Canola oil may increase lung inflammation due to gamma-tocopherol


According to this, canola oil and other oils rich in gamma-tocopherol are associated with a 10-17% reduction in lung function. Is this a possible problem using Soylent long-term, or is the quantity per day insufficient for reaching high enough blood levels to have that effect? Should I skip the oil it comes with and try putting in olive oil and hope for the best?

Concern over canola oil

Well considering I’m adding pure canola oil to every batch we make… I sure hope this is nothing to be concerned with. Can anyone more versed in health science please chime in?


The article from Northwestern University:

The actual study, published in the journal Respiratory Research:

Unfortunately, I’m not a bio-geek, so I won’t be of much use in interpreting this information :-/

It sounds like at the very least that long-term consumption of oils containing that specific type of Vitamin E (I didn’t even know there were different types) will likely cause a buildup of that vitamin in your body and evidence from this 20 year study shows a strong correlation between levels of that vitamin and respiratory issues.

Whether the amount of canola oil present in Soylent is enough to make a difference I am not sure. It’s likely more than the average American consumes on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what the long-term effects of Soylent consumption will be until people have been living off of it for many, many years. Even then, we’d still need studies specifically on Soylenteers… Maybe getting sufficient amounts of some other nutrient would counteract it (just speculating here).

@tobyorden - Remember that if you leave the canola out then you are also missing the fish oil (omegas). From what I’ve seen, others have found it difficult to find a suitable substitute for it.


Finding the right oil, and all these counter tests saying one things is great, and the others are not is getting annoying.

So Canola oil has a 2.2:1 ratio of Omega-6:O-3, which is decent compared to a normal american diet, and has an A-Toco count of 2.4mg and a G-Toco count of 3.8mg

Flaxseed which was my other choice, has 4mg of G-Toco but amazing Omega 6:3 ratio.

So, even with all of these studies, and this will help you here, and that will kill you studies. I am just going to go with Canola because its cheaper, and its near the middle of the chart on health risk.

Edit, nm my comparison chart was not working correctly on other foods outside of oils.


I have asthma and it’s gotten worse over the years. I don’t think I should take a chance with canola oil. I guess I’ll use olive oil and these softgels.

I wonder if I can change my current order to no-oil.


This has, I’m almost certain, been brought up in a thread before. I don’t remember how much info came out of it, and I am (again) on mobile discourse right now, but if nobody’s cross-linked it by the time I get back to a computer, I’ll see if I can dig it up.

(edit:I’m pretty sure @kennufs’ quote is the one I was referring to)


Not sure if this is the thread you were thinking about, but there was some concern regarding a link to prostate cancer, I don’t believe the discussion turned to lung function though. As it turns out the levels found in the current mix are well below what would cause the issues being debated in that thread.

@tobyorden, here is a portion of @rob’s response in that thread.


Is the correlation to decreased lung function strong enough to be worried?


No, at least it isn’t to me. YMMV.

I have not read the study pdf (I’m on my phone), but I did not see any reference in the articles to what dietary levels are of concern, only blood serum levels were mentioned. To even begin to consider if this is a concern we need to see at what level of consumption the serum levels become detrimental, then compare that dietary consumption to the level we would get in Soylent. Also, the number of people they are estimating to be effected is rather small, about 1.5% of the population in the US (which is said to have a fourfold increase in risk compared to the rest of the world), although if we are getting a higher than average amount it may place us in that group, but again we need to know the dietary levels to proceed.

Keep in mind too that this is a single study, although it may be correct we cannot know if it is without further studies. Also, and I hate to repeat this, but here goes… Correlation does not equal causation.


I think it is about balance.
Alpha-tocopherol (as in olive oil) may be better for your lungs.
And gamma-tocopherol (as in canola oil) may be worse for your lungs.
But for prostate cancer, gamma-tocopherol seems to be more important.

I think it is actually a good thing that soylent has both alpha-tocopherol (in the vitamin/mineral blend) and gamma tocopherol (in the canola oil).


Bumping this up for those who are pining for 1.3 and who havent read this already.


Research on tocopherols is largely focused on alpha-tocopherol, so it’s nice to see a thorough examination of one of the less-common forms.

In the study, the authors noted that they were the first to report this phenomena. This certainly doesn’t preclude the validity of the their findings, but when we make nutrition/ingredient decisions, we base the choice off of a wide range of published evidence (and in-house tests).

Now that the authors have uncovered something interesting, hopefully others in the science community will try to replicate the results and learn more about the ways in which gamma-tocopherol interacts with the body. We will definitely be examining this more in the future.

Nice post @tobyorden @gilahacker!