1. Understanding Fats
2. Udo's Choice™ Oil Blend
3. Oil Processing
4. Good Fats
Where do we start?
To understand how fats affect health, we must begin by realizing that there are two opposite stories about fats. There are fats that kill, which we should avoid. And there are fats that heal that we must obtain from our food.
Much has been said about the fats that kill. They are associated with deaths from cardiovascular disease (43%), cancer (23%), diabetes (2%), and other degenerative diseases that kill 68% of Western populations. Only 100 years ago, this was rare indicating that these deaths are from diseases of lifestyle, not genetics.
The problem with our focus on the killer fats is that it is an inadequate focus. If we were to remove all bad fats from our diet, and do it perfectly (100%) we would still die if we did not bring in and optimize the fats that heal. This is because we cannot live without the fats that heal, and removing the bad fats makes no guarantee of obtaining the good ones.
The story of the fats that heal, the good fats, and the essential fatty acids is therefore the more interesting and important story by far. To bring the neglected good fats into our diet, we must identify their sources, their functions, and the signs of their deficiency.
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What are the good (essential) fats?
Certain fats are defined as 'essential' because:
- The body cannot make them;
- They are required for normal cell, tissue, gland, and organ function, for health, and for life;
- They must be provided from outside the body, through food or supplements;
- They can come only from fats (hence fat-free diets cannot supply them);
- Their absence from the diet will eventually kill;
- Deficiency results in progressive deterioration, can lead to death;
- Return of essential fatty acids to a deficient diet reverses the symptoms of deficiency and results in a return to health.
According to the above definition of essential, there are only two essential fats (technically called essential fatty acids or EFAs). One is the omega 3 (n-3) EFA, called alpha-linolenic acid. The other, the omega 6 (n-6) EFA, is known as linoleic acid.
- The body converts the n-3 and n-6 EFAs into several n-3 and n-6 derivatives with important functions in the body. The best known derivatives of n-3 are EPA and DHA, which are made by the body and are also found in high fat, cold water fish. DHA is the major brain n-3. Derivatives of n-6 include GLA (found in evening primrose oil), DGLA (found in mother's milk), and AA (found in meat, eggs, and dairy products, as well as in fish). AA is the major brain n-6.
- From the n-3 derivative called EPA, the body makes hormone-like series 3 eicosanoids, and from two n-6 derivatives called DGLA and AA, the body makes hormone-like series 1 and series 2 eicosanoids, respectively. Eicosanoids regulate many functions in all tissues on a moment-to-moment basis, from conception until death. A more comprehensive look at EFAs, derivatives, and eicosanoids is found on page 20 of Fats That Heal Fats That Kill.
What are bad (toxic) fats?
Most of the health problems usually blamed on fats should be blamed on the destructive processing of fats, normally used to obtain longer shelf life and greater convenience for manufacturers and consumers.
EFAs are sensitive to destruction by light, air (oxygen), and heat. These three destructive influences produce molecules that have been changed from natural and healthy to unnatural and toxic.
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Because of their sensitivity, EFAs need to be pressed, filtered, packaged, stored and used with care. They need protection from light, air, and heat. If this protection is not given, EFAs and the oils containing them cannot retain the health benefits that they confer when treated with care.
What are the functions of essential fatty acids?
EFA-rich oils should be made with health in mind, rather than for long shelf life. When this care is not taken, oils and EFAs are damaged, and then they damage our health.
Essential fatty acids have many functions throughout the body. They are involved in:
- Energy production. In a study with athletes in Denmark, we showed that within one month of giving athletes one tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight per day of an oil blend with an n-3: n-6 ratio of 2:1, stamina increased by up to 40 or even 60%. Athletes could exercise longer before reaching exhaustion, recovered more quickly from fatigue, could exercise more often without over-training, healed quicker from injuries, built muscle faster, and had less joint pain.
Energy improvement is also seen in non-athletes and older people. The EFA blend also improves mental stamina.
- Brain Function. In our work with the blended oil, we have seen consistent improvements in brain function, and research with EFAs from other sources has also shown brain benefits. Among these are elevated mood, lifted depression, increased calmness, better handling of stress, less hyperactivity, better focus, better mental processing, faster learning, increased intelligence, better concentration, and improved motor coordination.
Among the mentally challenged, EFAs can elevate mood, lift depression, improve symptoms in bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and improve brain function in Alzheimer's and autism.
