Recent Omega-3 Fish Oil and Prostate Cancer Study is Seriously Flawed.

Earlier this week every major news media was running a report claiming that a recent study proved that high intakes of fish oil supplements caused a 71% increase in prostate cancer. Then they usually brought on their resident MD who confirmed that yes this appeared to be true and they should stop taking all fish oil supplements. The problem is I doubt any of them read the study, they just repeated the headline.

Over the years there have been over 2,000 studies which have looked at fish oil and cancer. Most found that fish oil lowers the risk and death rate for many types of cancer, including prostate. So lets take a closer look at the study and you’ll quickly see how flawed it is and really seems to just an error filled attempt to slander the fish oil supplement industry.

The study they pulled data from was the abandoned SELECT trail that ran between 2001 and 2004 looking at the effects of selenium and Vitamin E on cancer prevention. The study was not designed to look at omega 3 levels,  so the study was not looking at fish oil in relation to prostate cancer, but they pulled data from this study anyways.

Here is a summary of the errors they made.

  • The participates in the study had their blood lipid (fat) levels checked when they signed up for the study. It was the one and only test the 834 participates had of their blood lipid and omega-3 levels.
  • The study included sick and healthy people, but no indication of who may be taking fish oil supplement. It is common to find that when someone becomes ill that then they will start trying different alternative treatments, like fish oil, to help combat their disease.
  • Every man in this study already had prostate cancer
  • The study jumps to the conclusion that since fish oil supplements are so commonly taken that they could have contributed to the increase, yet no data to support that
  • The test only measured the percentage of omega-3 oil compared to total blood lipids. They never looked at the actual amount of omega-3 fats in the blood.
  • There were no questions about dietary or supplement use. Nor were there questions of when the last piece of fish was eaten or fish oil, krill oil, or flax seed oil supplement was taken. This makes sense as the original study wasn’t looking at omega-3, but only selenium and vitamin-E
  • the difference between the blood levels of omega-3 was only 0.2% between the high and the low.  This is statistically an insignificant difference in omega-3 levels. (High was 4.66% vs 4.48% for the low)
  • If the findings of the study were true, then you should find epidemic prostate cancer in countries and areas where fatty fish consumption is high like the Scandinavian countries, Japan and much of Asia, but prostrate cancer is low in these areas.
  • The statistical model they used (Cox proportional hazards) doesn’t apply to a single measurement vs a later outcome. This statistical model is designed to look at a long term daily use of a drug, food, supplement vs the outcome. Had an appropriate statistical method been used the outcome could have been completely different.
  • Even with the statical model they used, the difference between the omega-3 fatty acids was NOT statistically significant.
  • The same researcher, Brasky, had another study in 2011 which didn’t show any correlation between omega-3 and prostate cancer.
  • They cited another study by Chavarro in 2007 that showed a very strong benefit of fish oil sources of omega-3 in protecting against prostate cancer.
  • There was no control group in this study. The original study which was abandoned did have a control group, but none in the data they pulled.
  • The overall levels of fish oil found were low, so it’s likely they were NOT supplementing.
  • It is known that fat is the fuel of prostate cancer, and since this study was done in the U.K. where a lot of fish and chips are eaten is it possible that the fish oil was coming from fried fish and that those people with prostate cancer had higher fats in their diet and that that was the true link to prostate cancer- but none of this information is available in the study data.

Other factors to consider:

  • A recent study my Szymanski in 2010 showed a large reduction in late stage or fatal prostate cancer.
  • Several other studies, Lietzman, 2004 and Terry 2001, showed in large populations that increased omega-3 consumption correlated to a reduction in prostate cancer.
  • A recent study by Zheng in 2013 looking at over 500,000 participants and 16,000 incidence of breast cancer found that each 0.1g increase in omega-3 daily consumption correlated to a 5% decrease in risk of breast cancer.  So the average fish oil supplement is 1,000 mg, or 1.0 g, so that would be a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk.
  • The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Many will argue this, but the pharmaceutical and health care industry can not afford a cure for cancer. It is a multi billion dollar industry and if cancer were cured think of the drug companies, hospitals, oncologist, etc who would be out of business. So the health care industries and especially the pharmaceutical companies will fund studies which are geared to discredit what does work, but they can’t make money on.

In summary, this study should never have been published and should have been rejected. I suspect though that as quickly and powerfully that it came out in the media that there was a real PR push behind it – Someone wanted to damage the supplement industry and they jumped to the conclusion that fish oil supplements were the cause when the study never even disclosed if a single person even took supplments of any kind, at fatty fish, etc.

Here is the study which is making the headlines  http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/09/jnci.djt174.abstract

Download the full study here Fatty acids and prostate cancer JNCI Brasky July 2013.pdf

Here is a critical critique by a professor of Radiation Oncology department at the Harvard Medical School Click Here

 

 

Omega-3 supplementation improves working memory in young adults

There have been many studies which have looked at the effect of Omega-3 (Fish oil) on the brains of older individuals in hopes of reversing failing memory or preventing further memory loss. Many of these have been very promising. A more exciting recent study just published in the Journal PLOS One on October 3rd found that Omega-3 oils can also improve the working memory of young adults between 18 and 25.

