DHA defiency possibilty?

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DHA defiency possibilty?

Postby jp17 » Sat May 03, 2008 7:33 am

Greetings Jeff!

I read with interest the thread on EFAs posted by Jaggu. I have further questions and desire your input.

My understanding is that even if someone ate a clean, low fat vegan diet with plenty of omega 3's in correct ratio to omega 6, their body may not be good at building DHA, and that person could be DHA deficient. Therefore, a DHA supplement could be beneficial.

I am considering taking a laboratory grown algae derived DHA supplement to see if it helps an inflammatory skin disease I have called lichen planus.

I am also considering giving it to my 1 1/2 year old to see if it helps her eczema/dermatitis.

From reading Dr. Sears The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood and Dr. Fuhrman Eat To Live, I deduced the following:

A DHA deficiency can be an underlying contributor to inflammatory and autoimmune disease, along with depression, allergies, skin disorders, anxiety, cancer and other disease.

I got lichen planus seven months after changing to a low fat whole foods vegan diet. I eat 2 tbsp ground hemp seed and 2 handfuls raw spinach in a smoothie daily, I also eat walnuts and flax seed regularly. I have occasional high oil meals, but I feel I get a fair amount of omega 3. I try to get enough omega 3's in my daughter too but am not sure if I do.

As boardn10 pondered in the previous omega 3 thread, why did I get a disease after changing to such a disease preventative diet?

So I am wondering if I am one of those people whose bodies cannot make enough DHA, even though I give it good raw materials, and that a DHA supplement might benefit my skin condition.

I'd appreciate any comments or insights to this and if you have any knowledge or experience with lichen planus.

Thanks so much!! I am glad you are here. :-)

P.S. how much of your time does this discussion board take up? (just curious- we sure all do keep you busy with our various obsessions)
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Re: DHA defiency possibilty?

Postby JeffN » Sat May 03, 2008 8:04 am

Hi,


jp17 wrote:My understanding is that even if someone ate a clean, low fat vegan diet with plenty of omega 3's in correct ratio to omega 6, their body may not be good at building DHA, and that person could be DHA deficient. Therefore, a DHA supplement could be beneficial.


I would like to see some conclusive evidence for the above statement as I know of none.

While there may be some discussion about it, and some may have expressed some concern, the National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential. This means there is enough evidence for them to conclude that we can make enough of it without eating it in its preformed state.

jp17 wrote:I am considering taking a laboratory grown algae derived DHA supplement to see if it helps an inflammatory skin disease I have called lichen planus. I am also considering giving it to my 1 1/2 year old to see if it helps her eczema/dermatitis.


We are now discussing two different things. One is the issue of basic nutrition, of which my comments above are directed at. The second issue, is pharmacological intervention,which is where substances/chemicals are used to treat disease. They are two completely different issues and it is important that we separate them out and deal with them as separate.

Also, I would not recommend giving and child a supplement without a thorough investigation into their dietary and lifestyle habits. Outside of B12, and possible Vit D in some rare instances, I know of no general nutrition reason to give a child a supplement.

jp17 wrote:As boardn10 pondered in the previous omega 3 thread, why did I get a disease after changing to such a disease preventative diet?


My first question would be, what motivated you to change?

Second, There is no way to answer this from discussions on a forum without knowing so much more about your medical/health issues and the details of your dietary history and current intake. This is info that needs to be explored professionally as there are so many variable that may be involved and have to be explored.

However, there is the possibility of experiencing some transitional symptoms when making major dietary and lifestyle changes and many people do go through this from dry skin, rashes, to thinning hair, etc etc, all of which usually clear up over time.

There is also the issue of what constitutes a healthy diet. Many people mix together many theories and philosophies and end up with a program that is not really healthy at all.

jp17 wrote:I got lichen planus seven months after changing to a low fat whole foods vegan diet. I eat 2 tbsp ground hemp seed and 2 handfuls raw spinach in a smoothie daily, I also eat walnuts and flax seed regularly. I have occasional high oil meals, but I feel I get a fair amount of omega 3. I try to get enough omega 3's in my daughter too but am not sure if I do.


From what you are generally saying, A) it is not low fat. b) if may be to high in certain fatty acids with a poor balance of essential fats. c) the best thing to do would be to download the free CRON-O-Meter and input your diet for at least a week and then lets see what your averages are.

jp17 wrote:So I am wondering if I am one of those people whose bodies cannot make enough DHA, even though I give it good raw materials, and that a DHA supplement might benefit my skin condition.


