Monthly Archives: December 2016

Reaching an Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio of 1:1

In March of this year, I met up with some folks working in the area of inflammation and how it relates to every non-communicable disease out there. The concept of the inflammatory model for disease is a new emerging area of study and I’m excited for what comes out of it, which in reality has always been known, but never comprehensively put together nor with treatment protocols created.
The field is very broad but one of the most significant instigators of inflammation in the body is the imbalance of Omega 6 (O6) fatty acids, which is pro-inflammatory in our bodies, versus Omega 3 (O3) fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Both are necessary components in humans and are required for proper body function. However, the Western diet has, over the last century, come to be dominated by O6 due to the proliferation of vegetable oils. Any vegetable oil that you use in cooking, frying, salad dressings – anything – is literally almost all O6 and no O3. Even olive oil, which is great for you by a lot of measures, is still 11 to 1 in ratio of O6 to O3. Check out this Wikipedia page on the ratio of O6 to O3 in typical oils. It also talks about typical ratios of O6 to O3 in other foods as well.
Note that industrial farming has also increased the O6 content of foods. For example, grain fed beef has a lot more O6 in it than O3, when compared to grass fed/grass finished beef. This is seen in other animals and fowls as well.
The average Western human has a ratio as high as 25:1 (O6:O3), with a range of 10 to 20:1, given a diet rich in vegetable oils, fried foods, sugar, and processed carbs. Anthropological studies put ancient humans with a very natural diet at a ratio of 1:1. Some have estimated a healthy range between 2.3 to 1:1.
Two great resources on the topic are:
Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids: Functions, Sustainability Strategies and Perspectives by Fabien De Meester (Editor), Ronald Watson (Editor), Sherma Zibadi (Editor)
Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health by William E.M. Lands
With that in mind, I set out to see what it would take to move my own ratio to 1:1, taking me all the way back to caveman status, and, of course, hopefully lowering my inflammation.
As with any experiment like this, I began with an O6:O3 test. Omegaquant’s blood spot fatty acid tests are perfect for this. You can measure just O3, or do trans fats, or do a full fatty acid profile. You just prick your finger, smear your blood on the card, and mail it in. Results are sent back to you via email. I would change my diet and hold it constant for 4 months; which is about how long it takes for all the blood cells in your body to die and be reborn. When the cells are reborn, you want them to be reborn in a different fatty acid ratio environment.
I used the Omega-3 Index Complete test, pricked my finger, smeared it on the card, and sent it in. This was March 28, 2016. A week later, the results came back with a ratio of 1.6:1 (O6:O3)! I thought I was eating healthy but didn’t think I would have a value that was that close to 1:1.
My diet and eating pattern back then was like this:
Bulletproof fasting:
Bulletproof coffee with 1 Tbsp Brain Octane
Glass of water with 11g BCAAs, 1 Tbsp MCT oil.
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 4 capsules = 2560mg O3
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega + CoQ10, 2 capsules = 1280mg
Total O3 supplements = 3840mg
Supplements were taken in the morning without food.
Hamburger patty, cooked in olive oil, or Salmon mostly, or other fish, cooked in olive oil.
Hamburger was either Whole Foods pastured raised or grass fed. Chose either.
Salmon was chiefly Whole Foods Atlantic Salmon, farm raised. Other fish was whatever Whole Foods may have: snapper, sea bass, black cod.
Olive oil is Whole Foods brand organic virgin olive oil.
Stir Fried Vegetables, likely one of: broccoli, snow peas, spinach. Cooked in olive oil.
Rib-Eye or New York Steak or Hamburger. Steak cooked on my NuWave Oven (I’ve had mine for 2 years, so check out more recent models.) Hamburger cooked in olive oil.
Stir Fried Vegetables, likely one of: broccoli, snow peas, spinach. Cooked in olive oil.
White potato or Yam, baked.