We normally assume that young adults between 18 and 25 are at the peak of their mental capabilities, it is only downhill from there (as I’ve seen over several decades).  What this study found though is that the working mental abilities of these people at their peak can be improved over their baseline.

The amount of improvement they experienced correlated with the amount of omega-3 in their blood plasma and it also correlated with the amount of omega-3 in their plasma before they began the 6 month study. So in theory, up to a level, the more omega-3 you consume, they better your working memory.

The test they used to measure this is called the “n-back test”  This is where you are shown a sequence of pictures, letters, words, etc. and have to respond (click a button) when the current picture is the same as a picture you were shown n- pictures before.  Here is a simple example where you click on the picture when it matches the picture 2 before. http://cognitivefun.net/test/4  so it may show a bird, ball, bike, cake, bird, cake. So when it showed the cake the second time you click on the picture.  It gets challenging after a while.

So what does this mean to you and I?

  • If you are expecting, get plenty of fish oil. That developing baby is going to take what it needs, and it needs lots of omega-3 oils. If it isn’t in your diet it will take it from your stores – which is the mothers brain. This is suspected to be one of the main causes of the postpartum blues.
  • Make sure your children are getting a high quality fish oil from a very early age onwards. I seriously doubt a typical US child or teenager can get the recommended amount of fish oil from their diet – and no, fried fish sticks don’t count. It needs to be fresh cold water fish like salmon. So  have them supplement as soon as they start solid foods.
  • For young adults and adults, keep it up.  Even if you grew up on McDonalds and pizza you can start giving your brain what it has been needing – you’ll feel smarter for that.
  • If you are starting to experience more and more senior moments, well start on the fish oil. I can’t say it will prevent or reverse dementia or alzheimer’s, but it will surely help.

Fish Oil found to reduce the risk of death more than statin drugs

In April 2005 a paper was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reviewed the effects of various fat lowering agents and heart disease. This data was pulled from 97 different clinical trials comparing cardiac death rates from the various methods used to treat high cholesterol. Mortality data involving 137,000 patients using different cholesterol lowering drugs vs mortality records from 139,000 patients who were not being treated for high cholesterol. The treatments used where cholesterol lowering statin drugs, high dose niacin, fish oil, and dietary change. 

The researchers found that the greatest benefit was obtained from fish oil which provided an overall 23% reduction in the risk of death. Conversely the costly statin drugs only provided a 13% reduction.  When the risk of death from heart disease alone was examined, Fish Oil lowered death rates by 32% compared to only 22% from statin drugs.

So simple fish oil was more effective at reducing the overall risk of death from all non-accidental causes of death, and in particular from heart disease.  Fish oil achieved these remarkable results even though it had almost no effect on cholesterol levels. This is further proof that heart disease is not caused by cholesterol.

Fish oil demonstrated no side effects as compared to the statin drugs which can cause organ damage, muscle pain, and congestive heart failure.

So before you run out and pick up a bottle of the lowest priced fish oil you can find, some fish oil products have their own dangers.  The fish oil I use and recommend is guaranteed to be free of all possible contaminants like mercury, dioxin, and PCB. This fish oil is sourced from small, young, cold water fish like sardines. These small fish have not spent years in the ocean so they have accumulated little of these dangerous contaminants. Then it goes through a double molecular distillation process to insure that it is nothing but pure fish oil.

Most commercial fish oils are sourced from the organs of larger fish which are caught for their meat like tuna, shark, cod, etc.  these fish are many years old and have accumulated much higher lives of mercury, dioxin, and PCB in their tissues. Several years ago the state of California brought a suite against six companies for not identifying that their products didn’t company with the states Prop 65 restrictions against high levels of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or birth defects. These companies were:

  • CVS Pharmacy Inc 
  • Rite Aid Corp
  • General Nutrition Corp. (GNC)
  • NOW Health Group Inc.;
  • Omega Protein Inc.;
  • Pharmavite LLC (Nature Made brand);
  • Solgar Inc.
  • Twinlab Corp.
As you can see these are some major brands.

So do get some fish oil daily, but make sure it is from a safe source. For more information on the fish oil I use please contact me.

Fish Oil for Strength

A recent study of women in their 60’s suggests that taking fish oil when strength-training leads to greater improvements in strength than training alone. Women who took fish oil were not only stronger but had a greater functional capacity, such as being able to rise faster from a chair.

A small study in Brazil looked at the potential benefit of fish oil on strength training in older individuals, based on the fact that omega-3’s play a role in the plasma membrane and cell function of muscles (Rodacki, Am J Clin Nutr 2012). Forty-five mostly sedentary women in their mid-60s were given two doses a day of a gram of fish oil containing 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA. After twelve weeks of supervised lower-body resistance-training (3 times per week), the strength of those taking the fish oil had improved more than those who did not supplement. Functional capacity (e.g., the speed of rising from a chair) also increased more among those who took fish oil. There was no improvement in the strength of women who took fish oil without strength training, and taking fish oil for two months before training started did not confer added benefit.

ConsumerLabs.com is an independent testing organization who tests all types of supplements for quality, potency, contamination, etc. Below is what they had to say about fish oil quality:

Quality Concerns and What CL Tested for:
Because omega-3 fatty acids are obtained from natural sources, levels in supplements can vary, depending on the source and method of processing.

