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Dean Pomerleau

DHA/EPA and ALA for Cardiovascular Disease & All-Cause Mortality

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On 10/4/2020 at 8:29 PM, Ron Put said:

Let's keep this in perspective: the average European or American has an AA/EPA ratio in the 15:1 - 20:1 vicinity.  The average Western vegan has a ratio of about 11:1 if I recall correctly.

I don't know my ratio back when I consumed EVOO, it may well gave been higher than 8:1, as both my DPA and ALA are now higher than normal.

As I mentioned, I am taking algae-derived DHA and EPA and I will run another test in the next few weeks to see if it having the effect I expect.

So, I am going to repeat my question, since it kind of got lost in the shuffle here:

Has anyone here tested Omega-3/Omega-6 and if so, what was the AA/EPA ratio?

 

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5 hours ago, Ron Put said:

Has anyone here tested Omega-3/Omega-6 and if so, what was the AA/EPA ratio?

I did a Genova nutreval panel last October:

AA_EPA.jpg.c1c37713fe01e0b33e5c8c8776338f18.jpgomega3.jpg.0b10738cf8cc2ebf8d94159b209c88be.jpg

I was still eating a fair amount of plant fats back then especially nuts and my Omega 6s were somewhat high.  I wasn't and still don't take any Omega 3 supplements but I eat a lot of high quality animal fats.  I feed our chickens a lot of Omega 3 rich foods such as flax and wild salmon to produce good quality eggs of which I've been eating more, often half a dozen a day, so I expect my Omega 3 index is quite a bit better now.

Edited by Todd Allen

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Thanks, Todd. 

Interesting that Genova Nutreval gives much higher optimum ranges than the Cleveland HeartLab, which does the OmegaCheck test I did. My guess is that Genova compares to averages, rather than to optimum values. 

OmegaCheck totals EPA, DPA and DHA and based on CHL's studies, those in the top quartile (above 5.4% by weight), have the lowest relative risk of sudden cardiac death, and those below 3.7 are at the highest risk.  I am not sure why OmegaCheck doesn't feature ALA, but Genove omits Linoleic Acid.

I wonder if vegans would have lower EPA and DHA values.  I'll check mine again in a month or so to see if taking 900mg of algae-derived EPA and DHA makes a difference.

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30 minutes ago, Ron Put said:

I am not sure why OmegaCheck doesn't feature ALA, but Genove omits Linoleic Acid.

I just neglected to post the Omega 6 section of the Genova report.  The whole report is many pages long.

omega6.jpg.4a65e70e23adc90c4ec4c47f829f9f3a.jpg

This section was interesting as it lead me to later find out I have a mutation in the FADS2 gene which trashes delta-6 desaturase enzyme activity so I'm poor at converting LA to GLA.  And it appears that was responsible for the Raynaud's syndrome I developed when I was vegan.  Since I've cut my LA intake way down getting most of it now from a daily borage oil capsule which is high in GLA my Raynaud's has gone from scary bad to barely noticeable.

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2 hours ago, Ron Put said:

I wonder if vegans would have lower EPA and DHA values. 

Probably not an issue or at least as much for vegan women.  Here's a review paper on ALA metabolism and it appears women are much better at it.

Metabolism and Functional Effects of Plant-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Humans

Quote

The conversion of ALA to both EPA and DHA appears to be more efficient in women than in men. In men, conversion of ALA to EPA has been reported to be between 0.3% and 8%, and conversion to DHA < 1%, whereas in women up to 21% conversion to EPA and up to 9% conversion to DHA have been reported [101]. 

 

Edited by Todd Allen

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On 10/5/2020 at 12:48 AM, Sibiriak said:

The soluble fibers/lignans in flax might be particularly effective,  compared to just fiber  in general.   I've run out of time at the moment to look into it.

 

Generic "olive oil" ≠ EVOO.       Multiple studies confirm the difference;   multiple studies  confirm  EVOO  decreases LDL,  decreases LDL oxidation, ,  promotes reverse cholesterol transport, and improves endothelial function.

In any case,  your  blood lipid levels are not a concern,  and you're not going to  be switching safflower oil, sunflower oil etc. into your diet, if for nothing else because  of your  concern about your AA /EPA ratio.    The whole issue seems overblown to me.

   Arguing about whether seed oils or generic olive are at best marginally better for lipid  levels is a waste of time, imo. If your lipid  levels are sub-optimal,  you need  to look at other causes and other solutions.

YMMV

The problem wrt EVOO is not about its effect on lipids necessarily. Animal models, including with  primates show that mono fats are atherogenic even though they have a favorable effect on lipids!  Epedmiological evidence is NOT effective here because we are not comparing fats against a seriously low fat diet such as pritikin, esseltyne or Ornish diets which have been shown to literally reverse atherosclerosis. No olive oil diets have ever been shown to do anything other than to lower risk when compared to relatively high fat diets including predimed 37% so called low fat diet. So the epidemic of atherosclerosis is tempered by consuming so called healthy olive oil when compared to butters, cheeses, bacon, pork etc. etc. that’s hardly heart healthy. I am more interested in a diet that reverses or cures the major cause of death, brain dysfunction and disability for certain. 

