Coconut Oil, Ketones and Alzheimer's

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More on Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Another related subject I have been reading much about these past months addresses the inflammation piece related to our American diet of the past fifty plus years. It has to do with the "yin" and "yang" relationship of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 is inflammatory (having to do with our natural immune response)and relatively vasoconstrictive and omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and produce vasodilation. Ideally these effects would be balanced if consumed in anywhere from a 4:1 or 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, depending on what scientific papers you read. The infant formula manufacturers are shooting for about a 4:1 ratio and they just started really paying attention to this about 6 years ago. They began to add DHA (one of the omega-3s) to improve visual acuity and IQ and added ARA (an omega-6) to balance it. Our typical American diet is so out of whack that the ratio is more like 20:1 or even 40:1, mostly related to relatively high consumption of 100% vegetable oil which is usually soybean oil +/- some canola oil, and low consumption of fish, say, compared with Japan where the average consumption per person is 140 pounds of fish per year!! Here Americans tend to eat a lot of soybean oil which is about 50% omega-6 and has has about a 7:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 if non-hydrogenated and 17:1 if it is hydrogenated. Non-hydrogenated cannola oil actually isn't bad, with 19% omega-6 and 9% omega-3 (about a 2:1 ratio) and 7% long chain saturated fats. Olive oil is about 10% omega-6 and has a 13:1 ratio,and by the way, olive oil is not all mono-unsaturated fat and has about 14% long chain saturated fats. My favorite, coconut oil, is about 4% omega-6 and has no omega-3. In those parts of the world where coconut oil is used, fish consumption is also very common. In our world, adding some salmon to our diet and/or fish oil would be a good idea. I think most of us as caregivers are already doing that, but figuring out how much to use is another problem. If you are trying to get a 4:1 ratio and you are mostly using 100% non-hydrogenated soybean oil, you would need to take an additional 1.5 to 2 grams of omega-3 for every tablespoon. Considering how much soybean oil (the favorite of the fast food and packaged food industries) many folks eat in a day, you can see that the "inflammatory/vasoconstrictive properties" of omega-6 could be a factor in the diseases that plague Americans - high BP, cardiovascular disease (inflamed blood vessel walls,) autoimmune diseases, to name a few. To get a 4:1 ratio, for olive oil, it would be about 1 gram omega-3 for every 3 tablespoons. For coconut oil, 1 gram omega-3 for every 6.5 tablespoons. Also, I have been learning that the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA is a more permanent part of the cell membrane and EPA more transient and we may need relatively more EPA than DHA as a result. I have been communicating with a neurolipid biochemist/researcher, who I hope to learn a lot from in the coming weeks. I plan pass whatever information I can gleen from her on to the caregiver groups.


  • Is it Mary Enig by any chance?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 4, 2009 at 10:57 PM  

  • I take 4 fish oil capsules for the EFA and 5000 IU Vitamin D3 daily plus coconut oil and MCT oil tid myself after reading your husband's story and Dr. Michael Eades' blog. My morning dose of coconut oil and MCT oil with breakfast definitely helps me get through the morning at work better than just coffee alone, so I think there really is a stimulatory effect of all those ketones on the brain.

    By Blogger Jet, At July 9, 2009 at 5:54 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dr. Mary Newport, At July 15, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

  • Actually, it was not Mary Enig.

    By Blogger Dr. Mary Newport, At July 15, 2009 at 10:00 PM  

  • I attended a talk several weeks ago on Brain Wellness (part of a series) & the speaker recommended being sure to get antioxidents DAILY, & the Omega 3s weekly. One gal asked about coconut oil (I hoped to talk with her after - but she slipped out) which the speaker dismissed (I e-mailed him info later, inc. links to your articles :)
    As he spoke of reducing oxidative stress, I realized that's the angle that needs to be emphasised for the coconut oil - to think of it more in the 'antioxident' realm.
    Like you - I'm trying to spread the word! & keep 'working on' my friends. I've noticed more personal clarity & fewer 'cravings' using coconut oil & some olive oil.
    & re: your comment on eating curry & the Coconut Milk factor - I've thought of the connection as well!

