Self Help

Superfuel - Dr. James DiNicolantonio

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 43 min read



Here is a summary of the key points in the preface and introduction:

  • Dr. DiNicolantonio’s previous book, The Salt Fix, debunked the myth that salt is harmful and showed that salt is actually an essential nutrient.

  • In Superfuel, Dr. DiNicolantonio and Dr. Mercola will show that polyunsaturated vegetable oils are not healthy, while saturated fats like butter and lard are not bad as previously believed.

  • The book will present evidence that humans need much more omega-3 fat and less omega-6 fat than most people get today. This imbalance contributes to chronic illnesses.

  • The type of fats you eat controls how much fat you store and impacts heart health, brain health, and weight loss. The authors will provide guidance on choosing the right fats.

  • Dr. Mercola’s previous book, Fat for Fuel, advocated ketogenic and Paleo diets for metabolic flexibility and burning fat as fuel. This book will go into more detail on why the specific fats you choose are so important.

  • The book aims to clarify the confusing messaging around dietary fats and saturated fats over the past few decades. It will be grounded in solid scientific evidence showing which fats are truly healthy.

  • Vegetable oils were promoted as “heart healthy” because they are high in polyunsaturated fats, which were thought to lower cholesterol. Saturated fats raise cholesterol so guidelines recommended limiting them.

  • But recent headlines have questioned this, suggesting saturated fats may not be so bad and omega-3 fats in fish oils may not be as beneficial as once thought.

  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans still recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of calories and emphasize vegetable oils over omega-3 fats.

  • This contradictory advice is confusing. Studies on fats seem to give mixed messages about what’s healthy.

  • The overview explains the biochemistry of different types of fats - saturated, polyunsaturated like vegetable oils, and omega-3 fats.

  • The complexity of fats and limitations of nutrition studies likely contribute to the conflicting findings and advice over time. More research is still needed.

  • For now, moderation of all types of fat rather than extremes may be prudent until more definitive evidence emerges. The public needs better education on fats to navigate the conflicting information.

Here is a summary of the key points about fatty acids:

  • Fatty acids come in three types: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. This refers to their chemical structure and level of saturation with hydrogen atoms.

  • Saturated fats are the most stable and best for high-heat cooking. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil are also relatively stable. Polyunsaturated fats are the least stable and susceptible to damage from heat, light, and air exposure.

  • Animal fats like lard and tallow tend to be higher in saturated and monounsaturated fats, making them suitable for cooking. Plant oils like corn, soybean, and sunflower oils are very high in polyunsaturated fats and should not be used for cooking.

  • Industrial seed oils like soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils require heavy processing with high heat and pressure to extract. This damages the fragile polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  • Traditionally, animal fats were commonly used for cooking. Recommendations to avoid saturated fats led to more use of processed seed oils, margarines, and spreads.

  • The health effects of different fats depends on their specific fatty acid composition. Broad claims that all saturated fats are bad or all seed oils are good oversimplify a complex issue. Each type of fat should be evaluated individually for its health effects.

  • For decades, saturated fats were blamed for heart disease and obesity, leading to recommendations to replace them with industrial seed oils high in linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat. This led to a large increase in LA consumption.

  • However, recent evidence suggests we only need 0.5-1% of calories from LA, far less than the 7-8% many people now consume. High intakes of LA may actually contribute to chronic diseases.

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fats compete in the body. The more omega-6 you eat, the harder it is for omega-3s to have beneficial effects. Modern diets contain far more omega-6 than omega-3.

  • Omega-3 fats include ALA from plants and EPA/DHA from seafood. Humans likely evolved eating far more ALA and EPA/DHA than we do today. Low intakes, coupled with high omega-6, may drive many chronic diseases.

  • Increasing intake of omega-3s while reducing adulterated omega-6 oils may help reduce risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and dementia.

  • For most of history, dietary fat was prized as an important energy source. Animal fats were particularly valued for providing rich, delicious, and energy-dense calories.

  • In the 1950s, Ancel Keys published an influential but flawed study that seemed to link dietary fat intake with heart disease mortality. This sparked the “diet-heart hypothesis” that saturated fats raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.

  • Later studies found that swapping saturated fats for processed vegetable oils lowered cholesterol. This further supported the diet-heart hypothesis, despite lack of direct evidence linking saturated fats to heart disease.

  • In 1961, the American Heart Association recommended replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils, though the diet-heart hypothesis was still unproven.

  • The demonization of saturated fats and push to eat more vegetable oils was based on observational data and the diet-heart hypothesis, not rigorous evidence directly linking saturated fats to heart disease.

  • The diet-heart hypothesis blaming saturated fat for heart disease took off like wildfire, leading to demonization of foods high in saturated fat like butter despite lack of strong evidence.

  • The real mechanism relating saturated fat to cholesterol levels is still debated. Omega-3 intake may be a bigger factor in cholesterol levels than saturated fat.

  • Early studies implicating saturated fat did not consider omega-3 intake. Low omega-3 and high omega-6 intake likely contribute more to inflammation, abnormal blood clotting, and heart disease risk.

  • Recommendations to increase polyunsaturated fats like omega-6 were based on observational studies and questionnaires, which are weak evidence.

  • Blood levels of fats don’t necessarily correlate with dietary intake. Inflammation can lower blood levels of omega-6.

  • The Mediterranean diet was promoted to blame saturated fat for heart disease, but diets varied in the region. Omega-3 intake wasn’t considered.

  • Other dietary fat research has similar flaws, with inadequate consideration of omega-3 intake and reliance on weak observational studies. The role of saturated fat and omega-6 in heart disease remains questionable.

  • Japan had low rates of coronary heart disease and low saturated fat intake. This was seen as evidence supporting the diet-heart hypothesis, but it could also have been due to their high omega-3 intake.

  • Other epidemiological studies found inconsistent associations between saturated fat/cholesterol and heart disease risk. Supportive studies were cherry-picked while contradictory ones were ignored.

  • Saturated fats can increase good HDL cholesterol and decrease small dense LDL particles, which may improve heart health. The Framingham study found low saturated fat associated with more small dense LDL.

