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NEWSLETTER 13 - 5 : Conclusions ( Edited 4/9/01, updated 06/16/03)

Summary
Less n-6 EFA
More ALA
More EPA and DHA
Advice

Summary

You Know That :

The n-6 to n-3 EFA ratio in the diet commands good health.
Our Western diet contains to much n-6 EFAs and is deficient in n-3 EFAs
The n-6 to n-3 EFA ratio of the American Diet is about 10 or 12 to 1. The situation is worse in the Australian diet where the n-6 to n-3 EFA ratio is higher than 15 to 1.
The villain is no longer fat or saturated fatty acids. It is the trans-fatty acid.

What Should You Do?

Eat less n-6 rich food
Eat more n-3 rich food and take supplements containing :

a - Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA 20:5 n-3) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA 22:6 n-3)
b - Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA 18:3 n-3)

See a Video about the n-6 and n-3 composition of food.

Beware of Trans-Fatty acids

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1 - Reduction of n-6 Fatty Acid Intake

The first step to restore the n-6 to n-3 ratio of your diet to an acceptable value is to rewduce the intake of n-6 rich food.

Food 18:2n-6 18:3n-3 n-6/n-3 ratio
Sun flower oil 66 0 n-6 only
Corn oil 58 0.7 83/1
Wheat Germ oil 55 6.9 8/1
Soybean oil 51 6.9 8/1
Safflower margarine 45 0 n-6 only
Sesame oil 41 0.3 138/1
Walnut oil 38 9 4.2/1
Borage oil 38 9 1.5/1
Apricot Kernal oil 29 0 n-6 only
Avocado oil 29 0 n-6 only
Safflower Seed oil 28 0.1 253/1
Italian Salad dressing 25 3.3 7
Brazil nuts 24 0.06 384/1
Margarine from Corn 24 0.4 59/1
Sesame seeds 21 0.3 57
Canola oil 20 9.3 2.18/1
Margarine from Soybean 19 1.5 13/1
Peanuts 16 0.003 5,333/1
Flax seed oil 14 60 0.24/1
Peanut butter 14 0.07 176
Lard 10 1 10/1
Palm oil 9 0.2 46/1

Table 2: Table of foods listed by its n-6 content in grams per 100 grams edible portion.

The table also indicate for each food its n-3 content (if any) and its n-6 to n-3 ratio

Sunflower oil, Safflower margarine, Apricot kernel oil, Avocado oil contain n-6 only.

Peanuts and peanut butter contain n-3 in trace amount only.

Pay a special attention to the n-6 content of peanuts (16 grams/100 grams) and of peanut butter (14 grams/100 grams)

Peanuts and peanut butter contain only 3 milligrams and 70 milligrams respectively of Alpha Linolenic acid (18:3n-3).

Peanuts and peanut butter also contain several allergens

"It should not come as a surprise that peanut has become the principal food allergen in the USA affecting children over the age of three years."

Rance F; Dutau G. Peanut hypersensitivity in children. Pediatric Pulmonology. Supplement, 1999, 18:165-7.

High peanuts and peanut butter consumption result in an overstimulation of the immune system

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2b - Increase of Alpha Linolenic Acid Intake

The second step to restore the n-6 to n-3 ratio of your diet to the acceptable value of 1.9/1, is to choose n-3 rich food.

Food 18:3n-3 18:2n-6 n-6/n-3 ratio
Flaxseed oil 59.14 14 0.24/1
Flax seed 18.12 4.32 0.24/1
Salmon oil 36 4.34 0.12/1
Sardine oil 26 5 0.19/1
Butter 1.18 1.83 1.55/1
Canola oil 9.30 20.30 2.18/1
Walnuts 9.08 38.10 4.20/1
Salad dressing 3.30 24.60 7.45/1
Soybean oil 6.80 51.00 7.50/1
Margarine, soybean 1.5 19.40 12.93/1

Table 2 : Table of foods listed by its n-3 content in grams per 100 grams edible portion.
The table also indicate for each food its n-6 content and its n-6 to n-3 ratio.
(Flaxseed oil, and Flax seeds are not really foods. Their wide use as supplements justify their presence in the list)

From table 2 it appears :

That Canola oil has a good n-6 to n-3 ratio of 2.18 / 1, close to the n-6 to n-3 ratio of 1.9 / 1 recommended by the Cloister workshop. . Two tablespoons of Canola oil (28 grams) provides 2.52 grams of ALA (n-3), a little more than the daily dose of 2.2 grams recommended by the Cloister workshop.

That flax seed is an excellent source for ALA supplementation . One tablepoon of flax seeds (12 grams) provides 2.17 grams of ALA (N-3), The daily dose of ALA (N3) recommended by the Cloister workshop is 2.2 grams. Meanwhile, one tablepoon of flax seeds also provides only 0.51 grams of AL. In flax seed the AL to ALA ratio is 1 to 4.19
With flax seed supplementation, one can correct the overal excess of LA in our Western diet.

