Fish Oil

The research in support of dietary omega-3 fatty acids (such as in fish oils) continues to flood the scientific literature. This is perfectly predictable given our genetic roots. In the wild, eating natural raw foods, we would be consuming large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids daily. But today, on processed, grain-based diets, we get little.

Instead, we have dramatically increased the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. Although these too are essential in the diet, their excess results in a pro-inflammatory response that lies at the base of a mix of modern degenerative diseases such as arthritis, autoimmunities and heart disease. The natural diet should have a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of about 1:1, but today is more like 20 or 30 to 1! See a problem?

Certain fish, algae, some vegetables, grass-fed meats, wild meats, high omega-3 eggs, seeds such as flax and supplements help. Variety is always important. Any food may contain toxins, so varying the diet gives the body an opportunity to detoxify.

For example, fish can contain the toxins methyl mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), both by-products of our industrial age that gravitate into water. These are lipophilic (fat loving) and thus are present in fish oils and then tend to accumulate in our fat depots when consumed. This is a consideration for dieters since the lipophilic toxins in fat stores that are being rapidly melted away can flood the body, potentially creating a toxic shock. (Not an excuse to not lose weight here, just a caution on radical weight loss or repeated yo-yo dieting.)

This is also of particular concern for pregnant and nursing moms since these toxins can transfer to and accumulate in the fetus, increasing the risk of abnormalities, disease and weakness.

Increasing the amount of omega-3s is not easy and requires a purposeful shift in dietary habits. Official dietary agencies are recommending about 0.65g/day of omega-3s (EPA, DHA) for pregnant and lactating women, and about 1g for people with cardiovascular risk. (These are conservative. In the wild we would naturally consume much more.) To obtain the 1g/day level, 210g of canned light tuna in oil would need to be consumed or about 50g of farmed Atlantic Salmon. Fish type is important, with the cold-water species having the highest concentrations of omega-3s.

Other fish such as tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tuna steaks increase the risk of mercury exposure. One can estimate that PCB intake parallels fish consumption.

Omega-3 dietary supplements vary widely in omega-3 content, ranging from 50% to 150% of label claims. Supplements can as well contain mercury and PCBs. Omega-3s are very fragile and can easily convert to toxins themselves when exposed to heat, light, air and water so supplements should be chosen carefully and stored properly.

My feeling is the risk from the toxins is less than the risk of not increasing omega-3s in the diet. For example, the concentration of PCBs in supplements ranges from 2% to 43% of recommended safe levels. If fish are eaten as the main source of omega-3s, variety is what will decrease the risk.

The wise course is to follow the Optimal Health Program?, which will help you return to your dietary roots, including, wild-type foods, raw and fresh as much as possible and appropriately designed supplements. Shop for high omega-3 food options and keep your intake of antioxidants high to protect these fragile oils when they are consumed. Supplements should be chosen carefully, be oxidant protected, properly packaged in light- and oxygen-barrier packaging, and kept frozen until consumed.

In the end, omega-3s are not a new scientific discovery. They are just part of the diet we are genetically programmed to eat. If we had not veered from that design in our eating habits, the omega-3 "discovery" would be meaningless. This is yet another lesson that paying attention to our natural design provides the best hope for prevention and optimal health.

Dr. Wysong is a former veterinary clinician and surgeon, college instructor in human anatomy, physiology and the origin of life, inventor of numerous medical, surgical, nutritional, athletic and fitness products and devices, research director for the present company by his name and founder of the philanthropic Wysong Institute. He is author of The Creation-Evolution Controversy now in its eleventh printing, a new two volume set on philosophy for living entitled Thinking Matters: 1-Living Life... As If Thinking Matters; 2-The Big Questions...As If Thinking Matters, several books on nutrition, prevention and health for people and animals and over 15 years of monthly health newsletters. He may be contacted at [email protected] and a free subscription to his e-Health Letter is available at http://www.wysong.net

In The News:

Nutrition for your health and wellness  The New Indian Express
Nutrition for healthy eyes  The Daily Star

Brain Foods Make You Think Differently for Back-to-school

Students might start thinking a little differently, once they learn... Read More

6 Power Foods For Your Heart

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in... Read More

Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin!

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin like A and E.... Read More

Prevent Constipation and Other Health Ailments with Papaya

Constipation is a condition whereby the fecal matter traveling through... Read More

Set Your Fat Thermostat at a Healthy Level

Have you ever watched someone who appears thin and healthy... Read More

The No 1 Reason Why Most Diets Fail & What to Do About It

How many times have you tried to diet/lose weight in... Read More

TsuNoni - Green Tea Meets Noni

East Meets WestAsian cultures have realized the medical benefits of... Read More

The Liquid Vitamin Mineral Approach

Liquid vitamin mineralThe liquid vitamin mineral dietary supplement is a... Read More

Blueberries and Their Role in Cholesterol Control

Our bodies need cholesterol. We use cholesterol to produce vitamin... Read More

Balanced Diet: Know More on Healthy and Nutritional Balanced Diet!

In this fast paced world, good nutrition may sound very... Read More

Go Nuts!

Nuts of all kinds (I am talking peanuts, cashews etc)... Read More

Serious About Wanting To Improve Your Familys Healthy Eating Lifestyles?

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D, a practicing pediatrician in Encinitas, California,... Read More

Eating to Gain Mass

This is usually the forgotten element of most mass programs.... Read More

Health Update: Have Your Chocolate and Eat It, Too!

According to the Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis... Read More

ACAI Berry Named Top 10 Superfoods For Anti-Aging by Dr. Nicholas Perricone

The benefits from eating healthy are endless. And, according to... Read More

Homeostasis and Complementary Therapies

The word 'homeostasis' is made up of two Greek words:... Read More

What Everybody Ought to Know About Food Additives

Every day we are bombarded with information about food products... Read More

Is Eating a Raw Food Diet Actually Healthy for You?

Whatever diet you choose to live by, the food you... Read More

Herbs that Heal Naturally

The word herb is used to refer to any part... Read More

Just What Is A Carbohydrate Anyway?

During a recent discussion with my father about low carb... Read More

Buying Organic Produce: 6 Tips on How to Shop Wisely and Save Money

Some say they don't or can't buy organic foods due... Read More

Trade In Your Diet For A Lifestyle!

Dieting is a pain. I think basically everyone would agree... Read More

Why are Free Form Essential Amino Acids Necessary and What to Look For!

1. Look for high quality, crystalline, free-form, amino acids (AAs)... Read More

Eat Right For A Healthy Life

Our diet is an essential factor for the formation of... Read More

Free List of Fat Burning Foods

This free list of fat burning foods will help you... Read More