  • Clinical trials are more reliable than epidemiological studies for determining cause-and-effect. But they have limitations in nutrition research due to difficulty controlling diet and lifestyle factors.

  • The Finnish Mental Hospital Study found seed oil intake lowered heart disease death risk but had serious flaws like lack of control group.

  • The Sydney Heart Study found replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid reduced heart disease events. But there were concerns about the vegetable oils used and lack of benefit for women.

  • The Minnesota Coronary Experiment found replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid did not reduce heart disease or total mortality. This contradicts the diet-heart hypothesis.

  • The Finnish Mental Hospital Study and the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Study are often cited as evidence that replacing saturated fat with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats reduces heart disease risk. However, both studies had major flaws and confounding factors that make their findings unreliable.

  • The Finnish study was not randomized, groups differed in medication use, and the omega-6 group reduced trans fats compared to the control. The veterans study also reduced trans fats, had more smokers in the control group, and the omega-6 group had higher vitamin E intake.

  • The Minnesota Coronary Survey found that replacing saturated fat with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats led to higher cardiovascular mortality in women. This contradicts the idea that this dietary change reduces heart disease risk.

  • Other trials like the Anti-Coronary Club and Rose Corn studies also found that replacing saturated fat with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats increased mortality and heart disease risk, despite lowering cholesterol.

  • Many studies that seem to support omega-6 polyunsaturated fat over saturated fat have serious flaws, confounders, and contradictory findings from other trials. Their evidence that this dietary change reduces heart disease is unreliable.

  • Studies that show vegetable oils as better for heart health than saturated fats solely due to lowering cholesterol are flawed. Lowering cholesterol alone does not confer heart protection.

  • The Lyon Diet Heart Study found a Mediterranean diet lower in omega-6 and slightly higher in omega-3 reduced cardiovascular events and death by 70% compared to a traditional low-fat diet, without lowering cholesterol.

  • The PREDIMED study found Mediterranean diets high in extra virgin olive oil or nuts reduced cardiovascular events and death compared to a low-fat diet, despite no significant cholesterol reduction. This was likely due to increased extra virgin olive oil intake displacing refined oils.

  • Omega-3 studies prior to 2005 consistently showed benefits for heart health. More recent studies questioning these benefits had flaws like insufficient doses, too short duration, and interference from medications.

  • High quality earlier studies like DART, GISSI-P, GISSI-HF, and Japanese studies showed omega-3s from fish or supplements significantly reduced cardiac death, heart attacks, strokes, and mortality, even with concurrent statin use.

  • Evidence overall indicates omega-3s are beneficial for heart health in those with or without prior cardiovascular problems if adequate doses are consumed. Fish, omega-3 rich diets, or supplements of 2-4 g per day of EPA/DHA may help reduce mortality and cardiovascular events.

Here is a summary of the key points about cardiovascular health from the passages:

  • Saturated fat was wrongly blamed for causing heart disease, based on flawed theories about cholesterol and heart disease risk.

  • Omega-6 vegetable oils like linoleic acid were promoted as “heart healthy” replacements for saturated fats, but this advice was not well supported. Higher linoleic acid levels in the blood do not necessarily reflect higher dietary intake.

  • Industrial seed oils high in omega-6 were not part of ancestral human diets and populations with good health do not consume them in large amounts.

  • Higher intakes of omega-3 EPA/DHA are consistently associated with reduced heart disease risk and mortality, but only when omega-6 intake is low. Healthy populations typically have omega-6 to omega-3 ratios of 4:1 or less.

  • Replacing saturated fat with high omega-6 industrial seed oils has likely increased heart disease risk. The overconsumption of omega-6 vegetable oils is unhealthy.

  • Recommendations include limiting linoleic acid to 0.5-2% of calories, consuming an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio no higher than 4:1, and increasing EPA/DHA intake to 2-4 grams per day to support heart health. This applies to both those with and without prior cardiovascular problems.

  • There are different types of fats - saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans fats. Industrial trans fats are formed when vegetable oils undergo partial hydrogenation, which gives them a more solid texture but has unintended health consequences.

  • Natural trans fats found in small amounts in grass-fed meats may actually have some health benefits, but industrial trans fats are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more.

  • In the early 1900s, Crisco vegetable shortening made with partially hydrogenated oil was heavily marketed as a healthier alternative to animal fats like butter and lard. Margarine made with partially hydrogenated oils was also promoted this way.

  • The Great Depression and World War II led more people to switch to cheaper partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The wartime need for glycerol also reduced animal fat usage.

  • The American Heart Association endorsed Crisco in the 1950s without proof it was healthier. The Prudent Diet promoted replacing animal fats with corn oil, margarine, etc. to reduce heart disease, though there was no evidence linking saturated fats to heart disease.

  • Partially hydrogenated oils became ubiquitous in processed foods and restaurants. But heart disease rates continued to rise, implicating these industrial trans fats as a culprit, though this was not realized until much later.

Here is a summary of the key points about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids:

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids that play critical roles in human health, but their balance is important. Humans evolved on a diet with a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

  • Modern diets contain far more omega-6 and far less omega-3, with ratios as high as 20:1. This imbalance is linked to increased risk of chronic diseases.

  • Early humans consumed omega-3s from wild plants and animals. Modern agriculture led to livestock being fed grains high in omega-6 instead of grass with omega-3.

  • Vegetable oils high in omega-6 became widespread in the 20th century. Trans fats were promoted as healthier than natural saturated fats despite little evidence.

  • Consumption of omega-3s from fish, grass-fed animals, and some plants plummeted. The drastic change from evolutionary diets underlies many modern health problems.

  • Experts recommend lowering omega-6 intake and increasing omega-3s from fish, grass-fed meat, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens to rebalance levels. A 1:1 or 1:2 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is optimal.

  • Reverting to a more evolutionary-based diet with whole foods and a proper omega-3 and omega-6 balance can help reduce inflammation and risk of chronic diseases.

  • Over the past century, there have been major changes in the fats consumed in the human diet, including an increase in omega-6 fats, industrial trans fats, and a decrease in omega-3 fats. This paralleled a rise in chronic disease.