EFAs are also required for vision.
- Skin, Hair, and Nails. EFAs are required for healthy skin and hair, and are required for normal nail growth. They moisturize skin and prevent dryness.
- Cardiovascular Health. N-3 can decrease most CVD risk factors, including high triglycerides (blood fats), blood pressure, platelet stickiness, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein (a). N-3 also keeps the inside of our arteries smooth. N-3 and n-6 keep the heart beat regular.
- Diabetes. EFAs are required for insulin function. N-3 help makes diabetics more insulin-sensitive.
- Weight Management. N-6 slightly and n-3 more effectively help reduce fat production in the body. They also increase fat burning and heat production in the body, and shift the body from burning glucose to burning fats. Saturated, monounsaturated, and trans- fatty acids do not help to manage weight. Sugar triggers increased fat production in the body. Starch can also lead to overweight.
- Digestion. EFAs improve gut integrity, decrease gut inflammation, and decrease 'leaky gut' that can lead to allergies.
- Allergies. EFAs reduce symptoms of allergies. They work best if digestive enzymes rich in protein-digesting protease are also used.
- Inflammation. N-3 reduces inflammation. Digestive enzymes are also helpful.
- Autoimmune Conditions. N-3 dampens the over-response of the immune system in autoimmune conditions. Again, enzymes are also helpful.
- Injury. EFAs speed the healing of injuries.
- Bone Minerals. N-3 improves bone mineral retention, thereby inhibiting the development of osteoporosis.
- Stress. EFAs, by optimizing serotonin production, improve response to stress. People report feeling calmer, getting stressed less easily, dealing with stressful situations more calmly, and losing their temper less often.
- Sleep. EFAs improve sleep in some people.
- Hormones. EFAs improve hormone functions. Hormone levels may decrease, yet the effects of hormones remain normal. EFAs thereby ease the work load of glands.
- Organs. EFAs are required for liver and kidney function.
- Reproduction. EFAs are required for sperm formation, the female cycle, and pregnancy.
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What happens when we don't get enough good fats?
The short answer is: Every part of the body gradually deteriorates and falls apart. No cell, tissue, gland, or organ can function normally without them. Here is a longer list:
- Dry skin
- Low energy levels
- Brittle hair and hair loss
- Poor nail growth
- Deterioration of liver and kidneys
- Behavioral changes due to brain deterioration
- Glands dry up
- Immune system deteriorates, resulting in more infections, poorer wound healing, and increased cancer
- Digestion problems, inflammation, bloating, allergies, autoimmune conditions
- Bone mineral loss
- Reproductive failure: sterility in males and miscarriage in females
- Retarded growth of children
- Tingling in arms and legs due to nerve deterioration
- Vision and learning problems
- Insulin resistance
- Increased risk of overweight
- Decreased ability to cope with stress
- In mental illness, increased symptoms
- Decreased lung function
- Decreased tissue oxidation
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How does the body distribute essential fatty acids?
Essential fatty acids are distributed through the same vehicles that carry cholesterol throughout the body. They are found in chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL, IDL, HDL and the other carriers. In fact, a molecule of essential fat has to be hitched to a molecule of cholesterol to transport cholesterol in these vehicles.
Fat is carried in a watery system (our blood stream) by adding lecithin. Lecithin allows oil and water, which normally don't mix, to mix quite readily. This is because one end of the lecithin molecule is water-soluble while the other is oil-soluble. It therefore forms an interface between water and oil.
Can you get too much essential fat?
When you get more than 12-15% of total calories as n-3s, there is a fat "burn-off" based on increased metabolic rate. Other than exceeding liver capacity and getting nauseous, or not sleeping because of too much energy because you took it too close to bedtime, it doesn't appear so.
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Udo's Choice™ Oil Blend
Why is Udo's Choice Oil Blend so effective for health?
The effectiveness of the blend rests both on its ingredients and on the methods of production, packaging, storage, and use.
The blend is very rich in the more therapeutic n-3s (omega 3 fatty acids). It contains the best oils (flax, sunflower, sesame) from organic sources. It is rich in "minor ingredients" with major health benefits. It contains 65mg/tablespoon of phytosterols, which block absorption and re-absorption of cholesterol from our gut, and both normalizes and stabilizes immune function. It contains lecithin. It contains medium chain triglycerides, and also rice and oat germ oils. It contains the anti-oxidants vitamin E, tocotrienols, and rosemary oils. Additionally, the ingredients are blended together in just the right amounts for best health.