Two separate questions/issues. To the first, I doubt it. To the second, if it is a true condition and not a transitional symptom, then you may benefit from some added "food" but I would not begin with recommending a DHA supplement. I would begin by really cleaning up your diet, stabilizing it, and then if necessary, adding in some "food" that may help first. If over time, that didn't work, then we might try a supplement.

Food first. Supplements second.

However, ff your symptoms are interfering with your life, and making it uncomfortable, then there may be reason to intervene sooner but you would still need to establish and stabilize the basics.

jp17 wrote:Thanks so much!! I am glad you are here. :-)


Thank you. Glad to be of help.

In health
Jeff

PS I see you are from B-Town, one of my all time favorite cities I have ever lived in. :) I was part of the "Center for Wholism" when it first opened back in 1994 with Dr Lois Lambrecht.
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Re: DHA defiency possibilty?

Postby jp17 » Sat May 03, 2008 8:08 pm

JeffN wrote:I would like to see some conclusive evidence for the above statement as I know of none.


My sources are from Joel Fuhrman Eat to Live and The China Study, both of which have footnoted references citing articles from different studies on the topic.

I don't know how much weight that has, but it seems to me you can probably find a study that supports any idea you have.

JeffN wrote:While there may be some discussion about it, and some may have expressed some concern, the National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential. This means there is enough evidence for them to conclude that we can make enough of it without eating it in its preformed state.


Maybe I have misunderstood something. I thought EPA and DHA were essential fatty acids that you had to get from food. Is it just omega-3 and omega-6 that are the essential fatty acids? Because your body makes the EPA and DHA? Which would mean I don't have to worry about consuming the preformed EPA and DHA. I just need to worry about consuming the omega-3 and omega-6 so I can make the EPA and DHA.

JeffN wrote:We are now discussing two different things. One is the issue of basic nutrition, of which my comments above are directed at. The second issue, is pharmacological intervention,which is where substances/chemicals are used to treat disease. They are two completely different issues and it is important that we separate them out and deal with them as separate.


I guess I was confusing the two- I was theorizing that my nutrition in terms of omega-3 and omega-6 intake/ratio was adequate, but my body was not able to make enough DHA, resulting in a disease. Same for my daughter. But that does seems coincidental that we would both be unable to produce enough DHA, considering we probably do consume enough omega-3 since I take the flax/walnut measures.


JeffN wrote:My first question would be, what motivated you to change?


My motivation was disease prevention- to have a long, healthly, active life to enjoy my kids and loved ones. My mom died of lifestyle (emphysema at age 61) 6 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 5 months old. She could have been here another 20 years to see her grandchildren grow up. I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up and play with them. (I am 35 years old).

JeffN wrote:Second, There is no way to answer this from discussions on a forum without knowing so much more about your medical/health issues and the details of your dietary history and current intake. This is info that needs to be explored professionally as there are so many variable that may be involved and have to be explored.


I agree.

JeffN wrote:However, there is the possibility of experiencing some transitional symptoms when making major dietary and lifestyle changes and many people do go through this from dry skin, rashes, to thinning hair, etc etc, all of which usually clear up over time..


Yes, I have considered this. I mean, I had 34 years of SAD eating (days of coffee and cigs for breakfast, Wendy's for lunch, Pizza Hut and beer for dinner)

It just is somewhat perplexing to get an inflammatory skin condition after changing my diet when I have read in various texts that the way I'm eating will help rid people of these conditions.

JeffN wrote:There is also the issue of what constitutes a healthy diet. Many people mix together many theories and philosophies and end up with a program that is not really healthy at all...


Thanks for this message.

JeffN wrote:From what you are generally saying, A) it is not low fat.


Yikes you are right! :eek: I have been lax about "good" fat since maintaing a lean body and low cholesterol.

JeffN wrote:2)it may be too high in certain fatty acids with a poor balance of essential fats.


do you mean I could still be consuming too much omega-6?

JeffN wrote:c) the best thing to do would be to download the free CRON-O-Meter and input your diet for at least a week and then lets see what your averages are.


I will do that.

JeffN wrote: I would begin by really cleaning up your diet, stabilizing it, and then if necessary, adding in some "food" that may help first. If over time, that didn't work, then we might try a supplement.

Food first. Supplements second.


I will do that. I think I have still been looking for the "quick fix". Time to go the next level of "healthy diet".

