Iron and vegetable oil are a deadly combination

This article was previously published on December 2, 2020 and has been updated with new information.

Evidence continues to accumulate that avoiding toxic industrially processed seed oils, often referred to as “vegetable oils”, is essential to protect your health, and recent research also adds iron in the diet to the increased health risks, especially for those with type 2. -diabetes.1

Examples of high-omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs) seed oils include soybeans, cottonseed, sunflower, rapeseed, corn, and thistle.2 Omega-6 is considered to be proinflammatory due to the most common variant, linoleic acid, which will radically increase oxidative free radicals and cause mitochondrial dysfunction.3

But all seed oils have linoleic acid, even “healthy” ones like avocado and olive oil, both of which have the majority of commercially available products counterfeit with other seed oils having even higher levels of linoleic acid. So buy only reliable and tested brands, and once you have them, put the oil in the fridge. The linoleic acid remains liquid. Simply pour that oil into the trash and your olive or avocado oil will be healthier.

The intake of omega-6 seed oils can also promote inflammation through arachidonic acid by increasing the production of proinflammatory compounds. Additionally, as researchers noted in the journal Nutrients, “In addition, a few studies suggested that omega-6 PUFAs are related to chronic inflammatory diseases such as obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.”4

Meanwhile, while necessary for oxygen supply, mitochondrial electron transport, DNA synthesis and more, iron can generate oxidative stress leading to tissue damage, and previous research has found that dietary iron intake may be associated with the risk of diabetes. Now, researchers have shown an association between iron intake and PUFAs with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in people with type 2 diabetes.5

Link found between PUFAs, iron intake and DPN

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that can occur in people with diabetes. The injury most often occurs in your legs and feet and is a major cause of falls and fractures in this population. In addition to long-term diabetes, other risk factors for DPN include insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar, and oxidative stress is thought to be a major contributing factor.6

For the highlighted study, Korean researchers examined the association between iron intake and the relationship between iron intake and PUFA intake (iron / PUFA) with DPN in 147 people with type 2 diabetes. Both high dietary iron intake and an elevated iron / PUFA ratio were associated with DPN, suggesting “the importance of the dietary pattern of iron and PUFA intake in people with type 2 diabetes.”7

Iron overload has previously been shown to make oxidative stress damage in neurons worse in the presence of high sugar concentrations, and the researchers suggested that insulin resistance and pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction caused by oxidative stress could be behind the link between iron and DPN.8

However, the study had limitations, especially with regard to PUFAs, as it did not interpret the study results in relation to omega-6 and omega-3 separately. Omega-3s have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory role that have been linked to many health benefits.

Most people get too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 and thus end up with a skewed relationship and it is this relationship that affects health. Ideally, this ratio would be close to 1-to-1. However, the key is not necessarily to increase omega-3, but to reduce omega-6 to improve the ratio. The highlighted study evaluated PUFA intake of omega-6 and omega-3 together, but noted that it was the ratio of iron / omega-6 that showed a significant association with DPN:9

“Considering the PUFA-related antioxidant effect observed in an iron-related, pro-oxidant environment, we calculated the iron / PUFA ratio and found that a higher iron / PUFA ratio was associated with a higher OR (odds ratio) of DPN This finding suggests that the ratio of iron to PUFA may be an important marker for DPN and can be used as an indicator to screen for or prevent DPN in people with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, although the iron / omega-6 PUFA ratio, rather than the iron / omega-3 PUFA ratio, showed a statistically significant correlation with DPN after adjustment for confounders, we must be careful in interpreting this data. A relatively small amount of omega-3 PUFA compared to omega-6 PUFA can give these non-significant results. “

The importance of Carnosine, especially if you are vegan

One way to help stop the oxidative damage caused by iron intake in the presence of too many omega-6s is to take carnosine or its primary precursor, beta-alanine. Carnosine is a dipeptide composed of two amino acids: beta-alanine and histidine. It is a potent antioxidant whose highest concentrations are found in your muscles and brain.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will have lower levels of carnosine in your muscles. This is one of the reasons why many strict vegans who do not properly compensate for this and other nutritional deficiencies tend to have trouble building muscle. Carnosine itself is not very useful as a supplement as it is rapidly broken down into its amino acids by certain enzymes. Your body then reformulates these amino acids back into carnosine in your muscles.

