Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I, II & III

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3XL
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2007/05/17 20:06:30 (permalink)
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Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I, II & III

The WeighTrainer

Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones
by Casey Butt

The subject of dietary fats has been the focus of hot debate for more than fifty years. Beginning in the 1950's, we were all encouraged to reduce fats in our diets, particularly saturated fats. In the 1980's the anti-fat sentiment was so great that authors such as Dean Ornish and Robert Haas were suggesting that fat intake be practically eliminated ...slashed to a mere trickle. "Fats make you fat," we were told. And if that's not bad enough, saturated fats cause a myriad of illnesses from cancer to heart disease and most nasty things in between.

Then in the 1990's, thanks largely to the popularity of Dr. Udo Erasmus' writings and product marketing, we were informed that there are some "good" fats (this idea was always around, but had been lost in the anti-fat craze of the 1980's). Polyunsaturates are good for us, and a particular type of polyunsaturated fat (which Dr. Erasmus happens to profit from the sale of), can prevent and cure all of the problems associated with the "bad" saturated fats. We were told, and are still advised to this day, that the proper balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids can improve our physical and mental health and even directly cause us to lose body fat.

In this three part series I'm going to cover what my 15 years of studying nutrition and biochemistry has taught me. I'm also basing this on my own personal experience, the experiences of people I've advised and the experience and advice of drug-free Bodybuilders and Weight Lifters over the past 100 years. This information is not intended as a way to treat disease or to be used in lieu of a physician's advice. I don't have any specific training in disease treatment (although, to be perfectly honest, I have little faith in much of what med school students and, in particular, what dieticians are taught) and I simply don't want that responsibility. I will be doing this from the perspective of athletic strength performance ...building muscle and getting stronger.


Crash Course in Fat Basics

Triglycerides
Fatty acids travel around in your bloodstream and are stored in the fat cells in a form called triglycerides. A triglyceride is a molecule comprised of three fatty acid molecules connected to one glycerol molecule. Fatty acids are typically in triglyceride form in the plants and meats that you eat as well.


Saturated and Unsaturated Fatty Acids
There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. For all you people out there familiar with organic chemistry, saturated fats have no double bonds along their carbon chains, meaning that they are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds, meaning that they are not saturated with hydrogen atoms. If the fatty acid has only a single double bond (meaning the fatty acid could accept two additional hydrogens), then it is called "monounsaturated". If it has more than one double bond (like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids) then it is called polyunsaturated. For those of you not familiar with organic chemistry, don't worry about it, this isn't going to be a chemistry lesson. For now, we just need to know that there are basically two types of fats in our diets - saturated and unsaturated.

A triglyceride molecule doesn't have to contain three of the same type fatty acids; it can have a mixture of different saturates and unsaturates.


Short, Medium and Long-Chain Fatty Acids
Fatty acids can also be categorized based on how many carbons atoms they contain. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have two to four carbons. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) have eight to 12 carbon atoms, long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) have from 14 to 18 carbon atoms and very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) have from 20 to 24 carbon atoms. All SCFAs, and most naturally occuring MCFAs, are saturated. Common LCFAs can be saturated or unsaturated. VLCFAs are usually highly unsaturated.

Sometimes you'll see these fats referred to by their triglyeride configuration rather than the fatty acids themselves. For example rather than say a food contains medium chain fatty acids, the author might say the food has medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). For our purposes such distinction isn't important.


Fats and Oils
Fats composed mainly of saturated fatty acids tend to be solids at room temperature. In this case, we call them simply "fats". When most of the fatty acids present are unsaturated it tends to make the substance liquid. In that case, we call it an "oil". Basically, fats are solids at room temperature and oils are liquids.


Hydrogenated Oils and Trans Fatty Acids
Some of you may be wondering why margarines are made of mostly polyunsaturated vegetable oils yet they are solid. The answer is because manufacturers, through the process of hydrogenation, add more hydrogen atoms to the fatty acids in order to make them more saturated. Fully hydrogenated vegetable oils will be completely solid. Whereas partially hydrogenated oils will be solid, yet softer than if they were completely hydrogenated ...these are your margarines. Incidently, manufacturers add artificial colouring to margarine to give it a golden "butter" colour.



Now that we have some basic knowledge of how fats and oils are made up and categorized, we can get on with the physiological effects of fats, oils and cholesterol. After all, we're looking to see how these these can influence our strength, muscle, body fat and health. I'm going to start with some pretty "radical" statements when viewed in light of today's popular conceptions about dietary fats. I might go against some things you've taken as fact for years. Keep in mind that I have no motivation to present any of this information other than to help you make informed, unbiased decisions, free of commercial influence.

The Lipid Hypothesis
The lipid hypothesis is the theory that there is a direct correlation between the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease. This idea first gained ground with Ancel Keys' research in the early-to-late 1950's. As entrenched as this idea has become over the past 50 years, however, many lesser publicized studies have refuted this claim. In fact, noted authorities such as Dr. Mary Enig, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov and even Dr. Udo Erasmus have either cast serious doubt on the Lipid Hypothesis or outright rejected it. A large-scale, multi-decade population study (known commonly as the Framingham, Massachusetts study) found a correlation of only 0.36 between total serum cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Statistically, that means that no significant link between total serum cholesterol level and 'hardening of the arteries' was found.