    By Blogger Dia, At July 19, 2009 at 12:29 AM  

  • I learnt a lot from your website about the necessity of coconut oil. I have become a fan of saturated fat recently.

    I would recommend that you read the Whole Health Source Blog

    Its very good. You will learn that saturated fat and cholesterol is not harmful at all. On the contrary it is quite useful and healthy. I had not gotten on Coconut oil because I thought Butter oil was probably as good as if not better than CO.

    But now I understand that Coconut oil will make an already healthy diet better.

    By Blogger Anand Srivastava, At August 13, 2009 at 12:26 AM  

  • How does Coconut oil affect the gallblader, especially when one has problems with oils generally? Thenk so much for your response?

    By Blogger Kamillia Hardy, At October 14, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

  • Some people experience indigestion if they try to take too much at once, especially if they ahve no gallbladder. If this is a problem for you try taking it in small amounts (1 teaspoon) at first, then increase gradually. Much of the coconut oil (the medium chain fatty acids) does not require the digestive enzymes to be digested.

    Some have suggested that adding it to cottage cheese may help with digestion and prevent diarrhea.

    By Blogger Dr. Mary Newport, At October 17, 2009 at 5:46 PM  

  • It’s very great nutrition for the hair. I hear from many people about its efficiency.

    By Anonymous coconut oil for hair, At January 12, 2010 at 4:21 AM  

  • Very good article. I have been researching omega 6 lately, as I have learned that if you are getting your omega 3 from Flaxseed or Flaxoil, you have to have the proper ratio or it will not convert in your body properly. I actually wrote and article about cooking oil on my blog here:

    By Blogger Angel, At January 26, 2010 at 2:16 PM  

  • Omega 3 6 9:

    "While small percentages of essential fatty acids can be obtained from food, the majority of the population tends to consume far more of the saturated ‘bad’ fats than essential ‘good’ fats (Omega-3 and -6). NOW Omega 3-6-9 is an ideally balanced, full-spectrum source of these three “good fats”. Now Foods blends high potency Omega-3 from flaxseed and canola, Omega-6 from primrose and black currant and Omega-9 (or Oleic acid, a non-essential fatty acid) from Canola and Flax." Omega 3 6 9 on discount at

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    By Blogger josephmoss, At July 24, 2010 at 3:53 AM  

  • hi i am still trying to fathom all this out. mary, have you read or listened to anything by brian peskin. he was also on one radio where i first heard you. i would love to get your opinion, when u have time, to know if what he is saying is correct science. his motto is science not opinion and he says def dont take fish oil at all and he has renamed his brand of oil epo's essential parent oils - so by taking the epo's you will get the conversion required for the correct ratio of omegas but now im thinking it really depends on your diet so one really has to add up what one is eating in everything.i mainly only use co but as my brother in law has a farm in tuscany i also love their organic olive oil...ann - i didnt wantto be anonymous so have to post my email as dont know what else to doas dont have a google account

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

  • Flax seeds and chia seeds are also great sources for Omega 3. The benefit of flax seed and the benefit of chia seeds are many. Both flax seed and chia seeds contain fiber, Omega-3 and lignans. This helps lower cholesterol and can also benefit people at risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar by slowing down the body's absorption of sugar. Flax seed and chia seeds are also both great sources for antioxidants.

    By Blogger janey10021, At October 12, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

  • There seems to me a lot of conflicting information on the biologial usefulness, in our bodies, of flax or hemp oil. Some say that these are just as good as fish oils and others say not. What's a person to think.

    By Blogger Boiling Pot, At October 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM  

  • Dear Dr. Mary

    In your post you state that you're "...communicating with a eurolipid biochemist/researcher..."

    And that you'll "...pass whatever information I can gleen from her on to the caregiver groups...."

    I'm wondering if you were able to learn more from her and if so where the information is?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 31, 2012 at 5:35 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Rebecca Rivera, At April 12, 2013 at 4:04 AM  

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