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Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio Experiment


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In the last month or so I've started using Cronometer (before I used Myfitnesspall for a year) and with the new data available to me in Cronometer, I decided to drive my Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio closer to 1:1 and see what happens in 6 months.

My main source of Omega-3 is unfortified brown flax meal of which I eat between 40 and 70 grams a day. I eat smaller amounts of chia seeds and steel cut oats (all organic, so not fortified). I also eat about 15-20 grams of walnuts and about 20 grams of "raw" cacao nibs every day. I've started eating mushrooms every day as well, in addition to legumes (Black Gram, since it has a great Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, lentils, quinoa, chick peas, occasionally black rice, etc.). I also eat a good amount of leafy greens, roots, broccoli sprouts and an apple or a pear almost every day.
My last test showed (I am in my late 50s):

Cholesterol: 170
LDL: 87
HDL: 73
Triglycerides: 54
HSCRP: 0.35 (this was a weird jump from 0.02 a year earlier, but the change doesn't appear significant).

My resting heart rate is 50-51 on Fitbit and 48 according to Cardiogram.

I've stopped taking multi-vitamins, now I take:
B12 (2000)
D (2000) (I am genetically predisposed to have somewhat lower absorption of both and my numbers show me at the lower end)

gGlucosamine (1000)
Q10 (200)
Citracal (half a dose (1 caplet), mostly because I found a large bottle :)
Alpha-GPC (300)
Curcumin (Natrol 2x250 CurcuWin)

I also take 2 caps of Olive Leaf extract, but when I run out, I am switching to bulk Olive Leaf Powder from Frontier, maybe 3-4 grams a day.

I am a vegetarian, mostly vegan, except that I eat cheese maybe three times a month and eggs maybe once a month.

Since I started being more religious about tracking my food intake and nutrients with Cronometer, as well as going for a three mile hilly hike/run 5-6 days a week, my BMI has dropped to the high 18 and my body fat, according to my scale hovers about 10%. I now eat within a 9-12 hour window. I am almost struggling to eat enough to keep up to 80%-85% of my caloric requirement, based on Fitbit and Cronometer -- I have to often eat over 2000 calories to do it. Don't need to get skinnier :) I am 6'1", 141 lbs today, 13.8 lbs fat, 120.6 lbs muscle mass, 6.5 lbs bone mass and 85.7 lbs body water.

I'll post what happens based on the Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio change in about six months, when I'll have another blood panel. I like data and this is kind of fun for me.

I am curious if someone else has already done it?

Edited by Ron Put
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My experiments run more in the line of nutrients versus bodyweight/bodymass. Buy the way, the new feature in the gold cronometer version allows direct correlation between variables, for example you can choose plots to superimpose your bodyweight to omega 3/6 ratio and see the joint behaviour of them.

It is more usually used to monitor Calories vs bodyweight but ha sno limitations I reckon. Only drawback you must subscribe to the gold edition.

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On 7/6/2019 at 4:37 PM, Ron Put said:

in addition to legumes (Black Gram, since it has a great Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio

I wouldn't be too concerned about the ratio for Black Gram since it's almost fat free.

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17 hours ago, Kenton said:

I wouldn't be too concerned about the ratio for Black Gram since it's almost fat free.

Here is the nutritional data I have found for Black Gram (also known as mungo beans or Urad Dal):

"Mungo beans — aka Urad Dal — are by far the best choice with 603mg Omega 3 and just 43mg Omega 6 in one cup cooked (not to be confused with mung beans)."

https://plenteousveg.com/vegan-sources-omega-3/

Edited by Ron Put
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  • 1 month later...

So, after running close to 1:1 ration of Omega-3 to Omega-6, I noticed some significant changes:

Cholesterol: 153
LDL: 72
HDL: 71
Triglycerides: 51

My testosterone has gone up a bit, to just over 900 ng/dL

Interestingly, my IGF-1 has also gone up to over 180 ng/mL, although my insulin is pretty low at 2.5 uIU/mL, with glucose at 83. My protein intake (all plant) is 1.39g per kg, which is kind of high, I guess, but I don't know if I can drop it significantly and still stay all green for all the nutrients in Cronometer.

Today Withings has me at 64.2kg, 18.7 BMI,  9.6% body fat and 85.8% muscle mass.