In addition, the relation between high saturated fat intake and increased serum cholesterol has also been questioned. Recent research has indicated that certain saturated fatty acids in the diet do not raise serum cholesterol levels. Other studies have indicated that saturated fats raise high-density lipoproteins (HDL - the substance which carries cholesterol to the liver for metabolizing and elimination) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL - the substance which carries cholesterol through the bloodstream to the tissues) in roughly equal proportions. It has been shown in many studies that polyunsaturated fats (the "good" ones, as we've been told) lower total serum cholesterol, but there has also been evidence presented that they lower HDL more than LDL, resulting in an overall less healthy serum cholesterol profile. Recent research has indicated, rather conclusively, that saturated fats raise HDL levels more than any other type of fat (with monounsaturates raising HDL as well).

According to Dr. Mary Enig, the director of the Framingham study commented, "In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol... we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active." The Lipid Hypothesis is simply that, a hypothesis, and today, 50 years after it's proposal, it still hasn't been convincingly established.

Many cultures have traditionally consumed, and continue to consume, large amounts of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol such as meat, milk, cheese and eggs, yet coronary heart problems are very rare amoung them. Of course, this could be because the French have a glass of red wine with dinner, or the Italians dip their bread in olive oil, or the Eskimos eat seal meat which contains omega-3 fatty acids ...but those reasons only need be presented if we are actively seeking an explanation as to why their high saturated fat intakes don't seem to be negatively affecting their health (operating from premise that high saturated fat intakes should negatively affect their health). By comparison, the consumption of traditional animal fats in North America has dramatically decreased during the past fifty years, yet in that same period heart disease has gone from a medical rarity to the number one killer of Americans. Could it be that something else is to blame? Perhaps our reliance on processed foods, sugars and partially hydrogenated oil products? The Lipid Hypothesis is either false or incomplete.

No doubt, much of what we've been told is due to the western food industry's heavy investment in, and reliance upon, vegetable oils in the processing of foods. Like the Bodybuilding supplement industry, there is much money at stake (but, in this case, literally trillions of dollars) and truly unbiased information is hard to come by. What you can be certain of, however, is that the unreasonable fear of saturated fats and cholesterol must be overcome if you're to make your maximum drug-free progress with weigh training.

CAVEAT: It is a function of LDL to carry cholesterol though the bloodstream to repair cellular damage to artery walls. Primary culprits in causing this artery damage are high insulin levels and free-radicals. In reponse to this, LDL carries cholesterol to the damaged area and "plugs" it by forming a plaque-like coating over it (like repairing a leak in a tire). When the build-up of plaque becomes so large that it restricts blood flow, or if pieces of it break off and travel down the bloodstream to get caught in smaller capillaries, is when problems occur. Convincing evidence indicates that it is oxidized (i.e. processed) cholesterol which is responsible for the excessive build-up of plaque on artery walls, not healthy, natural cholesterol. Unprocessed foods such as eggs, liver and meat DO NOT contain high levels of oxidized cholesterol. In already healthy individuals, the solution to avoiding atherosclerosis is not the avoidance of saturated fats and natural cholesterol in the diet, but rather preventing artery damage in the first place and the avoidance of oxidized cholesterol. That is done by limiting processed foods, not consuming excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fats, and maintaining a high intake of fat soluble antioxidants (such as vitamins E and A). In other words, eating a balanced natural diet.


If you already have artery damage, however, or are an insulin dependent diabetic, it is wise to maintain a low blood cholesterol level - and primarily low LDL. This is done by consuming most of your dietary fats in the form of monounsaturates and, possibly, polyunsaturates while limiting saturated fat intake. Dietary cholesterol may not have a large affect on the blood cholesterols of some people because the body manufactures its own cholesterol and will adjust how much is manufactured in response to how much is consumed - eat more cholesterol and your body manufactures less, eat less and your body manufactures more. This occurs in varying degrees in different people, so the precautionary approach is for high-risk individuals to also limit dietary cholesterol ...though keep in mind that the link between unoxidized dietary cholesterol and atherosclerosis has never been firmly established.

If you are already healthy, and have no arterial damage or medical condition causing a propensity for blockages, then there is no reason to avoid saturated fats and natural cholesterol in the diet. In fact, it is detrimental to health to do so. For the rest of this series on dietary fats I am going to assume that you are healthy and not a high-risk individual for heart disease.

If you have an existing medical condition pertaining to atherosclerosis it is always safe to take the most conservative path possible. In that case, the material in this series should be modified to fit your problem. Consult a physician.

A Look at Evolution
Our ancestors didn't have access to modern commercial crops. By necessity, they became expert hunters. As a consequence of their lifestyle, primitive humans consumed higher levels of animal fats and low levels of vegetable, fruit and grain fats. (With the exception of some tropical plants, vegetables, fruits and grains contain very little oil. In order to produce commercial vegetable and grain oils manufacturers have to crush, heat and chemically treat massive quantities of vegetables/grains in order produce a few tablespoons of oil.) Because of this, modern man's digestive system is much more suited to digesting animal products than large quantities of grains and the like. Our digestive tracts are simply too short to efficiently digest large amounts of grain products.