Contamination has also been an issue, because fish can accumulate toxins such as mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Mercury can damage the nervous system — particularly in a fetus. Dioxins and PCBs may be carcinogenic at low levels of exposure over time and may have other deleterious effects.

The freshness of the oil is also an important consideration because rancid fish oils can have an extremely unpleasant odor and taste. While you can sometimes determine this yourself if you take fish oil directly as a liquid, it can be masked by added flavors and not readily detected if you use a softgel and other encapsulated product. There may be safety considerations with rancid fish oils due to a variety of compounds produced, some of which are odorless, such as peroxides. A study commissioned by the government of Norway (where fish oil supplement use is extremely high) concluded there would be some health concern related to the regular consumption of oxidized (rancid) fish/marine oils, particularly in regards to the gastrointestinal tract, but there is not enough data to determine the risk (The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety, 2011). The study explained that the amount of spoilage and contamination in a supplement depends on the raw materials and processes of extraction, refining, concentration, encapsulation, storage and transportation. However, it saw no significant risk of contamination by microorganisms, proteins, lysophospholipids, cholesterol, and trans-fats.

Additionally, some capsules are enteric-coated and are expected to release the oil after the stomach to theoretically reduce fishy aftertaste or burp. If they release too soon they lose that potential benefit. If they release too late, the oil may not get absorbed.

Neither the FDA nor any other federal or state agency routinely tests fish or marine oil supplements for quality prior to sale. ConsumerLab.com, as part of its mission to independently evaluate products that affect health, wellness, and nutrition, purchased many dietary supplements sold in the U.S. claiming to contain EPA and/or DHA and tested them for their levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA and, if listed, ALA), mercury, lead, PCBs, and signs of decomposition. Enteric-coated capsules were tested to see if they properly released their ingredients. One product was additionally tested for dioxins at the request of its manufacturer. Among the products purchased and tested, the majority was for use by people and a few were for use by pets. Most of the supplements were softgel capsules or liquids.

What CL Found:
Among the 24 products that ConsumerLab.com selected for review, only 17 passed quality testing, meeting requirements for freshness and purity, and containing their claimed amounts omega-3 fatty acids. Seven (7) products failed to pass testing due to having less omega-3 than listed, spoilage, contamination, or problems with the enteric coating.

To insure you’re taking a quality fish oil product make sure it is manufactured to pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices (GMP) standards by a company which has been NSF certified as complying with pharmaceutical GMPs. Some companies claim their products are “Pharmaceutical Grade”, but this is only marketing as there is no definition of pharmaceutical grade for fish oil.

Questionable Fish Oil Supplement Quality

Consumer Reports recently looked at 15 different brands of fish oil supplements. Overall they all contained the labeled quantities of EPA and DHA, the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. They did find problems though:

The shortfalls the magazine noted include:
  • Four of the products had at least one sample with PCB levels that could require a warning label under a California consumer law
  • One product had “elevated levels of compounds that indicate spoilage”
  • Two samples of another supplement failed a test for pills with enteric coatings, suggesting the coatings might dissolve more quickly than intended, leaving a fishy aftertaste
Consumer Labs has also reviewed fish oil supplements in the past and found traces of not only PCB, but also lead and mercury. Consumer reports looked at the allowed levels of lead and mercury, if they were detected, but levels were deemed safe, then they got the OK mark. The problem is that lead and mercury are highly toxic and accumulate in your body, so any amount is bad.

A couple of years ago the state of California issued notices to four large supplement manufactures that their products contained levels of PCB that was deemed unsafe by the state and that their products didn’t contain the “Prop 65” warning. This says that this product is known to contain known cancer causing ingredients.  

Most manufactures use the cheapest source of fish oils, that comes from the waste parts, like livers, of commercial fish like tuna, shark, salmon, etc. These are large fish and have lived many years accumulating these toxins. Even with purification the toxics end up in the product. A friend is an ER doctor. She had a young woman come in displaying the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. They did tests and she had toxic levels of mercury in her system.  After searching, they found that the fish oil she was taking was the source. She was taking a large amount of fish oil for medical reasons and this name brand supplement may have been under the legal limits taking the label amount, but taking a larger amount put her in the hospital. The problem with mercury and lead is that it accumulates and is very hard to get out of your system.

The fish oil I use and recommend is sourced from very small young fish, such as anchovies, minnows, etc, so they haven’t been in the ocean long enough to accumulate much, if any of these toxins. In tests of the raw, un purified oil it less than 1/10 of the allowable levels, so perfectly fine  for any supplement. But my manufacture then puts it through a double molecular distillation. The end result is a product with is 99.9999999% pure – You can’t get any purer.  They also manufacture to pharmaceutical manufacturing standards, far above the requirements for supplements. This assures that what is on the label is in the capsule and what isn’t on the label isn’t.

Fish oil is very helpful for many conditions from heart disease to postpartum depression to ADHD.

