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IronOnline Diet and Nutrition Archive

First, here's Dave's take on Essential Fatty Acids

Here's Laree's update on Omega-3 fish oil

Then, here's an older archive from the IronOnline forum members, mostly covering flax seed, which has more recently moved somewhat out of favor. Read the Omega-3 fish oil link above for the most up-to-date information.

<< Couple of questions regarding the flax seed oil.... I've been convinced that EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) are important to get through our food as they cannot be manufactured in the body, but I really don't know what they do. Is there anyone who's taking EFAs who can FEEL the difference, or is this an insurance-type supplement? Tell us more! >>

EFAs cannot be made by the body, thus must be supplied through the diet. They can improve skin and hair, reduce blood pressure, aid in prevention of arthritis, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce risk of blood clot formation. They are essential for rebuilding and producing new cells.

Two basic categories of EFA's: Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-6 EFA's include linoleic and gamma-linolenic acids; found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes and sesame and soybean oil. Omega-3 EFA's include alpha-linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid; found in fresh deepwater fish, fish oil, certain vegie oils such as canola and flaxseed oils. These oils must be consumed in pure liquid or supplement florm - must not be subjected to heat, which destroys essential fatty acids.
Why supplement with EFA's? Failure to eat enough EFA's is a cause of hardening of the arteries, abnormal blood clot formation, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. EFA's are polyunsaturated fat and super polyunsaturated fat and are utilized as building materials for cell membranes in all cells in the body. Without them, the body has to use other harder fats, like saturated fat, which produce harder arteries, etc. EFA's also produce prostaglandins, hormone-like elements required for energy metabolism, cardiovascular and immune system health.

EFA's, feeling the difference... If you're not getting enough EFA's then your nutrition is incomplete. Lack of proper nutrition can cause body systems to function improperly, e.g., cause problems, pain, etc. For example, I suffered with frequent migraine headaches for 10+ years. These headaches sometimes occurred as often as once a week and could last three days. I haven't had a headache, any type of headache, in eight months since supplementing with EFA's. I used to catch colds, including the flu, about four times a year. I haven't been sick at all since taking EFA's. Actually, I haven't been sick for a year and I've never had a flu shot. Also, I just plain feel great!

UDO's Choice Oil - While I was reading Brian Peskin's book, Beyond The Zone, I tried many different brands of oil. Barlean's and Udo's were among them. Neither have the 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 that Peskin alludes to. Furthermore, Udo's is bottled in brown glass which, according to Omega Nutrition, is only 48% effective in blocking out light. Exposure to light causes photo-oxidation which damages the oil and will eventually cause rancidity. Omega spent a lot of money on research to determine the best container and it is black HDPE plastic. It allows no light to penetrate.

As far as buying locally goes, Millard at Mesomorphosis covered it. I'm not on Omega's payroll and think all of these oils are good; however, I'm sticking to the 1:1 ratio provided by the Omega Essential Balance. Even if you don't buy their oil, you might want to visit their website and order their free catalog with a few keystrokes. There's some good information on EFA's and you won't have to read a four hundred page book to get it.
I'm a big fan of flax oil. I've learned a lot about flax oil from Will Brink. His "Q&As" and "Online Articles" (particularly the one about joint problems) have considerable info on some of the benefits of essential fatty acids (EFAs). These include but are not limited to: increased insulin sensitivity, reduced joint pain, greater fat loss, and improved muscle growth; and there have even been anecdotal reports that flax oil has reversed gynecomastia resulting from individuals using prohormones or AAS!

Please note that flax is probably not ideal. It is high in Omega -3 fatty acids but poor in Omega -6. Because of the imbalance, Will recommends rotating supplemental oils between flax oil, Udo's Choice, and hemp oil. These all have different ratios of EFA's. Achieving the ideal balance is the goal. Flax oil (or high omega-3 oils) is especially beneficial for fat loss and should be used when this is your primary goal; but be sure not to use it exclusively.

I supplement with 5-6 tablespoons of oil a day and have been doing so relatively consistently for about 3 years. I've been thrilled with the progress i've made during this period. While probably not completely attributable to EFA's, I give them a fair amount of credit. Visit Will's website for more information.



I have been using flax seeds (ground up) or 1 tbls of flax oil 6 times a week. I have noticed that my cholesterol dropped down to 130 from 150. HDL and LDL and Tryglicerides improved also. Only thing I did different was add the flax.


I'm using UDO's Choice oil. It does need to be refrigerated and so I buy it locally. I'm taking EFA's to add fat to my diet. When I had my typical weekly diet analyzed, it turned out that I was only consuming less than 10% fat. After my Dad had quadruple bypass surgery at 60, our family went ultra low-fat. Interestingly enough, my cholesterol stayed around 210 in spite of my best efforts. When I started taking the EFA, much against what was drummed into me about low-fat, my cholesterol dropped and it has remained lower than ever, all the while the "good" cholesterol increased to around 65. My doctor said, whatever I was doing, I should continue it.

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