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Old 05-22-2006, 01:54 AM   #1
Tony Ferous
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Location: sydney  nsw
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I used to take 2-3 tbps of flax oil daily a few years ago, before switching to about 2g of fish oil daily along with 6-8 tbps of ground flax seed a week. I'm sure many on this board do likewise.

Is there a case for adding flax oil too, or more flax seed? Cordain seems keen on flax oil, saying that even olive oils contains too many omega 6s.

I know that the argument will be 'poor conversion of ALA to EPA/DHA' but does the body use ALA in itself or ALAs pre-EPA/DHA metabolites(Octadecatetraenoic 18:4n-3, Eicosatetraenoic acid 20:4n-3)?

Would more omega 3 containing plants and seeds have existed in paleo times?

I'm currently 'full paleo', as such my fat intake is around 130g+ per day, I eat full fat meats, not always grassfed unfortunatley, and also salmon, but when eating low fat proteins like tuna or chicken its necessary to add fat from somewhere, and somewhere is usually omega 6 ladened!

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Old 05-22-2006, 06:00 AM   #2
Marc Moffett
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Tony, as I am sure you know, the important thing about O3s is the ratio to O6s. If your ratios are off, then it seems reasonable to use some flax oil to balance them out IMO.

I have an article at work that analyses the O3 composition of some wild plants. I'll post some of the info when I get in later.
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:15 PM   #3
Marc Moffett
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Here is the reference (other articles can be found using Google Scholar: &as_ epq=wild+plants&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=any&as_sauth ors=&as_publication=&as_ylo=&a s_yhi=&as_allsubj=all&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&c2coff=1):

Simopoulos, Artemis. 2004. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants in Edible Wild Plants, Biological Research, 37: 263-277.


Human beings evolved on a diet that was balanced in the omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and was high in antioxidants. Edible wild plants provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and higher amounts of vitamin E and vitamin C than cultivated plants. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins, edible wild plants are rich in phenols and other compounds that increase their antioxidant capacity. It is therefore important to systematically analyze the total antioxidant capacity of wild plants and promote their commercialization in both developed and developing countries. The diets of Western countries have contained increasingly larger amounts of linoleic acid (LA), which has been promoted for its cholesterol-lowering effect. It is now recognized that dietary LA favors oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increases platelet response to aggregation. In contrast, ALA intake is associated with inhibitory effects on the clotting activity of platelets, on their response to thrombin, and on the regulation of arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism. In clinical studies, ALA contributed to lowering of blood pressure, and a prospective epidemiological study showed that ALA is inversely related to the risk of coronary heart disease in men. Dietary amounts of LA as well as the ratio of LA to ALA appear to be important for the metabolism of ALA to longer-chain omega-3 PUFAs. Relatively large reserves of LA in body fat, as are found in vegans or in the diet of omnivores in Western societies, would tend to slow down the formation of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from ALA. Therefore, the role of ALA in human nutrition becomes important in terms of long-term dietary intake. One advantage of the consumption of ALA over omega-3 fatty acids from fish is that the problem of insufficient vitamin E intake does not exist with high intake of ALA from plant sources,

And here is a relevant excerpt from the article:


In view of the fact that a number of studies indicate that 18:3w3 (ALA) is converted to EPA and DHA in human beings, it is important to consider terrestrial sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the food supply. ALA, the precursor to EPA and DHA, was first isolated from hempseed oil in 1887 (73). In plants, leaf lipids usually contain large proportions of 18:3w3, which is an important component of chloroplast membrane polar lipids. Mammals who feed on these plants convert 18:3w3 to EPA and DHA, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

Wild animals and birds who feed on wild plants are very lean with a carcass fat content of only 3.9 % (74) and contain about five times more polyunsaturated fat per gram than is found in domestic livestock (54,75). Most importantly, 4 % of the fat of wild animals contains EPA whereas domestic beef contains very small or undetectable amounts, since cattle are fed grains that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and poor in omega-3 fatty acids (76), whereas a deer that forages on ferns and mosses contains omega-3 fatty acids in its meat.

Lipids of liverworts, ferns, mosses and algae include 16:4w3, 18:3w3, 20:5w3 and 22:6w3. These are of particular interest because, unlike the higher plants in which 18:3w3 and 16:3w3 are the more abundant, they contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as 20:5w3 (liverwort = 9-11 %) depending on their state of development. Mosses growing in or near water contain higher percentages of C20 and C22 PUFAs and are morphologically simpler than those that live in dry habitats (77). Thus both the plants, and the animals that feed on them, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids for human consumption.

In 1984, we initiated a series of studies of the omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidant content of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and other edible wild plants and compared them to cultivated plants (47,57,58,78-83).

Purslane is one of the plants that was part of the diet of hunter-gatherers in the Pacific Northwest section of the U.S. The large native population encountered at contact (ca. 1790-1850) was non-agricultural and obtained their food by foraging, harvesting and sometimes managing, natural, localized species of plants and animals. In a recent study, Norton et al. studied the vegetable food products of the foraging economies of the Pacific Northwest and found them to be valuable sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and ascorbic acid (84). Norton states, "These members of the Lily, Purslane, Barberry, Currant, Rose, Parsley, Heath, Honeysuckle, Sunflower and Water-Plantain families are among those regularly collected by these foraging groups whose economic strategies were keyed to the use of multiple resources and the storage of large quantities of processed foods. Stored vegetable foods along with dried fish provide ample and nutritious diets during the seasonal periods of resource non-productivity. Analyses show that these native foods are superior to cultigens in necessary fiber, minerals and vitamins making substantial contributions to pre-contact diets." The results of this study revealed that a wide variety of foods were used to meet nutritional needs and that native preparation and preservation techniques were important factors in retaining nutrients, and in maintaining a balanced diet during seasons of low productivity. The study indicates that vegetable foods were systematically gathered and processed in quantity.

The wide variety of vegetables eaten along the Mediterranean and by foragers contrasts with the relatively narrow variety of crops produced by horticulturists and traditional agriculturists today. Purslane is the eighth most commonly distributed plant in the world. It is eaten both fresh and dry in many parts of the world, including Crete. Table II includes the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in milligrams per gram wet weight of purslane and other commonly eaten leafy vegetables (spinach, buttercrunch lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and mustard greens). As indicated in Table II, purslane contains 8.5 mg of fatty acids per gram of wet weight. In contrast, the other plants are relatively low in lipid content: spinach contains 1.7 mg/g, mustard greens 1.1 mg/g, red leaf lettuce 0.7 mg/g, and buttercrunch lettuce 0.6 mg/g. Purslane, with 4 mg of 18:3w3/g wet weight, is a good nonaquatic source of 18:3w3. Based on the information available from the provisional USDA table (85) and our studies (57, 58), purslane, a wild growing plant, is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids of any green leafy vegetable yet examined.

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