That butter is preferable to margarine not only for its much better taste.
If butter and margarine contain about the same amount of ALA per 100 grams, (respectively 1.18 and 1.50 grams), the n-6 to n-3 ratio of butter (1.55 / 1) is much lower than the prohibitive n-6 to n-3 ratio of margarine (12.93 / 1).
Nevertheless, one would have to consume about 200 grams of butter per day to satisfy the recommended daily intake for ALA of the Cloister workshop .
Butter is certainly preferable to margarine, it is not by itself a sufficient source of n-3 EFAs

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2a - Increase of the intake of Eicosapentaenoic acid and of Docosahexaenoic acid

Table two lists food with high Alpha Linolenic (ALA) content. ALA is only one of the n-3 fatty acids existing in food. Others are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA 20:5n-3) and Docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)

Table 4 lists food with high EPA and DHA content.

Food 18:3n-3 20:5n-3 22:6n-3 sum 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 Total n-3 18:2n-6 n-6/Total n-3 ratio
  Salmon, atlantic, farmed 0.09 0.62 1.29 1.91 2.01 1.05 0.05/1
  Herring, pacific 0.06 0.97 0.69 1.66 1.72 0.19 0.11/1
  Anchovy, european 0.00 0.54 0.91 1.45 1.45 0.10 0.07/1
  Salmon, atlantic, wild 0.30 0.32 1.12 1.44 1.73 0.17 0.1/1
  Salmon, chinook 0.09 0.79 0.57 1.36 1.44 0.11 0.07/1
  Bluefish 0.00 0.25 0.52 0.77 0.77 0.06 0.08/1
  Shrimps, mixed species 0.01 0.26 0.22 0.48 0.49 0.03 0.06/1
  Halibut 0.07 0.07 0.29 0.36 0.43 0.03 0.07/1
  Tuna, yellowfish 0.01 0.04 0.18 0.22 0.23 0.01 0.03/1
  Cod, atlantic 0.001 0.064 0.12 0.18 0.19 0.005 0.03/1

Table 4 : Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA 18:3n-3), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA 20:n-3), Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA 22:6n-3), sum of EPA and DHA, total n-3 Fatty Acids, Linoleic Acid (LA 18:2n-6) contents and the n-6 to n-3 ratio of some food with high EPA and DHA contents.


From table 4 it appears :
That Cold ocean fish is the only reliable natural source of EPA and DHA. See example of the long chain essential N-3 fatty acids content in fish oils. Click her to view pdf. Please visit http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html to download and install the program. Detailed instructions are located at the Adobe web site.


The Cloister workshop recommends for everyone a daily intake of 650 milligrams of EPA + DHA. To follow this recommendation, one has to eat daily 30 to 500 grams of fish or 125 grams of shrimps.

Pregnancy and Lactation

The Cloister workshop also recommends that pregnant and lactating women should take 300 milligrams of Docoshexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6n-3)each day.(Table 5) (Why is that beneficial?)

Food Everyone Pregnancy
Lactation
  Salmon, atlantic, farmed 34 24
  Herring, pacific 39 44
  Anchovy, european 45 33
  Salmon, atlantic, wild 45 27
  Salmon,chinook 48 53
  Bluefish 85 58
  Shrimps, mixed species 134 137
  Halibut 180 104
  Tuna, yellowfish 295 167
  Cod, atlantic 361 250

Table 5 : List of seafood and daily quantity in grams that satisfy the Cloister workshop recommended daily intake of 600 milligrams of EPA and DHA combined for everyone (column 2) and daily quantity in grams that satisfy the Cloister workshop recommended daily intake of 300 milligrams of DHA for pregnant and lactating women (column 3)

Since fish is (almost) the only natural food source for EPA and DHA, people that do not eat fish, have to rely on supplements to satisfy their daily requirement for EPA and DHA, if they can not synthesize it from the ALA they find in food and in supplements (More).

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Advice

If you have a high Cholesterol, Triglycerides and/or a History of Stroke, of Heart Attack or
If you have a Chronic Inflammation :


Stay in touch with your health professional to monitor the evolution of your condition and inform him/her about your intention to :

- Improve the n-6/ n-3 ratio of your diet , avoiding n-6 rich food and increasing the consumption of food rich in Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

- Take supplements containing ALA, EPA, and DHA

Read the abstract of a publication on the subject of stroke

Read the abstract of a publication on the subject of heart attack

Read the abstract of a publication on the subject of lung inflammation in smokers, and an abstract concerning Rheumatoid arthritis

If you have Allergy

Stay in touch with your health professional to monitor the evolution of your condition and to reduce the impact of your allergic respons, and inform him/her about your intention to :

- Improve the n-6/ n-3 ratio of your diet , avoiding n-6 rich food and increasing the consumption of food rich in Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).

- Take supplements containing ALA, EPA, and DHA

Read the abstract of a publication on the subject of allergy in babies and n-3 EFA level in milk.

Be patient while waiting for the expected improvement to appear. (More on the subject ASAP)

If you have an Auto-immune Conditions

Stay in touch with your health professional to attenuate the consequences of your auto-immune condition, and inform him/her about your intention to :

- Improve the n-6/ n-3 ratio of your diet , avoiding n-6 rich food and increasing the consumption of food rich in Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).

- Take supplements containing ALA, EPA, and DHA

Be patient while waiting for the expected improvement to appear. (more)

Accept the damage already inflicted to yourself by your overactive immune system (more on the subject ASAP)

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