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From this site:<br><br><a href="http://www.fishoilnews.org/archives/2006/05/" target="_blank">http://www.fishoilnews.org/archives/2006/05/</a><br><br><br><br>
Q: Many people are taking flaxseed oil, believing that they are fulfilling their daily requirement for EPA and DHA. Is that an effective way to get a daily dose of omega-3?<br><br><br><br>
A: Dr. Sears<br><br>
Not really. Flax does contain omega-3 fatty acids, but they are the much shorter chain varieties that need to be transformed by the body into the long-chain varieties in order to get the anti-inflammatory properties. In the human body, this transformation is very, very slow and very, very inefficient. Our best estimates: It takes 50-100 times more flaxseed oil to get the same hormonal benefits of a much smaller volume of purified fish oil. Its not that flaxseed oil is bad. Its just that you have to consume so much of it that youll get fat in the process. The increased body weight will give rise to increased inflammation, so youve solved one problem and made the other problem. It just doesnt make good sense to take flaxseed oil if youre trying to change the balance of eicosanoids in your body.
 

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hemp ftw<br><br><br><br>
Omega 6 is the new black.. i mean the new omega 3 heh<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Seeing this is on "Fishoilnews.org" I have doubts - maybe someone can find a professional third party opinion for ya.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Also from Wikipedia:<br><br><br><br>
Oils from fish or plants as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids<br><br>
Concerns about the dangers of overfishing, as well as the wish to find an alternative for vegetarians, means that some people have considered plant sources such as flaxseed oil as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Another reason is the fact that as many types of oily fish are predators, they are higher up the food chain and thus more likely to contain toxic substances. Swordfish, bluefish and king mackerel have high levels of mercury or methylmercury and should not be eaten regularly: pregnant women should avoid eating them at all.<br><br><br><br>
However, some studies suggest that these plant sources may be less effective than oily fish. The most effective component of Omega-3 fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and to a lesser extent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The fatty acids in flaxseed oil and other plant oils contain only the precursor to DHA and EPA, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but they do not contain DHA and EPA themselves, so the body must convert the ALA into DHA and EPA. A healthy person's body converts only 20% of the ALA, and this figure falls when a person is elderly, unfit or ill. As plant sources already contain smaller quantities of fatty acids than oily fish, this means that a high consumption of plant sources will have less effect than a lower consumption of oily fish.<br><br><br><br>
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2003 examined lactating women who received supplements of 15g of flax seed oil per day. It showed an increase in EPA in their blood and milk, but no increase in DHA. DHA is required for the structure of cell membranes, in particular in the brain and the retina of the eye.<br><br><br><br>
Recently Omega-3 has been extracted from algae which is claimed by those who extract it to contain both EPA and DHA [1].
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Becoming Vegan</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Most experts agree that adequate conversion can take place, providing sufficient LNA is consumed and factors that can depress conversion enzymes are minimized. Reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids is especially important. While we know healthy individuals converts some LNA to EPA and DHA, we are not sure if the amount of conversion that normally takes place promotes optimal health. ... If DHA needs are elevated or conversion is lacking, the affected individual has two options:<br><br>
* Maximize conversion. Increase intake of LNA to at least 4-5 g/day and reduce intake of LA to not more than 8-10 g/day.<br><br>
* Provide a direct source of DHA. Aim for 100-300 mg/day from icroalgae supplements.</div>
</div>
<br>
...
 

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Hmmmm.<br><br><br><br>
This is interesting...very interesting indeed. [taps forehead]<br><br><br><br>
So as a pregnant near-vegan, who takes flax every day, am I not getting what I should be getting? But on the other hand, I'm supposed to avoid fish because of the mercury, and I wouldn't eat fish anyway.<br><br><br><br>
I'm going off to do some searches...
 