 

I am a vegetarian, almost vegan, so my Omega 3 comes from stuff like flax, chia, legumes, walnuts and greens. Almost no olive oil (maybe 3-4 times a month, about 2 tbsp at a time or so). I do take olive leaf powder almost every day.

So, the big change is the drop in total cholesterol. I wonder what's with the IGF-1, but I am happy with my numbers overall and will likely keep the the 1:1 Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio going forward.

Edited by Ron Put
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  • 3 years later...

I just completed a four-month experiment where I took 900mg of EPA+DHA each day. In the six months period prior, I was taking half of that amount, or 450 mg. Prior to that I was not taking any.

The results confirmed my suspicions that supplementation with Omega-3s is detrimental to my blood markers.

Back when I cut out olive oil and was not supplementing other than eating flax seed every day and based on Chronometer, my Omega-3 to Omega-6 consumption was roughly 1:1, my total cholesterol had dropped to the mid-140s.

After listening to a bunch of lectures and reading studies, I took an Omega test and my score was sort of low, so I tried supplementing, but my cholesterol went up. I stopped Omega-3 supplementation for a while because of it, and it leveled off.

So, I kept hearing about the great benefits of Omega-3 supplementation on shows like Atta's and Rhonda Patrick's, and decided to try again, And like clockwork, my total cholesterol goes up as does my LDL-C, and they are dose dependent, apparently.

Supplementing with 900mg of Omega-3s:

C-Total: 185 mg/dl
HDL-C: 66 mg/dl
LDL-C: 109 mg/dl
VLD-C: 10 mg/dl
Apo B: 82 mg/dl

Lipoprotein(a): 75 nmol/L

450mg of Omega-3s:
C-Total: 164 mg/dl
HDL-C: 65 mg/dl
LDL-C: 90 mg/dl
VLD-C: 9 mg/dl
Apo B: 76 mg/dl

Lipoprotein(a): 39 nmol/L

No supplementation with Omega-3s:
C-Total: 138 mg/dl
HDL-C: 63 mg/dl
LDL-C: 69 mg/dl
VLD-C: 6 mg/dl
Apo B: 64 mg/dl

Lipoprotein(a): 21.8 nmol/L

The Lipoprotein(a) is the weirdest, as everything I read is that it is relatively stable through one's lifetime and needs to be tested only once. Apparently not, in this case. For what it's worth, my doctor claims that he sees variations, so maybe I am misreading something.

I have started questioning the methodology of the studies, as I have noticed that those interviewed are generally connected with the industry, either involved in selling supplements, or promoting tests by entities they have interest in. Then there is the Levels type company consultant or employee, who pushes the high fat diet because that's what keeps the CGMs at a flatline and the subscriptions going.

It's an experiment involving a single subject, of course, and I may just be weird. Or wrong. But in any case, I am done with Omega-3 supplements.

 

Edited by Ron Put
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6 hours ago, Ron Put said:

The Lipoprotein(a) is the weirdest, as everything I read is that it is relatively stable through one's lifetime and needs to be tested only once.

A possible explanation here is a methodology of the testing. AFAIR there is an old way to do the things where no real "fractions" testing is done, there are calculations. In this case Lp(a) which is a part of LDL fraction could perhaps suffer if LDL is not directly measured but calculated with formulas. This is just a guess how it could be wrong, no idea if actually it is done that way. But this raised my curiosity and I will give this test another shot when will do my next tests.

Regarding other lipidogram-related stuff and omega-3 supps, from my experience the things looks a bit different.

My TC/HDL/LDL values are oscilating constantly in +-5-7% range, so I can't derive the conclusion if omega supplements are causing any difference and so far I am not ready to cancel it out due to (probably useless) race to get the recommended o3/o6 ratio in the test.

I am supplementing 2 huge Now ultra caps, thus 2x 500/250 daily for a year or so, last time my apolipoB was the same as before I switched to supplementation instead of small amounts of fish and I thought it is pretty stable thing as well. Maybe this one also should be re-tested, then o3/o6 ratio assesment and maybe I will drop the supps because the longer I think about them the less I am sure that this is not a pure marketing, despite people saying these things are the best studied molecules and they are needed "for sure".

Br,

Igor

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thanks for the suggestion, Igor. I considered the possibility of a lab problem, but when I went back and checked and all three apo(a) tests were done by Labcrorp. While this doesn't eliminate the possibility, it reduces the likelihood.

