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Fish vs Fish Oil: I Tested the Effect on My Fatty Acids

Member Forum >> Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids >> Fish vs Fish Oil: I Tested the Effect on My Fatty Acids

Jeff Glass

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Posted: 5/4/2020 6:21:16 PM
 
I could use some guidance on achieving optimal Omega 3 and O3/O6 levels. I’m not there yet.

I often wondered whether fish oil supplements and fish consumption were equivalent. Since I enjoy eating fish, I thought I might be able to do away with fish oil supplementation and just get the fish oil in its original, natural form. So I decided to perform a non-scientific experiment on myself, comparing the effect on my Omega-3 index and my O6/O3 ratio of switching from fish oil to fish.

For three months ending 12/31/19 I was taking the program level of fish oil supplements daily. I then obtained test values for Omega 3 and O3/O6 ratio.

For the second part of the experiment, beginning on Jan 1, 2020, I stopped taking fish oil, and converted over to eating fatty fish about 3-4 times per week, including salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring. Portions ranged from 3.5 to 8 oz. I retested last week (April 25) after nearly four months of no fish oil supplementation and instead just eating fatty fish.

Here are the before and after results of testing my fatty acid levels and ratios. The first figure in each line is from the test on 12/31/2019, followed by a figure for the second test on 4/25/2020.

Omega-3 Index went up from 7.7 -> 9.0

Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio went up from 3.5 -> 4.6

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) dropped from 3.2 -> 2.6

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) dipped from 4.5 -> 4.17

Full disclosure: the first test in December was plasma, the second test was blood spot (OmegaQuant). So the results probably are not directly comparable, according to Bill Harris of OmegaQuant. Results of plasma tests are lower than blood spot/red blood cell, he says.

Other blood markers, including lipids, were all barely changed or somewhat improved.

So, my takeaways and questions are:

1. Clearly one can get a lot of fish oil from eating enough fish, but, at 9% Omega 3, I’m still at least 1% short of the 10% - 12% program target range for Omega 3 index, so I might want to include fish oil supplementation on days when I don’t eat fish. Is this wise?

2. I’m surprised at how high my O6/O3 ratio is, considering that I strictly follow the guidelines about this on p 191 of Undoctored. I.e., no seed oil consumption, but with frequent consumption of nuts and seeds (generally no more than 1/2 oz per day), pasture-raised meats, and zero wheat or grains.  Then again, in the OmegaQuant test report I received it states that Omega 6 fatty acid levels in the blood change very slowly:

"The level of linoleic acid in your blood [which is on average 85% of the total amount of one’s Omega-6 fatty acids] is generally influenced by the amount you eat over many months, whereas the level of arachidonic acid (and the other five omega-6 fatty acids) are primarily determined by your body’s metabolism. In other words, there is little you can do from a dietary perspective to alter the levels of six of the seven omega-6 fatty acids. Making significant changes in linoleic acid blood levels via diet takes months to years."

All of this leaves me wondering: What changes might I make to achieve the program targets for O3 and O3/O6 ratio? Should I add fish oil supplements on days that I don’t eat fish?

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Bob Niland

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Posted: 5/4/2020 7:25:40 PM
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Jeff Glass

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Posted: 5/4/2020 8:21:03 PM
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Bob Niland

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Posted: 5/5/2020 7:52:48 AM
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Dr. Davis

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Posted: 5/5/2020 11:16:09 AM
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Lucky Lime

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Posted: 5/5/2020 1:37:05 PM
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JG,

You may like to research the cod liver oil. 

1tbsp has 375% vit D, 450% vit A, EPA 1,035035mg, DHA 1,650mg...


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Bob Niland

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Posted: 5/5/2020 3:04:29 PM
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Jeff Glass

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Posted: 5/8/2020 3:59:58 PM
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Thx Dr. Davis. I am backing off fish consumption and reverting to fish oil capsules.


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Lucky Lime

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Posted: 5/9/2020 4:22:45 PM
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Dr. Davis

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Posted: 5/9/2020 4:45:45 PM
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Just be aware that there was a class action suit against manufacturers of cod liver oil because of higher levels of PCBs, an issue that does not apply to fish oil. 


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