All Omega-6s and Omega3s Are Not Equal

There are several forms of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 that our bodies use for various purposes. There is really only one omega-3 and one omega-6 that are considered essential because our bodies can use those 2 to make the other forms our bodies use. Those two are the short forms of omega-6, LA (lenoleic acid), and the omega-3, ALA (alpha-lenolenic acid). They are both 18 carbon molecules and our bodies cannot make them. The real important omegas are the 4 longer ones (20 and 22 carbon molecules) that our bodies can make from LA and ALA. The 4 longer ones are, AA (arachidonic acid), DGLA (di-homo-lenoleic acid) the omega-6s that are made from LA, plus EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeneoic acid), the omega-3s our bodies make from ALA. However, our bodies are inefficient at converting LA and ALA to the longer omegas and unless we are vegetarians or vegans we are much more likely to get most of our longer omegas from our diet.
When we consume the longer omega-6 and omega-3 in our diet, our bodies are much more likely to assimilate them and put them in our cell membranes where they are used to make eicosanoid hormones. We get most of our longer omega-3s from seafood and we get the longer omega-6s from meat. Actually, we get omega-3 and omega-6 from both meat and seafood, but the omega in seafood is mostly omega-3 and the omega in most meat is mostly omega-6, unless it is from grass fed animals or wild game. Grass fed animals and wild game are pretty close to balanced in omega-6 and omega-3, which is exactly where we need to be. Corn and soybeans are very high in omega-6 and they are the dominant grains in the feed that modern farm animals are fed. That is why our modern meat so high in omega-6.
It is the AA form of omega-6 that turns into the inflammatory prostaglandin and the clot promoting thromboxane as well as hormones that promote allergic response. Our bodies can make it from LA just like we can make beneficial forms, EPA and DHA from ALA. There are a few factors that can influence the rate and ratio of the longer forms. A higher level of insulin (from eating carbohydrates) increases the rate of formation of AA, while a higher level of glucagon (from exercise and fasting) decreases the formation of AA. Age decreases the rate of formation of all of the longer essential fats. Higher levels of ALA and EPA can decrease the rate of formation of AA from LA.


Omega-3 Supplements May Slow A Biological Effect of Aging

Omega-3 helps you grow older SLOWER! As long as you reduce your omega-6/3 ratio.


05 OCT 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Taking enough omega-3 fatty acid supplements to change the balance of oils in the diet could slow a key biological process linked to aging, new research suggests.

The study showed that most overweight but healthy middle-aged and older adults who took omega-3 supplements for four months altered a ratio of their fatty acid consumption in a way that helped preserve tiny segments of DNA in their white blood cells.

These segments, called telomeres, are known to shorten over time in many types of cells as a consequence of aging. In the study, lengthening of telomeres in immune system cells was more prevalent in people who substantially improved the ratio of omega-3s to other fatty acids in their diet.

Omega-3 supplementation also reduced oxidative stress, caused by excessive free radicals in the blood, by about 15 percent compared to effects seen in the placebo group.

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Researchers identify a new class of ‘good’ fats

A new beneficial fat that might help with diabetes! Now we just need to know what foods might contain it or how we might increase the levels in our bodies.


 “We were blown away to discover this completely new class of molecules,”



Discovery offers a promising new direction for diabetes prevention and treatment

BOSTON – The surprising discovery of a previously unidentified class of lipid molecules that enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control offers a promising new avenue for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The new findings, made by a team of scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Salk Institute, are described in the October 9 online issue of the journal Cell.

“We were blown away to discover this completely new class of molecules,” says senior author Barbara Kahn, MD, Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at BIDMC and the George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Named fatty acid hydroxyl fatty acids, or FAHFAs, these new molecules are in fat cells as well…

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Links to my article in Apple Newsstand and Google Play Store

Here are the links to my article. The App must be downloaded (for Free), on a mobile device, in order for anyone to get the magazine. An iTunes or Google Account is required, depending on the device you have. (Apple Newsstand) (Google Play Store)

Please feel free to share the links.

Cancer Seminar, Obesity is Second to Smoking as a Cause of Cancer

I went to a seminar yesterday by Dr Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society. He pointed out that the second leading cause of cancer is obesity and that it is a factor involved in causing 12 different kinds of cancer. Smoking is still the leading cause of cancer, but with smoking rates declining, obesity could soon be the leading cause of cancer! America has the highest obesity rates in the world at 35%! We also have the highest levels of omega-6 in our diets and as a result in our bodies. As I have pointed out before, high levels of omega-6 are linked to the production of endo-cannabanoids that stimulate appetite and encourage overeating.

What is it about obesity that causes cancer? The inflammation that comes from omega-6 is certainly part of it, but so is the production of oxygen free radicals that comes from the oxidation of glucose from carbohydrates. There are two well known cures for obesity–diet and exercise. To lose weight we have to burn more calories than we eat–the math is simple, doing it requires will power to stick to your exercise and/or diet routine. It is difficult to stick to a diet when your body is generating hormones that stimulate overeating, so reducing the levels of omega-6 in your body will help you stay on your diet. My book can help you identify the sources of omega-6 in your diet ( and increase your omega-3.

