I am following a course about Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention on coursera.org just to get some more knowledge on things we often hear here and there.
Most of the time the lectures are in line with my beliefs, but the one about essential fatty acids pissed me off a bit as it promoted fish consumption to get omega-3 fatty acids, namely the EPA and DHA types. I learned that from plants we can get the so called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) omega-3 fatty acid which our body can be convert to EPA and DHA in small amounts.
This lecture however says that we have to eat fish to get sufficient EPA and DHA and it suggest that you must eat fish or supplement it if you want to be healthy. I think it is common sense that the optimal human health is not dependent on fish as I cannot imagine anyone who could jump into the river and swim down a fish, catch it then eat it raw. And also, I have never ever had carvings for fish to get more omega-3. So it just sounds nonsense to me.
However, I don't know the science behind it. So my question is, can we make sufficient EPA and DHA from ALA? Do you know any reliable study about it? Do you have blood test results showing actual values of these fatty acid levels? Are they in range?
I found some interesting videos of Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren.
What is the importance of ALA versus EPA/DHA?
And two other related videos:
just for the record, I found this youtube video about essential fatty acid blood test of a raw vegan. She has perfect values.
You can get omega 3 from purslane. Also the body makes EPA out of DHA. DHA can be acquired from algae.
This is covered in the book, The 80/10/10 Diet, but here is a quote from Dr. Doug's website:
So how much fat should we eat? The only fat humans cannot make and need to eat are the essential omega-3 and omega-6s ... and we have no problem getting plenty of the latter. To obtain sufficient omega-3 fat, we need consume only a very small amount of "good" plant-based fat. In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences published its "Adequate Intake" guideline for omega-3 fat, estimating 1.1 grams (for women) and 1.6 grams (for men) to be a safe target (NOT a minimum). This is a fraction of a teaspoon, the equivalent of a couple dozen drops for those who consume oil (a practice I do not recommend). The minimum, it turns out, may be as low as one-fourth that amount.
Broadening the conversation to the more relevant "total fat," we find 5% of calories to be a conservative fat intake that allows for variability among people. And 10% fat, the upper limit I recommend, is at least double what we could conceivably need, even when we allow for inefficient digestion, poor bioavailability, and potential absorption problems. If a diet composed of approximately 10% fat is appropriate, certainly a diet of more than 20% fat is too much fat.
Plant foods, particularly the green leafy vegetables, contain the essential fats we need without our having to think about them. Any diet based around fresh fruits and vegetables that provides sufficient calories to maintain body weight will easily provide the fats we need. All whole plant foods weigh in between 1 and 15% fat ... so if you eat a variety of them every day, and nothing else, your fat needs will be covered quite nicely.
The minimum may be as low as 1/4 the amount of the target, that being 275mg for ladies. (I also take into account these studies are done with folks on standard western diets, so the absorption from poor digestion and make up for loss of nutrients from cooking, too much of this and that, etc. etc. may make this a little different for someone eating HC/LFV or HC/LFRV than the folks in the study.
1 medium 7" to 7-1/8" long banana has 31.9 mg of omega 3s:
A head of romaine lettuce has 707mg of omega 3s:
Another tip from Adam x who is follows 811rv and is a nutritional therapist in the UK and working on his masters degree in the field of nutrition:
The RDA for omega 6 is not based on science. Its based on what the government believes is realistic/achievable for the western community. It is well recognised that the bodys actual requirements for omega 6 are only 3000-5000mg. However because they dont want you to stop consuming animal products, soya products and processed junk, and because they know most people wont want to either, they recommend 12000mg for women and 17000mg for men. This is obscene imo.