Why then, if the ancestors of modern man from homo erectus on up (about 2 million years worth of evolution) consumed very low quantities of vegetable/grain fats and high quantities of animal fats, would we conclude that animal fats are "bad" for us and vegetable/grain fats "good"? If that is, in fact, the case, either something is wrong with the theory of evolution or evolution has played a strange trick on human beings.


Physiological Effects of Saturated Fats
Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) "behave" very differently in the body than long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) and very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs). The long-chains triglycerides (LCTs) and very-long-chains triglycerides (VLCTs) that you eat are broken down by enzymes in the gut and absorbed through the wall of the small intestine. They are then recombined into triglycerides and carried through the bloodstream, by-passing processing by the liver, to the various organs and tissue of the body (including the fat cells). This means that the LCFAs and VCLFAs, whether they are saturated or unsaturated, can be easily stored as body fat when you eat too many of them. As mentioned before, common LCFAs can be saturated or unsaturated and VLCFAs are usually highly unsaturated.

SCFAs and MCFAs, on the other hand, are metabolically difficult to store as fat. Differing from LCFAs and VLCFAs, they are carried to the liver for conversion to energy before they go through the bloodstream to the organ, fat and muscle cells. Excess SCFAs and MCFAs can be quickly converted into ketone bodies and excreted in the urine ...sparing you from storing them as body fat. In addition, they contain slightly fewer calories per gram than the longer chain fatty acids (I've seen varying claims of just how much fewer, so I won't put a number value on it here). As mentioned before, all SCFAs, and most naturally occuring MCFAs, are saturates.

But before you decide that you'd just like to stick to SCTs and MCTs and avoid all other forms of fats because they'll make you fat, consider this list, from experts Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, of important roles that saturated fats, in general, play in the human body:

-Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
-They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
-They lower Lp(a), a variation of plasma LDL that indicates proneness to heart disease.
-They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
-They enhance the immune system.
-They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
-Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred fuels for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
-Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.

In addition, any type of LCFAs or VLCFAs in the diet will slow digestion, assuring the body of a more gradual supply of nutrients from the other foods present in the digestive tract. This includes lowering the rate at which dietary carbohydrates increase blood glucose and thus decreases insulin release.

Noteworthy Saturated Fats
Almost all vegetable/grain oils and animal fats have high amounts of LCFAs (always a mixture of the saturated and unsaturated kinds) with fish (especially some cold water species) supplying the highly unsaturated VLCFAs. Coconut oil is over 64% saturated MCFAs and butter is over 12% saturated SCFAs and MCFAs. Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid (a saturated MCFA) which has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, immune-system-supporting and absorption enhancing properties. Butter and full-fat milk also contain small amounts of lauric acid. The SCFAs and MCFAs in coconut oil, butter and milk promote digestive system health and enhanced absorption of foods. When taken in place of LCFAs, research has indicated that they increase metabolism and promote fat loss. Based on this, it is reasonable to conclude that coconut oil results in less calories deposited as body fat than other oils, and butter is less body fat-producing than margarines.

Trans Fatty AcidsIn their natural states, most vegetable/grain oils are liquids and, therefore, unable to be used in many commercial food products and baking. To overcome this, manufacturers "stiffen" them up by partially and fully hydrogenating them (inserting hydrogen ions into the double bonds of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids). This allows margarine to be made from vegetable oil, but it also produces massive quanties of "trans" fatty acids (so named because of their physical structure). In high quantities, these become some of the most toxic and dangerous "food" elements you can put into your body. They do not behave the same as saturates, but because they are both solids at room temparture, and have similar geometric shapes, it is common for nutritionalists to lump the two groups together. Some of the negative actions of trans fatty acids are:

-Decrease testosteron levels
-Decrease insulin sensitivity
-Alter liver enzyme activity
-Interfere with the proper functioning of the immune system
-Increase the risk of cancer and heart disease
-Avoid products containing hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable/grain oils.

Conclusion: Part I
Let me leave the subject of saturated and trans fats with something purely from my own experience and the experiences of others I have advised and taken advice from: Without saturated fats you will never make maximum progress in the gym and with your physique. All sex hormones (testosteron, estrogen, etc.) are produced from cholesterol via the process of steroidogenesis. Deliberately limiting the dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol in a natural athletes diet is also deliberately limiting testerone levels and results in the gym. It is an established fact that strict vegetarians (vegans) have lower average testosteron levels than people who consume animal products.

All fats contain roughly 9 calories per gram (though I've seen slightly lower estimates for MCTs), and LCFAs and VLCFAs have a low thermic effect and are stored easily as body fat. Keep this in mind, and don't overindulge on any LCFA- or VLCFA-containing foods. This applies to both saturated and unsaturated fats. However, if you have an unreasonable saturated fat phobia, now is the time to begin adpoting a more balanced outlook with your diet. Your training progress will be your reward.
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    3XL
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    RE: Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I, II & III 2007/05/17 20:07:52 (permalink)
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    Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part II The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones

    Unsaturated Fats
    As eluded to in Part I, Unsaturated fats are broken up into two main categories: Monounsaturates, also called the omega-9 (w9) fatty acids, and Polyunsaturates. Polyunsaturates are further broken up into omega-6 (w6) and omega-3 (w3) fatty acids. It is within the polyunsaturates that we find the two essential fatty acids (EFAs), which the body cannot manufacture itself but are neccesary to preserve life and health. For this reason, they must be attained in the diet and, hence, are called "essential". They are linoleic acid (LA), an w6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), an w3 fatty acid. These two are as essential to good health as any vitamin and should NEVER be deficient in the human body but, as we'll see, they may also have positive effects on muscle growth and strengthening.