Even if you reduce your omega-6, you will have to try to keep you calorie intake lower than your calorie output. That means choosing foods that are lower in calories and high in nutrition, like fruits and veggies. Salads are a good way to do that–just keep the calories from the salad dressing down. I like the fat free balsamic or raspberry vinegar dressings. When I make a salad, I make and extra one and put it in the fridge so that the next time I am looking for something quick for lunch or to add for dinner, I can just pull out the salad. When I want to reduce my calorie intake at breakfast, I go to fruit salad with fat free cottage cheese or eggbeater omelet with veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, or spinach). Check you weight often, but do not get discouraged with small increases, your weight can vary 3-4 pounds a day. Find out what your range is and double you effort when you see your weight pushing the upper limits of your weight range.
I keep my grain based carbs very low, very little pasta, breads and cereals–it is better to get your carbs from fruits and veggies, they have much more vitamins and nutrients. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, eat a healthy snack like fruit, fresh coconut or the chia snack bars from my book.

Exercise is the other half of the weight loss paradigm. It can be difficult to establish an exercise regime, but anything you can do to increase your activity will help. Success will help encourage you to maintain your efforts. Walking is the simplest way to add some exercise to your daily activities and every little bit will help–don’t try to find the closest parking space to the door when you go shopping, take the stairs whenever possible–at least a few flights. For me, I like do do different things like gardening, hunting, biking or work around the house.

Shrimp, A Good Source Of Omega-3

Shrimp are one of my favorite foods and are a good source of omega-3, but as a Marine Scientist, environmental ecologist and a recreational fisherman, I think shrimp trawls are one of the worst things we do in our bays and coastal waters. Shrimp bycatch destroys billions of pounds of juvenile fish and shrimp net mortality of red snapper is the biggest impediment to restoring our red snapper fishery, killing over 80% of juvenile red snapper. But there is another choice for environmentally conscious shrimp lovers!

Woods Fisheries in St. Joe Florida is a source of pond raised shrimp that is about as green as you can get–no bycatch, no effluent, sustainablefarm raised shrimp.

Woods Fisheries shrimp farm uses low salinity groundwater to raise their shrimp and they have no discharge that could have any environmental effect on the marine environment.

Shrimp are an excellent source of the anti-oxidant, astaxanthin (about 1 mg/oz), the carotenoid that gives them their red color and also found in Mega-Red krill oil pills. Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory as well. Shrimp also contain selenium (about 14 micrograms/oz) which is important in diabetes, heart health and helps prevent cancer. A 4 oz serving of shrimp contains 350-375 mg of omega-3, about 50% EPA and 50% DHA and a omega-3:6 ratio of 3:1.

New article shows daily use of certain supplements can decrease health-care expenditures

This goes back to one of my earlier links from Dr Lands. We need to change our health care insurance premium system so that companies that actually reduce cost get some benefit. As it is not our insurance companies make more money as cost go up because they get to keep 20% above cost for administration and profits. If their cost go up they simply get to raise premiums and keep 20% of the higher cost. We need to have average cost per patient on a regional, or state basis by age group as the basis for premiums, not the cost for individual insurance companies–then reducing cost per patient becomes an incentive for increasing profit.


•If every high-risk person in the target population were to take omega-3 supplements at preventive intake levels daily, there would be an average of $2.1 billion in avoided expenditures per year and a cumulative of $16.5 billion in avoided expenditures between 2013 – 2020
•If every high-risk person in the target population were to take B vitamins at preventive intake levels daily, there would be an average of $1.5 billion in avoided expenditures per year and a cumulative of $12.1 billion in avoided expenditures between 2013 – 2020

New article shows daily use of certain supplements can decrease health-care expenditures

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2014—Use of specific dietary supplements can have a positive effect on health care costs through avoided hospitalizations related to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), according to a new article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements(1). The article, “From Science to Finance—A Tool for Deriving Economic Implications…

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Comments on Large Omega-3 Study

Here us a link to a Time article on one of the recent large studies that found no benefits from Omega-3 on heart disease.

First of all the study they report on with 68,000 participants taking supplements or placebo for 2 years did find a slight reduction in heart attacks (11%–but it was not statistically significant).

Second, there was no information on the omega-6/3 ratio which is what I have trying to tell you is the real important factor based on Dr Lands research (and others).

Third, they follow heart patients on supplements for 2 years looking at death and heart attacks as endpoints in a lifelong disease. That is like closing the barn door after most of the horses are gone and saying that closing the doors did not help much!

There are differences in taking supplements vs eating fish and there are differences in the supplements as well. Some supplements provide the fish oil in the ester form, which is not the natural form and is more subject to oxidation and less bio-available than the natural triglyceride form.

The drug companies would like to have us all taking statins for the rest of our lives. Their influence in the design of studies that are likely to show little or no benefits from omega-3 by ignoring the effects of omega-6 cannot be ruled out. Long-term studies that include omega-6/3 ratio would be more relevant.