JeffN wrote:However, ff your symptoms are interfering with your life, and making it uncomfortable, then there may be reason to intervene sooner but you would still need to establish and stabilize the basics.


I have had the lichen planus 6 months now. It has definately made my life uncomfortable. I actually just took steroids for the first time because it was so bad. That's why I am questing so hard for some relief.

But let me share with you the benefits I have gained from McDougalling for one year:

weight: 149 to 120
total cholesterol: 257 to 137!
Bodyfat: 26% to 12.5%!

I have excellent energy, depression relief, allergy relief, freedom from substance abuse (I believe eating for health is so genuinely fulfilling that I don't have the need to try to fill with substances), inspiring other people

JeffN wrote:PS I see you are from B-Town, one of my all time favorite cities I have ever lived in. :) I was part of the "Center for Wholism" when it first opened back in 1994 with Dr Lois Lambrecht..


My husband and I know the Center! I used to see a massage therapist there 6 years ago named Beth Moses, and my husband saw an acupuncturist named Jeff Cooney. I've thought of contacting them to see if there is a health professional I might work with that supports diet for disease prevention.

Thanks for really challenging me and giving me your time. I truly appreciate it. You rock! 8)
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Postby JeffN » Mon May 05, 2008 7:03 am

jp17 wrote:My sources are from Joel Fuhrman Eat to Live and The China Study, both of which have footnoted references citing articles from different studies on the topic. I don't know how much weight that has, but it seems to me you can probably find a study that supports any idea you have.


The China Study is a book based on a real epidemiological study that was done. However, looking at DHA and vegans was not part of the study, so there is no way such a conclusion can be drawn from that work.

Eat to Live is a book. We need to see primary evidence not secondary or tertiary which as in this book, is just people interpreting information. There is no way you can tell that they are accurately interpreting the results of the original studies without looking at them ourselves.

I stay abreast of the literature and know of no conclusive evidence for the external DHA. If anyone can post some actual studies to the contrary, I would love to review them.

People say you can find a study that supports any ideas you have but I am not looking for, or asking for that. I am looking for conclusive evidence based on the preponderance of the data and not an exception.

jp17 wrote:Maybe I have misunderstood something. I thought EPA and DHA were essential fatty acids that you had to get from food. Is it just omega-3 and omega-6 that are the essential fatty acids? Because your body makes the EPA and DHA? Which would mean I don't have to worry about consuming the preformed EPA and DHA. I just need to worry about consuming the omega-3 and omega-6 so I can make the EPA and DHA.


The only known essential fats are the short chain, Omega 3 and Omega 6. The longer chain EPA and DHA are not considered essential because Humans make them from the Omega 3 and Omega 3, just like all other animals on the planet.

To optimize your essential fatty acid status, keep total fat low, consume adequate essential fats, and keep omega 6s intake low but adequate (1-4x omega 3).

jp17 wrote:My motivation was disease prevention- to have a long, healthly, active life to enjoy my kids and loved ones. My mom died of lifestyle (emphysema at age 61) 6 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 5 months old. She could have been here another 20 years to see her grandchildren grow up. I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up and play with them. (I am 35 years old).


Congratulations and best wishes!!

jp17 wrote: Yes, I have considered this. I mean, I had 34 years of SAD eating (days of coffee and cigs for breakfast, Wendy's for lunch, Pizza Hut and beer for dinner)

It just is somewhat perplexing to get an inflammatory skin condition after changing my diet when I have read in various texts that the way I'm eating will help rid people of these conditions.


In 1983, when I got really serious about this and went on the strictest dietary protocols you could imagine, my whole back broke out in a serious rash which I never experienced before and was very uncomfortable. It lasted for months and nothing I could do would make it better. Then eventually it started to fade and now, there is no sign of it. It drove me crazy during those months.

What I was told at the time, and I have no "studies" to support this, but have seen it many times in others, especially in those who undergo "rapid" changes, or in fasting, is there is this form of "detox" or "retracing" that happens. Remember, the skin is a major organ of elimination.

The tricky part is understanding what may just be detox and what may be a serious issue. It is hard to tell from here, but considering your background you have shared of the situation, I would guess it is the former and not the latter. But, that is a guess. :)

jp17 wrote:Yikes you are right! :eek: I have been lax about "good" fat since maintaing a lean body and low cholesterol...

do you mean I could still be consuming too much omega-6?


