One of my YouTube subscribers recently asked "I keep seeing criticism of 811 on youtube from the paleo eaters who say you can't get EPA, DHA...on this diet"
To shed some light, here is my answer with a few added extras for those of you who like to look into the issue at a deeper level
EPA and DHA are made in animals this is true, but this also includes human animals - we make DHA and EPA in our bodies provided the correct ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats is ingested.
Most diets (meat, raw, vegan, junk, macro etc etc) have massive amounts of omega 6 and hardly any omega 3 - this means that the ratio is not right for EPA/DHA conversion.
Nutritional experts argue over the ideal ratio but anthing from 1:1 to 1:5 of omega 3 to omega 6 should be fine (you can keep an eye on this using Cronometer. I currently get about 3-4g of each. I upped my omega 3s to match my omega 6 intake by adding 3 tsp of freshly ground flaxseed to one of my daily smoothies. (SAD diets tend to have a ratio of 1:14 or even 1:20!!)
Omega 3:6 ratios in fruits and vegetables and seeds:
Strawberries have a ratio of 1:1
Bananas have a ratio of 1.1
Blueberries are 1:1
Oranges are 1:3
Mangoes are 3:1
Flaxseeds are 5:1
Some plant foods have bad ratios, sunflower seeds are 1:60!! Cashew nuts have no omega 3 at all, only omega 6. This would explain why raw vegans following the 'gourmet' style of raw food have problems and start supplementing with EPA/DHA because their Omega 3:6 ratio is terrible and wont allow for efficient conversion to EPA and DHA
It is not enough to simply increase the intake of Omega 3, you must also decrease omega 6. The consensus in the nutritional field is to make sure omega 6 intake does not go above 2% of daily calorie intake.
Plant sources of direct EPA
Also there are plant sources of EPA - there is a salad plant called Purslane. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, one serving of purslane contains 300 to 400 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid--four times as much as raw spinach and twice the amount in kale. More notably, it's a source of EPA, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid commonly known as fish oil.
Here is an informative post from the Linus Pauling institute (Linus Pauling recived nobel prize for his nutritional research) http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/#metabolism
"There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.
We do not know whether vegetable or fish omega-3 fatty acids are equally beneficial, although both seem to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most Americans do not get enough of either type. For good health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day. This could be through a serving of fatty fish (such as salmon), a tablespoon of canola or soybean oil in salad dressing or in cooking, or a handful of walnuts or ground flaxseed mixed into your morning oatmeal."
Other research shows us that non-fish eaters (which includes veggies and vegans) actually have a more efficient conversion of Omega 3 (ALA) to EPA and DHA.
Welch AA, Bingham SA, Khaw KT. Estimated conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is greater than expected in non fish-eating vegetarians and non fish-eating meat-eaters than in fish-eaters. J Hum Nutr Diet
I hope this adds some 'food for thought'.
my ratio is quite good actually. It's usually 1:2 Thanks for the info and advice. I'll just increase both calories and greens for now.
Just eat more greens if you want more omega-3 FAs, or do what Star recommended...
a-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans
J. Thomas Brenna, Norman Salem Jr., Andrew J. Sinclair, Stephen C. Cunnane,
for the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, ISSFAL
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
conclusion: With no other changes in diet, improvement of blood DHA status can be achieved with dietary supplements of preformed DHA, but not with supplementation of ALA, EPA, or other precursors.
I wouldn't form a conclusion from one paper, it is imperative to read widely around a topic to get a grasp of all the facts and opinions in science field. When scientists at our lab undertake a research project they must first complete a literature review which is usually well over 100 papers, this is to get abroad overview of the topic -neccessary in science where so much conflicting info abounds :-)
Also it looks like you have only read the abstract and not the full paper (as you have quoted the conclusion from the abstract. Absracts do not give us all the info required to work-out whether the methodology was 'good science' or not. For example, we do not know from the abstract what the diet was and how it was changed.
Never form a conclusion from an abstract, and certainly not from just 1 abstract.
I didn't read all the replies, so I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but look up Dr. Ray Peat--www.raypeat.com ...he has a lot of well-researched articles showing that excess polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), or ANY really, espeically for modern humans who probably have a lot of them stored in their tissues from grain and processed food eating in the past, are pretty terrible for you.