 A century ago cattle grazed on grass, and chickens, pigs, and fish ate what they’d naturally eaten for thousands of years. In that case their meat, milk, and eggs were naturally high in the healthy Omega-3 oils, so we didn’t need to supplement as much. But today cattle, fish, etc are raised in pens and fed an unnatural diet of corn and soy. This disrupts their bodies and causes very low levels of Omega 3 oil and too high of levels of Omega-6. When we eat/drink these we end up putting our bodies into a state of inflammation which causes a whole range of problems from heart disease, cancer, arthritis, etc.  Even organic beef, milk, and eggs only mean they’ve been fed organic corn and soy.  Because of this we must supplement with Omega-3 fish oil, and we need to insure we are getting the best available. To choose the least expensive product on the shelf is potentially putting yourself at risk in other ways.

    

Omega-3 Fish Oil looks promising in Osteoarthritus prevention and treatment.

A study published in the September, 2011 issue of the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, British researchers report the results of an animal experiment which found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced many of the signs of osteoarthritis. “This study is the first to look at both cartilage and subchondral bone changes with increased dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids,”

They compared the effect of a standard high omega-6 diet containing corn oil vs. a diet enhanced with fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, over a 20 week period after which cartilage, bone and blood factors were examined for signs of the disease.

Among the arthritis-prone animals given omega-3, the majority of disease indicators were reduced in comparison with animals that received diets that did not contain fish oil. “There was strong evidence that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease, but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis,”

Most diets in the developed world are lacking in omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. Taking omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis.

When animals such as cattle, chickens, salmon, etc. are allowed to eat their normal diets such as then their flesh, milk, and eggs have much more omega-3 vs omega-6. But when they are fed a diet of mainly corn, soy, and grains, which are a a very un-natural diet for these animals, then the amount of omega-3 fatty acids drops and the omega-6 greatly increase.

Because of this you should always eat grass fed beef and buffalo and wild caught fish, especially salmon and shrimp.

Here is some disgusting trivia about farm raise salmon. Look carefully at the ingredients or the back of the  package and you’ll see that coloring is added to the farm raised salmon to make it pink. It is the krill in the wild that gives the salmon its pink color and it’s high omega-6. Grain fed farm raised salmon are white if they don’t color them. Another clue is if it is advertised as “Atlantic Salmon”  That is most often farm raised.

You must also be careful when purchasing fish oil supplements. Most companies use internal organs from larger, older, fish like shark, tuna, etc.  These fish have lived a long time and have accumulated a lot of mercury, PCB, and other toxins.  Look for a company which uses small fish like minnows and anchovies for the fish oil. These fish have accumulated very little, if any, toxins.  The product I use and recommend only uses small fish and then puts it through a double molecular distillation. The end result is a fish oil which is the purest fish oil available and over 99.999999% pure.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce High Blood Pressure

The August, 2011 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine published the findings of American researchers of a reduction in the incidence of high blood pressure in men and women who consumed higher amounts of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish. While the cardiovascular benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (which include EPA and DHA) are well known, the current research sought to determine potential interactions with the body’s levels of selenium and mercury, elements that also occur in fish.

The current study involved 4,508 men and women enrolled in 1985 in the ongoing Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Dr Ka He of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and colleagues utilized responses to dietary questionnaires conducted upon enrollment and at the seven and twenty year follow-up examinations to determine average omega-3 fatty acid intake. Blood pressure was measured at all six follow-up visits, and incidences of high blood pressure or initiation of antihypertensive medication were noted. Selenium and mercury levels were determined by measuring the amounts contained in toenail clippings collected in 1987.

Dr He’s team found a 35 percent lower adjusted risk of developing hypertension among men and women whose EPA and DHA levels were among the top 25 percent in comparison with those whose intake was among the lowest fourth. When the fatty acids were separately evaluated, DHA was associated with the greatest protective effect. The benefit for omega-3 fatty acids appeared to be greater among those with higher selenium and lower mercury levels.

“To the best of our knowledge, no study has investigated three-way interactions of selenium, mercury and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in relation to incidence of hypertension,” the authors write. “The possible mechanisms explaining the modification of selenium and mercury on the antihypertensive effect of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may lie in that both selenium and mercury are somehow involved in the process of oxidative stress and cardiac function through the same pathway by which long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids regulate blood pressure.”

“Additional studies are warranted to elucidate the complex interactions amongst selenium, mercury and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, three important components in fish, in terms of hypertension prevention,” they conclude.

Salmon is one of the best crouches of omega-3 fatty acid, but not all salmon is equal.  You want to only consume wild caught salmon. Most of what you find in stores and restaurants is farm raised. The difference is that salmon obtain the omega-3 oil from their main food source, krill. Krill also give the wild salmon their characteristic pin/orange color. Farm raised salmon on the other hand are raised in pens in near the short or in bays. The are fed corn, soy, and things you don’t want to know about. Farm raised salmon is white, so they add dye to the fish to make them look like real salmon. In farm raised salmon, often called Atlantic Salmon, the omega-3 oil levels are much lower.

Another options is fish oil capsules. Caution is necessary here as well. Most fish oil comes from large fish and usually from the organs and liver.  These large fish  are older and higher up the food chain, so they accumulate the mercury, PCB, and other toxins.  Some very popular commercial brands of fish oil were fined in California because they contained dangerous levels of PCB and didn’t have California’s Prop-65 warning on them.  A friend is a ER doctor and she had a young woman come into the ER with what turned out to be mercury poisoning. After investigation it turned out that she was taking several fish oil capsules she’d purchased at a big box store. They had so much mercury that with here taking a higher dosage, it gave her mercury poisoning.