Eating Out, Snacking:
While the above was a sample of menu of when I cooked, I probably ate out for lunch often during the week and got takeout with the familiy multiple dinner times. This could be Armadillo Willy’s barbecue brisket, or takeout Chinese. Occasionally it would be seafood from a restaurant. Sometimes I’d eat sweet potato fries to substitute for baked potato or yam. On business trips, it was just eat whatever was out there.
I did snack on Bulletproof chocolate every day (small square or two). I would fly every weekend and eat trail mix in the airports.
Still, pretty good that I reached 1.6:1 eating like that. I thought that moving from 1.6:1 to 1:1 would be fairly straightforward.
For the first phase, I thought I would try to supplement my way to 1:1. In the Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids book, there is talk of needing upwards of 10g of O3 per day to balance out O6 in the typical Western diet. I increased my Nordic Naturals to add another 4 capsules of Ultimate Omega, raising my daily intake in the mornings to 6400mg. Again I would take these all at once in the morning, with no meal. I also added a liquid Nordic Naturals Omega 3 supplement of 1 tsp, which was 1600mg of O3. So now my total was about 8000mg per day. Surely if the book said 10g would take someone on a normal Western omnivorous diet to 1:1, 8000mg on my already great diet should take me there?
I didn’t make any changes to my diet at all.
4 months later, on 8/16/16, I sent in another Omega 3 Complete test and got it back a week later. My O6:O3 ratio was 1.4:1.
With supplementation of 8000mg, it only moved my ratio about .2. In examining what could have been done better, I realized:
1. Somebody pointed out to me that it is not just a game of increasing O3, but also reducing/removing O6. When I examined my diet, I noticed a bunch of things that could be removed. These were:
a. I stopped cooking with olive oil. I bought a steamer and resolved to steam all my vegetables. I also would cook my hamburger with beef tallow from a butcher shop called Belcampo, who sells beef raised on their own farms and are totally grass fed and grass finished. They’ve even tested their beef and found it to be 1:1 O6:O3 ratio! I figure the beef tallow from them must have a good O6:O3 ratio as well.
b. I would buy and eat only grass fed grass finished beef. So I started visiting Belcampo more, and I would only buy the Panorama grass fed grass finished beef at Whole Foods.
c. I decided that for this trial, I would focus solely on wild caught salmon which has the largest amount of O3 in any fish. While by some measures, farmed Atlantic salmon has the highest amount of O3, I decided to stay away from it due to it being farmed.
d. No more snacking on nuts at the airports. While they may provide good nutrients, they are also loaded with O6.
e. No avocados either. Lots of good fats in there, but still lots of O6.
f. As for eating out, there isn’t much I can do there except ask for steamed vegetables whenever possible and staying away from any sauces or dressings. Also I would stop eating any fried foods.
2. I read somewhere that supplementation with O3 doesn’t work as well as eating O3 in foods. Also on the bottle it recommends taking the O3 capsules with meals which is NOT what I did. So I resolved to take them with meals. I also thought about how food is digested and potentially the timing of the doses is necessary, to align especially with meals with higher O6 content so that you can balance it out at that meal’s time. So I broke up my dose into lunch time and dinner time.
I changed my dose to:
With lunch:
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 2 capsules
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega + CoQ10, 2 capsules
Total = 2560mg
With dinner:
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, capsules
Total = 2560mg
If I ate out, I would add an additional 4 capsules at each meal to hopefully throw in a ton of O3 alongside higher levels of O6.
In essence I was reducing the amount of supplementation, except when I’m eating out, and hoping that eliminating any and all sources of extra O6 would bring me back to a better ratio, or hopefully 1:1.
I therefore embarked on the most spartan and most consistent eating pattern I’ve ever done.