    In the proper quantities and balance the EFAs can...

    -Deter fat storage
    -Halt muscle breakdown
    -Increase metabolic rate
    -Increase insulin sensitivity
    -Facilitate the conversion of lactic acid to water and CO2 (shortening the time required for fatigued muscles to recover between sets)
    -Monounsaturates have been shown to raise high-density lipoproteins (HDL - the "good" kind of cholesterol) and potentially lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL - the "bad" kind of cholesterol). Metabolically, they are neutral, neither increasing or decreasing metabolic rate.

    Before we get any further into the positive benefits of the EFAs, let's take a look at how they do what they do from a muscle strengthening/growth perspective.

    The Action Of The EFAs And The Eicosanoids
    One way that the EFAs impact the bodily environment is that they control and influence eicosanoid formation. Eicosanoids are short-lived, hormone-like substances that regulate many cellular functions in all human tissues. There are three types of them: Series 1, series 2 and series 3. Generally, the series 1s have been considered "good", the series 2s "bad", and the series 3s also "good". It's a little more complicated than that, but we'll get into that a little later. Let's start out with a look at the series 1s.

    The main series 1 eicosanoid belongs to a subgroup of eicosanoids called prostaglandins. It is prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and has the following positive actions:

    -Helps remove excess fluids and sodium from the body
    -Improves circulation
    -Decreases inflammation
    -Improves nerve function
    -"Boosts" the immune system
    -Regulates calcium metabolism (important in muscular contractions)
    -Increases protein synthesis in muscle cells
    -Elevates levels of intramuscular glutamine (good!)
    -Increases growth hormone secretion
    -Makes insulin work more effectively

    The main series 2 prostaglandin, PGE2, on the other hand, causes water retention by promoting sodium retention in the kidneys and causes inflammation (which promotes higher cortisol levels - cortisol is an anti-inflamatory). Series 3 prostaglandins are thought to be "good" in that they prevent the production of series 2s.

    However, it isn't quite as clear-cut as simply labeling the series 2s as "bad". Some series 2 eicosanoids actually counter the "bad" effects of the others series 2s, and so compensate, at least partially, for what would be considered "negative"effects. For instance, prostacyclin PGI2 counters some of the negative effects of prostaglandin PGE2 by inhibiting platelet aggregation and activating leukocytes (which is good). In addition, a couple of the series 2s are potent stimulators of muscle growth. When muscle cells are strenuously trained they release the series 2 prostaglandins PGE2 and PGF2-alpha. PGE2 increases protein degradation, but it also potently induces muscle satellite cell proliferation and infusion, leading to muscle growth. PGF2-alpha increases protein synthesis, suspectedly by increasing protein synthesis "efficiency" at the ribosomes. It also seems to destroy fat cells. (Is that possible support for the theory of spot reduction that the old-timers swore by? Train a muscle more often, release more PGF2-alpha, destroy more fat cells?!)

    So where do the EFAs come in? Well, the EFAs are the substances out of which the prosatglandins are made. Linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid are the "parents" of all the eicosanoids. Linoleic acid (LA) is converted into gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) in the liver. GLA is then converted to dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA), which is then either converted to the series 1 prostaglandins or arachidonic acid (AA). The series 2 prostaglandins are made from AA. The series 3 prostaglandins are made from alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) by the following path: LNA is converted into stearidonic acid (SDA - also known as octadecatetraenoic acid), SDA is converted to eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), ETA is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and EPA is converted to docosapentanoic acid then docosahexanoic acid (DHA). (DHA also goes "backwards" to become EPA). The series 3 prostaglandins are then made from EPA. EPA blocks both the conversion of DGLA to AA and the conversion of the AA into PGE2 (incidently, so does regular aspirin) and has also been shown to have a significant positive effect on the integrity of muscle cells after exercise stress. Also, high levels of PGE1 prohibit the production of series 2 prostaglandins.




    If you look closely at the above figure you'll notice that many of the enzymes involved the various conversions serve several purposes ...so a balance must be struck. You really don't want to excessively produce any one series of prostaglandins at the expense of the others, because they all have their essential purposes. For instance, PGE1 improves insulin sensitivity and speeds muscle recuperation after training, but PGF2-alpha is a potent inducer of muscle growth. You don't want to produce excessive amounts of one while creating a shortage of the other.

    Now here's the interesting part, as shown in the figure, the foods we eat can contain AA, GLA, SDA, EPA and DHA (as well as the EFAs). The optimum diet, aimed at producing vibrant strength, health and muscular development, should include a variety of these foods regularly. It is also interesting to note that animal fats (as found is meats and milk), organ meats (for example, liver), eggs and butter, which have traditionally been staples of the drug-free bodybuilder's/strength athlete's diet, all contain arachidonic acid. Thus leading to the production of the series 2 prostaglandins which are crucial to the muscle growth process. Liver, other organ meats, eggs and cod liver oil also contain fatty acids leading to the production of the "good" series 3 prostaglandins.

    Here's a list of foods providing good sources of these fatty acids. The percentage listed in brackets after the oil, fat or food indicates how much of it's total fatty acid content is the fatty acid in question.

