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What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:36 pm
by veganjoggler
Omega 3 fatty acids are said to be important for optimal health, though there are conflicting reports about how much we really need, and if they can prevent serious disease. The 3 most important omega 3s are DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA and EPA can be found in fatty fish and algae; vegan DHA/EPA supplements derived from algae are expensive. ALA, which some people can convert to DHA and EPA is easily obtained by consuming flaxseeds and walnuts. Unfortunately, the people who do convert ALA to DHA and EPA very rarely manage to achieve significant blood levels of DHA and EPA, compared to what they would get by eating fatty fish. Maybe they need to work harder at converting it :wink:

Which brings me to the question: What happens if a person(let's assume an adult, not a fetus or a child) gets no omega 3s at all? Has anyone here ever suffered from an omega 3 deficiency? And on a related note, if you get enough ALA, but no EPA or DHA, what happens?

Re: What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:40 pm
by sergio
[quote="veganjoggler"]
Which brings me to the question: What happens if a person(let's assume an adult, not a fetus or a child) gets no omega 3s at all? Has anyone here ever suffered from an omega 3 deficiency? And on a related note, if you get enough ALA, but no EPA or DHA, what happens?


This is how I see it. 1st question: That person will probably be in trouble sooner or later. And trouble means a long list of health issues from depression to bad circulation. 2nd question: Yes, probably a lot of people, both vegans and omnivores. And some people probably have been through periods with very low O3 levels and they didn't even know. 3rd question: It could happen that your Omega 6 / Omega 3 ratio are fine and you're converting ALA to DHA/EPA efficiently. And you'll have lower levels compared with a person eating fish on a regular basis but that doesn't mean that you'll be in trouble. Or it could happen that you're not having enough ALA or with a very bad ratio and that eventually could lead to issues.

So, if you decide not to take a DHA/EPA supplement (and even if you do) I think it's worthy to have a closer look at the whole ratio, because it seems to play a crucial role on converting ALA and being healthy.

I've been reading some about this lately and it seems the jury is still out in certain things.

Re: What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:35 pm
by ratfan
I think you'd struggle to get no omega's at all in any diet - unless it was very poor and restricted. You can get some from leafy greens, nuts, seeds etc.
My own experience is that I read about the benefits of DHA and EPA and how it can be difficult to get enough on a vegan diet. Until then I'd believed that simply being vegan meant I was very healthy!
But I felt I wasn't, so I tried one of the algae supplements and I noticed some real benefits - now I take them fairly regularly. I know it is a cliché but there are a lot of 'tetchy' vegans around and I read about low Omegas and B12 and how they affect behaviour.
The best bet would be to get blood tests done (if possible) so you'd know for sure.

Re: What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:56 pm
by veganjoggler
[quote="ratfan"]I think you'd struggle to get no omega's at all in any diet - unless it was very poor and restricted. You can get some from leafy greens, nuts, seeds etc.
My own experience is that I read about the benefits of DHA and EPA and how it can be difficult to get enough on a vegan diet. Until then I'd believed that simply being vegan meant I was very healthy!
But I felt I wasn't, so I tried one of the algae supplements and I noticed some real benefits - now I take them fairly regularly. I know it is a cliché but there are a lot of 'tetchy' vegans around and I read about low Omegas and B12 and how they affect behaviour.
The best bet would be to get blood tests done (if possible) so you'd know for sure.


You're right, it would be difficult to get no omega 3s at all unless we ate extremely poorly. I think I notice similar things due to taking algae supplements. Which algae supplements do you take by the way?

It would be great if it were a lot easier to get blood tests.

Re: What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:55 am
by ratfan
I've not be able to find a definitive answer on the best ratio - so I switch between Nuique - 100mg EPA & 400mg DHA and Opti 3 - 200mg EPA and 400mg DHA. Nuique now do a 10:400 ratio too, and they seem v popular, so I might give those a go next. Not very scientific I'm afraid.

Re: What happens if a person gets no omega 3s at all?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:56 pm
by Knight of Albion
An interesting article worth reading...
http://www.nutripeople.co.uk/news/conve ... ish-eaters