Other lipid markers are off too, like my Free Fatty Acids, which have literally doubled at 0.7 mEq/L from before supplementation.

Also, my Insulin has doubled at 7.2 ulU/mL, which supports my theory (high free fatty acids prime one for insulin resistance).

I've eliminated Omega-3 supplementation and will retest in about three months to see if it has had an effect. I plan to keep most other things the same.

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On 2/11/2023 at 7:25 PM, Ron Put said:

The Lipoprotein(a) is the weirdest...

Indeed, such a radical change from a such relatively minor dietary adjustment is extraordinary.

(And I can assure you I  have researched the hell out of that subject.)

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak
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9 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

(And I can assure you I  have researched the hell out of that subject.)

I am open to any other suggestions for the cause 🙂

I don't have any other issues that pop up on the tests, with thyroid, kidney and liver values all good, low inflammation markers, low PWV, no tissue injuries and no other drugs/supplements.

But even if the lipo(a) value is off because of a lab error or methodology, my lipids are definitely significantly worse than when I was not supplementing with Omega-3, and they get worse with increasing the dose.

I am wondering if the results showing supplementation benefits are because study subjects already have metabolic and lipid issues, while in my case I started Omega-3 supplementation while at what I consider to be optimum numbers for someone my age.

To boot, my Lp-PLA2 activity has also increased with supplementation 😞

Of course, it may be simply correlation, but this is my second try with Omega-3 supplements, and both had negative effects on my lipid markers. And this time it got worse as I doubled the dose.

I guess I'll know if elimination of Omega-3 supplementation improves my results in about three months.

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18 hours ago, Saul said:

My lipid numbers are excellent, and I've been supplementing w3 for many years.

  --  Saul

 

Hi, Saul!

Just curious, what is "excellent" and are you on any medication that affects cholesterol?

Edited by Ron Put
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So, it seems that Omega-3 supplementation, does increase cholesterol:

Despite their excellent ability to reduce triglycerides naturally, EPA and DHA actually increase LDL cholesterol, concerning some doctors and medical researchers.[4] All types of EPA/DHA seem to have this LDL-increasing effect, including prescription-based fish oil (Lovaza), over-the-counter fish oil supplements, and EPA/DHA supplements made from algae instead of fish.

The purported benefits of such increase being of the "large and fluffy" variety are at least debatable. And at this point I am also dubious about the patented Omega-3 Index test I have paid for a couple of times, as the more I look into it, the less it makes sense except as a supplement-pushing scheme.

It's quite quite telling that it's not easy to find such info about Omega-3s, as virtually all headlines fail to mention this, even when referring to studies that find such an LDL-C increase, despite the "fluffy" qualifications.

@Saul, I am still curious if you are on statins and what is "excellent" as it seems it may be pertinent to one's decision to supplement with Omega-3s.

I'll reserve final judgment for myself until I test again in three months or so, but I have become far more leery of medical headlines, and even many studies lately.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, Dr. Klaper changed his Omega-3 supplementation practice.

I am still not convinced of the benefits of supplementation, partially because high Omega-3 is not necessarily prevalent among studied populations with unusually high longevity, and partially because I am inclined to think that supplementation may dial down natural conversion. Plus, I am not convinced that the Omega Test is relevant to cognition.

But here it is:
 

 

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  • 3 months later...

So, I just got my latest tests and since dropping EPA/DHA supplementation, my lipids and other markers have improved, somewhat. My total cholesterol has dropped to 161, while LDL is at 93, with TG at 66. My Apo-B is 75.

All are still higher than what I'd like, but all are also better than when I was taking the larger dose of EPA/DHA supplementation, and this pattern seems to repeat reliably for a third round so far.

I didn't get around to testing after the first three months when I was stricter about my fat intake, so these number are likely affected by a higher than usual for me series of restaurant meals, some with gobs of EVOO, but all undoubtedly much fattier than what I eat at home.

I also got an Omega test in the works, will see what it shows, although I am not convinced that it means as much as they claim.

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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352396420302589

Quote

Methods: 33 individuals were provided with a vitamin B complex (1 mg vitamin B12, 100 mg of vitamin
B6 and 800 mcg of folic acid per day) and randomized to 2,152 mg of DHA per day or placebo over 6
months. 26 individuals completed both lumbar punctures and MRIs, and 29 completed cognitive assess-
ments at baseline and 6 months. The primary outcome was the change in CSF DHA. Secondary outcomes
included changes in CSF EPA levels, MRI hippocampal volume and entorhinal thickness; exploratory out-
comes were measures of cognition.