    Sources Of Fatty Acids

    Alpha-Linolenic Acid (LNA)
    -Flax Seed Oil (often called Linseed Oil) (50-57%)
    -Hemp Seed Oil (19%)
    -Canola Oil (10%)
    -Soy Bean Oil (5-7%)
    -Walnuts (3-11% of their oil)
    -Oil Of Dark Green Leaves (50%) - but the leaves are low in overall fat levels
    -Pumpkin Seeds (0-15%)

    Linoleic Acid (LA)
    -Safflower Seed Oil (78%)
    -Sunflower Seed Oil (68%)
    -Wheat Germ Oil (60%)
    -Corn Oil (57%)
    -Hemp Seed Oil (57%)
    -Soy Bean Oil (53%)
    -Walnuts (54-62%)
    -Sesame Oil (43%)
    -Pumpkin Seeds

    Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA)Borage Oil (23%)
    -Black Current Seed Oil (15-19%)
    -Evening Primrose Oil (7-10%)
    -Hemp Seed Oil (2%)

    Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)-Cod Liver Oil (9%)
    -Salmon (up to 30% of their oil)
    -Trout (up to 30% of their oil)
    -Mackeral (up to 30% of their oil)
    -Sardines (up to 30% of their oil)

    Stearidonic Acid (SDA) (aka Octadecatetraenoic acid)-Black Current Seed Oil (2.4%)
    -Hemp Seed Oil (1%)

    Arachidonic Acid (AA)-Animal Fats
    -Eggs
    -Butter
    -NOT found in Peanut Oil, as some authors have claimed

    Monounsaturated Fats - Oleic Acid (OA)
    -Macadamia Nuts (73%)
    -Olive Oil (71%)
    -Pecans (68%)
    -Avocados (68%)
    -Hazelnuts (63%)
    -Almonds (52%)
    -Peanuts (48%)
    -Lard (48%)
    -Cashews (46%)
    -Sesame Oil (42%)
    -Beef Fat (40%)
    -Eggs
    -Butter (28%)

    Saturated Fats
    -Beef Fat (54%)
    -Lard (40%)
    -Coconut Oil (92% with 65% as MCTs and 49% Lauric Acid)
    -Palm Kernel Oil (50% Lauric Acid)
    -Butter (65% with 12-15% as SCTs and MCTs)
    -Milk Fat (therefore, all full-fat dairy products)

    It's also very important to realize that many dietary, medical and lifestyle factors can influence eicosanoid pathways. For instance:

    -Trans fatty acids, found in margarine, shortening and hydrogenated fats, inhibit the action of the delta-6 desaturase (D6D) enzyme. This effectly decreases all eicosanoid formation.
    -Excess omega-6 fatty acids inhibit the pathway that leads to the series 3 group. This is because the omega-3 pathway begins with the same enzyme (D6D) as the omega-6 pathway. Too much omega-6 in the diet “uses up” the D6D enzymes needed for the omega-3 pathway.
    -Deficiencies of biotin, vitamin E, protein, zinc, B12 and B6 all interfere with the action of D6D and other enzymes involved in eicosanoid production.
    Alcohol consumption and overeating interfere with D6D action.
    -Excessively high insulin levels promote what could be considered an "unhealthy" level of conversion of DGLA to AA, but moderate insulin levels foster the LNA to PGE3 pathway. Therefore, high simple carbohydrate intakes must be avoided.
    -Sugar intereferes with the action of the desaturase enzymes.
    -Mental and physical stress alters eicosanoid formation ratios.
    -There is some evidence that an excess of oleic acid (found chiefly in olive oil and nuts) may inhibit eicosanoid production.

    And here are a few things that you may not have control over:

    -Diabetes, poor pituitary function and low thyroid function (well, you do have some control over these) are all associated with poor D6D action.
    -Diabetes, protein deficiency and alcohol all inhibit the action of D5D.
    -Aging is accompanied by decreasing desaturase enzyme action.

    Here are some things that positively affect the prostaglandin pathways:

    -Saturated fats improve the body’s utilization of essential fatty acids.
    -Controlled insulin levels promote a healthy prostaglandin balance.
    -Lauric acid is thought to improve the function of the omega-6 pathway.

    Here's a list of do's and don'ts for promoting healthy prostaglandin pathways from Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon:


    1-Avoid all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats.
    2-Avoid excessively high levels of processed omega-6 vegetable oils, especially soy, corn, cottonseed and safflower oils.
    3-Use high quality butter.
    4-Use small amounts of flax oil in salad dressings.
    5-Use coconut oil or whole coconut milk in cooking.
    6-Supplement with cod liver oil and evening primrose, borage or black current oils.
    7-Eat organ meats and fish eggs occasionally.
    8-Eat good quality eggs frequently.
    9-Eat raw meat or fish occasionally. (Note: Fish should be marinated in an acidic medium, and meat should be frozen for at least 14 days before preparation, to avoid parasite contamination.)
    10-Avoid high phytate foods that block zinc. These include grains, legumes and nuts that have not been properly prepared to reduce phytate content.
    Modern soy foods have potent zinc-blocking effects.
    11-Avoid refined sweeteners like sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
    12-Eat and drink in moderation - but don’t deprive yourself of delicious traditional foods.