Edited by Mike41

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14 hours ago, Mike41 said:

Animal models, including with  primates show that mono fats are atherogenic

Even if that were true,  "mono fats" in general ≠ EVOO.

A large number of animal studies have shown that EVOO is in fact anti-artherogenic and cardio-protective.

14 hours ago, Mike41 said:

EVOO is not about its effect on lipids necessarily...

Indeed.   Besides the fact that EVOO  decreases LDL,  decreases LDL oxidation,  and promotes reverse cholesterol transport, it also substantially  improves endothelial function and reduces atherosclerotic lesions,  as proven in animal and human clinical studies,  apart from epidemiological evidence.

The cardio-protective effects of EVOO ( not to mention anti-cancer and pro-longevity effects) have been shown in the full spectrum of studies-- in vitro,  animal, human trials, epidemiological.  That evidence has been consistently reproduced in study after study.

On the other hand:

Quote

[Michael Rae:] On Esselsyn/Ornish/Pritikin/McDougall: the studies purported to support the ultra-low-fat approach are not worth the paper on which they're written (to the extent that anyone keeps hardcopies any more).

Esselsyn's and Ornish's  reports are in very small numbers of intensely-managed patients with existing CVD; neither of them have reported any actual improvement in survivorship; and there are major confounders for both.

Esselstyn is reporting a case series from his personal practice, and not (as is often claimed) a clinical trial: there was no control group, and moreover ALL of his subjects were on cholesterol-lowering drugs.(3)

The benefits reported for Ornish's program are not demonstrably related to the diet, let alone demonstrably better than a diet higher in quality fat: his intervention not only included lower saturated fat intake (which is of course achievable with a diet high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats), but also a "vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation, group psychosocial support" (4), none of which were administered to the controls

https://www.crsociety.org/topic/11161-macro-nutrient-ratios/?tab=comments#comment-12429

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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On 11/12/2020 at 6:06 PM, Todd Allen said:

Probably not an issue or at least as much for vegan women.  Here's a review paper on ALA metabolism and it appears women are much better at it.

Metabolism and Functional Effects of Plant-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Humans

Thanks for this.  It helps explain why my Linoleic Acid is high, even though I am essentially vegan, and why my total Omega-3 is lower, even though I consume 30g of flax meal per day, almost every day. Since the Cleveland HeartLab doesn't measure ALA, I have no idea if my flax consumption helps much. 

Anyway, I'll get another test before the end of the year, to see if taking close to a gram of DHA and EPA from algae has had an effect.

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No.  The long chain w3's (DHA/EPA)  are  what is needed.  Different people are very different in their ability to synthesize these from short chain w3's, such as those found in flaxseed. 

  --  Saul

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I just received the results from my Omega test and it appears that taking 900mg of algae-derived EPA and DHA for about three months made a real difference:

OMEGA 6/OMEGA 3 RATIO: 4.7 (Old was 8.6)
ARACHIDONIC ACID: 3.9  (Old was 11.7)
DHA: 3.1 (Old was 1.7)
EPA: 1.8  (Old was 1.4)
AA:EPA RATIO: 2.17  (Old ratio was 8:1)


 

Edited by Ron Put

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A word of caution about DHA supplementation:
 


Klaper makes a point that the low Omega tests might simply reflect an effective lipid clearing and this sort of sounds plausible to me.

My ALA was very high on 30g of flax meal per day, but my DHA and EPA were below optimum (according to the test, while my DPA was high. It didn't make much sense but it may be explained based on Klaper's conjecture.

Edited by Ron Put

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On 1/16/2021 at 4:34 PM, Ron Put said:

DHA: 3.1 (Old was 1.7)
EPA: 1.8  (Old was 1.4)

That's good.  I thought that you were counting on flax seed for your w3's.  

Fatty fish get their w3's by eating the same algae that you are.  I'll bet it's more expensive than flax seed (or fish).  But it's the best source for vegans.

  --  Saul

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On 6/24/2021 at 11:45 PM, Ron Put said:

A word of caution about DHA supplementation:
 


Klaper makes a point that the low Omega tests might simply reflect an effective lipid clearing and this sort of sounds plausible to me.

My ALA was very high on 30g of flax meal per day, but my DHA and EPA were below optimum (according to the test, while my DPA was high. It didn't make much sense but it may be explained based on Klaper's conjecture.

Good discussion, I basically agree with Klaper, A review of the literature suggests that Omega 3-s even as K2 and choline, may just be overpublicized supplements and not essential ones for most individuals. But the precautionary principle rules, so in lieu of better info best to supplement than do not. But the precautionary principle also dictates that we must be sure that supplementation itself may not be harmful, which is uncertain.