Quote

Findings: A 28% increase in CSF DHA and 43% increase in CSF EPA were observed in the DHA treatment
arm compared to placebo (mean difference for DHA (95% CI): 0.08 μg/mL (0.05, 0.10), p < 0.0 0 01; mean
difference for EPA: 0.008 μg/mL (0.004, 0.011), p < 0.0001). The increase in CSF EPA in non- APOE 4 carriers
after supplementation was three times greater than APOE4 carriers. The change in brain volumes and
cognitive scores did not differ between groups.

It seems at doses of 2g of DHA in non apoe4 people there is at least some increase of it in CSF. Next they used very careful "may":

Quote

Interpretation: Dementia prevention trials using omega-3 supplementation doses equal or lower to 1 g
per day may have reduced brain effects, particularly in APOE4 carriers. Trial Registration: NCT02541929.

They used seems not a therapeutic dose of 2+g, but higher than a supplement <1g of pure acid.

If i understand the idea behind o6/o3 ratio correct it is claimed to be a proxy that could extrapolate to: "supplement at this level and in 2.5 years your membranes levels of beneficial molecules will be close to the number we think better than without it". And the observation that with apo4 carier's inefficient lipid transporters brings the idea of very high dosage as a longterm daily requirement, so at least something will be passed the bbb. AFAIR it is still not yet known if this will actually work and how efficient.

In any case, as doc on the video above does it - with scepticism but still taking it - the inertia of this process and possible harm is thought to outweight the extra chole points.

Maybe more expensive supplements with more DHA and less fish oil could cut the unwanted lipid pannel effect, I decided that vegan versions of such supplements are too expensive for me. I am using 2x ultra omega3 from Now daily and it is not close to the dosage the article mentions. It seems also will take me years to even reach omegaquant's recommended ratio at this regimen. On the other hand, I have no apoe4 so I will never try to have 10g daily even if trials will reveal that it is beneficial - most of us live in the areas where such highest intake was never possible and we are all not such different in deseases perspective from japanese with their levels connected to their environment and culture.

Br,

Igor

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just got my fresh report from omegaquant. From the last year I had almost the whole time taken 2 large caps from nowfoods, 1200mg with 500epa/250dha per caps. I would say not a small amount. I had maybe 3 weeks during the year when my bottle with 1200s run out and I dropped to 3-4times smaller amounts daily until my older vegan caps emptied and switched back to these 1200 ones. I also take one caps (1000mg) per 10 days of DGLA.

I have o6/o3 the same 4,8:1 in the diapason of desirable 3:1-5:1 (close to the less desirable higher part of the range). aa/epa 2.6:1 in desirable 2.5:1-11:1 (lower side mostly due to low AA) and completely not interesting individual acids values.

My intake according to crono were something like:

total: 92-98g

mono: 25-27g

poli:35-38

o3:9-11g

o6:23-25g

sat:20g

No liquid oils (except small amount in veggie spreads when I eat them), seeds, nuts, nibs and choco for sources behind the supplementary caps.

I had higher ratio values when I ate less total but with small amounts of fish and much lower caps (1000mg/day) before this switch to 1200 which I am running 2+years.

My ratio values are the same as a year ago. So it somehow looks similar to d3 suplements, to move a bar higher considerable amounts in supplements is needed, this predicts that there are several queues for the molecules and they have different "eagerness", if the desired queue has lower chance to get the material - we have to put a lot of material over or perhaps wait longer. Maybe this is why people talk about 2+ years to change the brain cells concentrations to a desired values. And these ratios measured in the rbcs are a proxy (no idea how good is the data based on which they extrapolates it).

My TC surrounding the previous year measurements was in 150x then raised to 180x on winter when I started to eat more (just calories, no changes in the diet style) and then finished in 140x close to the o3 test day when I felt myself already on CR-like regimen.

So in my case it seems worse to use caps and do not think about chole, my feeling is that it is rather bound to calories and/or rbc counts than to negligible amounts of fat in the caps.

