced (except in the stomach). This is a demand for fresh omega-6 to build membranes. If you don't have the omega-6 on hand, you have ill health. One can believe that there's no such thing as a lipid bi-layer surrounding each cell, but like Masterjohn, I believe there IS. You can read more on the issue of digestive system cell replacement here:

    http://gut.bmj.com/content/2/2/110.full.pdf

    You can check the nutrient content of foods here:

    http://nutritiondata.self.com/ or here: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
     
  11. jyb

    jyb Member

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    Dairy and beef may have pufa, but the ratio to saturated fat is low (the lowest you can go as nutritious fatty foods, coconut oil not included). That ratio might be physiologically very relevant from a Peat perspective. Taking it into account you would not just avoid oxidised pufa, because otherwise many foods also have comparable pufa but with very unfavourable pufa to sat fat ratio. If you eat those, from a Peat perspective you would need to check nutrition data to see if overall your diet is still primarily saturated (a few % pufa, but definitely not double digits). The exception would be if your total fat intake is very very low or if you have a high metabolism, then you might not store any fat anyway (in fact, you might not store much fat even on very high fat, but I'm including this point for completeness), so the ratio is less meaningful than the absolute numbers.
     
  12. EnoreeG

    EnoreeG Member

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    I appreciate you making this point. I think it is most relevant when talking about foods that have considerable fat to start with, and also tend to have relatively high percentages of PUFA. Beside animal products like eggs, olive oil is a great example. It's all oil, so we really have to watch the percent PUFA. And that turns out to be way high, at 8-9%. Certainly we don't want to make that a significant part of our diet. But a half ounce each day may not function as a poison. It really depends on the overall diet, and whether you are getting too much PUFA, regardless of the percentages in any one food. Vegetables and fruits have very little oil. But like all foods, they have some PUFA.

    Take a serving of carrots. Looking at the fat content, you find that PUFA comprises 30-50% of the total fat. Is that scary? Not considering that fat comprises about 5% of the energy content, and so the PUFA is less than 2% of the energy (calories). It doesn't really matter, especially when you eat quite a bit of your calories daily comprised of similar fruits and veggies. For the fuit/veggie component of your meals, yes, the PUFA is a high percent of the fat. But then just adding some dairy, meat, eggs, etc. brings your saturated and monosaturated fat percent up very quickly, while also adding just a little PUFA. In the end, you can achieve balance without trying.

    You said the ratio is less meaningful than the absolute numbers for just the exceptional case. I think the ratio is not significant unless you look at it on a total daily diet basis (as you said earlier in your post: "...see if overall your diet is still primarily saturated". One food at a time, and we are wasting our time unless we do it for the entire intake (or unless we are in a discussion like this one).

    Your exception was a case of low fat intake, or in a state of fat burning such that all fat will be consumed for metabolism. From my reading (including a lot outside the Peat world of membraneless cells), the human body selects monounsaturates and saturated fats for metabolism, and selects PUFA for other, essential uses, so you don't need to worry on a low-carb or even a low-calorie diet about having PUFA improperly utilized. There's no way it will be merely burned or stored if there is a use for it in membranes, or to derive signaling agents such as arachidonic acid (AA) or the eicosanoids derived from AA. But when you say, for this case, "so the ratio is less meaningful than the absolute numbers." you are quite right that if PUFA is running below the minimum need (absolute number), then we could be in trouble until we raise our intake.
     
  13. gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    No, of course we don't want inflammation. It's apparently the cause of much disease and neuro endocrine dysfunction. I'm sorry to go the anti-aging route but just look at how horrible it looks- getting fat and old and wrinkled is definitely connected to inflammation and it's what everyone's trying to avoid.

    But I agree that taking fish oil and (possibly) using aspirin isn't the answer. My answer is of course.... The sun. Red light is the key to proper metabolism and it along with infrared light are very anti inflammatory. If people went in the sun like they should they wouldn't be inflamed; people would be thinner/normal weight and everyone's skin would be a lot smoother.