  • We transitioned from hunter-gatherer diets to more grain-based agriculture and industrialized food production, sacrificing food quality for quantity.

  • Animals raised for food are now often kept in crowded conditions and fed unnatural diets compared to their wild counterparts, altering the nutritional content of the meat.

  • Early humans were able to spread farther from marine sources of omega-3s because they could synthesize EPA and DHA internally from plant-based ALA. This ability varied between individuals.

  • As early human diets incorporated more meat, their digestive systems adapted to more easily extract nutrients from animals foods, enabling less digestive energy expenditure and more energy for complex brain development.

  • Wild game consumed by early humans provided more omega-3s, including DHA from organ meats like brains, than modern domesticated meat sources.

  • Early humans likely began eating the brains of animals which provided docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), enabling the development of larger human brains and bodies.

  • When humans migrated out of Africa, those that traveled along coastlines had diets rich in EPA and DHA from seafood. This meant they did not need the genes to efficiently convert plant-based ALA to EPA and DHA.

  • Modern day Europeans and Asians lack the genetic ability to efficiently convert ALA to EPA and DHA. Since current diets are low in EPA and DHA, this is problematic.

  • The Paleolithic diet had a balance of plants and animal foods, providing an optimal 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.

  • Modern grain-fed meat has more omega-6 and saturated fat compared to grass-fed. Wild game has the most optimal ratio with higher omega-3s.

  • Compared to our ancestors, we eat far too much omega-6 fat and too little omega-3 EPA and DHA fat, contributing to modern chronic diseases.

  • Inflammation is a natural process that protects the body, but chronic inflammation caused by an imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats can lead to various diseases.

  • Omega-6 and omega-3 can both produce pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds, but omega-6 tends to be more pro-inflammatory while omega-3 is more anti-inflammatory.

  • The modern Western diet is heavily skewed toward omega-6 and lacking in omega-3, putting many people in a constant state of inflammation.

  • Populations with a low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, like the Greenland Inuits, Japanese, and Mediterranean cultures, experience extraordinary health and freedom from chronic disease.

  • The Greenland Inuits eat a diet very high in omega-3 from fish and marine sources compared to omega-6. Their ratio is around 0.4, versus the Western ratio of 16:1.

  • The Japanese and Mediterranean diets are also naturally low in omega-6 and higher in omega-3 from fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

  • Correcting the imbalance by reducing omega-6 while increasing omega-3 intake can resolve chronic inflammation and improve health.

  • In the 1970s, the rate of death from heart disease in Greenland was very low compared to the U.S. and Europe. This correlated with Greenland’s high omega-3 intake and low omega-6/omega-3 ratio. Populations with lower omega-6/omega-3 ratios tend to have lower rates of chronic inflammatory diseases.

  • Prior to WWII, Okinawa, Japan had some of the highest longevity rates globally. But after adopting vegetable oils high in omega-6, their health declined. Their omega-6 intake increased while omega-3 decreased.

  • From 1900 to 1950, Japan’s omega-6/omega-3 ratio was low at 3:1. After 1970, the ratio increased to 4:1 along with increases in cancers. High omega-6 intake may promote cancer while omega-3 inhibits it.

  • A study of over 1 million railway workers in India found much higher rates of heart disease and lower age of death in southern regions compared to northern regions. This was linked to the types of fats consumed - seed oils high in omega-6 in the south versus animal fats in the north.

In summary, multiple population studies associate higher omega-6 intake and higher omega-6/omega-3 ratios with increased rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Consuming more omega-3 rich foods while limiting omega-6 intake appears protective.

  • Residents of Delhi, India historically had very low rates of heart disease, among the lowest in the world in the 1950s-60s.

  • Unfortunately, since the 1970s the Indian diet has shifted away from traditional fats like ghee and mustard oil to vegetable oils high in omega-6. This has dramatically increased their omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

  • In parallel, rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have skyrocketed in India. Urban populations now have very high omega-6 intakes and ratios around 50:1.

  • Studies show reducing omega-6 intake and ratio improves insulin sensitivity and diabetes markers in Indians. simply increasing omega-3 is not enough.

  • The Kitavan islanders eat a high-carb, high-saturated fat diet but with low omega-6. Despite smoking, they have virtually no stroke or heart disease.

  • Israelis have very high omega-6 intake and high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  • Studies show reducing omega-6 intake and ratio with a Mediterranean diet improves metabolic syndrome markers compared to a standard low-fat diet.

Here is a summary of the key points about dietary fats and heart health from Chapter 5:

  • Vegetable oils lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, but this does not guarantee protection against heart disease. High vegetable oil intake increases small, dense LDL particles that are more harmful. It also increases LDL oxidation and lowers HDL cholesterol.

  • Omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) may increase LDL cholesterol, but they increase the large, buoyant type which is less harmful. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, blood clotting, blood pressure, and improve blood vessel function - all beneficial for heart health.

  • Studies questioning omega-3 benefits often fail to account for high omega-6 intake in the typical Western diet. When omega-6 intake is low, omega-3s show more benefit.

  • Monounsaturated fats like olive oil improve cholesterol profile by lowering LDL without lowering HDL. They are also stable and less prone to oxidation compared to polyunsaturated fats.

  • Saturated fats increase HDL and large, buoyant LDL while lowering triglycerides and small, dense LDL particles. Saturated fats are also very stable and not easily oxidized.

  • The outdated perception that all saturated fats clog arteries and cause heart disease is not supported by recent evidence. Diets moderate in saturated fat do not increase cardiovascular risk compared to low-saturated fat diets.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have consistently been found beneficial for cardiovascular health, while omega-6 fatty acids may raise blood pressure and damage arteries.

  • Salt is not the primary cause of high blood pressure. Omega-6 fats are more detrimental than sodium.

  • Omega-6 fats can reduce nitric oxide which helps blood vessels dilate, and they can promote compounds that constrict blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.

  • Omega-3 fats from fish oil have been found to lower blood pressure, especially at high doses of 3+ grams per day and in those with hypertension, abnormal lipids, and atherosclerosis.