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<b>Essential Fatty Acids in<br><br>
Vegetarian Nutrition</b><br><br>
by Brenda Davis, RD<br><br><a href="http://www.andrews.edu/NUFS/essentialfat.htm" target="_blank">http://www.andrews.edu/NUFS/essentialfat.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Where ever flaxseeds become a regular food item among the people, there will be better health". While this prediction was based on simple observation, scientific evidence would suggest there is more than a grain of truth to his words. Flaxseeds are an exceptional source of lignans, a potent anticarcinogen and the richest known source of the essential omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid.<br><br><br><br>
It is generally assumed that North Americans need not worry about getting enough fat of any kind, but as research unfolds, a fatal flaw in this thinking is revealed. Not all fats are damaging to health. Some fats are protective, and two in particular are essential to life they are the essential fatty acids (EFA), linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).<br><br><br><br>
Changes in our food supply since the industrial revolution have jeopardized both the quantity and balance of these nutrients. Our current dietary pattern provides excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in relation to omega-3 fatty acid content. This imbalance of essential fatty acids affects vegetarians at least as much as omnivores. In addition, the trend towards very low fat vegetarian diets (10% or less of calories from fat) may further compromise essential fatty acid intake.<br><br><br><br><b>Function of EFAs</b><br><br>
Essential fatty acids are necessary for the formation of healthy cell membranes, the proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the production of hormone-like substances called eicosanoids (thromboxanes, leukotrienes, prostaglandins). These chemicals regulate numerous body functions including blood pressure, blood viscosity, vasoconstriction, immune and inflammatory responses (3). Humans have the ability to convert the linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid to longer chain fatty acids, which serve as precursors for eicosanoids.<br><br><br><br>
Eicosanoids formed from arachidonic acid (AA) (omega-6 family) have the potential to increase blood pressure, inflammation, platelet aggregation, thrombosis, vasospasm, allergic reactions and cell proliferation. Those formed from eicosapentanoic acid (EPA)(omega-3 family) have opposing affects (4,5). Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are not interchangeable; we must consume both.<br><br><br><br>
These two families of essential fatty acids compete for enzymes involved in their desaturation, thus the excessive consumption of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids may compromise the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA, with adverse affects for health and disease. Current research suggests that the levels of essential fatty acids and the balance between them may play a critical role not only in growth and development, but also in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases including coronary artery disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, arthritis and other immune/inflammatory disorders, and cancer (6-11).<br><br><br><br>
The primary sources of essential fatty acids are plants on land and in the sea. Linoleic acid is found primarily in seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. Alpha-linolenic acid is found in the green leaves of plants, including phytoplankton and algae, and in selected seeds, nuts and legumes (flax, canola, walnuts and soy). Arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acid are obtained directly from animal foods AA from meat and poultry and DHA and EPA from fish.<br><br><br><br><b>How much omega-6 and omega-3 do vegetarians need?</b><br><br>
There are two primary considerations when assessing the adequacy of these essential fatty acids: quantity and balance. The World Health Organization recommends that polyunsaturated fats make up 3 -7% of the energy in the diet (12), without any specification as to the amount needed from each family of fats. However, experts advise that one should consume a minimum of 3% of energy from omega-6 fatty acids and 0.5% from omega-3 fatty acids. Many now suggest that infants, and others who do not consume preformed EPA and DHA, should consume 1% of their energy needs as omega-3. This would include vegetarians and others who do not eat fish (13). While no definitive recommendations are in place for pregnant and lactating vegetarians, it may be appropriate to increase the intake of alpha-linolenic acid to 2% of calories due to the importance of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the developing fetus and infant .<br><br><br><br>
An adult consuming 2000 calories could achieve the recommended minimum 3% omega-6 fatty acids and 1% omega-3 fatty acids with 60 calories of linoleic acid (6.7 g) and 20 calories of alpha-linolenic acid (2.2 g). Obtaining 6.6 g of linoleic acid is easy on almost any diet, even those that are very low fat (10-15% fat). Omega-3 fatty acids are not as plentiful in our food supply, and the primary source for most North Americans is fish. Vegetarians and others not eating fish are well advised to include omega-3-rich plants in their diet on a regular basis.<br><br><br><br>
Scientists use the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids to assess the balance between essential fatty acids in the diet. Research scientists from around the world recommend ratios varying from 5:1 to 10:1, while some experts suggest a ratio of between 1:1 and 4:1 as being optimal. The current ratio in our diet is estimated to be 14:1 to 20:1 with some studies indicating higher ratios in vegetarian populations compared to omnivorous populations.<br><br><br><br><br><br><b>Are plant sources of omega-3 sufficient for human needs?</b><br><br>
Vegetarians and vegans have no direct sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (long chain omega-3 fatty acids) in the diet, hence they must convert alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA in the body. Researchers have questioned whether this conversion is adequate to meet human needs for long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Scientific studies suggest that although the conversion is slow and incomplete (perhaps only 10% of alpha-linolenic acid is converted), and although vegetarians tend to have lower blood levels of long chain omega-3 fatty acids , it is sufficient to meet the needs of most people .<br><br><br><br>
It is important to note, however, that certain factors can depress the enzymes responsible for the desaturation of alpha-linolenic acid, thus adversely affecting this important conversion process. These factors include high intakes of saturated fat, trans fatty acids, cholesterol and alcohol, an inadequate intake of energy or protein, or a deficiency of certain nutrients, such as zinc or copper. There may also be conversion problems for people with diabetes or other metabolic disorders and for those who inherit a limited ability to produce conversion enzymes (possibly where fish has been a major component of the diet for centuries).<br><br><br><br>
In addition, infants convert alpha-linolenic acid to DHA and EPA more slowly than adults. Studies have provided evidence that preterm infants do not have the capacity to form sufficient DHA, resulting in reduced visual acuity and brain function. Thus DHA must be considered an essential nutrient for these babies. Currently, infant formulas in the U.S. are not fortified with DHA, although several companies have patented DHA blends for this purpose and DHA-fortified formulas are expected to hit the U.S. market sometime this year. Several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Spain, presently produce DHA-fortified formulas.<br><br><br><br>
Breastfed infants generally receive ample DHA from their mother's milk, although amounts vary considerably depending on maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarian and vegan mothers have lower concentrations of DHA in their milk, although infant levels of DHA appear to be only slightly less than that of infants of omnivorous mothers. A DHA supplement based on cultured microalgae (under the trademark Neuromins) is now available from natural food stores nationwide.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
....continued...
 

