T Nation

Omega-6 Question


#1

I have used Udo's 3-6-9 Blend since reading how highly Berardi thought of the product.

Recently, I read an article from Dr. Weil that warned against the consumption of certain types of fish because they contain Omega-6 oils that he says "are pro-inflammatory, and inflammation is known to cause damage to blood vessels, the heart, lung and joint tissues, skin, and the digestive tract."

If this is so, why would Udo's have these in his formulation? It would seem a good Flax would do the same job. Can anyone recommend reputable brands of Flax??


#2

Omega 6 to is an essential fatty acid. You need to get 3 6 and 9 in your diet. The problem with 6 is that people tend to get too much of it in their diets, and there needs to be a balance between 3 and 6 to maintain. It’s most effective to opt for fish oil rather than relying on flax to get your omega 3s.

Flax is great to take too though. It has other good stuff in it other than just the omega 3s.

Good info here if you want to know more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm


#3

So, if most people ingest too much Omega-6 (in relation to the ideal ratio), do you think Udo’s, which has Omega-6 in it, might not be the best choice? Thanks.


#4

Looks like I should just switch to Flameout.


#5

I use Carlson Fish Oil or Cod Liver Oil ( I rotate between them). Its about $45 for a 17 OZ bottle at Whole Foods, very high quality, nice lemon taste. I have seen it on line and for sale for substantially less, however.


#6

Fundmentally, I think if Udo’s is your primary source of unsaturated fats, its pretty good. However, if you’re like the rest of the world and get lots of omega-6s as compared to omega-3s, I’m not sold on it being better than (or even equal to) a good omega-3 supplement. As an aside, flax isn’t ideal as an omega-3 supplement. Whilst the seeds have other benefits and so on, fish oils are a better source of omega-3s.


#7

I wish I could cite the specific reference, but there was a really fascinating and I think important study done sometime roughly around the late 50’s. (Maybe the very early 60’s, not sure.)

It’s worth realizing that things such as corn oil are not natural to the human diet in any large quantity. Ever look at the fat content of corn? It’s very, very low. You would have to eat a vast amount of corn to get any substantial amount of oil from it. One large ear contains only 1.5 g of oil.

Man did not naturally get much oil from safflower or soy either.

But this stuff is CHEAP to manufacture and thus came to dominate the market versus things which are natural to the human diet such as olive oil or fat intake from nuts.

Which have nowhere near the omega-6 content that corn oil, etc does.

So anyway back at the time of this study, some scientists decided it would be an interesting and worthwhile thing to find out what the effect of increased linoleic acid (omega-6) intake is on the human body.

At the time of the study, while corn oil, etc, did exist in supermarkets etc, it wasn’t as popular as now, and apparently the elderly tended to stick with their traditional eating habits and so the elderly didn’t tend to have any high intake of it, going into the study.

The most interesting thing about the study is that they biopsied and assayed the bodyfat of the subjects to determine its content.

Going into the study, the subjects averaged approximately – all my figures will be very rough – 10% linoleic acid content. The subjects didn’t have any high rate of obesity, poor insulin sensitivity, or various other parameters that were measured.

They were put onto any of three diets: low linoleic acid intake, moderate, and high. With the “high” intake probably being merely average by today’s standards or even somewhat low.

Results?

In the low intake group, the body’s own content of linoleic acid remained unchanged, and rate of obesite, insulin resistance, and so forth did not go up.

In the increased intake groups, and most especially the high intake group, the body’s content of linoleic acid slowly drifted upwards.

Worsened rates of obesity and insulin resistance started appearing at something like the 15% level of the body’s own content of linoleic acid. Levels eventually reached over 20%, with even worse rates of obesity, insulin resistance, and I think at least one or two other adverse parameters.

The study further reported that it takes a great deal of time for increased linoleic acid content in the body to wash out. Like two years.

If there are studies today doing biopsies of human bodyfat and reporting the linoleic acid content, I don’t know of them. But from this study, I would figure the vast majority of Americans have abnormally high bodyfat linoleic acid content, and this is not a good thing.

Except if having avoided vegetable oils and foods containing them for the last couple of years at least.

I think the last thing most need to do is deliberately take more linoleic acid.

Udo seems a nice guy, if one can judge from his picture (Hmm, not a totally reliable way to figure) and as a personal take I think the company is honest and well-intentioned.

But not necessarily so informed. For example, their product contains by their own admission no DHA and virtually zero EPA. Udo thinks that alpha-linolenic acid provides, as a precursor to these, all that is needed. It’s true that alpha-linolenic acid is a good thing and in terms of avoiding frank deficiency, it will cover the bases in that regard. But the idea that omitting DHA and EPA is just as good as having them is wrong. Or for that matter, Udo’s apparently thinks linoleic acid and GLA are the same thing. Nope.

I say that he thinks this because their site reads:

Q: What is GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid)?
A: Gamma Linoleic Acid �¢?? which is another name for LA or Linoleic acid (n-6 �¢?? O-6)

Now, GLA is a good thing. (Not all omega-6’s are problematic.) It is not the same as linoleic acid.

If one doesn’t have excess linoleic acid built up in the body and has practically no other fat intake, then this is not a badly formulated product, though it would be better if it had DHA and EPA.


#8

Wow B.R. That is really interesting stuff. I agree. In a perfect world, I think Udo’s is a very well made and potentially beneficial product, but i’m not going to profess to have an ideal diet (like many of us). It would seem to me that fish oils are probably the way to go and it will probably take a healthy amount daily to bring the average person into a range/ratio that will promote good health. Thanks for sharing.