Fish Oils And Other Polyunsaturated Fats

Fats have been demonized for so long that it is hard to know what to believe anymore, so lets get some things cleared up right from the beginning.

Not all fats are created equal. Eating fat WILL NOT make you fat. Saturated fats are NOT bad for you. Eating fat WILL NOT increase your cholesterol. And last but not least, and the highlight of todays discussion, polyunsaturated fats ARE NOT “healthier” fats.

We are not interested in going down the “this is good, this is bad, this is right and this is wrong,” rabbit hole either. In fact, this is something we are working so hard to get away from. Health contains so many grey areas. It is our goal to bring attention to the affects these fats, as well as other foods, have on body when consumed in excess and under hypo-metabolic conditions.

**We also want to be clear on the fact that you CANNOT have a diet void of polyunsaturated fats. They are in almost all foods. It is the affects of the excess we are discussing here.

The purpose of this blog is not to school you on chemistry and biology (even though Josh is going to give you a taste of that in our YouTube) but to begin filling in some of the blanks.

At a time when obesity rates are at an all time high and diseases like cancer and heart disease are reaching epidemic proportions, its vital that we examine our diets and other factors that we have control over, in relation to our health. We are exposed to more food products than ever, and yet there is a severe lack of nutrition.

Thankfully, “real” food is making a comeback with farmers’ markets, CSA’s, and traditional food producers popping up all over the map.

What are polyunsaturated fats (PUFA)?

To simplify, fatty acids are classified by their degree of saturation; saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. When a carbon atom in the fatty acid has a hydrogen atom attached to all positions, it is called a saturated fatty acid. Just like a saturated sponge is holding all the water it can possibly hold, a saturated fatty acid holds all the hydrogen it can possibly hold. A fatty acid that is missing a pair of hydrogen atoms on one of its carbons is called a monounsaturated fatty acid. If more then one double bond is missing, it is called a polyunsaturated fatty acid.

PUFA’s are liquid at room temperature and consist of vegetable and seed oils like:

  • Safflower
  • Sunflower
  • Corn
  • Soybean
  • Cottonseed
  • Peanut
  • Canola
  • Fish oils (again, it is the excess we are concerned about- if you are combatting inflammation with excess supplementation of fish oil, you could very well be perpetuating the issue)

Ninety-five percent of the fat in the body consists of a combination of monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fat; the remaining five percent consists of phospholipids and sterols.

And get this…out of 100% ratio, the human body only prefers 5% of fatty acids stored in the tissues be from polyunsaturated fatty acids! When the body makes its own fats, it predominantly makes monounsaturated and saturated because that is what it prefers. The fat that goes into the structure of the cell is influenced by the fat in the body.

“Essential Fatty Acids” based on the research and study of Ray Peat PhD

In Unsaturated Vegetable Oils: Toxic – Ray Peat PhD writes:

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are, according to the textbooks, linoleic acid and linolenic acid and they are supposed to have the status of “vitamins” which must be taken in the diet to make life possible.  However, we are able to synthesize our own unsaturated fats when we don’t eat the “EFA” so they are not “essential.” This term thus appears as a misnomer. [M.E. Hanke, “Biochemistry,” Encycl. Brit. Book of the Year, 1948.]

According to Ray Peat PhD, there is no such thing as EFA deficiency.  Humans have the ability to produce omega-9. The natural and protective Omega-9 is not considered essential because it is produced by the body from unsaturated fats converted from glucose.  Unsaturated fats (PUFA) from omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the enzyme systems-desaturases and elongases- that form the protective omega-9 fatty acids.


For a link to the Blog Talk Radio Broadcast with Ray Peat Click Here.

Although EFA’s are marketed as safe, Dr. Peat has presented legitimate research scientifically proving the toxicity and life threatening adverse effects of fish oils and other polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats create a destructive pathway in which they:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels through increasing insulin levels
  • Suppress mitochondrial respiration, inhibit the thyroid and metabolize carbohydrates into fat
  • Cause deterioration of brain, muscles, and gonads by their destruction of Vitamin E
  • PUFA’s pull vitamin E from the blood and into the tissues, lowering vitamin E in the body
  • Vitamin E and progesterone are anti-estrogenic. Estrogen pulls O2 away from tissues, organs, etc…while Vitamin E brings O2 to our tissues.
  • Vitamin E is anti-inflammatory, anti-estrogenic, anti-lipid peroxidation, energy promoter, progesterone sparing, lowers intra-cellular Ca and a deficiency will allow for an increased conversion of linoleic acid into more unsaturated fats.
  • Slow down metabolism, causing a hypo-metabolic state
  • Increase clotting due to their relation with increased estrogen
  • Unsaturated fats have similar actions as estrogen in the body, but also increase estrogen levels
  • Increased clotting is secondary to decreased Vitamin E levels
  • Increased estrogen leads to decreased albumin

Clearly, there is a disconnect between what we’ve been taught and what is actually true. Though humans are able to survive on an astounding variety of diets, at no point in our history in any place around the globe have we ever consumed polyunsaturated fats in the amounts we are witnessing today. These fats can be found in most commercial foods. They are lurking in even the most unsuspecting places, in everything from cookies and crackers to salad dressings, meat and baby formula. They are so prevalent that a person today consumes roughly 70 pounds of vegetable oils each year.

Although evidence in the beginning seemed to be inconclusive, its now becoming quite clear that these fats- polyunsaturated (and trans fats) – can be linked to an astounding number of modern diseases.

For more information of fats, check out our Amazon Book “ Saturated Facts.”

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Share Your Thoughts

  1. Kianni

    “It is the affects of the excess we are discussing here.” So then that begs the question…what is excess exactly?

    October 16, 2015 • 8:25 am •
  2. Josh Rubin

    Ah great question, what is excess! Well, eating a diet that contains lots of nuts, seeds and their respective oils, eating fatty fish all the time, etc, etc. For us it is about eliminating nuts and seeds, and their respective oils, as well as elim fatty fish and using white low fat fish. Thus over time you dec the amount of PUFAs in your diet, while increasing the amount of saturated fat. Thus increasing overall cellular respiration. PUFAs suppress thyroid hormone and cellular respiration, as well as the immune sytstem. Saturated fat increases T3 uptake and protects us against unsaturated fat. Quoting Ray, “the essential fatty acid deficiency increases oxidation of glucose, as it increases metabolic rate.”

    October 20, 2015 • 4:39 pm •
  3. October 27, 2015 • 2:51 am •