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<b>How can vegetarians insure an adequate intake of omega-3?</b><br><br>
The following four guidelines will help to insure an appropriate quantity and balance of essential fatty acids in vegetarian and vegan diets:<br><br><br><br>
Limit intake of saturated fats and trans fatty acids. In vegetarian diets the primary sources of saturated fats are dairy products and eggs, while vegan diets are low in saturated fats, unless there is a heavy reliance on tropical oils. Trans fatty acids come primarily from hydrogenated vegetable oils. These fats have the potential to interfere with the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to DHA, in addition to increasing risk for degenerative diseases. Trans fatty acids are plentiful in shortening, hydrogenated margarines, processed foods containing hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (crackers, cookies, cakes, pastries, frozen convenience foods, snack foods) and fast foods (hydrogenated oils are used for deep frying).<br><br><br><br>
Make monounsaturated fats the principal fat in the diet. Monounsaturated fats should make up the largest portion of fat in the diet, as they have proven to have neutral or positive affects on health. In addition, emphasizing monounsaturated fats will help to keep saturated fats, trans fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids to a modest level. Olive oil (77% mono-fat) and/or canola oil (58% mono-fat) would be the recommended oils to use. Avocados, olives, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts and pecans are also excellent sources of monounsaturated fats. These foods also provide valuable vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber, and when used moderately, make an excellent addition to the vegetarian diet.<br><br><br><br>
Limit the intake of omega-6-rich vegetable oils. Minimizing the use of oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids is the easiest way to keep linoleic acid levels at a reasonable level. Oils that contain predominately omega-6 fatty acids include corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil. Commercial products such as margarine, salad dressing and mayonnaise that are made with these oils should also be limited. Soybean oil and walnut oil are also rich sources of omega-6 fatty acids, but their omega-6 content is partially compensated for by an omega-3 content of 5-8%.<br><br><br><br>
Include a source of omega-3 fatty acids in the daily diet. In order to obtain sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in the vegetarian diet, good plant sources of this nutrient must be incorporated into the daily diet. If we assume an energy intake of 2000 kcal/day, 5% of calories as polyunsaturated fats and a omega-6: omega-3 ratio of 4:1, one would require 8.9 g of omega-6 and 2.2 g of omega-3 fatty acids. It would not be a challenge to consume the 9 grams of omega-6 fatty acids, even on a very low-fat vegetarian diet. The Reversal Diet (the Dean Ornish program that allows for no oils, nuts or seeds) provides an average 6 grams of linoleic acid primarily from whole grains and soy products. On the other hand, it would require considerable effort for vegetarians to get 2.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, by carefully selecting excellent plant sources of omega-3.<br><br><br><br>
The best source of alpha-linolenic acid is flaxseed oil (57% omega-3 and 17% omega-6 fatty acids). Other omega-3-rich plant foods are much less concentrated sources of this nutrient, often coming packaged with much higher amounts of linoleic acid. Table 1 lists good plant sources of alpha-linolenic acid.<br><br><br><br><b>Flaxseed Cautions</b><br><br>
Flaxseeds absorb 5 to 6 times their weight in water, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids when consuming ground seeds.<br><br><br><br>
Raw flaxseeds, but not the flaxseed oil, contain cyanogenic glucosides, which are converted in the body to thiocyanates. These chemicals may interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland and may increase the risk of goiter (especially when dietary iodine is limited). It has been suggested that intake of raw flaxseed should be restricted to 3-4 tablespoons a day. Cooking inactivates the cyanogenic glucosides, so there is less concern with flaxseed used in baking.
 

