Tag Archives: Standard American Diet

In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

 

Source: Time Magazine

 

An article titled “Do Probiotics Really Work? in the current (July 2017) issue of Scientific American really irked me so I decided to send a Letter to the Editor responding to it. Since the chances my letter will get printed are slim and I think it addresses several important issues, I’m putting it into this post.

Continue reading In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

Staying Well: A Little Sanity About the Ebola Virus – and Other Epidemics

 

 

 

Ebola virus structure.  (Source: microbeonline.com)
Ebola virus structure. (Source:
microbeonline.com)

 

As my chiropractor and main health care provider, Denice Hilty, DC, has always stressed, catching a virus, bacterial disease or other illness can generally be avoided by keeping your immune system balanced and strong. This means the whole immune system  – especially the gut microbiome, which bears 70-80% of the responsibility for keeping the whole body running smoothly and protecting us from pathogenic invaders.

 

(Source: www.utsouthwestern.edu)
(Source: www.utsouthwestern.edu)
Hearing about viral or bacterial infectious diseases that have turned into epidemics or pandemics is of course quite frightening. An epidemic describes a disease affecting a large number of people in a single area. A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads to a much wider area, across geographic areas.

 

(Source: rethinksurvival.com)
(Source: rethinksurvival.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEADLIEST PANDEMICS IN HISTORY

 

 

OUTBREAK: Deadliest Pandemics in History is a  collaboration between GOOD magazine & Column Five Media. (Source: www.coolinfographics.com)
OUTBREAK: Deadliest Pandemics in History is a collaboration between GOOD magazine & Column Five Media. (Source: www.coolinfographics.com)

 

 

 

THE SMALLPOX PANDEMIC THAT KILLED 300 MILLION PEOPLE OVER THOUSANDS OF YEARS

Smallpox is caused by a moderately contagious virus called Variola major. Initial symptoms began 12 days after exposure. (Fenn, 2003)
In the old world, smallpox was an ancient scourge dating back to prehistory.   Scientists have found DNA evidence that the virus originated 10,500 years ago. Some 3,000 year old Egyptian mummies show evidence of having been afflicted by the disease.
The conquest of the New World was achieved by disease, not by guns or ships, during the decades following Columbus’ arrival in 1492.  The mass deaths during the great smallpox plague in the New World was a profoundly significant, history-changing event. The indigenous people living in the Americas, unlike Europeans, Africans and Asians,  had not had the benefit of co-evolving with the smallpox virus for millenia and these people died in droves from it: perhaps 80-95% of the 50-100 million native people living on this side of the world – approximately the same number as had lived in all of Europe in the late 1400’s.  (Wayne, 2012)

 

When the Vikings landed in American 500 years before Columbus, they found groups of resilient indigenous people. Fortunately, the Vikings didn’t carry any terrible infectious diseases with them. But then Columbus’ second voyage to the New World (1493-96) brought 1,000 Spanish to settle in Hispaniola. These colonists introduced European epidemic diseases – such as influenza, smallpox, measles and typhus, which spread through the local people in the Caribbean, drastically reducing their population over the next 50 years.
The Spanish conquistador Cortes and his men inadvertently brought smallpox with them into the sophisticated Aztec empire in what is now central Mexico. A Spanish priest traveling with Cortes described the destruction he encountered in the Aztec’s capitol city of Tenochtitlán in 1520.  (Wayne, 2012):

“As the Indians did not know the remedy of the disease…they died in heaps, like bedbugs. In many places it happened that everyone in a house died and, as it was impossible to bury the great number of dead, they pulled down the houses over them so that their homes become their tombs.”

The drawing below depicts Nahuas of central Mexico suffering from smallpox transmitted to them by the Spanish conquistadors:

 

Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex, compiled in 1540. (Source: www.historytoday.com)
Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex, compiled in 1540. (Source: www.historytoday.com)

 

About 30% of smallpox cases ended in death, usually during the second week of the disease. Most who survived the illness bore some degree of permanent scarring. Lip, nose and ear tissue could be eaten away by the virus.  Blindness could result from corneal scarring.
The smallpox virus was spread through close contact with the sores or respiratory droplets of an infected person or through contact with contaminated bedding or clothing. A sufferer remained infectious until the last scab fell from the skin. (College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 2014)
See this interesting timeline of information about smallpox, from 1000, in China, through 2010, prepared by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The last identified naturally occurring case of smallpox was in Somalia in 1977.
Throughout history, about 70% of  people who contracted smallpox survived – and apparently not everyone who was ever exposed to the virus became ill. Why?