  • Monounsaturated fats like olive oil have been found more effective for lowering blood pressure than omega-6 rich oils like sunflower oil.

  • EPA and DHA have natural blood thinning properties that can benefit those at risk for hypercoagulable blood and conditions like metabolic syndrome.

In summary, research indicates omega-3 fats are beneficial while omega-6 fats are detrimental for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

  • Fish oil or krill oil may help lower blood pressure, especially if you already have high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues. Studies show omega-3 fats at doses above 3 grams per day can reduce blood pressure.

  • It’s not just total cholesterol or LDL that matters - the type of LDL particles is important. Small, dense LDL particles are harmful, while large, buoyant ones are benign. Omega-3 fats can increase LDL particle size and shift particles from small/dense to large/buoyant.

  • Omega-3s lower triglycerides and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol. The ratio of triglycerides to HDL is a better predictor of heart disease risk than LDL.

  • DHA appears more effective than EPA for improving lipid markers like triglycerides, HDL, and LDL particle size/type. But most omega-3 supplements contain both.

  • Omega-3s act as natural blood thinners by reducing platelet aggregation. This is beneficial to prevent excessive clotting that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms. But too much can also increase bleeding risk.

  • The optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for heart health is likely between 2:1 and 4:1. Cutting omega-6 oils and increasing omega-3s from seafood and supplements can help achieve this.

  • EPA and DHA from fish oil can help reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, likely by reducing abnormal heart rhythms and blood clotting. Studies show fish oil can reduce cardiovascular mortality by 30-50% and sudden cardiac death by 45-81%.

  • The omega-3 index is the percentage of EPA and DHA in red blood cell membranes. An index above 8% is associated with a 90% lower risk of sudden cardiac death compared to below 4%.

  • Populations like Japan with high omega-3 intake from fish have far lower rates of sudden cardiac death than Western nations - about 20 times lower.

  • The Mediterranean diet high in monounsaturated fats like olive oil is also associated with lower heart disease rates compared to diets high in omega-6 vegetable oils.

  • Extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenol content specifically can raise HDL and lower oxidized LDL compared to low-polyphenol olive oils.

  • High quality extra virgin olive oil is pressed within hours of harvest, but most olive oil sold in stores is adulterated with cheaper omega-6 oils. Checking the harvest date helps find pure olive oil.

Here are the key points on how omega-3 and omega-6 fats impact health:

  • The modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 than omega-3, leading to an imbalanced ratio that promotes inflammation. This excessive omega-6 comes primarily from industrial seed oils.

  • Insulin resistance and diabetes impair the conversion of omega-6 and omega-3 fats to their more active forms. This means we need to obtain more EPA, DHA, and GLA directly from food and supplements.

  • Omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA, are critical for proper brain development and function. A deficiency is linked to learning disabilities, mental health issues, and neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Omega-3s reduce inflammation, which is involved in many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune conditions. Omega-6s tend to be pro-inflammatory.

  • Omega-3s may help improve symptoms of asthma, eczema, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, and pain syndromes like fibromyalgia.

  • Higher omega-3 intake is associated with lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as mental health conditions like depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.

  • EPA/DHA supplements may benefit mood disorders, ADHD, migraine headaches, PMS and dysmenorrhea. ALA may help diabetic neuropathy.

  • The optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is likely between 1:1 and 4:1. Reduce omega-6 intake from seed oils and increase omega-3s from seafood, ALA foods, and supplements.

  • Many factors interfere with the body’s ability to convert ALA (an omega-3 fat) into the critical long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA. These include high omega-6 intake, chronic inflammation, medications, health conditions, aging, etc.

  • Low levels of EPA and DHA are associated with many diseases and health issues like diabetes, obesity, depression, autoimmune diseases, and more. These long-chain omega-3s play vital roles in the body.

  • Early childhood development requires adequate EPA and DHA, especially in the third trimester and first months after birth when the brain and eyes are rapidly developing. Women can convert more ALA during this time but still may not get enough.

  • Breast milk is relatively low in DHA compared to recommended amounts for infant brain development. Mothers should ensure adequate DHA intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  • Overall, due to modern diets and lifestyles, most people likely need to supplement with direct sources of EPA and DHA rather than relying solely on conversion of ALA. Getting enough of these critical omega-3s is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • DHA is critical for proper development of babies’ brains and nervous systems, both before and after birth. Breastfeeding provides DHA, but supplementing is recommended if breastfeeding is not possible.

  • Omega-3s, especially DHA, are essential for formation of neurons, synapses, and myelin in babies’ developing brains. This impacts cognition, learning ability, behavior, and more later in life.

  • Premature babies are at risk of DHA deficiency since they miss the major accumulation of DHA in the third trimester. Breast milk or DHA-fortified formula is important.

  • Higher omega-3 intake may reduce risk of hypertension and preeclampsia in pregnant women.

  • Low omega-3 and high omega-6 intake has paralleled the rise in depression and mood disorders. Omega-3s reduce inflammation which can impact mental health.

  • Omega-3s may help with treatment-resistant depression. EPA especially enhances antidepressant effects.

  • Pregnant women, mothers, and babies should aim for more omega-3s and less adulterated omega-6s for optimal mental health.

  • Inflammation in the brain can manifest as psychological and emotional pain rather than just physical sensations. Patients with depression have excessive inflammatory compounds in their brains.

  • Healthy mood and resilience depend on a balance of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Inflammatory compounds reduce availability of neurotransmitter precursors and interfere with hormone production, disrupting mood balance.

  • Omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain. Countries with high fish consumption have lower depression rates.

  • DHA and EPA may improve neurotransmitter function by supporting healthy cell membranes. Low levels are associated with depression. Supplements can improve depressive symptoms.

  • Other disorders like ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, dyspraxia, and aggression/anger issues are also associated with insufficient omega-3 intake. Studies show supplements can improve symptoms.

  • It’s important to not only increase omega-3s but also reduce intake of omega-6 oils that promote inflammation. The benefits of omega-3s are muted without limiting adulterated omega-6 oils.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA may help with a variety of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and reducing violence and suicide risk. Studies show links between low omega-3 levels and these conditions.