    The Balance Of The EFAs
    So how much of these oils do you need to promote the healthy balance that I spoke about above? First of all, you have to keep in mind that there exists a balance between LA and LNA. Too much of one can interfere with the eicosanoid pathways of the other, or even the proper metabolism of itself. Some researchers, including Dr. Udo Erasmus, have reasoned that because bodily enzymes convert w6s only about one-fourth as efficiently as they do w3s, we should take a 4:1 ratio of LA to LNA. Others, however, prefer a lower ratio of LA to LNA, even as low as 1:1. Perhaps a better approach is to determine the amount of each type of oil that is necessary for maximum health and let the exact ratios take care of themselves.

    It should also be realized that the North American diet contains an abundance of w6s but is notoriously low in w3s - 80% of the population is deficient in LNA (and also EPA, DHA and the other LNA metabolites). In fact, most westerners have w6:w3 ratios of 20:1 to 50:1! The first thing most people should do, if they want maximum results from their training, is to stop eating so many w6s. This can be a difficult task, given the current state of the vegetable/grain oil-dominated western grocery industry.

    Unfortunately, the optimum amounts of these fatty acids have not been established for athletes and people in intense physical training. So, to support our weight training we're left to start with the established optimum amounts for non-athletes and modify that with the experience of drug-free lifters. Final recommendations will be made in Part III of this series.

    Optimum Amounts of the EFAs for Non-Athletes
    -Linoleic Acid (LA): 2.0% to 3.0% of daily calories (around 4.4 - 10.0 grams/day)
    -Alpha-Linolenic Acid (LNA): 1.0% to 1.5% of daily calories (around 2.2 - 5.0 grams/day)
    -EPA and DHA: 2 to 3 grams/day

    The following is a list of oils and foods that supply 7 grams of linoleic acid, 3.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid and up to 3.5 grams of combined EPA and DHA.


    Linoleic Acid
    -Sunflower oil 2.0 tsp
    -Evening Primrose oil 2.0 tsp
    -Corn oil 1.0 tbsp
    -Borage oil 2.0 tbsp
    -Flax Seed oil 2.0 tbsp
    -Canola oil 2.5 tbsp
    -Olive oil 5.0 tbsp

    Alpha Linolenic Acid
    -Flaxseed oil 1.5 tsp
    -Canola oil 1.5 tbsp
    -Walnut oil 2.0 tbsp
    -Soybean oil 3.0 tbsp

    EPA and DHA
    -Cod Liver oil 1.0 tbsp
    -Sardines 3.5 oz.
    -Herring 3.5 oz.
    -Mackerel 3.5 oz.
    -Herring 5.25 oz.
    -Lake Trout 5.25 oz.
    -Salmon 7.0 oz.
    -Mullet 7.0 oz.
    -Anchovy 7.0 oz.
    -Cod 14.0+ oz.
    -Halibut 14.0+ oz.
    -Haddock 14.0+ oz.
    -Flounder 14.0+ oz.

    Some Miscellaneous Facts
    -The EFAs are very susceptible to free radicals and are prone to oxidation, so when you increase your EFA intake you must also increase your anitoxidant intake as well (vit. C, E, beta-carotene, etc.)
    -EFAs are very quickly destroyed by light, oxygen and heat - keep your EFA oils cool, sealed and in the dark.
    -The above facts, and additional processes such as bleaching and deodorizing, ensure that most of the oils you buy at the supermarket have had most of their healthful fatty acids destroyed (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk are the exceptions).
    -For EFAs to be converted into their derivatives (GLA, EPA, etc.) and into prostaglandins vitamins A, B3, B6, C and the minerals magnesium and zinc are required, so make sure you take a good multivitamin/mineral.
    -Albacore Tuna contains twice as many w3s as Light Tuna.
    A 6.5 oz. (184 g) can of Albacore Tuna contains as much w3s as 3-5 fish oil capsules.
    -Water-packed Tuna contains 25% more w3s than oil-packed Tuna (the w3s leach out into the oil and are then drained away when we pour out the oil).

    Coming Up in Part III
    In Part III of this series I'll take a look at the formation of the steroid hormones from cholesterol, throw some miscellaneous practical advice in there, and wrap up with some final recommendations on dietary fat intake.
    #2
    3XL
    Senior Moderator
    RE: Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I, II & III 2007/05/17 20:09:47 (permalink)
    0
    Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part III The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones

    Fats, Cholesterol and Hormonal Levels
    I probably don't have to tell you that testosteron builds muscle. It's a simple relationship: more testosteron (specifically free testosteron), more muscle. What some people may not realize is that several studies have indicated that, up to a certain point, as saturated and monunsaturated fats increase in the diet so do testosteron levels in the body. That point is somewhere between 30-35% of your daily calories from fat, any higher than that won't have any additional effect, and any lower than that and your natural testosteron level is probably not as high as it could be. In addition, getting 30-35% of daily calories from fat has also been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels. People who for years avoided all fats in the diet unknowingly sabotaged their own natural testosteron and cortisol levels. Of course, this is fine for steroid-using Bodybuilders/lifters because they swallow and inject pleny of hormones as it is. But it does illustrate how the dietary approaches of drug-using and drug-free Bodybuilder/lifters is not necessarily the same. For drug-free athletes adequate dietary fat and cholesterol levels are much more crucial.