Bottom line: life (of Health and longevity lovers) wans't meant to be easy...

Edited by mccoy

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1 hour ago, mccoy said:

Good discussion...

Well, based on that assessment,  I felt compelled to watch the video and, yeah, it was quite good.    His basic point  about the devilish complexity of human physiology is well-taken,  and applicable to all kinds of supplementation,  imo.   Same with the points about blood tests.

I still continue to eat a very modest amount of oily red fish regularly,  even though I've been thinking about quitting for a very long time for ethical and ecological reasons.

My problem is,  I don't trust myself to be able to keep up the kind of perfect vegan diet needed for consistent dha/epa production, given my personal proclivities plus poor local availability of certain food items.

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The same arguments that apply to unknowns also apply to unknowns regarding complete absence of any animal sources of nutrition. There is much we have yet to understand.

Though not a vegan myself, still, I empathize with the vegan philosophy, and hope mankind will continue to move in that direction, collectively.

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Ever since Michael Rae documented his reservations about pre-formed DHA for CR folks, I've taken a middle ground. I supplement with the omega-3 equivalent of one fatty fish meal per week in the form of two Ovega-3 algae-derived DHA/EPA capsules.

--Dean

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15 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

I supplement with the omega-3 equivalent of one fatty fish meal per week in the form of two Ovega-3 algae-derived DHA/EPA capsules.

Have you checked your EPA, DHA, DPA and ALA, as part of the Omega score?

I am curious if others who are vegans are low without supplementation, as I have to take about 900mg DHA and EPA combined to get to a score above 5.

Now I am questioning if I need to. Prior to supplementing with algae-derivedEPA and DHA, my numbers were pretty low, although ALA and DPA were very high.

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15 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

Ever since Michael Rae documented his reservations about pre-formed DHA for CR folks, I've taken a middle ground. I supplement with the omega-3 equivalent of one fatty fish meal per week in the form of two Ovega-3 algae-derived DHA/EPA capsules.

Dean, I remember you cited this strategy in another post and I myself have started to do so even though I don't follow CR; it sounds a very reasonable optimization between the precautionary principle and the potential risks of supplementation, for those who don't eat fish.

I never tried to check my blood omega3s, maybe because in my personal judgment, not necessarily correct, there is some considerable hype in the importance assigned to such fats.

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I ran across a metaanalysis paper on the topic of DHA and EPA supplementation that I found interesting. And wow! It's an honors undergraduate thesis! Didn't read the whole thing, but it made sense to me.

2017 Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Baseline Levels of Inflammatory Markers in the Gener ers in the General Population

 

As EPA/DHA are essential fatty acids for diet, perhaps the biggest overall impact the general public may see will be observed in regards to inflammatory factor TNF-α. TNF-α has been implicated in affecting both lipid and glucose metabolism in the cell, leading to metabolic syndrome conditions in individuals [136]. While TNF-α provides a number of acute benefits for the body, such as increased nutrient availability, chronically elevated TNF-α has been observed to promote atherosclerotic lipid changes and the development of insulin resistance [6, 136, 137]. Given that TNF-α plays a key role in the development a number of chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g., obesity, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus), the dietary consumption of EPA/DHA may indirectly prolong the onset of such diseases in healthy populations by affecting circulating levels of TNF-α, assuming minimal impact on other inflammatory factors [6, 7].

In conclusion, EPA/DHA supplementation was not found to affect the levels of circulating inflammatory markers CRP, IL-6, or IL-1β in a statistically significant way, although further analysis suggests that they may impact inflammatory marker levels independently. With the exception of TNF-α, the overall effect on all other inflammatory markers was largely variable and dependent upon the specific dosages used across studies.

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I am curious, are most here taking EPA/DHA supplements? If so, based on what evidence, if anyone has done a deep dive.

I am wondering if I should continue my algae-derived supplementation, based on the above arguments that:

1. supplementation may interfere with native production, and that

2. measurements may be inaccurate for those who are efficient at eliminating lipids from their bloodstream.

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Unfortunately, the human body is incapable of native production of w3 fatty acids; but they are needed for brain growth and maintenence, and heart health.
That's why they are called essential fatty acids.  They must be obtained by diet or supplementation.

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Thanks, Saul. I have a high intake of the essential one, with a particularly high ALA, mostly from flax.

I am just wondering, based on the information I've posted above, if supplementation with EPA and DHA specifically is beneficial, or possibly detrimental, by affecting my own conversion.

After supplementing with 750-900 mg of algae EPA and DHA, my lab Omega-3 score is great, but now I am doubting the validity of it all.

 

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This lecture is relevant here and a good summary of the reasons I have for questioning the need for EPA/DHA supplementation, provided low dietary AA and high ALA.

It addresses conversion, comparisons with fish consumption, and also how concentrations are measured (it mentions an interesting tracer study).
 

 

Edited by Ron Put

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