The fish oil I take and recommend comes from small young fish such as anchovies, sardines, etc.  The raw oil has less than 1/100th the amount of mercury allowed by the FDA. Then it goes through a double molecular distillation and the final product is 99.99999999% mercury free. You can’t get a purer fish oil. They also add lemon oil so you don’t have a fishy after taste, intact we give it to kids by just having them crew up the gel cap, and they love the lemon taste. Then they just spit out the gel cap.

Contact me if you ‘d like more information on the one I recommend.

What nutrients can help boost testosterone in men?

There can be numerous causes of low testosterone, but no matter what the cause, without proper nutrition, your body won’t have the proper building blocks to generate testosterone. Let’s take a look at what your body needs to create the hormone, and what you can do to help the process along.

Essential Fatty Acids, the Building Blocks

A low fat diet is certainly a good thing, but some of the fat is actually helpful in building hormones, including testosterone. You’ve probably heard about “good cholesterol” versus “bad cholesterol” a little bit. This is one area where it comes into play. Your body builds testosterone from good cholesterol.
The omega-3 class of fatty acids is necessary for your body’s health. Aside from their key role in producing testosterone, they have been proven to aid your cardiovascular system, and are often thought to promote mental acuity as well.

For the most part, foods are very low in this class of nutrient. Fish is one of the finest sources of omega-3 fatty acid, but to using dietary fish to provide adequate levels is difficult, due to the volume of fish one would have to eat, as well as differences in the quality and absorbability of oil present in the fish. The best source of it is probably fish oil supplements, which are inexpensive and readily available.
The usual doses are between 1,000mg and 2,000mg per day. Be sure to use a fish oil supplement which is manufactured to pharmaceutical standards to insure purity and low, or no, heavy metals or PCB contamination.

Vitamin A, Creating Helpful Proteins

Protein synthesis is heavily aided by vitamin A. Among other things, this is the process that begins the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone. It also decreases estrogen production in the testicles. Laboratory experiments on rats deficient in vitamin A showed a remarkable drop in testosterone levels, until their sex organs eventually atrophied [2].

The good news about vitamin A is that you can get sufficient levels from most multi-vitamins. The RDA for men is 900IU per day, a fairly small amount. If you’re on a high protein diet, you will utilize more of the vitamin, so you may need slightly higher doses if that’s the case. However, this is a fat soluble vitamin, so we have to be careful not to take doses too high. While the toxicity level itself is fairly high, and you’d be in little danger of reaching it without huge doses, there are studies showing that doses in excess of 200% of the RDA value contribute to brittle bones and calcium loss [3].

A deficiency in vitamin A would render all your other efforts to boost testosterone useless, so just make sure to take a daily multivitamin, and feel secure that you’re getting a good supply of this necessary vitamin.

The best source of Vitamin A is Beta Carotene. You can take high doses of Vitamin A as beta carotene without any dangers of receiving too much. Beta Carotene is basically two vitamin A molecules joined together and your body will convert the beta carotene into Vitamin A as it needs it.

A note on Cholesterol. As mentioned above, testosterone is made from cholesterol. If you are on cholesterol lowering statin drugs like Crestor, Zocor, Lipitor, etc. These drugs poison the metabolic pathway which produces cholesterol and CoEnzyme Q-10, and ultimately the sex hormones. So if you are taking one of these drugs, they could be contributing to low testosterone too.

Vitamin D, a Cornucopia of Men’s Health Benefits

A remarkable body of research over the last few years has shown that vitamin D may be one of the most beneficial of all the vitamins, in maintaining and promoting good health. Among the laundry list of positive effects attributed to vitamin D are virility [4], hair growth [5], weight loss [6], and much more. A recent study by the University of Graz showed a direct correlation to vitamin D levels and testosterone levels. Our levels of D have been falling in recent decades though, due to avoidance of the sun and shifts in dietary patterns.

The RDA for vitamin D is only 200 IU, which seems horribly low in light of recent findings. While some doctors who are experts in the field suggest 2,000 to 5,000 IU a day as ideal.
Because of the chronic lack of this key nutrient, you may want to consider an extra supplement of it. It’s inexpensive and easy to get in large quantities. Most multivitamins don’t provide very high doses of it.

Zinc, Aiding in the Use of Vitamins A and D

An essential trace mineral, zinc is necessary to the production of testosterone, as well as the utilization of vitamins A and D. The RDA for zinc is 11mg per day in men, though the US National Research Council has set a tolerable upper intake of 40mg per day [7]. Multivitamins often provide the RDA value, and diets high in meats will provide plenty of zinc as well. If supplementation is desired, insure you are using a chelated form of zinc such as zinc citrate vs the salt such as zinc oxide which is poorly absorbed.

Calcium D-Glucarate to Dispose of Estrogen

Excess levels of estrogen are passed through the liver and disposed of by the body, binding them with an acid. The problem is that an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can step in and break down these bonds, allowing the estrogen to be re-absorbed in the body. Calcium D-glucarate inhibits production of beta-glucuronidase, helping your liver flush toxins (and excess estrogen) more efficiently. It won’t increase your testosterone levels, but it can aid in keeping your free testosterone levels high, and unaffected by excess estrogen [9].