In the 80s, everyone looked just at "total" fat and missed the bigger picture. Many are doing the same now with the "good" fats. It is important to look at the total picture and not just good fat, which everyone is focused on now. The CRON-O-Meter will help.

jp17 wrote:I have had the lichen planus 6 months now. It has definately made my life uncomfortable. I actually just took steroids for the first time because it was so bad. That's why I am questing so hard for some relief.


My recommendation would be to at least spend about a week or two getting the basics down and stabilized and then we can go from there. If you need to use something external for relief, thats fine, or if you want, you can add in 2 TB of ground flax a day also. Or both.

jp17 wrote:But let me share with you the benefits I have gained from McDougalling for one year:

weight: 149 to 120
total cholesterol: 257 to 137!
Bodyfat: 26% to 12.5%!

I have excellent energy, depression relief, allergy relief, freedom from substance abuse (I believe eating for health is so genuinely fulfilling that I don't have the need to try to fill with substances), inspiring other people


Congratulations. All great news. My guess is, it is all only going to get better!

jp17 wrote:My husband and I know the Center! I used to see a massage therapist there 6 years ago named Beth Moses, and my husband saw an acupuncturist named Jeff Cooney. I've thought of contacting them to see if there is a health professional I might work with that supports diet for disease prevention.


I do not know Jeff but knew Beth very well for many years. If you go by and she is there, tell her I say hi.

jp17 wrote:Thanks for really challenging me and giving me your time. I truly appreciate it. You rock! 8)


Thanks!

Jeff
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Re: Instinct to Heal

Postby JeffN » Tue May 06, 2008 4:44 pm

Hi Mikey,

MikeyG wrote:After reading your post and due to my mother's concerns with the dire cognitive consequences that many associate with a low-fat diet,


I am not sure what those are. If you mean, the health consequences associated with the typical American "low fat" diet, or the typical American Heart Association "low fat" diet, that on average is 30-35% fat, 10-12% saturated fat, 200-300 mgs of cholesterol, 12-15 mgs of fiber, and filled with refined processed, low fiber, carbohydrates and sugars/sweeteners, yes I would be very worried.

But, if you are talking about the low fat diet recommended here, that is very similar to the one that many of the longest lived healthiest populations follow, I do not know of any, if the guidelines and principles are followed. The Okinawans and rural Japanese and Chinese along with the rural Tarahumara and Pima Indians of Mexico,(and many other cultures) do not have problems with "dire cognitive consequences" and just the opposite.

MikeyG wrote:Dear Jeff, Though it is full of anecdotal evidence, research is referenced for each section.

The link to his reference page can be found here: http://www.instincttoheal.org/article.php3?id_article=15#sommaire_9

I believe Ch. 9 is where he discusses the potential value for Omega-3 consumption in the treatment of mental disorders. .


With all due respect to them and to you....

Anyone can list references and citations, knowing you will not pursue their accuracy.

As I have said,

my position is that there should be some good evidence for anything we do, whether it is a food, a diet, a herb, a medicine, a supplement, a treatment, or anything. We should also be aware of the potential harm and/or side effects.

Good evidence, means peer reviewed published studies in mainstream scientific journals.

Anyone can came out and make virtually any claim they want. The burden of proof is not really on us to disprove everyone of them and all their claims but the real burden of proof is on them to substantiate their products, diets and their claims. And with more than short term unpublished data or anecdotal info. If they get shut down for one diet, they just rearrange a few things and come right back out with a new diet making the same extra-ordinary claims.

in addition, extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary proof.

The burden is on them, not me.


There is nothing there to convince me otherwise.

There is some evidence that essential fats are important in treating mental health issues (i.e, depression, bi-polar, etc) but not cognitive decline, and even then, it is not conclusive and some of it is conflicting as to where the benefit is coming from. Some say EPA, some say DHA, some say both, some say EFAs and some say there is no effect (See below). But remember, this is in people who follow poor diets, not optimal healthy diets. The first thing to do is to follow an optimal diet.

Now, there are many dietary and lifestyle factors, that may contribute to cognitive decline and ignoring those, and just taking a pill, is not an effective approach.

Either way, most of the recommendations you here being made are way beyond what is actually known.

On the other hand, aerobic exercise, has a much better proven track record of being effective for mental health and cognitive function as does doing mentally challenging tasks. In fact, aerobic exercise has been shown as the only way to regenerate nerve tissue and function

MikeyG wrote:Thanks so much for your consideration and I hope that you're having an amazing day.


I am. Thanks!