The oils in the blend are unrefined. The blend is pressed at low temperature under exclusion of light and oxygen, packaged in brown glass, then put in a box to eliminate light leakage. It is refrigerated during storage and all but short-term (2 week maximum) shipping. Additionally, the oil is never used for frying.
Thus, made right and used right, the blend provides the health-enhancing n-3s, n-6s, and "minor ingredients" in the best possible way for the body's needs.
What is the maximum advisable dose of your oil blend?
In the beginning, you may want to start with smaller amounts and gradually increase to optimum levels which is approximately 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight; especially if you have a history of being on a low fat or a no fat diet, or if your liver is weak.
Should your liver be unable to handle the amount you are taking at any one time, you will feel heavy or become nauseous. If you took even more oil at this point, you would vomit. Why? The liver has to process the oils and fats you eat. If you exceed its processing capacity by taking more oil at any one time than it can handle, it will protect itself from overworking by making you hurl.
If you do become nauseous, you must begin with smaller amounts. How small? If you can't take three tablespoons, take one. If one is too much, use one teaspoon. If that's too much, take a few drops. If that's too much, take a lick. And if that's too much, take a whiff. But don't quit. Your body requires essential fatty acids in order to function and for you to live. Someone once asked me: Can I just think about it? And I said yes, because if you think about it, you will eventually end up taking a whiff.
So start small, and eventually increase the amount you take. Sometimes liver function is poor because of essential fat deficiency. Then you must give this organ time to recover. Build up liver capacity again by starting with small amounts of the precious essential fatty acids. Be gentle with yourself. Do what you can.
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How much of your oil blend should we give to children?
Administer the oil in proportion to weight. If you weigh 100 pounds and use 2 tablespoons each day to get soft, velvety skin, a 10 pound child should take about 1/10th as much as you. However, because children are more metabolically active than grown-ups, they may need a little more oil than is proportional to their weight.
An approximation of the amount may also be calculated by giving one teaspoon (5 ml) of the oil per each 7 kg (15 lb.) of body weight. A child of 7 kg would take one teaspoon per day, whereas a man of 70 kg would use 10 teaspoons (50ml) per day.
What does your oil blend taste like?
Udo's Choice tastes better than medicine, much better than cod liver oil, but never quite as good as ice cream.
Most people like the taste of the oil blend. I sometimes drink it out of the bottle. I can identify the favors of flax, sunflower, sesame, and coconut. Different people report different tastes from the same batch of oil. Let your tongue instruct you.
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How should the oil blend be used?
Mix the blend in foods. Oils are compatible with all food groups. They go with vegetable dishes such as greens, salads, steamed vegetables, and soups; with starches such as grains, cereals, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes, and yams; with proteins such as meat, eggs, dairy, and fish; and finally, with fruit. You can layer oil on fruit juice (oil shooters), mixed in applesauce or over fruit pieces. Some people take the blend by the spoonful, but most don't like the taste of oils by themselves to take it that way.
The blend can be used on cold, warm, and hot foods; but the blend (and all essential fat-rich oils in general) should never be fried. Frying destroys oils and makes them toxic, and then they, in turn, destroy health.
You can use Udo's Choice oil blend in salad dressings; mix it with yogurt; blend it into shakes; use it in fresh or bottled vegetable juices; in soups; pour it over steamed vegetables; mix it into hot cereals; put it on corn flakes; mix it with the yolk of soft-boiled eggs; mix it into mashed potatoes. The blend brings out the taste of bananas and fruit juices - it makes them taste almost psychedelic! Use equal parts Udo's Choice Oil and extra virgin olive oil for Mediterranean dishes; it improves the nutritional profile of the oil and lightens the dish, while retaining the Mediterranean flavor. Use equal parts Udo's Choice Oil and butter for spreads. Dip bread in the blend, like people in Italy do. There are an infinite number of ways to use the blend.
There are two good reasons for using the blend with foods. First, oils enhance food flavors. Second, they improve the body's ability to absorb health-benefiting oil-soluble phyto-nutrients, especially abundant in vegetables, which are poorly absorbed without oils.
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Why are there no EPA and DHA in your oil blend?