There are several ways you can control the amount of estrogen that is reabsorbed into your bloodstream.

  • The first is obvious; reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens by eliminating as many toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and plastic products from your environment as you can. Also eliminate the use of any body care products which contain parabens (methylparaben, butylparaben, etc.) Parabens are readily absorbed through the skin and mimic estrogen.
  • Second, cut down or eliminate meat from your diet because it increases the level of the enzyme that rips the estrogen loose in the gut.
  • Also eat at least 2 vegetables from the cruciferous family every day, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli & brussels sprouts, and take antioxidants

Tongkat Ali to Increase Testosterone Levels

Tongkat Ali is popular for enhancing the sexual performance of males for hundreds of years. It has been used in many forms in the past and it is now available in more user-friendly forms.
Tongkat Ali has a direct impact on the body’s testosterone levels. Although the herb is a testosterone booster, it does not produce testosterone. The herb just help the body to produce testosterone more effectively and it also increases the strength, or in other words, the ‘tone’ of testosterone.

Final Thoughts

After considering these facts, it’s apparent that to make sure your body has everything it needs to produce testosterone (and get the best effect from a supplement like tongkat ali,) a multivitamin is probably one of the simplest, most effective supplements you can take. Here’s a summary:
A good multivitamin will provide plenty of vitamin A and adequate levels of zinc, as well as a small amount of vitamin D.

Consider a separate supplement of D, with a dose of around 2,000 IU or more per day.
Boost your omega-3 fatty acids level with a fish oil supplement. Aside from the testosterone creation benefits, the cardiovascular benefits are great.

Finally, a supplement of calcium D-glucarate can aid your body in disposing of excess estrogen, allowing your free testosterone to have a greater effect. The other supplements mentioned should take priority over this, but if you’re looking for the most dramatic results, it’s one to consider.
By following these guidelines to give your body the building blocks for testosterone, mixed with a regimen of tongkat ali to boost its production, you’ll achieve the optimal results. In addition, these supplements all provide a number of other beneficial effects for your body, such as improved immune response and cardiovascular benefits, making them all smart choices.

How to Choose a Good Multivitamin

There are thousands of different multivitamins on the market and the walk down the aisle of any store will leave your head spinning trying to figure out which to purchase.  Click here for a good article on how to choose a good multivitamin.

Citations

[2] Livera, et al., “Regulation and Perturbation of Testicular Functions by Vitamin A” (Review), Reproduction (2002) 124, 173-180
[3] Forsmo, Siri; Fjeldbo,Sigurd Kjørstad; Langhammer, Arnulf (2008). “Childhood Cod Liver Oil Consumption and Bone Mineral Density in a Population-based Cohort of Peri- and Postmenopausal Women: The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18033763
[4] Kwiecinski GG, Petrie GI, DeLuca HF. (1989) “Vitamin D is necessary for reproductive functions of the male rat” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2723823?dopt=Abstract
[5] Vegesna V, O’Kelly J, Uskokovic M, Said J, Lemp N, Saitoh T, Ikezoe T, Binderup L, Koeffler HP. (2002) “Vitamin D3 analogs stimulate hair growth in nude mice”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12399436?dopt=Abstract
[6] Kamycheva E, Joakimsen RM, Jorde R. (2003) “Intakes of calcium and vitamin d predict body mass index in the population of Northern Norway”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12514276?dopt=Abstract
[7] (2001) “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc” Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10026&page=442
[8] Barrie, SA.; Wright JV, Pizzorno JE, Kutter E, Barron PC. (1987). “Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857
[9] Jim Wright “The Toxic Avenger: Calcium D-glucarate”, Flex (Feb 2002)http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KFY/is_12_19/ai_82476436/

DHA (fish oil) improves stroke recovery

An article published online on November 4, 2010 in the journal Translational Stroke Research reports a neuroprotective effect for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) if given within 5 hours following ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by the blockage of blood flow to the brain as a result of a clot or plaque in the arteries. Damage to the area surrounding the site of the blockage becomes irreversible within a few hours without the reestablishment of blood flow and the administration of therapies that protect against inflammation and free radical formation.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence Dr Nicolas Bazan and his associates induced stroke in rats by occluding the middle cerebral artery for two hours. In a preliminary experiment, the animals were divided to receive DHA intravenously 3, 4, 5 or 6 hours following cerebral artery occlusion, or saline 3 hours post-stroke. Behavioral tests were conducted during the occlusion and 1, 2, 3 and 7 days following the procedure, followed by examination of the brain. A second experiment involved the administration of DHA 3 hours after the occlusion and the assessment of brain damage 1, 3 and 7 days later by magnetic resonance imaging. In a third experiment, the rats were given DHA or saline 3 hours after stroke onset, after which their brains were examined for the presence of neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), a substance for which DHA is a precursor, that has cell-protective and anti-inflammatory effects.