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I just wanted to point out that Dr. Sears sells fish oil under the Zone Diet name, so it is in his interests to say that flax oil is not an adequate source. I don't know if this helps, but in my opinion, he is just trying to sell more fish oil.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Professorh</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I just wanted to point out that Dr. Sears sells fish oil under the Zone Diet name, so it is in his interests to say that flax oil is not an adequate source. I don't know if this helps, but in my opinion, he is just trying to sell more fish oil.</div>
</div>
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It always does seem that when you hear that fish oil is "necessary" that there's always a possible agenda behind it.<br><br><br><br>
I'm going to get myself tested if I can find someone who can do it. I have two tablespoons of ground up flax seeds on my oatmeal every day for breakfast, and extremely limited unhealthy fats. I'm quite curious is this is sufficient for me.<br><br><br><br>
If I get tested, I'll post the results
 

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i use flax oil and also once a week take a vegan dha supplement, which is natural for those whom do not understand what it is - microalgae. it is what some of the fish would have eaten had they been free and not factory farmed.
 

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Bad news for men and flax oil (without lignans). I'd heard this before but saw it on the 'question of the day' yesterday from Dr Weil:<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Q A Flaxseed Oil Risk for Men?<br><br><br><br>
Several years ago you indicated that you do not recommend flaxseed oil for men due to potential for prostate tumor growth. Does this research still hold?<br><br><br><br>
A Answer (Published 10/4/2006)<br><br><br><br>
Freshly ground flaxseeds are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. The human body needs long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA), which are found in salmon and other oily, cold water fish. It can make them from ALA, but the conversion is not efficient and is inhibited further if the diet is rich in the omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in most vegetable oils and processed food.<br><br><br><br>
As you know, omega-3s are associated with reduced risks of heart attacks and stroke and also may decrease the risk of macular degeneration (a leading cause of age-related blindness) as well as breast, prostate and colon cancers. If you don't like fish (and don't eat the recommended three servings of cold water fish per week), ground flaxseeds can help fill the gap. I recommend buying whole flaxseeds, storing them in the refrigerator and grinding a half-cup at a time in a coffee grinder. You can then sprinkle a tablespoon or two over salads, cereals, or potatoes or add them to baked goods such as breads and muffins.<br><br><br><br>
In addition to providing some omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber, which helps prevent constipation, and of lignans, compounds with beneficial estrogen-like effects that offer protection against breast and prostate cancer.<br><br><br><br>
I often recommend supplementing the diet with fish oil as an omega-3 source, but I'm less enthusiastic about flaxseed oil. One tablespoon daily will give you seven to eight grams of ALA, but little of that will be converted to EPA and DHA. Flaxseed oil spoils easily so be sure to keep it refrigerated (it should be refrigerated when you buy it). If you notice that it tastes like oil paint, throw it away. Rancidity is oxidation, and oxidized fats are toxic.<br><br><br><br>
Although flaxseed oil seems to be safe for women, I still haven't seen any data showing that it is safe for men. In October 2004, Nutrition Journal published an analysis of nutrition and cancer. One meta-analysis included in that publication reviewed nine studies that revealed an association between flaxseed oil intake or high blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid and increased risk of prostate cancer. The author speculated that the lignans in flaxseed are a major component of its anti-cancer effects and that the lack of lignans in most brands of flaxseed oil may explain why flaxseed oil is not beneficial. Until we know more about the risk flaxseed oil appears to present, I recommend that men avoid it, or at least stick to brands that put the lignans back in. Flaxseeds, however, present no danger to men.<br><br><br><br>
Andrew Weil, M.D.
 

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Everytime something new catches on, some people will geek out. That's how I see it. Just how everyone is like, "soy is the most poisonous thing out there!" They say this as they chow down on their steaks. It's ridiculous.<br><br><br><br>
A year ago I had my cholesterol tested and it was 240. I felt helpless because there wasn't much I could do since I was already a vegetarian who exercised daily. I started eating a bowl of flax oatmeal every morning, I got my cholesterol tested recently and it's down to 180. That was the only change I made. So I believe that it helped me a lot.
 

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I <3 flaxseed meal. I've never had the oil. If you're worried about your prostate, then don't use just the oil. But anyways, before I went veg*n, I never ever ate coldwater fish. So I probably get more EPA and DHA from my flaxseed meal than I did before veg*nism. Ooh, I want some raisins.<br><br>
~Wonder <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/biker.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":ymca:">
 

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I don't know much about flax seed oil but i know that sunflower oil has some really good benefits - including helping to lower cholesterol levels. My friend uses it all the time and it tastes great plus is good for you.
 
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