4 months later, on December 15, 2016, I sent in another test and the results came back a week later at 0.9:1! I actually overshot 1:1 by .1! Wow!
Some notes:
1. I look forward to the development of more advanced tests to determine inflammation in the body and want to get tested. The traditional test of hsCRP is only for acute inflammation and not chronic low grade inflammation which, hopefully, is lowered for me given my new ratio.
2. I did observe some health effects during this process.
a. Even at 1.6:1, I was suffering from some pretty severe dry eye. As I moved through the year improving my ratio and diet, the dry eye get measurably better. Unfortunately it did not go completely away. There is some research showing good results from treating dry eye with O3 supplementation but it only moved me a little bit and not all the way. I continue my search for dietary interventions to totally cure my dry eye.
b. My seasonal allergies literally went away during this process. I used to have constant allergy problems with nasal drip irritating my passages and throat. It would happen many times during the year. But now, I rarely get them. Allergies are inflammatory problems by nature, and I think the improvement of my ratio and my diet has made a huge improvement here. Despite my great ratio of 1.6:1, I had to move beyond it to see the improvements.
c. My skin is less dry. I used to get a rash on my hands if I didn’t apply moisturizer, after going through some days of normal bathing but also washing the dishes and hand washing. But now it seems much better, or more tolerant of the typical washing that happens.
3. It’s really interesting that at a ratio of 1.6:1 didn’t have me already at a better place with respect to the above issues. However, I think it’s the improvement in diet and removal of stuff I was putting in my mouth, during the exploration of how to get to 1:1, that really made the improvements. At this point, I am not sure it was O6 that was the *sole* problem. There could have been other inflammatory foods I was eating that were causing the problems, or it was a combination of O6 and eating other inflammatory things. These conditions tend to be multi-factorial, and there are a lot of things that could be working in combination to create the conditions.
4. My wife was amazed that I could literally eat the same thing every day without getting sick of it. I think that there is opportunity to use spices to mix things up. I also ended up adding pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi to add different flavors.
You have to realize that if you care about your health, you’re going to need to stop eating what is out there. It is really making our whole population sick. My parents both died of heart disease because they dutifully followed government and medical recommendations on diet. I remember seeing lots of corn oil, the removal of beef and concentration on eating fish and fowl (fowl is one of the best sources of O6; you can’t buy fowl that is not fed by manufactured feed) which ended up being more fowl than fish. There was no control over eating sugar or sweet things either. I also saw the passing of my father in law from lung cancer; his diet had no controls whatsoever – neither did his smoking. And I’ve also got another relative with severe Type 2 Diabetes. This person has been in the hospital multiple times due to organ failure and has been on dialysis for over a decade. I have seen these things happen in my family and now realize they are totally preventable – you basically just need to stop listening to the government, stop reacting to popular marketing (just to throw two things out there, check out: How Breakfast Became a Thing and how the sugar lobby has worked their way into every health organization in the US.) and even your doctor because all the advice they are going to give you hasn’t done anything for the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer – you name it, the incidence of all non-communicable diseases is rising sharply.
Yes, it tastes wonderful. But like all things, you can choose. I chose to give it up because my health is more important to me than needing to experience the sensory excellence of some cooking. And I’ve seen first hand what terrible things can happen to you when you get one of those non-communicable diseases. Time to choose.