The first experiment found a reduction in neurologic deficits in rats that received DHA compared with saline treated rats, even when DHA was administered 5 hours after the onset of stroke. Treatment with DHA reduced total infarct volume by 40 percent when given 3 hours after stroke, by 66 percent when given 4 hours later and by 59 percent when administered after 5 hours. In the study involving the use of MRI, DHA treatment was associated with smaller infarcts which were indistinguishable from normal tissues by the seventh day post-stroke. The third experiment revealed increased NPD1 synthesis in the area surrounding the infarct in the DHA treated group compared to animals that received saline.

The findings help identify a possible treatment for stroke as well quantify the time limit of its effectiveness. “We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke,” Dr Bazan stated. “There is no simple solution just yet, but each new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.”

“We are in an unprecedented time, from a public health point of view, in regards to tackling stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders,” he observed. “Stroke is an outright attack on the nervous system, and each year stroke kills over 150,000 Americans. Truly for the first time, translational research and the clinics are poised to converge in their public health efforts to combat stroke. From a therapeutic point of view, we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. What we need now is for the political and societal views on stroke to converge in the same way that the research laboratories and hospitals are now doing. This would be a major step forward in fighting this disease.”

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Recent Fish Oil Research Flawed

Med Page Today had the sensational headline which read “Fish Oil Claims May be Snake Oil“. This is a journal whoes main audiance is physicians.  Click here to see the article


If you take a look at much of the medical research aimed at nutritional supplements they attempt to treat supplements like a drug. In this particular they took 900 70+ year olds and measured their cognitive status. Then gave half the group fish oil and the other half a placebo for two years then measured the improvement, if any, in their cognitive abilities.  This sounds good, but Fish Oil helps to prevent cognitive decline, it doesn’t restore it once it is gone. 


Numerous other studies have taken the same approach of taking a group of people who are/have suffered a disease or degenerative condition then give supplements to see if they reverse it, which it usually doesn’t.  Closest analogy I can think of is changing the oil in your car. You could easily prove that changing the oil ever 3,000 miles will prevent engine wear and add years to your car’s engines life. But what these studies attempt to do is take an engine where the oil is seldom changed and has seized up and has suffered extensive damage. Then they give the car a fresh oil change and expect the damage to be reversed. Fresh oil wont repair the damage, it may slow further damage, but the damage which has been done is done.


There is extensive research which has proved that fish oil can prevent or delay many conditions, but this study is an attempt to discredit all the positive research. 


So in summary, take your fish oil and preserve your heart and mental health. One caution though is to make sure you take a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement. There are a good number of fish oil supplements which have measurable or dangerous levels of PCB, mercury, lead, and other contaminants.



fish oil supplements beat mental illness

An important new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reveals that fish oil supplements beat mental illness. The study involved 81 people deemed to be at high risk for psychosis. The randomized, placebo-controlled study provided fish oil supplements to half the study subjects for just 12 weeks (the other half received placebo supplements). The results? While 11 people in the placebo group developed a psychotic disorder, only 2 in the fish oil group did.

Although the study was relatively small, it helps demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to be the key nutritional factor in fish oils. We already know that omega-3 fatty acids / polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) help protect people against cardiovascular disease. We also know they can play a role in preventing diabetes and cancer. It’s little surprise that they also protect against mental illness, given the importance of healthy fatty acids for the functioning of the nervous system.

As the BBC reports, Alison Cobb, from the mental health charity Mind, said in response to this study: “If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, whereas omega-3s are actually beneficial to their general state of health.”

She’s exactly right: Antipsychotic drugs actually cause diabetes. They promote blood sugar disorders and weight gain, among other problems. Some psychiatric drugs have also been linked to school shootings and violent outbursts (suicides, murders, etc.). They’re also expensive and they pose an environmental hazard, since many of the chemicals used in those drugs pass right through the body and end up in waters downstream.

Fish oils have none of these negative side effects. In fact, they have positive effects throughout the body. That’s why fish oils are such a remarkable solution to replace antipsychotic drugs: They’re safer, cheaper and they work better!

You’re supposed to keep taking drugs, says Big Pharma

The drug companies, of course, are terrified that people might learn this truth. They want to keep patients on expensive, patented antipsychotic drugs while discrediting “natural remedies” like fish oils or nutritional supplements. The entire war being waged against nutrition and supplements is, of course, nothing more than the pharmaceutical industry trying to protect its own turf by destroying the competition.

Because, let’s face it: For (virtually) every popular pharmaceutical on the market, there’s a nutritional supplement that works better (and that’s also safer and more affordable). Antipsychotic drugs can be replaced with fish oils. Cholesterol drugs can be replaced with B vitamins. Anti-cancer drugs can be replaced with vitamin D and medicinal mushrooms. Diabetes drugs can be replaced with a healthy plant-based diet and targeted supplements. The list goes on and on…

Nutrition works so well that in this study, subjects experienced a protective effect from fish oils for an entire year even though they only took those fish oils for 12 weeks! Imagine how much better the outcome might have been if they continued on the fish oils for the entire year…

Get quality fish oils

Of course, when it comes to fish oils, don’t settle for just any cheap fish oil supplement. Many of the cheaper store-bought brands are largely made of olive oil filler combined with a tiny amount of fish oil extract. Search out quality supplements or oils from companies that follow pharmacutical GMPs and are certified by NSF.

Make sure your supplements are free from heavy metals, pesticides and other residues. Make sure they are harvested in a truly sustainable way, and make sure you can trust the source to provide consistent quality.