The oil blend builds the foundation for essential fat nutrition. Essential fatty acids are major nutrients and we need quite a lot of them. They serve functions in our membranes and our cells in addition to their roles as EPA, DHA and other derivatives, and prostaglandins.
If given enough of the starting material (n-6 LA and n-3 LNA), the body can usually convert essential fatty acids into the derivatives and prostaglandins, but cannot convert prostaglandins and derivatives back into essential fatty acids again. Therefore, the essential fat-rich oils are an important function in this regard.
I recommend that one first lays down a proper foundation. Then, if there remains specific problems (such as premenstrual syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis) that are not addressed by an optimum intake of essential fat-rich, properly balanced, organically grown, freshly made, properly packaged, and properly used oils, add EPA and DHA to this foundation.
I prefer toro (belly) sushi from albacore (white) tuna as my source of EPA and DHA. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and rainbow trout are other good sources. You may find further benefits from eating such fish. Most people will not need them, but they may help a small percentage of the population.
I prefer eating fish to swallowing fish oil capsules because of the processing damage that occurs in fish oils. Fish oils are very difficult to work with. The "fishy" flavor of encapsulated oils or cod liver oil is actually rancidity. Fresh fish does not have this taste or smell. I also have concerns about fish liver oils. They are most likely to contain (and concentrate) highly toxic industrial chemicals such as PCBs.
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Are other GLA, EPA, and DHA-containing oils compatible with your blend?
All oils are compatible with one another.
3. Oil Processing
How did we lose the good fats and other vital nutrients?
Good fats were lost in the diet because of their sensitivity to destruction by light, air, and heat. Low fat foods are becoming more and more popular. They cannot keep us healthy, but they serve the manufacturers' need for long shelf life. Since the good fats can spoil rapidly, long shelf life requires their absence from foods. But health requires their presence.
The n-3 EFA is destroyed by light, air, and heat 5 times more rapidly than is the n-6 EFA. Since 1850, average intake of n-3 has decreased to 16% of what it was then. N-6 intake has doubled in the past 100 years, mainly due to strong promotion of n-6 rich oils such as safflower and corn oils.
Most of the population does not get enough n-3.
People on low fat diets are likely to get insufficient n-3 as well as insufficient n-6. As a result, research shows that more than twice as many health problems respond to n-3s as respond to n-6 supplementation. However, both are essential and so both must be present in the right ratio. Too much n-3 EFA will crowd out the n-6 (this can happen from exclusive use of flax oil) and will lead to n-6 deficiency, while too much n-6 EFA will crowd out the n-3 and lead to n-3 deficiency.
Besides losses of EFAs due to processing, minerals, vitamins, fiber, enzymes, and probiotics are also lost for the same reason. These components of health must be replaced either by returning to a diet more in line with nature—fresh, whole, raw, organic—or by taking supplements of the components of health missing from our diets.
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How can typical processing methods alter fats and endanger health?
Foremost among destructive processing methods are hydrogenation (or hardening), frying, and the processes used to make cooking (refined, bleached, deodorized [RBD]) oils.
Hydrogenation, which is used to turn oils into margarine, shortening, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, produces trans- fatty acids, which are twisted molecules. Twisted, their shape changes, and they lose their health benefits and acquire toxicity instead.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trans- fatty acids double risk of heart attack, kill at least 30,000 Americans every year, and increase diabetes. Other research shows that they interfere with vision in children, interfere with cerebral cortex function (lower intelligence), interfere with liver detoxification, make platelets more sticky, correlate with increased prostate and breast cancers, interfere with insulin function, and in animals (no human studies done) interfere with reproduction. They also interfere with EFA functions, and make EFA deficiency worse
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Frying has been known for 40 years to increase cancer and heart disease. During frying, oils are exposed to the destructive effects of light, air, and heat, all at the same time Cooking is best done with water (steam, poach, boil, pressure cook). Hard (saturated) fats (ghee, lard, coconut, palm) are damaged less when used in frying than are the liquid oils.
The richer an oil is in EFAs (especially n-3), the more it is damaged when fried,
and the more toxic it becomes.
- When fried food turns brown, the brown part is toxic. That's because when it is fried, the food loses water and dries out, then overheats and burns. If the food remains wet, it cannot burn. Only the outside of fried food burns: the inside is steamed, even in a frying pan.
- The same premise applies to baking. The outside (crust) dries out, overheats, and burns. The inside of the bread remains moist, and is steamed.