The Carb Back Loading Update 12-17-16

Here are my stats from my Omron Body Monitor on Saturday 12-17-16:

Weight 139.6 lbs
BMI 21.9
Fat 13.3%
Muscle 41.6%
RM 1516
Body Age 28
Visceral Fat 5

Given that I started out around 168 lbs and at 25% body fat early in 2016, this is an amazing result! And I’m only 5’7″ so losing nearly 30 lbs off my already small frame is still astounding, sometimes frightening to me.
Two comments and results:
1. I remember reading Muscle and Fitness magazine when I was in high school and college, and through my 20s. I would lift weights and occasionally I would try to get “ripped” like bodybuilders and go for low body fat and more definition in my muscles. Following those diets never seemed to work. I would carve the fat off all meats, and eat a lot of chicken and salad. I tried eating little to no fat, but didn’t change much with carbs or sugar. I never got “ripped” and would try and give up many times.
Now along comes some more sophistication. I combine CBL with Intermittent Fasting (IF) and am eating fat, and more than I have ever eaten in meals and now I maintain a more “ripped” look daily without any effort.
2. This whole year I’ve been taking blood tests to track a bunch of things. The most interesting change was in my cholesterol.
In January, I saw:

Total Cholesterol 342 (High)
LDL 232 (High)
HDL 61 (Good)
Triglycerides 164 (High)

I was still drinking butter in my coffee along with MCT oil which apparently for some people will raise cholesterol. I had not started CBL at this time.
Across the year, I worked at lowering cholesterol and getting my numbers into better ranges. I stopped butter in my coffee which did lower cholesterol, and tried not eating so much beef for a time which didn’t change my numbers at all.
Recently in November, I saw:

Total Cholesterol 174 (Good)
LDL 96 (Good)
HDL 68 (Good)
Triglycerides 50 (Good)

What a massive movement in all numbers and all for the better!
Granted now people have different viewpoints on cholesterol and its role in predicting disease. My functional medicine doc told me that with high HDL and good LDL particle size, I should not worry so much about cholesterol numbers being so off. But after CBL and changing my body composition to what it is today, I managed to drop all cholesterol numbers into positive ranges.
High triglycerides are associated with high visceral fat. I went from a 7 back earlier this year to a 5 (units unknown) as measured by my Omron. I think losing all that fat between my organs really made a dent in my triglyceride numbers. My current body composition definitely had a large effect on my cholesterol numbers.
Even my normal doc said that I was in his top 5 for those who were able to improve numbers via dietary interventions (Being the competitive guy I am, I replied asking how I could be #1?).
Next on deck is to slowly come off thyroid supplements and see if the improved body composition has also brought my thyroid back online properly.

My Beginner’s Guide to Diet and Nutrition

A friend asked me how I would recommend improving diet and increasing fat loss. Here are my recommendations for someone who is just starting out:
Here is a rather long email on weight loss. Suffice to say that I have tried a number of things and a lot of it is garbage. Note that this includes what a registered dietician or nutritionist will tell you. It is really sad. Here is a list of known prominent health orgs supported by Coke and Pepsi, and their messaging has been manipulated over the years. How can we trust our highest medical organizations with this kind of sponsorship?
First I’ll tell you what I recommend, and then list some resources to read if you feel so inclined.

  1. Changing your eating habits is a behaviorial problem first and foremost. Please keep this in mind. Keeping on target and not breaking the process requires discipline to form the new habit and abolish new ones. So be prepared to make this a behavior modification project alongside the actual diet itself.
  2. Remove all added sugar from your diet.
    What is not allowed: soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, sweet desserts, cookies, cakes, muffins, anything in a can or in a box or wrapper, sauces, salad dressings. Start reading labels; you’ll be surprised how much added sugar is in everything even if you do not perceive something as sweet.
    What is OK: fruit, bananas. Anything that is grown. (Do note that in cases of severe obesity, you may need to remove even this sugar).
    Notes: Despite being supported by Coke/Pepsi for many years, the American Heart Association has finally come out and said that sugar leads to obesity and heart disease. That link is to the recent announcement of a guidelines for *children*. You should know i’m leading an effort at PAUSD to limit/remove all added sugar from school grounds and activities. this is a major health issue for children right now. I did not have time to approach the OFJCC however on this issue.
    Results: Most people should lose 5-10 pounds if you really remove sugar within 2-4 weeks.

  3. Remove all white and processed carbs from your diet.
    What is not allowed: rice, potatoes, anything in a box or bag, breads, pasta. This includes brown rice and whole grain breads.
    What is OK: green vegetables. you can try to add back sweet potatoes later, but not advisable in the beginning.
    Notes: Remember breads are processed carbs using flour, no matter what’s in it. When you get carbs in processed form, it is delivered in concentrations that enter the blood stream faster and in greater quantity than when delivered in the original food.

