Nature Throws Us A Curve
By Michael R. Eades, MD And Mary Dan Eades, MD
The High-Protein and Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health--in Just Weeks!
Are You Sensitive To Arachaidonic Acid?
The Main Symptoms Associated With Too Much AA Or Sensitivity To It Are:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Poor or Restless Sleep
- Difficulty Awakening or Grogginess Upon Awakening
- Brittle Hair
- Thin, Brittle Nails
- Dry, Flaking Skin
- Minor Rashes
Arachidonic acid is one of those curves nature loves to throw at us just to keep us from being able to wrap everything up nicely and simply. Arachidonic acid (AA) is a fatty acid essential to life but also incredibly destructive in excessive amounts. Lab animals injected with large amounts of all other fatty acids go on about their business with no apparent ill effects--those injected with arachidonic acid are dead within moments. AA is made in the eicosanoid synthesis pathway and is the immediate precursor of the bad eicosanoids. If you keep your insulin down and your glucagon up, you should make very little arachidonic acid, but--and here's the curve--arachidonic acid doesn't come from just the eicosanoid pathway; it also comes in directly via the diet. Unfortunately, the dietary variety can also transform into bad eicosanoids. So, you may be asking, quot;I can do everything right, watch my carbohydrate intake, keep my insulin down, and still be sabotaged by dietary AA?quot; Yes, but only if you're particularly sensitive to arachidonic acid and eat a large amount of it.
AA is found in all meats, especially red meats and organ meats, and in egg yolks. It probably hasn't escaped your notice that these foods are the same ones that most people identify as being loaded with fat and cholesterol. Despite popular opinion, though, It's not the saturated fat and cholesterol that cause most of the problems associated with these foods: It's their arachidonic acid content--for those who are sensitive to it.
The AA in meat is located both in the muscle and in the fat. The quantities are higher in red meat because red meat has more fat, which, at least, in today's domestic feedlot animals, contains high levels of AA. Animals have the same eicosanoid synthesis cascade that we do, and when they are grain-fed and fattened, the high-carbohydrate grain stimulates their insulin just as it does ours. Fats are stored in fatty tissue in the same ratio that they occur in the blood, so cattle and people, having large quantities of circulating AA will store large quantities as well. The good news is that range-fed cattle and wild game have much less fat to begin with, and what fat they have contains little AA. You can add wild game to your diet by following in the footsteps of your ancestors and bagging it in the field or by purchasing it from one of the purveyors listed in the appendix [of this book]. But the easiest first step in avoiding dietary AA is to avoid as much visible fat as possible on your meat, especially red meat.
Does this mean you should avoid beef entirely if you're sensitive to arachidonic acid? Not at all. Here are a couple of techniques that will decrease the amount of AA you get in the beef you eat. First after you trim as much of the visible fat as you can, grill your steaks. This method of cooking reduces the amount of AA in beef by about 35%. You can also follow our favorite way to marinate a steak that is not only healthful but actually makes the beef taste better. we've provided that method [below]. Most alterations you make in foods for health reasons really take a toll on taste, but not this technique for steak. The only drawback is that it takes a little advance preparation, so it doesn't work for spur-of-the moment meals.
A Trick For Reducing Arachidonic Acid In Steaks And Roasts
Trim all the visible fat from the steak, then place it in a large resealable plastic bag along with a mixture of 1 cup of red wine and 1 cup of olive oil or light sesame oil [or coconut oil?]. Allow the meat to marinate in this mixture in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours, flipping the bag and contents over a couple of times. Take the steak out, drain it for an hour or so, discard the marinade, rub the beef with some pepper or other spices to taste, then grill it. The wine acts as a solvent to leach out a fair amount of the fat in the steak, which is replaced in part by the fat in the olive oil or other oil you use. These oils permeate the steak, giving it a juicy succulent taste that you have to experience to believe--and make it more healthful to boot. You can use this technique with roasts as well.
According to the Doctors Eades, the meat and fat from range-fed, grass-fed, or wild animals is not the potential threat to sensitive individuals that commercial feedlot meats are. By extension, I would also say that eggs and meat from free-range poultry would also be acceptable for sensitive people.
If you have dieted and dieted and have tried every possible trick in the book and either can't take the fat off your body or improve your health, perhaps you need to experiment with the Arachidonic acid angle.
The doctors recommend removing all commercial red meat, fats, and eggs from the diet. I'll carry it one step further: Since the grains in the feed of the animals with high levels of AA appear to be the culprits, I would recommend avoiding all grain foods and seed oils with the exception of olive oil, sesame, or coconut oil. Corn and soy seem to be the the villains in this piece, since wheat is not a major component of commercial animal feed in the United States. Although wheat has its own set of metabolic problems attached, it is not found in feedlot bunkers (this doesn't, however, mean you can add it back into your diet.)
A three-or-four-week hiatus from commercial (even all of it for a time) red meat, fats, oils, and eggs might help you to find the source of your inability to get your insulin under control. If you notice your blood pressure and other symptoms improving over the 3-week period, you can be fairly sure that the AA in the meats, eggs, and oils you had been consuming were a major part of the problem. This modification is still going to leave you fish (may I recommend deep-water ocean varieties like salmon, cod, and mackerel?), shellfish, grass-fed beef and free-range pork, lamb, rabbit, and wild game, such as venison, elk, free-range bison, antelope, etc. Vegetables on the free list in the book "Protein Power" are all available to you. You won't starve during this time, and may even discover likings for some things that have never been on your menu before.
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 1999 - Fish Oil May Be Key
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 1999 - Breastfeeding Linked To Higher IQ
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 8/24/2002 - The Truth About Saturated Fat
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 5/14/2003 - Fish Fat
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 8/9/2003 - Neurotoxic Syndromes
Arachidonic Acid Information: Dr. Mercola 10/8/2003 - Its All In The Fat