Br,

Igor

 

 

 

Edited by IgorF
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I also remember I heard in some Rhonda's talk she targets some enormous ratio and uses tonns of sources to get into it. If I understand the things right for people with apoe4 the lipid transporter that brings the necessary acids to the brain functions considerably worse than for a2/a3 and because of this, to deliver the same amounts people need really tonns of supplements/food and maybe these often mentioned extreme ratios make some sense, a lot of material will stay before bbb and finally will land into the rbc membranes where it will be measured. But for people not at ah risk due to apoe4 (or if other lipid-transporter related things) these ratios are something hard to imagine to reach via diet anywhere except a few areas where fish consumption is multigenerational norm.

Edited by IgorF
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6 hours ago, IgorF said:

Just got my fresh report from omegaquant. From the last year I had almost the whole time taken 2 large caps from nowfoods, 1200mg with 500epa/250dha per caps. I would say not a small amount. I had maybe 3 weeks during the year when my bottle with 1200s run out and I dropped to 3-4times smaller amounts daily until my older vegan caps emptied and switched back to these 1200 ones. I also take one caps (1000mg) per 10 days of DGLA.

I have o6/o3 the same 4,8:1 in the diapason of desirable 3:1-5:1 (close to the less desirable higher part of the range). aa/epa 2.6:1 in desirable 2.5:1-11:1 (lower side mostly due to low AA) and completely not interesting individual acids values.

Interesting comparison, thanks.

I got mine recently too, and with no Omega-3 supplementation at all, my Omega-3 Index is 5.33 (less than their "desirable 8%-12%).

n6:n3 = 5.4:1
AA:EPA = 7.8:1
Trans = 0.55%

Until I see something compelling to make me try EPA/DHA supplementation again, I am done with this experiment. It makes no sense on some many levels, other than as marketing tests and supplements.

None of the Blue Zone populations traditionally consumed much fish. The Sardinian Blue Zone population was made up of hill-dwellers, who did not consume fish and consumed less dairy products and olive oil that the rest of the Sardinians. Even the Okinawans had very minimal fish intake before the 1960s, far less than that on mainland Japan. Ditto for the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda.

Fish oil increases LDL-C and the preponderance of the evidence tells us that this is harmful in the long term. Most studies that extol the virtues of fish oil are industry-related and usually done with unhealthy subjects, unhealthy alternatives, or have other issues that make me question them.

For me, fish oil studies are kind of like olive oil, and even saturated fat/dietary cholesterol studies. They use methodology that often does not apply to healthy populations (for example, those with already high LDL-C saturation often show minimal or no further increases), comparisons to clearly more harmful alternatives, and are often structured to align with industry interests and generate headlines.

BTW, I used to like Rhonda at the beginning, but she has gone to pill and services pushing nowadays, so I listen far less to her shows. Getting there with Attia too...

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  • 2 months later...

As I continue to explore the topic of Omega-3 supplementation or fish consumption, I am becoming less convinced of its real benefits, based on the quality of the evidence provided, and more convinced that it is primarily a great marketing success by the related industries, resulting in many billions in sales.

One factor has been coming back to me over the last couple of years, and that is Docosapentaenoic-n3 acid (DPA). It is the one Omega-3 acid the pure form of which cannot be easily or profitably manufactured and sold, and thus there are very, very few studies that focus on it. Yet, it may be of great importance, especially for its effect on inflammation (EPA and DHA do not correlate well with CRP, but DPA does). It is also generally considerably higher in those who eat whole-plant foods and do not eat fish.

Blue Zones generally consume very little fish, thus have relatively low EPA and especially DHA. But based on their diets, they are far more likely to have higher DPA.

I have stopped supplementing with Omega-3s and I do not eat fish. Without Omega-3 supplementation, my Omega-3 Index is between 5% and 5.5%, considered on the lower side by Omegaquant. But Omegaquant counts only DHA and EPA, which I find misleading, but I guess it helps sell more fish and fish supplements. Omagaquant claims that Omega-3 Index should be at least 8% and preferably higher, but the only supporting evidence I see I industry studies. Some other labs, however, include DPA in their indexes.

I just looked at my numbers again, and my DPA is close to 2x the average (whatever this means) and my Alpha-Linoleic acid is about 3x the average. My EPA is just short of average, and DHA is about a third lower than average.

BTW, DHA increases LDL-c by about 16%, and it increases APO-B (according to experts, supposedly not a problem as it can be dropped by statins).

The whole thing sounds fishy to me...

Edited by Ron Put
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