Fish oils can provide astonishing health benefits. If the medical industry were truly honest about researching what works for patients rather than what makes money for drug companies, they would have openly prescribed fish oils long ago (and abandoned many of the antipsychotic drugs they still push).

But as you already know, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t interested in what works for people unless it’s something they can sell at monopoly prices. They don’t want people to know about natural remedies, nutritional cures or healing foods. They would much rather see people stay ignorant about those things while pumping their minds full of advertisements and propaganda that ridiculously suggests the human brain is somehow deficient in Big Pharma’s patented chemicals and that the only way you’ll ever be truly healthy, happy or sane is to keep swallowing their pills for the rest of your life.

The real insanity in the world is not in the minds of mental patients; it’s in the evil plans of the FDA, the WHO and the pharmaceutical cartel — all of whom conspire to peddle dangerous medications when far safer, more natural and more effective alternatives are readily available.

Fish oil and healthy skin

Fish oil containing the Omega 3 essential fatty acid EPA helps to prevent wrinkles and can delay the aging process of the skin according to recent research published in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2005. Scientists have also found that fish oil containing EPA can limit the damage to the skin produced by overexposure to the sun and help to reduce the negative effect of UV rays. This has particular relevance when we consider the recent and dramatic rise in cases of skin cancers caused predominantly by exposure to the suns harmful rays.

Essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are known to play a critical role in promoting healthy skin. They help to regulate cellular function and maintain elasticity and suppleness in the skin. Consequently, a fatty acid deficiency will show up as skin problems. Most of us do not get enough of the Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet whereas Omega 6 fatty acids are in plentiful supply. Symptoms of Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency include skin problems like eczema, dandruff, dry and flaking skin and poor wound healing.

Three reasons why EPA is so beneficial to the skin?

  • EPA is known to reduce inflammation by helping the body to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that are responsible for regulating all the cells in our body.
  • EPA helps to inhibit the production of androgens, which are hormones that influence the production of sebum in the hair follicle. Excess sebum production can lead to acne and other skin problems.
  • EPA helps to limit production of Arachidonic acid, which is responsible for pro-inflammatory responses in the body, high levels of which are found in people with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.

The Omega 3 fatty acids are ALA, EPA and DHA. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is found in dark green leafy vegetables and algae. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can be found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, mackerel and Tuna. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can also be found in oily fish. We can convert ALA to EPA and DHA but the conversion is very inefficient and dependent on a number of factors. However, we can convert EPA into DHA if we get enough EPA.

Supplementing with fish oil that contains EPA can alleviate the symptoms of skin disorders such as dry and flaky skin, psoriasis, eczema and acne as well as many other inflammatory skin conditions. However, it is important to choose a fish oil that is high in EPA as DHA has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of EPA.

Fish oil supplements can contain mercury. To be safe take only a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement.

More evidence that fish is brain food

Older adults in developing countries who regularly eat fish seem to have a lower risk of dementia, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among nearly 15,000 older adults living in China, India or one of five Latin American countries, the odds of having dementia generally declined as fish consumption rose.

For each increase in participants’ reported fish intake — from never, to some days of the week, to most or all days of the week — the prevalence of dementia dipped by 19 percent.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, mirror evidence from some studies in developed nations.

The findings also suggest that the fish-dementia link does not simply reflect the benefits of a generally higher-quality diet. The study found that adults who got the most meat in their diets tended to have a somewhat higher prevalence of dementia than those who never ate meat.

The findings are based on a one-time survey and do not prove cause-and- effect, note the researchers, led by Dr. Emiliano Albanese of King’s College London in the UK.

“More substantive evidence,” they write, will come from the next phase of the research, which is following these older adults over time to see whether fish intake is related to the risk of developing dementia in the future.

If fish does protect the aging brain, researchers believe that the benefits probably come from the omega-3 fatty acids found most abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna.

Lab studies show that omega-3 fats have a number of properties that could help stave off dementia — including actions that protect nerve cells, limit inflammation and help prevent the build-up of the amyloid proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

These latest findings are based on surveys of 14,960 adults age 65 or older living in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru or Venezuela. The relationship between higher fish intake and lower dementia prevalence was consistent across all countries, with the exception of India.

The link also held when the researchers factored in participants’ incomes, education and lifestyle habits like smoking and fruit and vegetable intake — suggesting that differences in socioeconomics do not fully account for the finding.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2009.

Diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer, even in men who carry a particular variant in the COX-2 gene that is known to raise the risk of the disease.

“Previous research has shown protection (by omega-3 fatty acids) against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2,” Dr. John S. Witte of the University of California, San Francisco noted in a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Witte and colleagues studied 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy matched controls. They assessed diet using a “food frequency” questionnaire and genotyped the men for nine COX-2 variants.

The researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.

“Importantly,” Witte and colleagues say, this protective effect was even stronger in men who carried the COX-2 variant, rs4647310, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Specifically, men with low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this particular variant had a more than fivefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 rs4647310 variant.

In other words, the increased risk of prostate cancer associated with the COX-2 rs4647310 variant was “essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day,” Witte said.

“If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week,” he added.

SOURCE: Clinical Cancer Research, online March 24, 2009.