- To prevent overheating and burning, use water in a pot or pan, and use a lid so the food remains wet. Then it cannot burn. Take care that when you protect the top of the food from burning, you don't forget the bottom of the food. Stir or add water to keep the bottom of the food from burning.
- Cooking oils are made by treating oils pressed from seeds with corrosive base, corrosive acid, and bleaching clays. This is done to remove 'minor' ingredients, which have major health benefits, but shorten the shelf stability of the oil.
- Bleaching turn’s oils rancid and they acquire a bad odor of rancidity. They must then be deodorized to remove the rancid odor, and this process is carried out at frying temperature.
- Oils treated this way have lost most of their minor ingredients, are unbalanced, and contain about 0.5 to 1% molecules that have been changed by the processing from natural to toxic.
- All of the cooking oils normally found on store shelves have been treated this way (these are the refined, bleached, deodorized or RBD oils), except for extra virgin olive oil, which has not undergone RBD processing and retains its minor ingredients intact.
- Extra virgin olive oil should not be used for frying. Italians traditionally used butter and lard for frying, fried seldom, and added extra virgin olive oil to foods after these have been cooked with water.
- Saturated (hard) fats like butter, dairy fats, pork, beef, and lamb fats, and tropical fats are natural. All foods contain some. The body uses them for energy and in cells and tissues. These fats cause problems only if we do not get enough EFAs in our diet.
- EFAs and saturated fats have opposite effects in the body. EFAs (especially n-3) increase insulin sensitivity and make platelets less sticky, making a clot in an artery (stroke, heart attack, and embolism) less likely. Saturated fats, on the other hand, increase insulin resistance and make platelets stickier.
- To prevent the negative effects of saturated fats, we need to make sure that we optimize our intake of EFAs before we start using saturated fats in our diet. And we need to make sure that EFAs always win the competition with saturated fats.
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PART 4. Good Fats
Where do we find good fats? There are four sources of good fats:
1. Green vegetables do contain good fats, but in very small quantities. To get 2 tablespoons of good fats, a person would have to eat over 60 pounds of vegetables per day.
2. Seeds and nuts are richer sources of EFAs. But there is no seed or nut that gives an optimum ratio of n-3 to n-6 to keep us healthy in our present situation with food habits. Flax is the richest source of n-3, but a poor source of n-6. Sunflower and sesame seeds contain n-6 but no n-3. So we must mix and match these seeds to get both EFAs in the right quantities and ratio.
3. High fat, cold water fish such as sardines, salmon, trout, herring, and mackerel contain n-3 and n-6 derivatives. Eating fish is preferable to using fish oil capsules, due to contamination of fish oils with mercury, pesticides, and PCBs, and due to damage done to fish oils during processing.
4. Oils made with health in mind: pressed from organically grown seeds under protection of light, air, and heat; filtered and filled into dark glass bottles under the same protection; boxed to keep out all light; refrigerated during storage at the factory, in stores, and in the home; and used with care in food preparation (never used for frying, sautéing, or baking).
Oils made with this care are found in the refrigerator in health food stores. It is unusual to see such care taken in oil preparation, packaging, storage, and use. But this kind of care is necessary if EFA-rich oils are to retain their health benefits.
How do we use good fats in foods?
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Good fats can be used in any food. They enhance flavors, suppress appetite, and improve the absorption of oil-soluble nutrients in foods. Oil-soluble nutrients are poorly absorbed when there is too little fat in our foods.
· Good fats make good salad dressings. They can be mixed in vegetable juices, added to hot soups, to steamed vegetables. They make good dips. They make spicy dishes and strong flavors smoother. They enhance the mouth-feel of foods.
· Good fats can be mixed in protein shakes, yogurt, bean dishes, cooked (low fat) fish, and other meat.
· Good fats can be mixed in applesauce, and enhance the flavors of fruit juices, especially the tropical ones: pineapple, mango, coconut, orange, and others.
· Good fats also enhance the flavors of sauces used in pasta and other dishes, and are really nice with potatoes. However, remember that eating too much starch or sweet food increases fat production by your body.
· Don’t blame good fats for overweight. Research has clearly shown that they can decrease fat in the body by burning it faster, slowing down fat production, and increasing energy, activity, and heat, all of which burn more calories.
· If your weight increases after taking good fats, decrease your intake of sweets, starches, and even fruit
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How much good fat should we use?
