Too many Omega-6 fatty acids – my personal experience

Recently I am in a difficult situation in regards to eating my preferred diet that is high in vegetables, nuts and seeds. I am in Japan and do not have access to a kitchen or any of my supplements (wheatgrass powder, spirulina, spices, etc.). And I also have to limit my food choices to what can be eaten without preparation.
The biggest drawback in regards to Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio here is the unavailability of flaxseeds. I have only found a small package of roasted flaxseeds (50g) for an incredible sum of 7€. So flaxseeds are out.


I am therefore consuming the most available nuts, which are Walnuts and Peanuts. Those are relatively affordable but come with a very high omega-6 content. The body has a hard time handling an excess of omega-6 fatty acids. To generate energy from polyunsaturated fatty acids requires additional enzymatic steps to first turn them into saturated fatty acids. Therefore suddenly increasing ones consumption can overload those pathways.

The body tends to use them also in other enzymatic pathways with unfavorable outcomes. One of those pathways leads to arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is naturally found in animal sources of fat. But the body is capable of producing the amount he requires on his own. Arachidonic acid is usually associated with pro-inflammatory reactions. But it is also found in high quantities in the brain.

And this is the part I am interested in right now. With this self-experiment I am forced to conduct at the moment, I want to find out what effect high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids have on my body. And I can judge from the first 3 weeks of eating this way that it generates a mental state that is highly uncomfortable at times.
After consuming a meal high in omega-6 I feel a change in my mood. I get an overall depressed outlook on life, no matter what situation I am in. Notice that those Omega-6 fatty acids come from whole foods. Most of them from raw, soaked walnuts. But also from roasted peanuts. I would say based on other research that looked into oxidation during roasting of whole flaxseeds, which showed no oxidation, that those fatty acids where also not oxidized.
My conclusion from this experience is therefore that it is important to limit the overall quantity of Omega-6 in once diet. This is probably more important than the ratio of Omega-3:Omega-6. High amounts of Omega-6 can not be offset by increasing Omega-3. That is at least my experience.
The reason for that is also that the body can only handle a certain amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids well. Above a certain level the fatty acids might get used in unfavorable enzymatic pathways leading to inflammation. Additionally the polyunsaturated fatty acids themselves are susceptible to oxidation. So they can easily generate free radicals in the body, damaging tissues and consuming up a lot of important anti-oxidants like vitamin e.


So when I have the chance again, I am going to limit my consumption. This means eating more coconut, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, flaxseed and less walnuts, peanuts, sunflower-seeds.

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