  4. Try fasting. The easiest way is to simply skip breakfast and break the habit of requiring food in the mornings. Then eat lunch at 12noon and eat dinner before 8pm. If you absolutely need something in the morning, then try skipping dinner. Eat within a 8 hour window but shift it towards the morning. So eat between 7a and 1pm.
    What is OK during fasts: Drink water or coffee and that’s it. If you feel hungry, just drink some water. Filling up your stomach will help reduce pangs of hunger.
    Notes: There is no scientific basis for eating breakfast, or 3 square meals or even 6. Breakfast was ultimately created by and popularized by marketers early in the 20th century to sell more cereal:
    When you practice fasting, the body stays in fat burning mode longer. Since you are not taking in any food, you are forced to use up fat stores to provide you with energy.

  5. Increasing activity is always a good thing, but not before addressing what you eat and how/when you eat. Exercise by itself is not a good consistent method for weight loss. Conscious nutritional changes are almost always required. Note that when weight loss occurs with people exercising, it is nearly always because of unconscious diet changes that happen due to body needs and a general sense of needing to be more healthy.


  1. Cook everything yourself.
  2. Shop at the edges of a supermarket. Do not venture into the middle except for spices! This is where all boxed and processed sugars and carbs are.
  3. Remove all processed carbs and sugars from the house. If you do not buy it and it’s not sitting in your cabinets or refrigerator, then you will be less likely to eat it.
  4. Eating out is nice, but ultimately detrimental to diets. Restaurants are notorious for selling you stuff that tastes good. How they achieve that is generally through food that is not has healthy as options you would find and cook yourself. Read Real Food, Fake Food by Larry Olmstead. I don’t agree with his recommendations, but his reporting does raise the question of what restaurants are doing.
  5. Just because you walk into a Whole Foods does not mean you are buying healthy things to eat! Likewise, organic isn’t necessarily equate to healthy but it’s better than non-organic.
  6. If you must buy something manufactured, read the label. You’d be surprised how much sugar is in everything processed now.
  7. Pre-planning is necessary for our busy lives. Make sure you make time to cook each day, sometimes preparing meals days in advance like on the weekend for the week. I often buy the pre-cut vegetables in a box at Whole Foods just to save time when cooking.
  8. Always remember: eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. You need many different fats to properly function and many people don’t get enough of the good fats and way too much of the bad fats. Note that vegetable oils contain almost 100% of unhealthy fats and cooking without them is a good idea. That includes olive oil which is better than the others but still has a high percentage of unhealthy fats. Saturated fats are not the demon they were made out to be.
  9. Eating sugar certainly does make you fat. For a good read on the subject, check out Gary Taube’s Why We Get Fat. Eating sugar causes insulin to be released in the body which signals fat cells to store sugar/carbs/fat in the bloodstream as fat. For years we were told it was a calories in/out model where to lose weight we must eat less and exercise more. This is inconsistent with how the body works. Unless you get control over what you put in your mouth, exercise alone will lead to inconsistent results, likely not the result you want. Or you will find that it is unsustainable as you workout for more hours during the day while trying to avoid eating too much, even as the body is craving more due to need to recover post-workout. It’s why people often lose weight in the beginning, only to gain it all back later.
  10. Most of the recommendations come from Tim Ferris’s most excellent book 4 Hour Body. I love how he basically takes everything and tries to optimize it. I think that simplifying it is the best way to go. I find that other nutrition systems tend to overcomplicate things. They come up with complex calculations and meal plans which boggle the mind. To me, keeping it simple makes things easier. Just stop eating sugar and processed carbs. Skip breakfast. That’s it and it works great.

Good luck and let me know if you have questions!