    You should also be aware that LA "frees" bound estrogen in the blood, making it active. This may or may not be something that you want to achieve. If losing fat is the goal then this is definitely a no-no - estrogen is known to promote bodyfat storage. In that case you'd be wise to take more LNA-rich oils (such as flax oil) to minimize unnecessarily high LA levels. This is a common dietary strategy of Bodybuilders when losing body fat for a contest. If muscle building is the goal though, it may be wise to have a certain amount of active estrogen in the blood. Estrogen increases the number of androgen receptors on cell surfaces for testosteron to attach. In the case of skeletal muscle, this creates an environment conducive to muscle growth/strengthening. Also, consider the fact that anabolic steroids with the highest aromatization rates (most conversion to estrogen) are the most effective at increasing muscle mass. Cattle farmers deliberately add estrogen to their cattle steroids in order to promote lean body mass. Ofcourse, any estrogen-boosting effect from LA is going to be minimal compared to that produced by anabolic steroid ingestion.

    The sex hormones, including testosteron, are all made from cholesterol through a process called steroidogenesis. Vegetarians, whose diets are particularly low in dietary cholesterol and saturated fats, typically have low testosteron levels. There is much speculation as to why this is so (from the lack of saturated fats and cholesterol in their diets to their high soluble fiber intakes), but the take-home lesson is this: If you want maximum drug-free gains in muscle and strength, forget about sticking to a low-saturated fat / low-cholesterol diet. It just doesn't work.

    What about cholesterol and heart disease? Read Part I of this series again, and consider these words from Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, "The idea that too much animal fat and high cholesterol are dangerous to your heart and vessels is nothing but a myth." If you are already healthy, don't worry about it - in your case the cholesterol is needed.



    It is also interesting to note that the rate-limiting step of steroiogenesis occurs with the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone. This step is catalyzed by the P450 side-chain cleavage (P450scc) enzyme. Liver contains high amounts of this enzyme, as well as other enzymes involved in the steroidogenesis pathways. I'm purely speculating, but many old-time Bodybuilders claimed that consuming large amounts of desiccated liver tablets increased their rate of strength and muscle gain ...perhaps this is a reason. I've experienced this myself, many times, and I've advised fellow drug-free Bodybuilders/lifters who have reported the same thing ...something to consider.

    Clearly, a key to promoting maximum muscle-building hormone levels is to consume a balance of fats and cholesterol. This includes saturates, monounsaturates and polyunsaturates (the EFAs).

    The Best Oils To Fry, Boil And Bake With
    The unsaturated oils can be very unstable to cook with ...and the more unsaturated an oil is the more unsuitable it is for cooking, baking, frying or boiling. Upon heating (to a certain temperature anyway) the double bonds in the fatty acids quickly oxidize, producing substances known as free radicals. Free radicals are linked to many disease states in the body, including:

    -Cancer
    -Arthritis
    I-mmune Diseases: Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Scleroderma, etc.
    -Neurodegenerative Diseases: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
    -AIDS
    -Cataracts
    -Skin wrinkling
    -Generalized aging

    For this reason, the safest oils to cook or fry with are the most saturated ones. Remember, the more unsaturated an oil is, the less suitable it is for high temperatures. The following is a list, in descending order, of the best oils and fats to use under heat:

    The Best Oils to use Under Heat
    -Tropical oils (such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oil)
    -Butter
    -high oleic sunflower (not regular sunflower) oil
    -high oleic safflower (not regular safflower) oil
    -Lard
    -Peanut Oil
    -Sesame Oil
    -Olive Oil

    And here are some of the worst oils to cook with:

    The Worst Oils to use Under Heat
    -Flax Seed Oil
    -Hemp Seed Oil
    -Safflower Oil
    -Sunflower Oil
    -Soy Bean Oil
    -Corn Oil

    It's also a good idea to use garlic and onions when frying as they will minimize deteroration within the oil because of their high sulphur content (sulphur acts as an antioxidant, combating the free radicals produced during the frying).

    As for boiling (with water), it's not nearly as destructive to oils as frying. When boiling the water holds the temperature to 100 degrees Celsius. This isn't high enough to cause significant damage to even the most sensitive oil, flax oil (flax oil must reach about 160 degrees Celsius before significant deterioration starts to begin).

    Baking is a bit more destructive than boiling. The temperature at the surface of the food gets very high (browning of food is actually caused by damaged oils, proteins and carbohydrates). For this reason you should always line baking pans and the surface of what you're baking with butter or tropical oils - to protect the surface from deterioration. The inside of the baking food, however, usually only goes up to temperatures slightly above 100 degrees Celsius. This means that, again, even the most "sensitive" oils can be used in baking; only the oils in the crust are damaged.

    Here's a list of common dietary fatty acids and some food sources of them...
     