  • DHA makes up a large portion of the brain and is crucial for cognitive function and memory. Low DHA levels are linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Alzheimer’s disease involves insulin resistance in the brain. Ketones can serve as an alternate fuel source when glucose uptake is impaired. DHA helps the brain take up glucose properly. EPA increases fat burning and ketone production.

  • Higher intake of omega-3s is associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline. DHA/EPA supplements have slowed cognitive decline in those with mild impairment but may not help those with advanced Alzheimer’s. This suggests a threshold after which intervention is less effective.

  • Getting adequate omega-3s, particularly DHA, earlier rather than later may help protect cognitive function and reduce dementia risk. Both DHA and EPA are important for reducing risk and treating early cognitive impairment.

  • DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain health, while excessive omega-6 can have detrimental effects. Deficiencies in DHA/EPA can impair neuron function in many ways.

  • Conditions that may benefit from increased DHA/EPA intake include Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, depression, bipolar disorder, and more.

  • Oxidation of omega-6 fats can damage cell membranes and set off a chain reaction harming other molecules like DNA and proteins. This is thought to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction, often caused by oxidative damage from excess carbs/omega-6, can starve neurons of energy. This is linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.

  • Omega-6 linoleic acid can directly damage mitochondria. Dysfunctional mitochondria may be unable to initiate programmed cell death, allowing damaged cells to proliferate.

  • In summary, getting adequate omega-3s while limiting omega-6 intake appears critical for optimal brain health and function. Oxidative damage from excessive omega-6 may contribute to neurodegeneration.

  • Obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S., with over two-thirds of Americans being overweight or obese.

  • Some people can appear thin on the outside but have unhealthy amounts of hidden “visceral” fat around their organs, a condition known as “thin outside, fat inside” or “normal weight obesity.”

  • This visceral fat is more harmful than the subcutaneous fat under the skin that people can see and feel.

  • Worldwide, a median of 20% of people have fatty liver disease, which is caused by excess visceral fat and can lead to serious health problems.

  • The root cause of both obesity and normal weight obesity is poor diet, especially overconsumption of processed foods high in vegetable oils.

  • Eating more good fats like omega-3s and fewer bad fats like oxidized omega-6 oils can help reverse obesity and normalize metabolism. A healthy fat balance is critical for maintaining leanness and health.

  • Between 33-46% of American adults have fatty liver disease, which interferes with the liver’s functions like blood sugar regulation. This helps explain why over 50% of U.S. adults are diabetic or prediabetic.

  • Fat stored in the body is not inert - it acts like an endocrine gland, sending inflammatory signaling molecules throughout the body. This can lead to issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

  • Three dietary factors contribute to inflammatory fat storage: refined sugars, industrial seed oils, and low omega-3 intake. Consuming seed oils is particularly problematic.

  • Fat deficient in omega-3s becomes more inflammatory, as omega-3s produce compounds that reduce inflammation. Restoring omega-3s can shift fat to an anti-inflammatory state.

  • The omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA) drives fat cell expansion and inflammation. Reducing LA intake and increasing anti-inflammatory fats like omega-3s, GLA, and oleic acid can help improve this.

  • Simple ways to reduce inflammatory fat include: reducing seed oils, increasing GLA, increasing oleic acid, and increasing omega-3s. Improving omega-3 intake and the types of fat in the diet can reduce inflammation and potentially aid weight loss.

  • Maintaining a proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help prevent or improve issues like inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  • Omega-3 ALA from plant sources can help stimulate fat burning and improve weight loss. EPA and DHA from marine sources are even more potent for these effects.

  • Diets higher in omega-6 oils (soybean, corn, etc.) contribute to obesity and higher blood sugar compared to diets with more omega-3s.

  • The omega-6/omega-3 ratio in a mother’s diet influences the likelihood of obesity in her children. Higher maternal omega-3 levels correlate with lower childhood obesity risk.

  • Marine omega-3s improve fat loss, increase metabolic rate and fat burning, and reduce body fat versus other fats like omega-6 vegetable oils. DHA is particularly effective for enhancing weight loss.

  • Even without diet and exercise changes, adding more omega-3s can improve body composition by reducing fat mass and increasing lean mass.

  • Omega-3 fats, especially DHA, help increase basal metabolic rate and fat burning. This is because DHA acts like an energizer in cell membranes, increasing the activity of proteins involved in metabolism.

  • Omega-3s support building muscle mass by improving protein synthesis. More muscle means a higher metabolic rate and more fat burning.

  • Omega-3s can help counteract age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) by improving the body’s anabolic response to nutrients and exercise. This helps maintain strength and mobility in older adults.

  • Omega-3s improve mitochondrial function, which provides energy for muscles. Studies show omega-3s can enhance the effects of strength training in the elderly.

  • Omega-3s increase oxygen efficiency during exercise, allowing for lower heart rate and less oxygen consumption. This improves exercise capacity and endurance.

  • Overall, omega-3s support fat burning through increasing basal metabolism, building muscle, counteracting muscle loss with age, and improving oxygen utilization during exercise.

Here is a summary of the key points about lesser-known oils and supplements:

  • The conversion of omega-3 and omega-6 parent fats into longer-chain derivatives requires certain enzymes like D6D and D5D. Insulin resistance can inhibit these enzymes, leading to deficits in crucial fats like EPA, DHA, and AA.

  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are saturated fats with 6-12 carbon atoms. They are digested and absorbed differently than long-chain fats, and may promote weight loss by increasing fat burning and energy expenditure. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil are rich in MCTs.

  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) refers to a group of isomers of linoleic acid found in meat and dairy. CLA may help with weight loss and body composition by decreasing fat synthesis and increasing fat breakdown. Grass-fed beef is a good source.

  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fat that may have anti-inflammatory effects. Evening primrose, borage, and black currant seed oils are rich in GLA. Supplements may help with skin conditions, breast pain, and symptoms of PMS.

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the plant-based omega-3 parent fat found in foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. ALA can convert in small amounts to EPA and DHA, but preformed EPA/DHA is preferable.