In Health
Jeff


Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Feb;1097:171-4.
Role of aerobic fitness and aging on cerebral white matter integrity.

Neuroimaging research suggests that cerebral white matter (WM) integrity, as reflected in fractional anisotropy (FA) via diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), is decreased in older adults, especially in the prefrontal regions of the brain. Behavioral investigations of cognitive functioning suggest that some aspects of cognition may be better preserved in older adults who possess higher levels of aerobic fitness. There are only a few studies, however, investigating potential mechanisms for the improvements in aerobic fitness. Our study suggests that greater aerobic fitness may be related to greater WM integrity in select brain regions. PMID: 17413020




J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 Nov;61(11):1166-70.
Aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans.

BACKGROUND: The present study examined whether aerobic fitness training of older humans can increase brain volume in regions associated with age-related decline in both brain structure and cognition.

METHODS: Fifty-nine healthy but sedentary community-dwelling volunteers, aged 60-79 years, participated in the 6-month randomized clinical trial. Half of the older adults served in the aerobic training group, the other half of the older adults participated in the toning and stretching control group. Twenty young adults served as controls for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and did not participate in the exercise intervention. High spatial resolution estimates of gray and white matter volume, derived from 3D spoiled gradient recalled acquisition MRI images, were collected before and after the 6-month fitness intervention. Estimates of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2) were also obtained.

RESULTS: Significant increases in brain volume, in both gray and white matter regions, were found as a function of fitness training for the older adults who participated in the aerobic fitness training but not for the older adults who participated in the stretching and toning (nonaerobic) control group. As predicted, no significant changes in either gray or white matter volume were detected for our younger participants.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans. Furthermore, these results suggest a strong biological basis for the role of aerobic fitness in maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning in older adults.
PMID: 17167157



Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 58:M176-M180 (2003)

Background. The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques.

Methods. We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers.

Results. Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables.

Conclusions. These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 2;101(9):3316-21. Epub 2004 Feb 20.
Cardiovascular fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging.

Cardiovascular fitness is thought to offset declines in cognitive performance, but little is known about the cortical mechanisms that underlie these changes in humans. Research using animal models shows that aerobic training increases cortical capillary supplies, the number of synaptic connections, and the development of new neurons. The end result is a brain that is more efficient, plastic, and adaptive, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Here, in two separate experiments, we demonstrate for the first time to our knowledge, in humans that increases in cardiovascular fitness results in increased functioning of key aspects of the attentional network of the brain during a cognitively challenging task. Specifically, highly fit (Study 1) or aerobically trained (Study 2) persons show greater task-related activity in regions of the prefrontal and parietal cortices that are involved in spatial selection and inhibitory functioning, when compared with low-fit (Study 1) or nonaerobic control (Study 2) participants. Additionally, in both studies there exist groupwise differences in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, which is thought to monitor for conflict in the attentional system, and signal the need for adaptation in the attentional network. These data suggest that increased cardiovascular fitness can affect improvements in the plasticity of the aging human brain, and may serve to reduce both biological and cognitive senescence in humans.
PMID: 14978288
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Postby jp17 » Wed May 07, 2008 9:07 am

Jeff,

Thanks so much for your reply. After "digesting" this conversation for a few days, my plan is:

Simplify and clean up my diet. More raw veggies. Less processed. Less fat. Discontinue green powder vitamin supplement (All One Green Phyto base). No DHA supplement. Take either 1 tbsp ground flax OR 1 oz raw walnuts daily. Do Cronometer to see 3 & 6 ratio.

I WAS doing all the following nearly every day: green powder, 2 tbsp ground hemp, walnuts, almonds, ground flax, peanut butter.

I really got a message from you that "GOOD" fat plus lean weight and good health does not equal UNLIMITED fat. High GOOD fat is still HIGH fat.

I also read the thread where you created an optimal diet based on sweet potatoes (going nuts). That was very eye opening. I didn't realize how much omega 6 I could be consuming or how out of whack my ratio could be. For example, look at this smoothie I drank daily for a week and gained 2 pounds:

2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp ground flax
1 generous handful walnuts
2 cups soymilk
ice
carob
honey

I entered it on fitday and was horrified to discover 800 calories and 50 grams of fat!!! I thought I was helping my skin by increasing omega 3's with this. But after reading that thread it leads me to believe this could have been adding to an omega 6 big intake. So I shall chill out, eat clean, and do a conservative 1 tbsp flax or walnuts daily.

It sure was tasty though. :D

Thanks, Jill
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