15% of calories from good fats are a minimum. 10% might be too low. But the quality of the fats you eat is much more important than the quantity.
If you ate only good fats, your fat intake could be as high as 60% of calories from fats, yet you would never die of a fat-related health challenges. We know that from research done with Inuit (Eskimo) people. They did not die of clots in arteries, nor of diabetes, nor of cancer, or of multiple sclerosis.
Inuit fat sources included raw whale blubber and seal fat and fish. The fats eaten by Inuit were not damaged by processing. Their food fats were also rich in n-3 and n-6 derivatives.
In practice, we have seen people take 50% of their calories from our n-3 richer 2:1 oil blend made with health in mind, and report increased energy, better sleep, less joint pain, nicer skin, better mood, and better learning and memory.
In tropical climates, taking that much good oil makes some people sweat more easily.
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PART 5. Miscellaneous
What is the 'Skinny' on Carbohydrates?
Sugar, sweets, fruit (in excess), and starches will be turned into saturated fats by our body if we don't burn them as fuel for physical activity. Carbohydrates that you burn are good fuel, and carbohydrates that you don't burn are bad for health.
Good practical advice goes like this:
- Optimize your intake of EFAs in the right ratio. You will know optimum by soft, smooth, velvety skin. When it's hot, about 1 tablespoon per 100 pounds of body weight per day is a good target. In places where winters are cold, aim for 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight per day.
- Limit your intake of sweets and starches to the amount you can actually burn. If you are overweight, you are eating too much and not burning all of the carbohydrates you eat, and must lower carbohydrate intake and/or increase physical activity.
- Get your carbohydrates from green vegetables rather than from breakfast cereals, bread, potatoes, pasta, grains, or corn.
- Be physically active. Muscles burn much more energy than fat cells.
Can you take too much Lecithin?
Lecithin makes me fat, but not everyone experiences that. Lecithin is less important than it used to be. Made from soybeans, it was one of the few sources of n-3s until other sources of n-3 became available. Our body can manufacture lecithin if the essential fatty acids required for its production are present. Still, lecithin helps to keep fats soluble, and additional lecithin taken as a supplement appears to be helpful for some people to prevent cardiovascular problems.
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Should one take anti-oxidants with essential fatty acids?
Relatively small amounts (about 30 mg or IU per day) of Vitamin E are ample for dealing with the essential fatty acids.
The optimum Vitamin E intake, which is between 400 and 800 mg per day, has been shown to decrease cardiovascular problems by 75%. So, we should be taking much higher amounts of Vitamin E for optimum health than what is required for our essential fat intake.
How do you determine the "twisted-fat" content in products?
It is not required to list twisted fats on a label. They are listed by exclusion. If you subtract, from the total fat in the product, the sum of saturated, mono-unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, the remainder is twisted fats.
There is talk of making a list of the amount of twisted fats mandatory on labels, but it hasn't yet happened. However, their presence must be on the ingredient list by law. If you see the "H" word (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated) on the label (sometimes manufacturers get around the "hydrogenated" label by calling the ingredient "vegetable shortening" instead), then there are hydrogenated fats in the product. Remember the slogan: If you see the "H" word on the package, get the "H" out of there! And leave the product behind.
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Does a woman's needs for EFA's increase during pregnancy?
During breast feeding, the child pulls 11 grams of EFAs from the mother daily through breast milk.
EFAs are required for brain development and brain function. During pregnancy, the child draws EFAs from the mother's body to build its brain, which is over 60% fat and very rich in both n-3 and n-6 EFA derivatives. The placenta contains receptors that ensure that n-3 and n-6 EFAs are transported from the mother to the baby. No such receptors are found for the non-essential monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids.
During pregnancy, the child depletes women of EFAs. Each child gets less EFAs than the previous child, and each subsequent child depletes the mother further unless the mother augments her diet with essential fatty acids.
Depletion of the mother's EFA stores explains why younger children have far more developmental and behavioral problems than older children, especially in large families in which the children are born close together.
Depletion of EFAs during pregnancy also provides a rationale for why women experience far more depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, and more inflammatory, autoimmune, and collagen diseases than men. Women suffer these problems from 2 to 15 times more frequently than men do. The depletion of EFAs during child bearing predisposes women to these conditions. Men are not depleted by baby brain building in the way that women are.
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