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Old 07-20-2006, 10:46 PM
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Default How to Optimize Fat Efficiency in the Diet Part II - Essential Fats

We previously had a discussion in this forum on how to optimize fat efficiency in the diet,

When we discuss the efficiency of any nutrient, we mean how can we achieve the maximum desired benefits—I.e. enhanced insulin sensitivity, enhanced protein synthesis, etc.—while consuming the least amount of calories.

For instance, most of you are aware of the amino acid shooter on our website. One of the main benefits for this is that it optimizes caloric efficiency. The Amino Acid shooter can stimulate an equal amount of muscle growth as a normal protein meal containing double the calories. In a recent study conducted by Dr. Volpi and colleagues, a group of subjects were given 18 grams of EAAs, while a second group received 18 grams of EAAs along with 22 grams of NAAs, which is similar to a normal protein serving. While calories were more than double in the second group, the amount of protein synthesis was identical for both protein feedings! By maximizing Caloric Efficiency, an athlete can safely increase calories in the off season, as well as lower calories while preparing for a contest.

The previous discussion on fat efficiency in the diet, focused in on saturated fats; in particularly, medium chain fats.

This thread, I would like to focus on optimizing fat efficiency in the diet, through the consumption of essential fatty acids and their derivatives.

For a great deal of information on essential fats, read this article, Essential Fatty Acids - An In Depth Analysis

Essential nutrients are those nutrients that must be supplied through diet because the body cannot manufacture them from other nutrients.

There are two essential fats, broadly known as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

What I want to discuss, is how to optimize our consumption of these 2 fats.


The main omega 3 fat is called Linolenic acid (LNA).

From LNA, come the derivates Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).

Results indicate that the anabolic attributes of omega 3 fats are derived from these two derivates—EPA and DHA.

The benefits of omega 3 fats are well documented. These include enhanced insulin sensitivity, thermogenesis, decreased inflammation (both vital for recovery, and for joint pain), and they can also help various heart related diseases through lowering triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

The issue is this: our body does not efficiently convert LNA to EPA and DHA. Furthermore, various things, such as an high ratio of omega 6:3 fats, further decreases this conversion process.

To put this in perspective, typically < 5–10% of LNA is converted into EPA and 2–5% into DHA. Furthermore, a high ratio of omega 6:3 fats—typical of the western diet—can decreases this conversion process by 50%!!!!

Read this article for lots of information on this,

That is an incredible article. I highly advise reading it. It pretty much says exactly what I am trying to get across.

The point is this: from my research, consuming LNA as your source of omega 3 fats is entirely inefficient; even if you have a good ratio of omega 3:6 fatty acids.

Therefore, I am proposing that a bodybuilder should consume straight EPA and DHA.

Where can we get this?

Typically, only from fish.

But this still is not 100% efficient, because fish has other fats, and it also has protein, and other nutrients. And, while fish is a great food, to consume enough of this daily is highly unlikely.

Therefore, I personally opt for an omega 3 supplement, that is potent in EPA and DHA.

Previously, I had been consuming things like flax, and other sources of LNA, along with 3-6 grams of EPA and DHA. But now, I am—unless someone can convince me otherwise—going to switch to only EPA and DHA as my source of omega 3 fats.


The main omega 6 parent, is called linoleic acid (LA).

This gets converted again, into several derivates, which carry out its ergogenic benefits.

Now, it appears that numerous of these ergogenic benefits are mediated through its derivative, Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA).

For instance, decreasing cholesterol is 170 times more potent by consuming direct GLA, then LA.

So from my perspective, having linoleic acid is kind of liking going through a middle man—some information is bound to be lost. So why not just go straight to the source—GLA?

I am proposing that we just consume our omega 6 fats from GLA.

To summarize what I would like to know from you guys:

1. What should our omega 3 fats come from?
2. What should our omega 6 fats come from?

Based on my research, I strongly believe that

1. Our omega 3 fats should come from straight EPA and DHA through a fish oil supplements.
2. Our omega 6 fats should come from GLA.

I also have a couple other things I would like to see.

Have you guys seen any studies that directly compare the ergogenic effects of EPA and DHA to consuming LNA from something like flax? For instance, they have done studies comparing whey protein, to straight essential amino acids, and found that consuming 1/3rd of the amount of calories can stimulate the same amount of protein synthesis.

So I am wondering, if say, you can have ½ the amount of calories from consuming straight EPA and DHA, compared to LNA from something such as flax, and get the same benefits. Let me know if you see something like this. If they have not, we need to test this!!!

I showed an example of just this with GLA and cholesterol.

Finally, if you find a good GLA supplement please post it here, [img]/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

I look forward to your responses!
Gabriel "Venom" Wilson, Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences
B.S. (Hons) & M.S. in Kinesiology, CSCS
Vice President, ABCbodybuilding
Co-Editor. of JHR
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