 

 

 

 

MEASLES (World Health Organization, 2014)

(Source: www.cbsnews.com)
(Source: www.cbsnews.com)
Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. The virus normally grows in the cells lining the back of the throat and lungs. Measles remains one of the leading causes of death among young children worldwide. In 2012, approximately 122,000 people died from measles. This amounts to about 330 deaths/day, or 14 deaths/hour – mostly children under the age of five. People who recover from measles have lifetime immunity to it.

 

(Source: luckylosing.com)
(Source: luckylosing.com)
The measles virus is highly contagious and spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
(Source: www.channel4.com)
(Source: www.channel4.com)

 

Being malnourished and otherwise unhealthy increases the risk of contracting measles when exposed to the virus. A strong clue to how to avoid contracting measles in the first place?

 

 

 

INFLUENZA PANDEMIC 1918-1919 (Wikipedia, 10/8/2014)

Another viral pandemic, the co-called Spanish Flu or La Grippe,  was unusually deadly. Between January 1918 and December 1920 it infected 500 million people world wide, including on remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, killing 50-100 million of them. This represented 3-5% of the world’s population at the time. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history and, occurring during World War I, greatly interfered with the war effort in participating countries. The Spanish Flu was the first of two pandemics caused by the H1N1 virus.

 

 

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic .(Source:  en.wikipedia.org)
The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

Unlike other influenzas, it tended to strike young adults who were thought to be healthy. Modern research, using virus samples taken from the bodies of frozen victims, concluded that the virus kills through a cytokine storm, an overreaction of the body’s immune system. The scientists believe the  strong immune reactions of young adults overcame their bodies while the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths among those groups.

 

 

Influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–1919.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–1919.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

Again, not every ‘healthy’ young adult who was exposed to this influenza virus succumbed to it. Why?

 

 

 

 

 

THE BLACK DEATH (BUBONIC PLAGUE)

 

Black Death researchers extracted plague DNA from 14th century skulls recently unearthed in London. (Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA)
Black Death researchers extracted plague DNA from 14th century skulls recently unearthed in London. (Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA)
DNA evidence taken from human remains found in a 14th century mass burial site of Black Death victims and unearthed during recent excavations in London found evidence that the epidemic was caused by a contagious airborne bacterium called Yersinia pestis, not by rat fleas as had long been believed. Plague researchers extracted DNA of the Black Death bacterium from the largest teeth in some of the skulls and compared it to the DNA responsible for an outbreak of a pneumonic plague that killed 60 people in Madagascar in 2012. The DNA codes were an almost perfect match.
Public Health England scientists say a plague that moved through the population at the rapid pace of the Black Plague couldn’t possibly have been spread by rat fleas biting a diseased person and then biting other people. The speed of transmission could only have been spread by bacteria from the lungs of victims expelled by coughs and sneezes, making Bubonic* Plague a pneumonic  plague. The infection could only have been spread directly from human to human. The bacterial strain responsible for the Black Plague in the Middle Ages was no more virulent than today’s disease. It spread so quickly because its victims were malnourished and ill, with weak immune systems. (Thorpe, 3/29/2014)
* Buboes are inflammatory swellings of  lymphatic glands, especially in the groins or armpits. The Bubonic Plague derived its name from this symptom.

Bubonic-plague

 

“Black Death” derives from the disease’s symptom of death of  tissue, often  in the extremities. The dead, gangrenous tissue turns black.

 

(Source: blackdeathfd.blogspot.com)
(Source: blackdeathfd.blogspot.com)

 

The Bubonic Plague pandemic in Central Asia and Europe killed an estimated 75 to 200 million people during the Middle Ages. Yet a significant percentage of people who were exposed to the plague bacteria either didn’t become ill or actually became ill from it but then survived. The Black Death arrived in Britain in the autumn of 1348. By late spring of 1349 it had killed 6 out of every 10 Londoners.
This means 4 in 10 Londoners were able to survive the plague. The interesting question is why the many survivors were able to resist catching this plague or didn’t succumb if they did become ill with it.

 

 

 

 

RECENT VIRAL EPIDEMICS

Here’s a list of some of the more recent viral epidemics and their death toll numbers (Wikipedia, 10/9/2014):
  • Asian Flu of 1957–1958. Death toll: 2,000,000
  • Hong Kong Flu of 1968-69. Death toll: 1,000,000
  • HIV/Aids Pandemic in the Congo Basin 1960-present. Death toll: >30,000
  • Smallpox Epidemic of 1974 in India. Death Toll: 15,000
  • SARS Coronavirus Epidemic of 2002-3 in Asia. Death toll: 775
  • Worldwide Flu Pandemic of 2009-10. Death toll: 14,286
  • Ebola Virus Epidemic of 2013-present in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, US, Spain. Death toll: 3866 (as of October 2014)

 

 

(Source: libertybalance2014.blogspot.com)
(Source: libertybalance2014.blogspot.com)
Again, many people who were exposed to these viruses, including Ebola, either didn’t become ill or caught the virus and survived. Why?

 

 

 

EBOLA VIRUS

Current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (10/22/2014) on how Ebola Virus is transmitted:

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys)

Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.

During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and gloves and eye protection.

Dedicated medical equipment (preferable disposable, when possible) should be used by healthcare personnel providing patient care. Proper cleaning and disposal of instruments, such as needles and syringes, is also important. If instruments are not disposable, they must be sterilized before being used again. Without adequate sterilization of the instruments, virus transmission can continue and amplify an outbreak.

Once someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. However, Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months. If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease.

 

 

EbolaGraphic

 

 

 

Also, Ebola is apparently difficult to catch. Read this – the information is from an article on Nature.com called Largest ever Ebola outbreak is not a global threat: Although the virus is exerting a heavy toll in West Africa, it does not spread easily. (Butler, 2014). I’ve seen similar information about the difficulty of catching Ebola cited in many other places as well.

Wait, Ebola is hard to catch?

Though the strain of Ebola in the current outbreak appears to kill 56% of the people it infects, to become infected in the first place, a person’s mucous membranes, or an area of broken skin, must come into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as blood, urine, saliva, semen or stools, or materials contaminated with these fluids such as soiled clothing or bed linen. By contrast, respiratory pathogens such as those that cause the common cold or flu are coughed and sneezed into the air and can be contracted just by breathing or touching contaminated surfaces, such as door knobs. A pandemic flu virus can spread around the world in days or weeks and may be unstoppable whereas Ebola only causes sporadic localised outbreaks that can usually be stamped out.

 

Some reasons there has been a higher rate of transmission in West Africa – also from the Butler article cited above (Butler, 2014):

Local health authorities and international organisations such as WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders) are struggling to control the spread in these areas because of a lack of trust and cooperation among the affected populations. Doctors and health workers have sometimes been blocked from accessing affected places because of opposition from villagers who fear the medics will bring the disease. According to the WHO, not all people who are infected are getting or seeking care, and so are passing the virus on to family and other close contacts. Another major driver of new infections is that families are often continuing to perform traditional burial rites that involve mourners having direct contact with the bodies of the dead – and unfortunately all too often Ebola.

I hope this information will put your worry about contracting Ebola in perspective and reassure you.

 

 

 

 

(Source: www.build-your-immune-system.com)
(Source: www.build-your-immune-system.com)

 

 

 

 

 

STAYING HEALTHY: A STRONG AND BALANCED IMMUNE SYSTEM

 

 

(Source: www.balancedhealthtoday.com)
(Source: www.balancedhealthtoday.com)

 

YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS AGAINST THE EBOLA VIRUS – SHOULD YOU HAPPEN TO BE EXPOSED TO IT.
THE BEST WAY TO STAY HEALTHY AND AVOID BEING STRICKEN BY WHATEVER BAG BUGS ARE GOING AROUND – INCLUDING THE EBOLA VIRUS – IS TO KEEP THE MICRO-ORGANISMS LIVING IN YOUR GUT MICROBIOME – YOUR GUT IMMUNITY – BALANCED AND STRONG.

 

 

 

 

 

MALNUTRITION

Can you identify who is malnourished in the three photos below?

 

(Source: www.news.com.au)
(Source: www.news.com.au)

 

 

(Source: www.ffl.org)
(Source: www.ffl.org)

 

Source: www.betterchoicesbetterbody.com)
Source: www.betterchoicesbetterbody.com)

 

 

It’s obvious in the children who are all skin and bones. We expect them to have an impaired immune system from lack of nutrition. But what about the overweight children and man? And the normal picture of health man? The  overweight, so-called well-fed ones are also malnourished. And the normal-weight man may be suffering from malnourishment and a weakened immune system too – it depends on what kind of foods he’s consuming.

 

 

THE NEW MALNUTRITION (Turner, 2014) (Jeff & Dee, 2012)

Even people who appear quite healthy – at a reasonable body weight – can be malnourished and have unbalanced, weak gut immunity. Doctors tend to take our blood pressure, get our weight, listen to our hearts, and look at our blood test results. If those all look okay to them, they tell us we’re in good health.  If they were to investigate the state of our gut microbiomes, they would likely often come to contrary conclusions.
From Paul Rodney Turner’s article Malnutrition – the great killer behind the curtain. Turner is the International Director of Food for Life Global:

“Malnutrition is a far greater problem than world hunger. Why? Because even if a person gets sufficient quantities of food, they can still be undernourished and thus subject to chronic disease, if the food they consume does not provide the proper amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to meet their daily nutritional requirements.

“In other words, being overweight does not necessarily mean being well nourished. According to the UN Hunger Report, nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.  The vast majority of the hungry, 852 million, live in developing countries — around 15 percent of their population — while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries. The FAO states that the world is increasingly faced with a double burden of malnutrition, with chronic undernourishment and micronutrient malnutrition co-existing with obesity, overweight and related non-communicable diseases (affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide).

“Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. However, with much of the imagery related to these reports showing emaciated children in Africa and India, most people fail to realize that obesity is another form of this same chronic problem.

“According to the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) malnutrition is the largest single contributor to worldwide disease.”

 

(Source: www.fnih.org)
(Source: www.fnih.org)

 

 

Without adequate nutrition, our cells don’t receive the nutrients they need to stay healthy. They become weak and unable to repair themselves. They start to malfunction and die prematurely.  Or they fail to die when they should and we develop cancers.
chronic_inflammation1
Without proper nutrition, our bodies suffer from chronic inflammation. Our immune systems become seriously compromised. We develop chronic autoimmune diseases. A virus comes along and we are unable to repel it.
If you’re eating the  Standard American Diet of fast and processed foods (aptly abbreviated as SAD), you’re probably consuming an abundance of calories. Your stomach may feel nicely full but what you’re consuming is typically nutrient-poor.  The empty calories you eat provide some macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) while robbing your body of micronutrients. You’re eating dead food that has a long shelf-life instead of foods that are alive with nutrients.

 

This is very important information. It explains why only some people become ill or succumb in an epidemic or pandemic.

 

 

 

Large contagions bring society to a stand still. A large number of people are too ill to work or they die, preventing society from functioning. (Source: contagions.wordpress.com) (Source: contagions.wordpress.com)
Large contagions bring society to a stand still. A large number of people are too ill to work or they die, preventing society from functioning.
(Source: contagions.wordpress.com)
(Source: contagions.wordpress.com)

 

 

Famine, malnutrition and suppressed immunity (from whatever cause) go hand in hand with epidemics and pandemics.

 

 

 

(Source: www.thehealingfrequency.com)
(Source: www.thehealingfrequency.com)

 

 

Turner’s article also points out:

The three greatest killers of the modern world are:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Diabetes

All are directly related to our food choices. According to WHO (UN World Health Organization) more than 30 million people a year die as a result of those three diseases. That means just changing our food choices alone can potentially save 30 million lives a year!

While these diseases aren’t the result of a bacterium or a virus, 30 million deaths per year certainly qualifies them nonetheless to be designated as worldwide pandemics.

 

 

 

(Source: naturalcuresnotmedicine.blogspot.com)
(Source: naturalcuresnotmedicine.blogspot.com)

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Butler, D. (2014). Largest ever Ebola outbreak is not a global threat: Although the virus is exerting a heavy toll in West Africa, it does not spread easily. Nature.com. See: http://www.nature.com/news/largest-ever-ebola-outbreak-is-not-a-global-threat-1.15640

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) – Transmission. 10/22/2014. See: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html?s_cid=cs_3923

College of Physicians of Philadelphia. (2014). History of Smallpox. The History of Vaccines. See: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/timelines/smallpox

Fenn, E. (2003). The Great Smallpox Epidemic. History Today, 53:8. See: http://www.historytoday.com/elizabeth-fenn/great-smallpox-epidemic

Horowitz, L. &  Devita, S. (2002).  Essential Oils for Biological Warfare Preparedness.  See:  http://www.tetrahedron.org/articles/apocalypse/essential_oils.html

Jeff & Dee. (2012). Can we be well fed but malnourished? Better Choices, Better Body. See: http://www.betterchoicesbetterbody.com/2012/10/08/can-we-be-well-fed-but-malnourished/

Thorpe, V. (3/29/2014). Black death skeletons reveal pitiful life of 14th-century Londoners: DNA from emaciated London Black Death skeletons matches modern plague bacteria and supports airborne theory of spread. The Observer.  See:  http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/29/black-death-not-spread-rat-fleas-london-plague

Turner, P.R. ((2014). Malnutrition – the great killer behind the curtain. Food For Life Global. See: http://www.ffl.org/2014/malnutrition-the-great-killer-behind-the-curtain/

Wayne. (2012). The Smallpox Plague. See:  http://ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/the-smallpox-plague/

Wikipedia. (10/8/2014). 1918 flu pandemic. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

Wikipedia. (19/9/2014). List of epidemics. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics

World Health Organization. (2014). Measles: Fact Sheet no. 286. See: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

Omega-3 versus Omega-6 Fatty Acids

 

 

omega3-vs-omega6

 

 

The story of Omega-3 versus Omega-6 fatty acids for our health stated in its simplest form (Gunnars, 2014):

  • A diet low in Omega-3s but high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 produces excessive inflammation.
  • A diet that includes a balanced amount of each reduces inflammation.
  • People eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) are consuming a much higher level of Omega-6s relative to Omega-3s and the excessive inflammation resulting from this imbalance causes a whole range of serious health problems – including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimers, many types of cancers, and others.
  • Metabolic Syndrome: Conditions occurring together (high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels) that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

 


Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids are poly-unsaturated types of oils the human body doesn’t have the enzymes to produce for itself so we must get them from our diets or supplements.
These types of fatty acids differ from most other fats in that they are not simply used for energy. They are biologically active, playing essential roles in processes such as blood clotting and inflammation.
Without both Omega-3s and Omega-6s in proper ratio, we are highly likely to become sick.

 

 

 

(Source:  cornerstonewellnessmd.com)
EFFECTS OF OMEGA-3 DEFICIENCY  (Source: cornerstonewellnessmd.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (Watson, 2014)

 

Omega-3 essential fatty acids support heart, brain and mental health; reduce cancer risk and help cancer patients recover; help prevent and ease arthritis; reduce the risk of eye problems; and keep the skin and scalp healthy.

 

 

(Source:  www.drsinatra.com)
Omega-3s and Heart Health. (Source: www.drsinatra.com)
OMEGA-3s FOR HEART HEALTH
  1. Help lower cholesterol levels
  2. Reduce triglycerides (unhealthy fats in the blood) by as much as 30%. High triglyceride levels are linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
  3. Decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) which can lead to sudden death
  4. Can help prevent blood clots from forming, breaking off and blocking an artery to the heart (causing a heart attack) or an artery to the brain (causing a stroke
  5. Can slightly lower blood pressure – high blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease.
  6. Reduce inflammation all over the body, helping prevent blocked arteries.
  7. Prevent the re-narrowing (re-stenosis) of coronary arteries after angioplasty surgery.

 

 

 

 

(Source:  omega3foods.arccfn.org.au)
(Source: omega3foods.arccfn.org.au)

 

 

OMEGA-3 AND CANCER
  1. Fish oils, high in Omega-3 fatty acids, have been found to suppress the grown of certain types of cancers in animals.
  2. May reduce the risk of hormone-fueled cancers such as breast cancer
  3. May inhibit the growth of lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.
  4. May help cancer patients survive their disease
  5. Since there is a known link between excessive inflammation in the body and the development of certain cancers, Omega-3s likely reduce the risk of developing all cancers.

 

 

 

 

 

Omega-3 is a crucial nutrient for the brain and for good mental health. Countries where people eat more fish have fewer cases of depression. (Source:  www.wileysfinest.com)
Omega-3 fatty acid is a crucial nutrient for the brain and for good mental health. Countries where people eat more fish report fewer cases of depression. (Source: www.wileysfinest.com)

 

 

OMEGA-3 AND MENTAL HEALTH
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids promote blood flow in the brain and are essential for brain health.
  2. People getting insufficient Omega-3s in their diet are at increased risk of developing dementia, depression, ADD, dyslexia and schizophrenia.
  3. Omega-3s keep the synapses (tiny gaps across which nerve impulses must pass) in the brain working properly. Nerve impulses need to get through the membrane surrounding the neurons in the brain – and the cell membranes are made mostly of fats, including Omega-3s.
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids improve learning and memory.
  5. They improve mood in people who are depressed.
  6. They fight age-related cognitive decline due to dementia.
  7. Infants require DHA so their brains develop properly, especially during the first two years of life.
  8. A study found that babies born to mother with higher DHA blood levels scored higher on tests of attention and learning than those whose mothers had lower DHA levels.
  9. Another study found that children of mothers who had taken fish oil supplements during pregnancy had higher IQs than the children of mothers who took a placebo.

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower for Arthritis: A cup of cauliflower contains 0.2 grams of Omega-3s - 8% of the recommended daily value.  (Source: www.arthritis-health.com)
Roasted Cauliflower for Arthritis: A cup of cauliflower contains 0.2 grams of Omega-3s – 8% of the recommended daily value. (Source:  www.arthritis-health.com)

 

OMEGA-3 AND ARTHRITIS
  1. Arthritis is the result of the immune system’s autoimmune (abnormal) response to the body’s own joints – as if they were infectious agents, foreign invaders needing to be destroyed. The resulting inflammation produces swollen, stiff, painful joints.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body.
  3. The body also converts Omega-3s to even more potent anti-inflammatory compounds such as resolvins (a family of bioactive products).
  4. Arthritic patients taking Omega-3s have been able to reduce – or even stop – using corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

 

 

 

Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids (including salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts)  have been known to give skin an almost instant glow.
Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids (including salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts) have been known to give skin an almost instant glow.
OMEGA-3 AND THE SKIN
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eisosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are essential for healthy skin and hair. EPA helps regulate oil production, keeping the skin hydrated.
  2. Omega-3s protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation  from the sun. UV exposure produces harmful substances called free radicals, which damage cells and can lead to premature aging and cancer. Omega-3s act as an antioxidant protecting the body from these free radicals.
  3. Omega-3s also help repair skin damage by preventing the release of enzymes that destroy collagen.
  4. Research suggests that Omega-3’s help prevent certain types of skin cancer.
  5. The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3s help relieve  autoimmune responses expressed through the skin – such as rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
  6. Insufficient Omega-3 levels can cause the scalp to get dry and flaky (dandruff) and the hair to lose its luster.
  7. Omega-3s can also be given to pets to improve their skin and coat health.

 

 

 

“Omega-3 fatty acids are most important, as they bring balance to our hormones, reduce inflammation, regulate our blood sugar, prevent blood clotting, keep our cholesterol and triglycerides in balance, relax our blood vessels, and and make our cells healthy and resilient.”
– The Natural Hormone Makeover by Phuli Cohan

 

 

(Source: www.allaboutvision.com)
(Source: www.allaboutvision.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 TYPES OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS FOUND IN NATURE
The principal Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid ( DHA), primarily found in certain fish. α-Linolenic acid (ALA), another Omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plants such as nuts and seeds.
Wikipedia’s entry for Omega-3 fatty acid lists these as the most common Omega-3 fatty acids found in nature (Wikipedia, 8/28/2014):

Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA)
α-Linolenic acid (ALA)
Stearidonic acid (SDA)
Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE)
Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA)
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), Clupanodonic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Tetracosapentaenoic acid
Tetracosahexaenoic acid (Nisinic acid)

 

 

images

 

 

 

FOODS NATURALLY HIGH IN OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

 

 

Food Sources of Omega-3's
Food Sources of Omega-3’s

 

 

Foods high in Omega-3s are naturally delicious to the palate.
Foods Rich in Omega-3s:
SEAFOOD:
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Trout
  • Tuna(fresh)

 

FRESH PRODUCE CONTAINING ALA OMEGA-3s:

Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, are rich in ALA, a form of Omega-3 fatty acids. Although ALA isn’t as powerful as the other Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, these vegetables also have fiber and other nutrients, as well as Omega-3s.

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

 

OILS CONTAINING ALA OMEGA-3s:
  • Canola oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Walnut oil
Here are some charts to help you make good choices.

 

(Source: www.cancercoachchris.com)
(Source: www.cancercoachchris.com)

 

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SOURCES OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS:  ALA , EPA and DHA are most common Omega-3 fatty acids, generally found in sea food.   (Source:  chemistry.tutorvista.com)
SOURCES OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS:
ALA , EPA and DHA are most common Omega-3 fatty acids, generally found in sea food. (Source: chemistry.tutorvista.com)

 

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9 FOODS RICH IN OMEGA-3s  Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fats, fiber and antioxidants top the list of foods to include in your diet.  (Source:  mollymorgan-nutritionexpert.blogspot)
9 FOODS RICH IN OMEGA-3s
Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fats, fiber and antioxidants top the list of foods to include in your diet. (Source: mollymorgan-nutritionexpert.blogspot)

 

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A list of seafood containing Omega-3's: Seafood sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (Source:  www.1vigor.com)
Seafood sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (Source: www.1vigor.com)

 

 

You can check out the Omega-3 foods you commonly eat on SELFNutritionData’s comprehensive list of the FOODS HIGHEST IN TOTAL OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS.  (Millen, 2014-a)

 

 

SOURCES OF OMEGA-3s FOR VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
Vegetarians and vegans can obtain adequate levels of Omega-3s without eating fish or fish oil-based supplements.
The table below summarizes some of the basic relationships between Omega-3s and types of diet:
Diet Type ALA Food Sources EPA and DHA Food Sources
Vegan many plants sea plants; possibly land plant foods when fermented with the help of certain fungi
Generally vegetarian but including fish many plants and most fish eggs, cheese, milk, and yogurt, especially when obtained from grass-fed animals but in varying amounts depending on additional factors; possibly land plant foods when fermented with the help of certain fungi
Generally vegetarian but including eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt (without fish, sea plants, or meat) many plants; eggs, cheese, milk, and yogurt most fish; sea plants; possibly land plant foods when fermented with the help of certain fungi
Plant-eating and meat-eating (but without fish or sea plants) many plants; many meats many meats, especially when obtained from grass-fed animals, but in varying amounts, depending on additional factors; possibly land plant foods when fermented with the help of certain fungi
Source:  The George Mateljan Foundation

 

 

 

Vegetarian-Sources-of-Omega-3s

 

 

 

 

The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produces an oil containing a high content of γ-linolenic acid, a type of Omega−6 fatty acid.
The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produces an oil containing a high content of γ-linolenic acid, a type of Omega−6 fatty acid.

 

 

OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS

 

Elevated Omega-6 intakes are associated with an increase in ALL inflammatory diseases – which is to say virtually all diseases. The list includes – but isn’t limited to (Kresser, 2014?):

 

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • All Autoimmune Diseases
For more information on the role of inflammation in the development of disease, see INFLAMMATION.  For a list of  80 autoimmune and autoimmune related diseases, see AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS.

 

Four major food oils (palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower) provide more than 100 million metric tons annually, yielding over 32 million metric tons of Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) and 4 million metric tons of Omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
Dietary sources of Omega-6 fatty acids include:
 (Wikipedia, 7/19/2014)

 

 

 

 

33 66

 

OMEGA-6 TO OMEGA-3 RATIO

A distorted ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is a hallmark of the Western diet – and one of its most damaging characteristics.  The Standard American Diet (bearing the apt acronym ‘SAD’) has us consuming huge amounts of Omega-6s and way too few Omega-3s.

 

 

Americans eat too little Omega 3 and way too much Omega 6 (Source: www.meandmydiabetes.com)

The Standard American Diet (SAD)  –  too little Omega-3 and way too much Omega-6
(Source: www.meandmydiabetes.com)

 

 

Our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio tends to be 25 times higher than it should be. Small wonder we are ill with ailments from allergies to heart disease to cancers. (Kresser, 2014?)
Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. Omega-3s are neutral. Diets containing a lot of Omega-6 and little Omega-3 increase inflammation. Diets containing a lot of Omega-3 and little Omega-6 reduce inflammation.
The human body requires both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to perform many essential functions.
Omega-6 is found mostly in plant oils such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils as well as in nuts and seeds. The American Heart Association recommends we consume about 5-10% of our food calories from Omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3s come primarily from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel as well as from walnuts and flax seeds. The American Heart Association recommends that people without coronary heart disease have at least two servings of fatty fish per week. They recommend that people with known coronary heart disease eat more, about 1 gram of EPA and DHA daily, preferably from fatty fish. (Jaret, 2014)

 

This chart shows how Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in the body and how Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Omega-6 contains linoleic acid (LA) while Omega-3s contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) yielding EPA and DHA.
HOW OMEGA-3 BECOMES ANTI-INFLAMMATORY IN THE BODY & OMEGA-6 BECOMES INFLAMMATORY (Source: www.psycheducation.org)
FATTY ACID PATHWAYS IN THE BODY: How OMEGA-6 fatty acids become inflammatory in the body & OMEGA-3s become anti-inflammatory
(Source: www.psycheducation.org)
Linoleic acid (LA), the shortest-chained Omega-6, is an essential fatty acid. Arachidonic acid is a physiologically significant Omega 6, the precursor for prostaglandins (mediator cells with a variety of regulatory functions in the body), endocannabinoids (a group of neuro-modulatory lipids),
and other  physiologically active molecules.
Excess Omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils interfere with the health benefits of Omega-3 fats, in part because they compete for the same rate-limiting enzymes. A high proportion of Omega-6 to Omega-3 shifts the physiological state in the tissues to become pro-thrombotic,  pro-inflammatory and pro-constrictive – and hence push bodily tissues toward the development of many diseases. (Wikipedia, 7/19/14)
A chart showing the Omega-6 versus Omega-3 contents of various food oils – you can see that fish oils are the healthiest (anti-inflammatory) for us while safflower and sunflower oils are the unhealthiest (inflammatory):
To correct this ratio you can supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids or eat lots wild fish, while avoiding the polyunsaturated fatty acids that have high levels of Omega-6s. (Source: anabolicmen.com)
To correct a poor intake ratio, you can supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids or eat lots wild fish, while avoiding the polyunsaturated fatty acids that have high levels of Omega-6s.
(Source: anabolicmen.com)

 

 

The graphic below provides an inkling of how our diet is making us sick: Industrially produced eggs deliver 20 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3 while the ratio for range-fed eggs is much more balanced. Industrially produced beef delivers 21 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3 while the ratio for grass-fed beef is considerably better.

 

 

omega63ratios

 

Add to that the vast amounts of potato chips, French fries, micro-wave popcorn, margarine, most salad dressings, frying oils, and processed foods we consume and it’s not at all surprising that chronic, degenerative diseases pervade our culture.
You can check out the Omega-6 foods you commonly eat on SELFNutritionData’s comprehensive list of the FOODS HIGHEST IN TOTAL OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS.  (Millen, 2014-b)

 

 

 

(Source: www.juvenon.com)
(Source: www.juvenon.com)

 

 

 

Joseph Hibbeln, MD, a researcher studying Omega-3 and Omega-6 intake at the National Institute of Health (NIH) observed about the rising intake of Omega-6:

The increases in world linolaic acid (LA) consumption over the past century may be considered a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to increased societal burdens of aggression, depression and cardiovascular mortality.

(Kresser, 2014?)

 

 

 

 

OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTS

 

 

images-3

 

Omega-3 supplements must be taken in a form that delivers the fatty acids in a bio-available form or your body won’t be able to get the benefits.
These are some high quality Omega-3 supplements recommended by my health care providers to augment my Omega-3 intake from foods:

 

  • Carlson’s Super Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate 1,000mg soft gels
            The dose for me is 1 soft gel 2x/day.

 

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  • NutraSea 2X Concentrated 1250 mg EPA + DHA
           The dose for me is 1 soft gel 3x/day.

 

ASC-00548-1

 

            This company also makes a vegan version. It’s a liquid, not a soft gel.  I don’t know the dosage.

 

 

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  • Integrative Therapeutics’  Eskimo-3 Fish Oil gel caps
The dose for me is 2 gel caps 2x/day.

integrative-therapeutics-tyler-eskimo-3-105-softgels

 

 

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In addition to omega-6 fatty acids, most polyunsaturated oils are highly prone to oxidation and rancidity, which turns these so-called ‘heart healthy’ oils to toxic liquids. (Source: eatdrinkpaleo.com.au)
In addition to Omega-6 fatty acids, most polyunsaturated oils are highly prone to oxidation and rancidity, which turns these so-called ‘heart healthy’ oils to toxic liquids. (Source: eatdrinkpaleo.com.au)

 

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REFERENCES

Cohan, P.  (2008). The Natural hormone Makeover: 10 Steps to Rejuvenate Your Health and Rediscover Your Inner Glow.  See: http://www.amazon.com/The-Natural-Hormone-Makeover-Rejuvenate/dp/0471744840

Gunnars, K. (2014). How to Optimize Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio. Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-Based Approach. See:  http://authoritynutrition.com/optimize-omega-6-omega-3-ratio/

Jaret, P. (2014). Understanding the Omega Fatty Acids. WebMD.  See: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/omega-fatty-acids

Kresser, C. (2014?). How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick. See:  http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick

Millen, K. (2014-a). Foods Highest in Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids. SELFNutritionData.  See:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000140000000000000000.html

Millen, K. (2014-b). Foods Highest in Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids. SELFNutritionData. See:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000141000000000000000-1w.html

Watson, S. (2014). Benefits of Omega-3. How Stuff Works. See: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/benefits-of-omega-31.htm

Wikipedia. (8/28/2014). Omega-3 fatty acid. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#List_of_omega-3_fatty_acids

Wikipedia. (7/19/2014). Omega-6 fatty acid. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-6_fatty_acid

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.