    Instead of going in the sun for $300 you can buy a Light Stim:
    http://www.lightstim.com/
     
  14. Gl;itch.e

    Gl;itch.e Member

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    Lipid bi-layer or not who says omega 6 is absolutely required? Even in Lipid Bi-layer theory its stated that the composition of the cell bi layer is dependant on dietary intake. Peat also mentions the body making its own Omega-9 fatty acids in absence of dietary PUFA.

    Running the body at a higher temperature (metabolic rate) would mean more fluidity of the cells supposed bi-layer and negate the need for PUFAs involvement.
     
  15. tara

    tara Member

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    Actually, if I have a choice, I'll take getting old and wrinkled, with or without fat, over the alternative - eternally smooth-skinned, and dead. :)
     
  16. tara

    tara Member

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    This was my understanding of Peat too.
     
  17. tara

    tara Member

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    I have not seen where Peat recommends everyone eliminate PUFA. Where have you seen this? As far as I can tell, he recommends keeping PUFA consumption low by choosing foods that have low proportions of PUFA in relation to SFAs and all the other nutrients we need, in recognition that it is practically impossible to eat food and completely avoid PUFA. He has said that a tsp of olive oil for flavouring may be reasonable.
    He has also mentioned some lowish numbers for PUFA consumption as probably protective.

    Peat has also described some zero-fat experiments, with apparently beneficial effects, as evidence that PUFA are not essential (as long as other nutrient needs were met).
    Do you have an alternative explanation for these?

    Peat has referred to problems cause by unsaturated fats, not only PUFAs. I do not see him lumping MUFAs in with SFAs as benign, just less harmful than PUFAs because they are less unsaturated.
     
  18. EnoreeG

    EnoreeG Member

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    It's fine if you ignore the essential nature of omega-6. I won't fear for your life because unless you have a million dollar lab working to refine all the omega-6 out of each food you eat, you're going to get a supply of it, and probably an ample supply. My policy is that fear of PUFA is silly. Now fear of ruined, oxidized PUFA is a different matter. I'm of the impression that the important counsel here is to get your foods as fresh as possible and not let them sit around, age, and oxidize. I think the main thing Peat wants is for people to get off excess, ruined PUFA. Avoidance is impossible. He admits that. So arguing requirement of omega-6, in practicality, is a mute point.

    When you say that "in Lipid Lipid Bi-layer theory its stated that the composition of the cell bi layer is dependant on dietary intake" I think you mean to imply that there is a bi layer somewhere that happens to be free of PUFA. I think, if there is such a theory, the reality is that the amount of PUFA varies to some degree, but is not zero in any cell. In fact, it should be simple to find a cell somewhere that has no PUFA. If this has been done, let's find the study. In fact the universal appearance of PUFA in all cells is almost a de-facto proof of it's essential nature. Nature is pragmatic and efficient. Never are you going to find a substance in animals and plants, present in every cell since we've been doing assays, that isn't a part of the chemistry. Just this alone argues quite well against "who says omega 6 is absolutely required?". Why use science when you have statistics?
     
  19. tara

    tara Member

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    If PUFA content of cells depends on dietary intake, and it is virtually impossible to avoid, how would you find PUFA free cells? In experiments attempting to produce EFA deficiency, the results include mead acid.

    Try finding long-term city dwellers with no lead in their system. As far as i know, lead serves no useful purpose, it's just there because it's in the environment and our systems can't eliminate it efficiently enough.

    Statistics are useful for coming up with hypotheses, but I'll take science as being potentially able to be more precise about causes (when it's done well).
     
  20. tara

    tara Member

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    I don't advocate living in fear of anything. Avoidance where practical is another thing.
    I believe one of Peat's points is that the environment of the body itself inevitably provides the conditions for rapid oxidation of PUFAs (warm and with plenty of oxygen available), however fresh they are when ingested.
     
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