Food & Drink

Sunflower and Fish Oils? Inflammatory? Really?

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  • Feb 3rd, 2018 7:06 pm
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
May 2, 2009
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Sunflower and Fish Oils? Inflammatory? Really?

Really?

Olive oil is the only one to use?

I hate the smell of heated canola oil and use safflower as my vegetable oil. Does it have the same effect?

Many people take fish oil supplements for Omega 3's. Time to switch to Flax oil?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... ation.html
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Oct 1, 2011
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bonterra wrote: Really?

Olive oil is the only one to use?

I hate the smell of heated canola oil and use safflower as my vegetable oil. Does it have the same effect?

Many people take fish oil supplements for Omega 3's. Time to switch to Flax oil?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... ation.html
I'd have to look at the study itself. So many questions. I am skeptical that this was a responsibly done study.

Just chemically-speaking, it makes sense because natural sunflower oil is highly polyunsaturated, which means it is very susceptible to oxidation. More oxidation generally means more "aging" due to damage to cell membranes, mitochondria, DNA, etc. However, there are also high-oleic sunflower oils which try to mimic olive oil so I would wonder if they are similarly protective or just as oxidatively damaging.

I don't know if safflower would have the same liver thing as sunflower oil but I suspect it would; safflower is also highly polyunsaturated BUT there are also high-oleic safflower oils around so it's a big question mark. :D

Oleic acid is monounsaturated, which means only one double bond in the chain, only one place where electrons can be easily chemically attacked (or also propagate a chemical reaction.) Olive oil is primarily made up of oleic acid (hence the name); plus, fresh virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidant polyphenols.

Fish oils are omega-3 unsaturated (polyunsaturated) as well. If you look at the structure of docosahexanoic acid, or eicosapentanoic acid, you will see multiple double bonds. So it makes sense that too much could contribute to oxidative damage and accelerated aging. However:

- It would be freakish and unnatural if the study fed the rats a lot of fish oil--not only do humans normally not take THAT much omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements, but Omega-3s are relatively rare in nature.
- supplemental fish oils may not have been extracted or stored properly, so I'd want to look at the quality of the fish oil the lab used
- natural fish fat contained in e.g. wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, the really red kind, is also protected by the antioxidants in the meat that give it the red color -- which is also the claim by Krill-based omega-3 manufacturers that it's superior to fish oil; its red color comes from the astaxanthin pigment which is supposedly antioxidant
- flax oil containing the plant omega-3s is rich in vitamin E for a reason, to protect the fragility of the oil. Even still, if the basic premise of the study is that fish oils are oxidatively damaging the liver, then flax oil carries the same risk -- lots of polyunsaturation, not suitable for copious consumption
- I personally do not take any junk/discount brand fish oil. If I cannot ascertain the quality of the fish oils that are on sale, then I'd rather not take it at all. I currently supplement with Jamieson brand because I once read on Consumer Reports that it independently tested the freshness of Jamieson's fish oil supplements and they had good manufacturing standards (although since Jamieson were bought out I don't know if it's still exactly true now, but I still supplement with them). Krill omega-3 would be an alternative (more expensive and smaller doses per capsule), and I've also heard good things about Nutrasea which packages theirs with antioxidants such as tocopherols (vitamin E), green tea extract, and sometimes rosemary extract. And finally, a lot of "high concentration" fish oils are not even in the natural triglyceride form; they process the oils into ethyl esters which don't exist in nature. So we have to be discerning.

BTW, Spain produces a lot of olive oil so I would want to look at who sponsored it, maybe they set up the study to make it look extra special and great (e.g. comparing it to fish oil inappropriately.)

But you know what other natural plant-based oil is even more stable than olive oil? :) Coconut oil...mostly saturated fats...a much more interesting study would have been to use it as a comparison too. Natural coconut oil also contains polyphenols to further protect it.

Personally I think coconut oil, olive oil, and natural butter or lard/tallow are the best contenders for cooking. Small doses of quality omega-3 sources such as walnuts, other nuts and seeds (flax, chia, hemp), and seafood or seafood omega-3 supplements are needed and anti-inflammatory. You're not supposed to consume the latter fats in high doses.

Even high doses of antioxidants can turn pro-oxidant--instead of neutralizing free radicals, stabilizing electrons, etc. they start to push electrons around.

If I would have designed the study, it would have been:
- regular sunflower oil group
- high-oleic sunflower oil group
- olive oil
- coconut oil

The next study they could do is:
- olive oil
- olive oil + small doses of quality fish oil

Sorry, but I doubt too many people are smearing fish oil onto a piece of toast or doing a stirfry with it...

Finally...Dr. Perricone said that fresh, quality olive oil should be naturally spicy (due to the polyphenols) and tickle the back of the throat on taking a half teaspoon. I found this to corroborate to my experience. When I opened a new bottle of good olive oil, it would be spicy, and after say, 6+ months, it would lose the prickliness in the back of the throat.

If you want to do a cheap test to compare olive oil grade, get a fresh Costco Kirkland Signature bottle and compare it to a $7 cheapo no name.
Deal Addict
Jun 21, 2016
3116 posts
1073 upvotes
omega 6 = inflammatory aka processed vegetable oils

omega 3 = anti-inflammatory aka fish oils

try macadamia nut oil
extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point, its meant to be put on food raw.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
May 2, 2009
7008 posts
1763 upvotes
peanutz wrote: I'd have to look at the study itself. So many questions. I am skeptical that this was a responsibly done study.
Thanks so much for that huge amount of information. Lots to think about.

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