  • Stearidonic acid (SDA) is another plant-based omega-3 fat that more readily converts to EPA compared to ALA. Good sources are hemp and echium seed oils.

Here is a summary of the key points about fish oil supplements:

  • Fish oil supplements contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits.

  • Fish oil is a convenient way to increase EPA and DHA intake, as it is difficult to get therapeutic doses from diet alone.

  • Look for a quality fish oil supplement that has been independently tested for purity and freshness. Brands certified by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) are a good bet.

  • Take 1-2 grams combined EPA/DHA per day for general health, up to 4 grams for therapeutic effects. Divided doses with meals helps minimize fishy burps.

  • Store fish oil supplements in the fridge to maintain freshness and minimize oxidation. Replace bottles every 3-4 months.

  • Those with bleeding disorders, taking blood thinners, or before surgery should consult a doctor before taking fish oil due to possible increased bleeding risk.

  • Fish oil may interact with some medications and supplements, so check for interactions.

  • For vegetarians/vegans, algal oil supplements provide EPA/DHA from marine algae sources. Krill oil is another option.

The key is to choose a quality supplement, take an appropriate dose for your needs, store it properly, and watch for potential interactions with medications. With some care taken, fish oil supplements can be an effective way to obtain the benefits of omega-3s.

Here are the key points on fish oil and krill oil as sources of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA:

  • Stick to reputable brands of fish oil, as low quality oils may be oxidized or contain contaminants. Refrigerate or freeze to prevent oxidation. Take with meals to reduce side effects.

  • Krill oil may be more bioavailable and absorbable than fish oil due to its phospholipid form. It also contains antioxidants like astaxanthin.

  • Krill oil sustainability is regulated and seems okay for now, but long-term impacts need monitoring.

  • Krill oil may provide benefits at lower doses than fish oil. It has shown particular benefits for arthritis, PMS, and liver health.

  • Fish oil may better lower blood pressure. Both are good omega-3 sources, so choose based on sustainability concerns, price, and personal tolerability.

  • For both, minimal and careful processing is best to preserve naturally occurring compounds. Avoid heavily refined oils.

  • The optimal EPA+DHA dose is around 3-4 grams per day. Krill oil doses are lower due to better absorbability.

  • Krill oil supplementation has been shown to significantly improve dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and emotional symptoms associated with PMS in women. Those taking krill oil needed fewer pain medications than those taking fish oil.

  • Krill oil is more effective than fish oil for PMS symptoms as well as breast tenderness and joint pain, likely due to omega-3s counteracting inflammation from omega-6s.

  • For maintenance doses, 500mg of krill oil daily is recommended. For therapeutic doses, 1-3 grams is recommended.

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat that can be supplemented through oils like borage, black currant seed, evening primrose, and hemp seed.

  • GLA supplementation may help conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, skin health, PMS, ADHD, osteoporosis, and dry eye syndrome.

  • Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. It provides skin and hair benefits, as well as cardiovascular benefits like lowered triglycerides and cholesterol and increased HDL.

  • Argan oil may help manage type 2 diabetes through its cardiovascular protective effects. It also shows promise for metabolic syndrome.

Here is a summary of the key points about what foods to eat for a healthy balance of fats:

  • Eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines which are high in omega-3s EPA and DHA. Choose wild-caught over farmed.

  • Avoid frying fish; instead poach, steam, bake or eat raw as in ceviche or sushi to preserve the omega-3s.

  • Canned fish can be a convenient source but opt for organic options and avoid olive oil packed sardines.

  • Eat raw nuts and seeds which provide omega-6 but also antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Walnuts, chia and flaxseeds are highest in omega-3 ALA.

  • Limit omega-6 rich oils like soybean, corn and canola. Best to cook with olive, avocado or coconut oil.

  • Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants that prevent omega-6 and omega-3 oxidation.

  • Choose organic, grass-fed meats as grain-fed animals have more omega-6 and less omega-3s.

  • Avoid processed foods cooked in damaged omega-6 oils or made with high fructose corn syrup. Focus diet on wholesome, unprocessed foods.

  • While nuts and seeds like walnuts, pine nuts, and brazil nuts have very high omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, the total amount of omega-6 in an ounce serving is actually less than in seeds like sunflower and pecans which have lower ratios. The ratio alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

  • Flaxseeds are an excellent dietary source of the omega-3 ALA. Studies show consuming flaxseeds can reduce inflammation, blood clotting, atherosclerosis, and improve cholesterol levels. Grinding flaxseeds fresh is best to avoid oxidation.

  • Meat, dairy, and eggs from grass-fed animals contain more omega-3s (specifically ALA) and less omega-6 than grain-fed. Grass-fed meat has a desirable 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to 13:1 in grain-fed.

  • Grass-fed animal products also contain beneficial CLA fats that can improve blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, reduce cancer risk, and help modulate body composition. CLA is largely missing from the modern Western diet.

  • While total CLA is low even in grass-fed meat, the small amounts are still important for health. Conjugated linoleic acid may support fat loss and lean muscle tissue maintenance.

  • Consume seafood, especially wild-caught fish, to increase omega-3 intake. Limit farmed fish.

  • Choose meat, eggs, dairy and other animal products from pasture-raised animals to get more omega-3s, CLA, and antioxidants like glutathione. Avoid CAFO products.

  • Buy organic nuts and seeds in moderation. Limit high omega-6 varieties if you have insulin resistance. Avoid roasted nuts with industrial seed oils.

  • Add 1-3 tbsp freshly ground flaxseed to your diet for plant omega-3 ALA. Avoid flax oil which is prone to oxidation.

  • Use extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil for cooking and dressings. Minimize omega-6-rich vegetable oils.

  • Eat plenty of vegetables for antioxidants. Steam or sauté lightly with healthy fats. Go easy on high-starch veggies if watching carbs.

  • Cook eggs, meat and other animal foods at low-medium temperatures to minimize oxidation. Reheat leftovers at low microwave power.

The key is focusing on seafood, pastured animal products, olive oil, avocados, vegetables, flaxseeds - and avoiding vegetable oils, factory-farmed animal products, and potential toxins.

  • Omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils increase inflammation and oxidation in the body, while omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects. Consuming more omega-3s and fewer omega-6s can shift the body from a pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory state.

  • High omega-6 intake increases cancer risk, whereas omega-3s may reduce risk by competing for incorporation into cell membranes. Reducing omega-6 intake from seed oils may help lower cancer risk.

  • Omega-3s reduce cardiovascular disease risk through anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-protective effects. They help lower blood pressure, reduce abnormal clotting, and support proper vascular function.

  • Excess omega-6 intake increases hunger and fat gain, while omega-3s boost fat burning and support lean muscle mass, aiding healthy weight maintenance.

  • For optimal health, consume nutrient-dense, unprocessed whole foods like organically grown produce, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught seafood. Use supplements as needed to correct imbalances.

  • By adjusting your dietary fat sources, you can influence chronic disease risk and set the stage for lifelong good health.

Here is a summary of the key points from the references provided:

  • There is conflicting evidence on whether saturated fat increases risk of heart disease. Some studies find no association, while others do. The relationship may have been overemphasized.

  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-6s, does not consistently reduce heart disease risk and may increase risk in some cases.

  • Consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats has been associated with increased inflammation, mortality, and other health problems.

  • Higher saturated fat intake has been linked to larger, more buoyant LDL particles which may be less atherogenic.

  • Clinical trials from 1960s-70s replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats showed mixed results on heart disease outcomes. Some found no benefit.

  • More recent Mediterranean diet trials emphasizing monounsaturated fats over saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats reduced heart disease compared to lower fat diets.

  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat intake reduces heart disease risk, especially when replacing omega-6 intake. Clinical trials of fish oil for secondary prevention of heart disease have had mixed results.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided research studies:

  • The GISSI-HF trial (Marchioli et al.) was a randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of n-3 PUFA supplementation in patients with chronic heart failure. It found that 1 g/day of n-3 PUFAs reduced all-cause mortality and hospitalizations compared to placebo.

  • The JELIS trial (Yokoyama et al.) was a randomized controlled trial examining the effects of EPA supplementation in hypercholesterolemic patients. It found that 1.8 g/day of EPA reduced major coronary events compared to statin therapy alone.

  • A JELIS subanalysis (Tanaka et al.) found that EPA supplementation reduced recurrent stroke in hypercholesterolemic patients.

  • A trial by Einvik et al. found that n-3 PUFA supplementation reduced all-cause mortality in elderly men at high cardiovascular risk.

  • Evidence suggests an optimal n-6 to n-3 ratio close to 2:1 or 1:1, whereas Western diets tend to be around 15-17:1 (Simopoulos).

  • Higher n-3 levels, measured by the omega-3 index, are associated with reduced risk of coronary death (Harris & Von Schacky).

In summary, multiple randomized controlled trials and analyses demonstrate benefits of n-3 PUFA supplementation, especially EPA/DHA, for reducing cardiovascular events, mortality, and stroke risk. An optimal n-6:n-3 intake ratio close to 2:1 may provide further cardiovascular protection.

Here is a summary of the key points from the referenced chapters:

  • The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the modern Western diet is much higher than evolutionary diets. This imbalance promotes inflammation and chronic disease.

  • In the 1960s, heart disease rates in India were low. Ghee (clarified butter) was the main cooking fat, providing a favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. As soybean oil replaced ghee, heart disease rates increased.

  • Higher omega-3 intake, as seen in the Mediterranean and Tsimane diets, improves cardiovascular outcomes. Omega-3s in cell membranes reduce inflammation.

  • Oxidized omega-6 fatty acids promote endothelial dysfunction, raise blood pressure, and impair insulin signaling. Olive oil and omega-3 fats counteract these effects.

  • The omega-3 index, or EPA+DHA levels in red blood cells, correlates with cardiovascular risk. Optimizing this biomarker may require increasing omega-3 intake and reducing omega-6 intake.

In summary, a lower dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio appears protective against various chronic diseases by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance.

Here is a summary of the key points from the referenced articles:

  • Diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, may promote inflammation and increase risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory effects. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet influences disease risk.

  • Higher dietary intake of linoleic acid has been associated with increased blood coagulation factors and platelet aggregation, potentially increasing thrombotic risk. Omega-3 fatty acids have antithrombotic effects.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can modestly lower blood pressure, especially in hypertensive patients. This may be due to their blood vessel dilating effects.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can improve endothelial function and arterial compliance, reducing cardiovascular disease risk. EPA and DHA may have greater effects than ALA.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids alter LDL particle size and composition to a less atherogenic pattern. EPA and DHA lower serum triglycerides more potently than ALA.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may help prevent sudden cardiac death after myocardial infarction. They have antiarrhythmic effects.

  • Higher omega-3 levels, as measured by the omega-3 index, are associated with reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease.

Here are the key points from the research studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids from ALA, DHA, and EPA on health:

  • ALA can be converted in the body to EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects. However, conversion rates are low, especially in men.

  • Higher ALA, EPA, and DHA intake is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The beneficial effects are likely due to anti-inflammatory effects and lowering blood triglycerides.

  • Higher intake of omega-3s during pregnancy is associated with lower risk of preeclampsia and higher cognitive development in infants. DHA is particularly important for infant brain development.

  • Omega-3s may have antidepressant effects, likely due to anti-inflammatory effects. Multiple studies show benefits of EPA/DHA supplements in treating depression, but results are mixed.

  • DHA is especially vital for brain and eye health and development. EPA may be more beneficial for depression and cardiovascular health.

  • For optimal health, a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important. Most Western diets are too high in omega-6s.

In summary, increasing omega-3 intake from foods or supplements can provide health benefits, especially for cardiovascular disease, depression, pregnancy, and infant development. ALA, EPA and DHA all play important roles through overlapping and distinct mechanisms.

Here is a summary of the key points regarding residual depression or anxiety in older people with major depression:

  • Older adults with major depression often have residual symptoms of depression and anxiety even after treatment. Studies have found rates of residual symptoms between 40-60% in this population.

