At the Ancestral Health Symposium, I went to a talk about food and the brain, a great interest of mine. The speaker said that flaxseed oil was ineffective because only a small fraction (5%) gets converted into DHA — a common claim.
During the question period, I objected.
Seth I found that after I ate some flaxseed oil capsules, my balance improved. Apparently flaxseed oil improved my brain function. This disagrees with what you said.
Speaker Everyone’s different.
A man in the audience said what I observed might have been a placebo effect. I said that couldn’t be true because the effect was a surprise. He disagreed. (The next day, in the lunch line, he spoke to a friend about getting in a kerfuffle with “an emeritus professor who wasn’t used to being disagreed with.”) I spoke to the speaker again:
Seth Is it possible that flaxseed oil is converted to DHA at a higher rate than you said?
Speaker Anything’s possible.
This reminded me of a public lecture by Danny Kahneman at UC Berkeley. During the question period, a man, who appeared to have some kind of impairment, asked a question that was hard to understand. Kahneman gave a very brief answer, something like “No.”
Afterwards, a woman came over to me. Maybe flaxseed oil reduced inflammation, she said. Given that the brain is very high in omega-3, and so is flaxseed oil, this struck me as unlikely. I said I didn’t like how my question had been answered. I’ve been there, she said. Other members of her family were doctors, she said. She would object to what they said and they would respond in a dismissive way.
The speaker is/was a doctor. Her talk consisted of repeating what she had read, apparently. The possibility that something she read was wrong . . . well, anything’s possible.