A more effective alternative is to supplement with beta-alanine, which appears to be the rate-limiting amino acid in the formation of carnosine. Eating beef is known to effectively increase the carnosine level in your muscles,10 Therefore, this supplement may be especially important if you are a vegetarian or vegan.

Chronic disease rooted in long-term consumption of seed oils

Many chronic diseases appear to be the result of a catastrophic cascade of health disorders triggered by the long-term consumption of seed oils (omega-6). For example, Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist and founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) should be called diet-related macular degeneration instead.

Knobbe has studied the toxic aldehydes derived from omega-6 fats. When you ingest an omega-6 fat, it first reacts with a hydroxyl radical or peroxide radical, forming a lipid hydroperoxide.

This lipid hydroperoxide then degenerates rapidly into toxic aldehydes, of which there are hundreds, which in turn leads to cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and more, along with being unbeaten, at very low doses. Knobbe explained the complex process in his presentation at ALLDOC’s annual 2020 meeting:11

“Here’s what excess omega-6 does in a Western diet: induces nutrient deficiency, causes a catastrophic lipid peroxidation cascade, is what this does … This damages … a phospholipid called cardiolipid in the mitochondrial membranes. And this leads to electron transport chain failure… which causes mitochondrial failure and dysfunction.

And this first leads to reactive oxygen species, which feeds back into this peroxidation cascade. So you fill up your fat cells and your mitochondrial membranes with omega-6 and these will peroxidate due to the fact that they are polyunsaturated.

Okay, next thing that happens, insulin resistance leading to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. When the mitochondria fail, you get reduced fatty acid, beta oxidation, which means you can not burn these fats properly as fuel.

So now you are… carb addicted and you are on the road to obesity. So you feel tired. You gain weight. Your mitochondria are unable to burn fat as fuel… this is a powerful mechanism for obesity.

So energy failure at the cellular level leads to nuclear mitochondrial DNA mutations and this leads to cancer. Three weeks on a diet high in PUFA causes heart failure in rats – three weeks. And this also leads to apoptosis and necrosis. And of course, that’s how you get disorders like AMD, Alzheimer’s. “

The problem of linoleic acid

The root of the harmful biochemical reactions triggered by seed oils is linoleic acid, which is an 18-carbon omega-6 fat. As mentioned, linoleic acid is the primary fatty acid found in PUFAs and accounts for about 80% of the fatty acid composition of vegetable oils. Omega-6 fats need to be balanced with omega-3 fats in order not to be harmful, but this is not the case for most Americans.

To make matters worse, most of the omega-6 people who eat have been damaged and oxidized through processing. “Most of this linoleic acid, when oxidized, develops lipid hydroperoxides and then degenerates rapidly into … oxidized linoleic acid metabolites,” says Knobbe.12

OXLAMs (oxidized linoleic acid metabolites) create a perfect storm, as according to Knobbe they are cytotoxic, genotoxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, atherogenic and thrombogenic. Their atherosclerosis and thrombogenic effects are of particular concern because they can produce strokes and blood clots, but metabolic dysfunction can also occur.

During the lipid peroxidation cascade caused by the overconsumption of omega-6 seed oils, PUFAs accumulate in your cell membranes, leading to a peroxidation reaction. As mentioned, because there are so many reactive oxygen species, it leads to the development of insulin resistance at the cellular level.

Dr. Paul Saladino, a medical journalist, also explained in a podcast that linoleic acid “breaks the sensitivity of insulin at the level of your fat cells.”13 essentially makes them more insulin sensitive – and since your fat cells control the insulin sensitivity in the rest of your body by releasing free fatty acids, you end up with insulin resistance.

Unfortunately, even eating conventionally farmed chicken, which is fed with corn, is problematic as the meat gets high in omega-6 linoleic acid.14 As Saladino points out, eating a lot of chicken increases your consumption of vegetable oil and distorts your relationship between omega-6 and omega-3 further.

Avoiding processed seed oils will protect your health

To protect your health, it is crucial that you reduce your intake of industrially processed seed oils as much as possible. This means removing all of the following oils:







Even too much organic, biodynamic olive oil can move your relationship in the wrong direction, as olive oil is also a source of omega-6 linoleic acid, so be sure to use the trick I described above to lower the LA content of olive oil. It is also important to avoid almost all processed foods and fast foods as virtually all of them contain these toxic oils. The easiest way to do this is to cook most of your food at home so you know what you are eating.

To find out how much linoleic acid you eat, simply go to and enter your food, making sure it is accurately weighed. For optimal health, try to get your intake below 10 grams a day.

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