  • Residual symptoms are associated with greater disability, poorer quality of life, and increased risk of relapse. Common residual symptoms include depressed mood, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction.

  • Reasons for residual symptoms include inadequate treatment response, medical comorbidities, psychosocial stressors, and neurobiological changes with aging that make depression harder to treat.

  • Strategies to manage residual symptoms include optimizing antidepressant medication, switching or augmenting medications, psychotherapies like CBT and behavioral activation, exercise, and addressing contributing medical conditions.

  • More research is needed on the most effective treatment approaches for achieving remission and preventing residual symptoms in late-life major depression. Tailored, multi-modal therapies may hold promise.

Here is a summary of the key points from the highlighted passages:

  • Obesity, especially excess visceral fat, is a major health issue associated with conditions like diabetes, fatty liver disease, and inflammation. The prevalence of obesity and related diseases has increased dramatically in recent decades.

  • Obese adipose tissue shows altered production of bioactive lipid mediators like resolvins and protectins compared to lean tissue. This contributes to inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.

  • Increasing omega-3 PUFA intake, especially DHA and EPA, can help restore normal production of proresolving mediators and reduce inflammation in obese adipose tissue based on animal studies. This may alleviate insulin resistance.

  • Omega-3 PUFA supplementation has been found to limit fat cell proliferation, reduce adipocyte size, induce fat oxidation over storage, and limit fat gain in animal studies, even on high-fat diets.

  • Higher omega-6 intake, especially linoleic acid, has been associated with promoting adipogenesis and fat accumulation in cell studies and animal models.

  • The balance and composition of dietary fatty acids consumed during pregnancy and lactation may impact child adiposity and obesity risk according to some human observational studies.

Here is a summary of the key points from the passages in Chapter 8:

  • Studies show that higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids and lower intake of omega-3s are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease risk. This may be due to imbalances in eicosanoids produced from these fats.

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid metabolism relies on the desaturase enzymes delta-6 and delta-5 desaturase. Activity of these enzymes may be impaired in obesity and diabetes.

  • Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are more readily used for energy than long chain triglycerides. MCT oil consumption has been shown to increase energy expenditure and may help reduce adiposity.

  • Different types of fatty acids are oxidized at different rates, with saturated fats being more readily used for energy than monounsaturates or polyunsaturates. This may affect their deposition in tissues.

  • Omega-3 supplements vary in bioavailability. Krill oil and triglyceride-based fish oil may be more bioavailable than ethyl ester forms. Krill oil also contains antioxidants not present in fish oil.

Here is a summary of the key points from the passages:

  • EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and other health benefits. Krill oil and fish oil are good dietary sources.

  • Argan oil contains antioxidants and omega-9 fatty acids. Studies show it may improve cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes parameters.

  • Grass-fed beef has a better fatty acid profile with more omega-3s compared to grain-fed beef.

  • Farmed shrimp may have contaminants compared to wild caught. Wild caught also has more omega-3s.

  • Higher ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet are beneficial. Many people consume too many omega-6s from vegetable oils.

  • DHA is particularly important for brain and eye health. The transporter MFSD2A is required to get DHA into the brain.

  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can reduce inflammation. Good sources include evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils.

In summary, dietary choices that increase omega-3s and reduce omega-6s are recommended for optimal health. Krill oil, fish oil, grass-fed meat, wild shrimp, argan oil, and GLA supplements/oils are highlighted as beneficial options.

Here is a summary of the key points from the referenced research:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. The human body can convert ALA to the more active omega-3s EPA and DHA, but this conversion is limited, especially in those with certain genetic variants. Still, ALA provides health benefits related to reducing inflammation.

  • DHA is critical for brain development and function. Low DHA levels have been associated with cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders. DHA supports neuronal membrane health, neurotransmission, and reduces inflammation in the brain.

  • EPA has anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects. It can reduce C-reactive protein, support heart health by improving blood lipids, and have anticancer effects. EPA competes with arachidonic acid to reduce inflammation.

  • Grass-fed meat and dairy have a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to conventional grain-fed animal products. They also contain antioxidants like vitamin E and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) from the animal’s diet.

  • Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils have negative health impacts and should be avoided. Refined seed oils high in omega-6 like soybean and corn oil can promote inflammation when consumed in excess.

  • A diet rich in omega-3s from seafood, flaxseeds, walnuts, and grass-fed animal products can help reduce inflammation and risk of chronic diseases. Limiting refined carbs and oils high in omega-6 is also important.

Here is a summary of the key points about omega-3 fatty acids from the book:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA are essential for health, especially brain and heart health. Humans evolved eating large amounts of omega-3s from seafood.

  • Today most people eat far too little omega-3s and too many omega-6s from vegetable oils, leading to inflammation and chronic diseases. The balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is crucial.

  • Long-chain omega-3s like EPA and DHA have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They are important for fetal and childhood brain development and protect against mood disorders, cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative diseases in adults.

  • Omega-3s also benefit heart health by improving many cardiovascular risk factors. They help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death.

  • ALA, the plant-based omega-3, must be converted to EPA and DHA to be beneficial. But this conversion is inefficient in humans, so EPA and DHA from seafood are better sources.

  • Omega-3 intake has declined dramatically while omega-6 intake has increased due to greater consumption of vegetable oils high in linoleic acid. This imbalance promotes chronic inflammation and disease.

  • Rebalancing omega-6 and omega-3 intakes by reducing vegetable oils and increasing oily fish can reduce inflammation, body fat, risk of chronic diseases, and mortality.

Here are the key points from the Acknowledgments and About the Authors sections:

  • Dr. DiNicolantonio thanked Nils Hoem and Jake Toughill for their contributions to the book.

  • Dr. Mercola thanked Dr. Nils Hoem for his assistance on omega-3 information.

  • Dr. Joseph Mercola is a physician, author, and founder of His mission is to transform medicine and expose misinformation.

  • Dr. James DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist, doctor of pharmacy, and author. He has published extensively on health and nutrition.

The summary focuses on highlighting the contributors to the book and providing brief biographical background on the two authors.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe