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.



Very high omega-3 intakes linked to big health benefits

Intakes of omega-3 exceeding levels consumed by the general US population may significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease, suggests a new study with Yup’ik Eskimos.

High levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA(docosahexaenoic acid) were associated with lower levels of triglycerides, as well as higher levels of HDL cholesterol, according to data from 357 Yup’ik Eskimos published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Raised levels of the fatty acids were also associated with decreased levels of markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), which is produced in the liver and is a known marker for inflammation. Increased levels of CRP are a good predictor for the onset of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.CVD causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169 billion ($202 billion) per year.

The study of omega-3 intakes in inuits is nothing new. The first reports of the heart health benefits of the marine fatty acids were reported in the early 1970s by Jørn Dyerberg and his co-workers in The Lancet and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The young Danes sought to understand how the Greenland Eskimos, or Inuit as they prefer to be called, could eat a high fat diet and still have one of the lowest death rates from cardiovascular disease on the planet.

Despite the precedent of study in these populations, the new research, led by Zeina Makhoul from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, claims that: “Few studies have examined the associations of with biomarkers of chronic disease risk in populations with high intakes”.

In an attempt to fill this knowledge gap, they analysed blood levels of EPA and DHA in red blood cells of in a cross-section of 357 Yup’ik Eskimos.

Data showed EPA and DHA represented an average 2.8 and 6.8 percent, respectively, of the total fatty acid content of red blood cells.

In addition to the links between EPA and DHA levels and triglycerides and HDL, increased levels of DHA were positively with levels of LDL and total cholesterol, said the researchers.

While a link between EPA/DHA and CRP were reported, Makhoul and her co-workers noted that the link was stronger when EPA concentrations excessed 3 percent of fatty acids in the cells, and when DHA levels exceeded 7 percent.

“Increasing EPA and DHA intakes to amounts well above those consumed by the general US population may have strong beneficial effects on chronic disease risk,” they concluded.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28820
“Associations of very high intakes of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids with biomarkers of chronic disease risk among Yup’ik Eskimos”
Authros: Z. Makhoul, A.R. Kristal, R. Gulati, B. Luick, A. Bersamin, B. Boyer, G.V. Mohatt

Fish oil during pregnancy may slash infant allergy

Supplements of omega-3-rich fish oils during pregnancy may reduce the risk of food allergy and eczema in children, according to a new study from Sweden.

The occurrence of eczema and food allergies was 16 and 13 per cent lower, respectively, in infants of mothers receiving the fish oil supplements during pregnancy and the early months of breast-feeding, compared to placebo, according to findings published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.
“This randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study shows that omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce the risk of developing allergic sensitization to egg, IgE-associated eczema and food allergy during the first year of life,” wrote the authors, led by Catrin Furuhjelm from Linkoping University.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is the predominant antibody associated with an allergic response.
The new study adds to the ever-growing list of studies supporting the potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA. Much of its healthy reputation that is seeping into consumer consciousness is based largely on evidence that it can aid cognitive function and may help protect the heart against cardiovascular disease.
From mother to child
Furuhjelm and her co-workers recruited 145 pregnant women with allergies, or with partners or other children with allergies. Starting at the 25th week of their pregnancy, and continuing for between three and four months of breastfeeding, the women were randomly assigned to receive either daily fish oil supplements providing 1.6 g of EPA and 1.1 g of DHA (Bio Marin capsules from Pharma Nord, Denmark), or placebo.
Using a range of tests, including clinical examination, skin prick tests, and blood tests for IgE, the researchers observed a 2 per cent prevalence of food allergy in the omega-3 group, compared to 15 per cent in the placebo group.
Furthermore, the incidence of IgE-associated eczema was only 8 per cent in the omega-3 group, compared to 24 per cent in the placebo group.
“Our findings suggest that the mechanisms leading to sustained IgE antibody production early in life may be inhibited by the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA,” wrote Furuhjelm.
What’s happening?
Commenting on the mechanism, the Linkoping-based scientists proposed several possibilities. Both DHA and EPA may produce changes in the fluidity of the membranes of immune cells, and reduce the levels of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA). By inhibiting the metabolism of AA, the formation of the less inflammatory eicosanoids is favoured, which may be linked to lower allergic sensitization in the children, said the researchers.
“Additional anti-inflammatory effects of EPA andDHA in early immune development through bioactive lipids, lipoxins, neuroprotectines and resolvins, have been discussed but it is not clear whether those are plausible explanatory mechanisms regarding our findings,” they said.
Food allergy rises
The number of allergic disease has also been rising, with an estimated eight per cent of children in the EU suffering from food allergies, according to the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations.
The most common food allergen ingredients and their derivatives are cereals containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, egg, peanut, soybeans, milk and dairy products including lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seed, and sulphites.
Source: Acta Paediatrica
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01355.x
“Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy and lactation may decrease the risk of infant allergy”
Authors: C. Furuhjelm, K. Warstedt, J. Larsson, M. Fredriksson, M. Fageras Bottcher, K. Falth-Magnusson, K. Duchen

The danger with many Omega-3 fish oils available on the retail shelves is the risk of mercury and other heavy metal contamination. Make sure that you purchase a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement which is guaranteed to be mercury free.

The Truth about a recent study about MultiVitamins and Cancer & Heart Disease

by Joan E. Baumann, NutriSeach
MULTIVITAMINS CONSIDERED USELESS IN PREVENTION OF CANCER OR HEART DISEASE
Dramatic, misleading headlines such as the one above are so frequently picked up and run by the press.
I decided to check out the source in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

At the bottom of the abstract there was a clinical trials Identifier Number: Trial Registration Number NCT0000611.

The identifying number gave a clearer picture of the criteria. Here is what the Government Trials website stated as to eligibility:
Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study: 50 Years to 79 Years

Genders Eligible for Study: Female

Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No

Criteria

Postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79.

The Trial Criteria allowed for Postmenopausal Women Ages 50 – 79 BUT excluded healthy volunteers! http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00000611/

The women were asked if they took multivitamins, and a detailed record of their vitamin of choice was kept. The Data regarding their vitamin use was accepted even if they took their multivitamin as infrequently as once a week!

SomeBIG IFSbecame apparent: if they took one of the heavier advertised brands, with their minimal amounts of basic nutrients,if their vitamin contained nutrients that were not optimal in quality, such as synthetic vitamin E instead of the natural form,if it contained very low levels of vitamin C,if it did not include nutrients such as inositol, choline, alpha lipoic acid, quercetin, flavonoids, n-acetyl L-cysteine, coenzymeQ10, beta-carotene instead of vitamin A, optimal levels of Folic Acid ……..then one would expect the outcome the study announced. Too many IFS! There was no apparent baseline for either levels or quality of nutrients.
Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Natural Products Association, a non-profit organization, had a few interesting comments on the study.
Fabricant said it is “unprincipled” that the authors arbitrarily lumped supplement types into generalized categories that do not represent nutrient intake accurately. And when coupled with the fact that nutrient intake through the diet was not accounted for, Fabricant explained, the study has no means of establishing a baseline for which to draw any comparisons or eliminate bias.

He further stated: “ Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent. To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”

There are literally thousands of research studies which have shown the benefits of many nutrients, from food and/or supplements. To ignore such a large body of research and depend solely upon our food supply to provide the level of nutrition that can keep us healthy makes absolutely no sense.

We can trust in the science and integrity of a company like Usana; the longer we maintain the health of our cells on a regular basis, the greater the benefit as we age.

In health,

Joan E. Baumann

Thank you Joan for this excellent replay to a headline which received too much press. We must realize that there are many companies who want to keep these sorts of headlines in front of the public. There are thousands of medical studies which show that optimal levels of high quality nutritional supplements can have a tremendous impact on preventing or reversing almost every degenerative disease. If this were brought to the public’s attention it could cost big pharmaceutical companies billions and billions of dollars. Yet headlines such as this help insure big pharma’s monoply of our medical system.
NutriSearch has evaluated over 1,500 different multivitamins available in the US and Canada. Usana Health Sciences has received their top rating for for the past 9 years.