Organ meats as source of Omega-3's?
- 01-22-2009, 04:13 PM
Organ meats as source of Omega-3's?
I've read in various places that organ meats contain more DHA/EPA than mackerel. Does anyone know what kinds of meats I have to eat to get my share of this, without spending a fortune on fish oil? I mean, if I can eat cow brain (or better yet, bone marrow) once in a while and get my DHA (supposedly it's 40% of brain fatty acid content), that would probably be a lot easier than spending $X a week on fish oil. It ain't really any more or less gross if you stop to think about it; fish oil involves distilling a bunch of little fish they put in a blender. Doesn't seem to be much hard info on this, other than what is in wikipedia and such ... perhaps someone else has been thinking along these lines.
- 01-22-2009, 05:43 PM
Optimally, you need to get DHA more often than "once in a while." For pure DHA, plasma levels saturate ~2g/d. In the presence of fish oil, plasma levels saturate ~1.2g/d. That's the equivalent of 10 fish oil caps per day.
No idea as to the content of DHA in organ meat. Could you post the links the various places where you've read this.
Costco offers 400 count softgels at 1000mg (of straight fish oil) per cap for ~$9.00. That's about $0.23 per day to reach plasma saturation levels. What's the cost of liver and/or brains?
Last edited by t-bone2; 01-22-2009 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Cost of fish oil caps
01-23-2009, 03:22 AM
Hey man, thanks for your reply. I take fish oil now. I want mooooar. If it takes eating a brain or a tongue from time to time, I'm cool with that. I actually like the taste of variety meats. I was just hoping to get some information as to what's actually in these organs, rather than taking some website's assertion at face value.
You can read DHA/organ meat links by simply googling on the phrases. It comes up in evo biology, as well as DHA stuff.
- Fat Consumption in Pre-Agricultural and Hunter-Gatherer Diets
"Also, the current DHA hypothesis suggests that our apemen ancestors gained human-level intelligence as a result of eating fatty DHA-rich organ-meats, particularly bone-marrow and brain(at least, according to Cordain).There is also an alternative theory that the large herds of wild animals present in the Palaeolithic were ultimately wiped out precisely because of this "wasteful" preference for organ-meats and hide-fat. "
- Martek Biosciences Corporation
"This may be because you can only get meaningful levels of DHA from food sources by eating fatty fish and organ meats regularly"
- Omega 3 - Media
"While people who follow a typical Western diet usually receive adequate levels of AA, however, many people are at risk for low stores of DHA. This is because the primary dietary sources of DHA are fatty fish and organ meats, dietary choices that are not staples of the Western diet."
All this is great, but I want to know which organ meats, and how much of them contain how much DHA. For example, brain is about $1 a pound. Assuming it's 1/4 DHA, that's 100 grams of DHA for a buck. Not that this is the main consideration; it's also interesting because this is how my ancestors took it.
01-23-2009, 10:30 AM
Well, your ancestors also ate fish. I'm still not seeing where the claim is that <insert name of animal here>'s brain is 25% DHA. And prior to that, you referred to it as 40% fatty acid content. Where are you pulling this from...?
I have found little peer reviewed material on organ meat as a useful source of DHA/EPA.
01-23-2009, 10:44 AM
you can use www.nutritiondata.com to look up foods, and in their fatty acids section, EPA is 20:5 n-3, and dha is 22:6 n-3
01-23-2009, 11:53 AM
Those numbers refer to the total carbon chain lengths and carbon bonding structures of the molecular make-up of DHA/EPA, not the percentages contained in a source.
01-23-2009, 01:11 PM
01-23-2009, 02:15 PM
Even better: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
Pick a food (brain, liver, salmon, etc) and search.
Beef brain, raw, 100g - DHA:0.851g / EPA: 0.0g
Beef liver, raw, 100g - DHA:0.0g / EPA: 0.0g
Salmon Chinook, raw, wild, 100g - DHA: 0.944g / EPA: 1.008g
Salmon Coho, raw, wild, 100g - DHA: 0.656g / EPA: 0.429g
01-23-2009, 03:18 PM
Another peeve of mine; grass fed beef. Supposedly grass fed beef contains much more DHA than corn fed... I've heard this assertion all over the place. Nobody talks about how much more. Grass fed beef lipid concentrations seem to vary a lot, depending on "how grass fed is it" -even very grass fed beef isn't all that great:
Sure, it contains some more Omega-3's than corn fed, but the ratio isn't as good as, say, cow brains, or fish or anything. The way they make it sound, grass fed beef is ambulatory land salmon. In nutritional reality, it's cow + a little bit of fish oil.
Thanks for that link, EasyEJL that is an awesome resource which has somehow escaped me: it provides this handy chart. If you click down on the detailed view of fat content, it even provides the amount of DHA. 22:6 n-3 by their notation is DHA (if you care about EPA: 20:5 n-3):
Interesting/surprising Omega-3 winners from this list (higher Omega-3 to Omega-6): beef brain, NZ lamb, beef short ribs (! surprise), lamb heart, basil, grape leaves, broccoli, spinach (OK all the greens, I kind of expected this, but it's nice to say it anyhow), oscar mayer ham (! WTF?), pork brain, lamb tongue.
So, a 4 ounce serving of pork brain contains 509mg of DHA, which rules a lot. The amount of cholesterol doesn't rule so much, but it's still something to consider. Also: that 4 ounce serving is gonna cost me about a quarter. If I could take this dry, like liver tabs, perhaps removing the cholesterol somehow, this would make a nice supplement.
Surprise losers: walnuts, grass fed beef, deer venison (it isn't bad, but it isn't as good as I thought), liver.
The only thing I was curious about which doesn't seem to be on there is bone marrow. Google has provided no joy this far. Some say there is more Omega-3, some say it reflects the ratios in the rest of the cow.
(oops, crossed some info with other dudes: also tbone2; I think the USDA one is the same database as the nutritiondata one -otherwise they wouldn't have caribou marrow as the only data on a "marrow" search)
Thanks a lot fellows! This has been very educational.
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