    Common Fatty Acids

    Chemical Names and Descriptions of some Common Fatty Acids

    Common Name - carbon Atoms - Double Bonds - Scientific Name - Sources

    Butyric acid - 4 - 0 - butanoic acid - butterfat
    Caproic Acid - 6 - 0 - hexanoic acid - butterfat
    Caprylic Acid - 8 - 0 - octanoic acid - coconut oil
    Capric Acid - 10 - 0 - decanoic acid - coconut oil
    Lauric Acid - 12 - 0 - dodecanoic acid - coconut oil
    Myristic Acid - 14 - 0 - tetradecanoic acid - palm kernel oil
    Palmitic Acid - 16 - 0 - hexadecanoic acid - palm oil
    Palmitoleic Acid - 16 - 1 - 9-hexadecenoic acid - animal fats
    Stearic Acid - 18 - 0 - octadecanoic acid - animal fats
    Oleic Acid - 18 - 1 - 9-octadecenoic acid - olive oil
    Vaccenic Acid - 18 - 1 - 11-octadecenoic acid - butterfat
    Linoleic Acid - 18 - 2 - 9,12-octadecadienoic acid - grape seed oil
    Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) - 18 - 3 - 9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid - flaxseed (linseed) oil
    Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) - 18 - 3 - 6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid borage oil
    Arachidic Acid - 20 - 0 - eicosanoic acid - peanut oil, fish oil
    Gadoleic Acid - 20 - 1 - 9-eicosenoic acid - fish oil
    Arachidonic Acid (AA) - 20 - 4 - 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid - liver fats
    EPA - 20 - 5 - 5,8,11,14,17-eicosapentaenoic acid - fish oil
    Behenic acid - 22 - 0 - docosanoic acid - rapeseed oil
    Erucic acid - 22 - 1 - 13-docosenoic acid - rapeseed oil
    DHA - 22 - 6 - 4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid - fish oil
    Lignoceric acid - 24 - 0 - tetracosanoic acid - small amounts in most fats
    Source: Fats, Oils, Fatty Acids, Triglycerides - Chemical Structure (Page 2 of 3)


    Fatty Acid and Cholesterol Composition of Some Common Dietary Fats

    Saturated - Monounsaturated - Polyunsaturated - Cholesterol - Vitamin E
    g/100g - g/100g - g/100g - mg/100g - mg/100g
    Animal fats
    Lard - 40.8 - 43.8 - 9.6 - 93 - 0.00
    Butter - 54.0 - 19.8 - 2.6 - 230 - 2.00

    Vegetable fats
    Coconut oil - 85.2 - 6.6 - 1.7 - 0 - .66
    Palm oil - 45.3 41.6 - 8.3 - 0 - 33.12 -
    Cottonseed oil - 25.5 - 21.3 - 48.1 - 0 - 42.77
    Wheat germ oil - 18.8 - 15.9 - 60.7 - 0 - 136.65
    Soya oil - 14.5 - 23.2 - 56.5 - 0 - 16.29
    Olive oil - 14.0 69.7 - 11.2 - 0 - 5.10
    Corn oil - 12.7 24.7 - 57.8 - 0 - 17.24
    Sunflower oil - 11.9 - 20.2 - 63.0- 0 - 49.0
    Safflower - 10.2 - 12.6 - 72.1- 0 - 40.68
    Canola oil - 5.3 - 64.3 - 24.8- 0 - 22.21

    You may find it interesting to note that all fats and oils contain a mixture of the different classifications of fatty acids. Even lard, which has been maligned for years as an "artery clogging" saturated fat, contains only 40.8% saturated fat but 43.8% monounsaturates (which have been heavily publicized as "healthy"). Butter contains 54.0 grams of saturated fats per 100 grams, of which 12 to 15 grams are SCFAs and MCFAs.

    General Recommendations
    You probably began this series with some preconceived notions about certain fats being "bad" and certain fats being "good". But, as I hope you've come to realize, it isn't quite as black-and-white as many people like to believe ...especially when building drug-free muscle and a strong body is the goal.

    Based on what has been covered, my general advice for someone trying to get bigger and stronger is to get about 30% of daily calories from fat. Of this fat, half should be saturated fats from animal products and tropical oils, one-quarter should be the EFAs (with the ratio of LA to LNA being approximately 4:1), and the remaining quarter should be monounsaturates (egg yolks are a great source). Don't shy excessively away from meat, eggs, milk, cheese and coconut products. Organ meats, primarily liver (and desiccated liver products) should be consumed regularly. The proper balance of dietary fats and cholesterol will promote proper eicosanoid formation and optimum testosteron levels.

    If fat loss is the primary goal, 30% is still a wise percentage at which to set dietary fat calories. This is necessary to preserve testosteron levels, slow the digestion of meals and reduce the insulin response to ingested carbs and maintain high growth hormone levels. However, in this case the saturated long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) should be limited while omega-3 polyunsaturate consumption should be increased (i.e. fish oils and flax oil). Saturates, polyunsaturates and monounsaturates should be divided equally with each contributing about one-third of the total fat calories. A 1:1 ratio of LA to LNA should be consumed. If possible, most saturated fat intake should be in the form of SCFAs and MCFAs (i.e. coconut oil, palm oil and butter instead of margarine). Dietary cholesterol should not be unnecessarily restricted.

    You also must realize that it's impossible to predict and count the exact number of grams of the EFAs and other nutrients that you'll be taking in on any given day. These percentages are merely guidelines to follow. In truth, exact percentages are really not that important. The important thing is to make an effort to balance your fat intake with regards to what you're trying to achieve and in light of what the research has told us about the various fatty acids, cholesterol and muscle growth.

     
    #3
    Marcus
    Natural born chiller
    RE: Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones: Part I, II & III 2007/05/17 23:36:57 (permalink)
    0
    #4
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