Tuesday, November 28, 2017

N=1 on Omega-6 and Sunburn: Can Sunburn be Reduced?

I got the following message recently, out of the blue:
This was, I presume, in response to a few tweets on this topic, which I had been discussing with a few other people.
My correspondent wishes to remain anonymous, for reasons you'll see below, but I was curious to see what his experience actually was, and why he decided to look into this. He agreed to let me post the exchange we had.

[Edited for readability; PUFA = PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids; n-6 = omega-6 fats from seed oils, n-3 = omega-3 fats from fish or certain seeds.]
I do have a question for you though, what did you do to cut back on omega-6, and how long did it take for you to notice a difference?

Thanks for this!! Well I started to look and consume less n-6 after reading your posts!!
I used to get some serious sunburn on my long runs. So upped n-3 and consumed less n-6... It's actually pretty amazing to run without a shirt, for three-plus hours and have NO sunburn at all!!! That's why I enjoy your posts!
I think Noakes here in South Africa has done a great job, but you are one of the few that emphasize PUFA/n-6 as an issue...I see many people here in SA do Banting, but use copious amounts of sunflower oil...Noakes should address this...
My old man similarly was on Noakes banting diet, but they were extremely high on n-6, so I showed them your tweets... They are doing stellar now... With my dad as with me it took as long as 6 months to see a difference, but I should add that we lowered n-6 and also upped n-3, with krill oil.
Your tweets have resulted in our entire town cutting back on PUFA's. In fact, I told some guys about your tweets and I said that I would rather be high carb and low PUFA/n-6 than low carb and high PUFA/n-6.
Thanks so much for the reply! You should come visit and run Comrades here some time!!
Reports like this are what makes doing this work worthwhile. Thanks for letting me know!

I'll see if I can pass this along to Professor Noakes, as I'm sure he'd be fascinated to hear this report as well.


  1. Hello Mr. Goodrich!

    I have a question regarding sunburn, N-6 and the mechanism of this process.

    I understand that removing n-6 from the diet also removes the chance of getting sunburn – which was one of the startling discoveries I made after starting a keto-lifestyle 2 years ago. I heard you interview with Ivor Cummins where you mentioned this issue and I recognized this as something that had happened to me as well.

    My wife and I have a small facebook group where we promote a ketogenic lifestyle and we are writing about our experiences, advise and food we eat. At the moment we have excellent weather in Europe – or rather excessive heatwave and I am just running around in small trunks and getting a nice tan. At the same time every official news channel is warning people to wear sunsceeen with high blocking factor and I am getting annoyed about this so I want to write a small piece to put thing into perspective with regards to diet, n-6, vitamin dand UV-radiation.

    I understand that sunscreen block vitamin d production which again block a lot of metabolic additional processes and I understand that n-6 become toxic if exposed to UV-light – but what is it exactly that creates the actual sunburn. Normally the melanin (either EU og Pheo) production increases and the body protects you but how do n-6 toxic interrupts this process, what is actually happening that inhibits the melanin protection and thus the protection against sunburn?

    Best regards
    Michael Schultz