How Essential Are the Essential Fatty Acids?
My 2008 Special Report, updated with some new reflections.
I wrote this Special Report in 2008.
This report is reserved for Masterpass members. Learn more about the Masterpass here.
I believe this knowledge is well worth taking in now, 14 years later. I have included updates and reflections below.
My original intention was to investigate the claims of physiologist Ray Peat that the essential fatty acids are not essential at all. I came away from my research believing that they are, in fact, essential, but that mainstream textbooks and reviews made several serious errors. One was that they grossly inflated the requirement. Another was that they missed the most important point, that the requirement is far lower when supplied by animal fats, especially liver.
My most stunning discovery was that the omega-3 fatty acid, EPA, might not even be a normal constituent of the mammalian body. I stand by this discovery and it has shaped my view of modern omega-3 research ever since.
That finding was overseen by Ralph Holman. When I was writing this report I called him to discuss the implications of it, but he unfortunately was in his 90s and didn’t remember the details of the experiments, conducted decades earlier.
I would now update my views from 2008 in several important ways: