According to at least one popular diet web site, millions of dieters around the world may be using the wrong oil on their salads, or taking the wrong omega-3 dietary supplement pill.
For years, millions of people have been pouring flax seed oil over their salads, adding it to recipes and menus, and taking big capsules of it on a daily basis. The idea was to get something called EPA, DHA, and GLA from the essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids it contains. The problem is that to get GLA, EPA and DHA from flax oil, you need a special digestive enzyme. And, guess what? The news from Level1Diet.com is that only young, healthy people make enough of the enzyme to do the conversion from flax oil into these special nutrients that people are looking for.
What are all these initials and why do people want them? EPA, DHA and GLA are called "essential fatty acids" because your body can't make them by itself. You must eat foods (or take supplements) from outside sources containing either Lenoleic Acid (LA) or Alpha Lenolenic Acid (LNA). Flax seed oil contains both of these.
GLA: Gamma Linolenic Acid
EPA: Eicosapentaenoic Acid
DHA: Docosahexaenoic Acid
If you can properly digest these essential fats, you get two wonderful health boosters for your body called EG1 and EG3 (prostaglandin series-1 and series-3). These are terrific aids in fighting inflammation. When you reduce inflammation, you help your body prevent major diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and many more.
What if you can't digest the flax seed oil? You will use another digestive enzyme, D5D (delta-5 desaturase), to convert the flax oil into AA or arachidonic acid, which quickly becomes EG2 (prostaglandin series-2). In the absence of sufficient D6D activity, flax oil acts just like most other vegetable oils. It can actually increase your inflammation and your risk for all the major inflammatory and metabolic diseases. The list includes cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and dozens more. The Level1Diet.com site lists dozens more associated diseases, adding up to 73% of all the deaths each year in the U.S.
So, for years people have been buying flax oil to get EPA, DHA and GLA. And all this time they may have actually been making their inflammatory health slightly worse, or at best merely wasting their money.
The Linoleic Acid flax seed oil contains has to be converted into Gamma Linolenic Acid using the Delta-6 Desaturase D6D enzyme. However, D6D is made inoperative by high levels of insulin (from eating sugar or simple starches), alcohol, pollutants, or high levels of Omega-6 Fatty acids from vegetable oils, fried foods, trans-fatty acids, emotional stress, etc. D6D also becomes less available anyway as we age. Most importantly, there is a common inherited gene that causes a lifelong D6D deficiency. Scientists speculate that this gene is probably the true cause of inherited cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, and other metabolic inflammatory conditions.
Whether inherited or dietary, D6D deficiency may be the major factor behind most major deadly diseases. This revolutionary insight is a driving force behind the Level1Diet.com Anti-Inflammation Health Program.
The idea is to make an end run around the missing or not-working D6D issue. Fish oils give you EPA and DHA with needing to be converted by D6D. Borage oil gives you GLA with using D6D. So the answer is simply to add them into your diet. (1) Take Borage Oil (about 24% GLA), which gives you GLA without needing D6D (best source). Recommended daily dose is about 300mg of GLA from one 1,200mg oil capsule for most normal sized people - up to twice that for very large people. (2) Take Fish Oil, which gives you EPA and DHA without needing D6D. Recommended dose is about 2.4 grams a day of the total EPA and DHA in the oil you are using. That usually means about 3-4 pharmaceutical grade capsules, or up to 10 normal standard health store grade capsules. Both these oils together will help your body produce more of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin series-1 and series-3 inflammation fighters.
If all of that complex metabolic chemistry is confusing, just take Level1Diet.com's word for it -- while flax seed oil may not hurt you much, a much better choice for most of us would be fish and borage oils.