Archive for the ‘Fats and Oils’ category

Omega-3 & Omega-6 are Essential to Good Health

June 16, 2010

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Nutritional oils are an essential part of our diet. They are known as essential because our bodies do not produce them independently, we must supplement them in our diets. Without supplementation of nutritional oils our bodies simply would not function properly.


Fish oil is an important source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It is often called the thinkers oil because they are rich in two powerful brain fat compounds called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are both important compounds for the healthy function of the brain and retina. Fish oils also have been shown to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and help manage blood hormones. Omega-3 oils also reportedly prevent heart disease.

Omega-6 oils have been shown to reduce high cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and arthritis. Preliminary clinical trials have shown possible uses of Omega-6 fatty acids for acne, alcoholism, allergies, attention deficit disorder, eye disease, and diabetes. Used together Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.


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Natural Remedies for ADHD are Safer than Ritalin

April 9, 2010

A new study reveals that healthy kids who take Ritalin have a whopping 500 percent greater risk of sudden death. These aren’t kids with pre-existing heart conditions. The results would have been worse if they were included.

Ritalin is not a safe treatment for kids with ADHD. It is a stimulant, it causes the heart to beat faster, and that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Ritalin acts exactly like amphetamines such as crystal meth and cocaine.

In spite of evidence that it could stunt their growth, and cause irreversible brain damage and that it is linked to serious cardiovascular events, the FDA remains silent.

Still, the FDA refuses to take action. No new warnings are planned and prescriptions for Ritalin continue to spiral upward.

Objections to the FDA’s sluggishness are even starting to appear in conservative medical journals like JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a recent editorial, they criticized the FDA by saying the FDA is “interpreting the results cautiously.”

Plus, JAMA notes that the FDA funded and approved the design of the study. Only when the results came out did they have a problem with the design of the study.

This is the big point for all of us: Doctors hand out Ritalin prescriptions every day but too often parents aren’t warned of the dangerous side effects.

ADHD is still the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children.

What’s more, studies show that the drugs don’t work. The same study that found Ritalin stunts kids’ growth also found that it has no beneficial effect on behavior over a three-year period.

So what do you do for children who have trouble concentrating, focusing, or calming down? Here are a few easy, safe, and natural ways to bring kids “to attention” without endangering their mental and physical health.

Ramp up the amount of omega-3 in their diet. Studies show that many children with ADHD don’t get enough omega-3. Cod liver oil and fish-oil capsules deliver the two kinds of omega-3’s the body needs.

You can also get them to eat more lean meats, eggs, and nuts, preferably free-range, grass-fed and organic. These are all great sources of omega-3.  1,000 mg of omega-3’s daily is recommended for children with ADHD.

Pine bark extract is another natural supplement that works. One European study using pycnogenol, an organic compound found in the bark of the French maritime pine tree, showed that after only one month, children’s behavior improved significantly on as little as 1 mg per day.

Finally, certain naturally occurring amino acids can treat ADHD.

One of them is 5-HTP. It’s a precursor to serotonin, one of the chemicals in the brain that relieves anxiety and depression (popular antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro all boost serotonin levels). 50 to 100 mg three times per day with meals is recommended.

Another is Tyrosine. It works like 5-HTP, increasing levels of various chemicals in the brain connected to mood and the ability to concentrate. The optimal dose is 5,000 mg per day for children and up to 10,000 mg per day for adults.

These are natural and safe alternatives, they aren’t harmful or addictive, and unlike all those ADHD drugs, they actually work. They are also easy to find and available at local & online health food stores.

Fish oil may flow in the fountain of youth

January 27, 2010

The Spanish Explorer Ponce De Leon spent countless years looking for the fountain of youth. The answer wasn’t the water but what was swimming in it. Yet another study shows that fish oil may be a key to longer life.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may slow the ageing process by slowing the rate that telomeres shorten. Telomeres are the structures at the end of a chromosome that affect cell stability and replication. A growing body of research shows that the longer the telomeres, the longer the life of cells, which ultimately means slower ageing.

“Telomere length is an emerging marker for determining biological age, and many scientists are interested in understanding the impact of influences such as age, exercise, oxidative stress, diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and how interventions like dietary supplements, statins and omega-3 fatty acids impact length,” said the study, which was lead by Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “We are excited to identify omega-3 fatty acids as a potentially protective factor that may slow down telomere shortening,” he said.

Previous research indicates heart patients with a higher intake of Omega-3s as have higher survival rates. Now researchers may know why. The new telomere Omega-3 research validates this and other studies on the importance of Omega-3 with regards to life expectancy. A study published in the April 2009 edition of PLoS Medicine, an online journal, showed that Omega-3 deficiencies may contribute to as many as 97,000 deaths annually.

“We know that daily doses of Omega-3 EPA/DHA can help with many conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, and we’re committed to increasing consumer awareness about the drastic Omega-3 EPA/DHA deficiency in the Western diet. However, these recent studies validate that Omega-3 EPA/DHA is more than just part of a healthy diet … it’s a matter of life and death,” said Lori Colvert, Ocean Nutrition Canada’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

For the telomere study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers evaluated 608 patients with stable heart disease (from the Heart and Soul Study from September 2000 and December 2002) and followed up on their status for a median period of six years.

Researchers evaluated participants for Omega-3 fatty acid levels at the start and throughout the study. They also isolated DNA from the blood and evaluated the length of the telomere of the leukocyte, a type of blood cell. Telomeres in patients with the lowest Omega-3 levels shortened 2.6 times faster than patients with the highest levels of Omega-3s. The study only looked at blood levels of Omega-3s, not dosage.

Cardiologists note that this study was the first to look at telomere length over time. The question remains whether the study results apply to healthy people because the researchers only looked at patients with heart disease. Though according to Farzaneh-Far, telomeres shorten in everyone, so Omega-3s could indeed benefit most people.

By Kimberly Lord Stewart @ functionalingredientsmag.com
For more on telomeres, see
Nobel Prize News
For more information on Omega-3 fatty acids please visit our website at www.AmericanNutrition.com

Heart Disease Patients With Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids Age Slower

January 21, 2010

Heart disease patients with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood appear to age more slowly than those with the lowest blood levels, according to a new study.

A new study may help explain why. ”We’ve shown an entirely new effect of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be able to slow down the biological aging process in patients with coronary heart disease,” says lead author Ramin Farzaneh-Far, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

In a previous study, Farzaneh-Far and his colleagues looked at a marker of biological age (the rate of shortening of telomeres) structures at the end of a chromosome involved in its replication and stability. As the telomeres shorten over time, the eventual result is cell death, the scientists believe.

Farzaneh-Far says and his team looked at the same group of heart disease patients and found that telomere length was ”a powerful predictor of death and bad outcomes from heart disease. In that study, we found the shorter your telomeres, the greater your risk of death.”

In the new study, the higher that the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the patients evaluated, the slower the rate of telomere shortening.

“We looked at the biological effects of higher blood levels,” Farzaneh-Far tells WebMD, “not supplement intake.”

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Omega-3s and Aging Study Details

For the study, the researchers evaluated 608 patients with stable heart disease, recruited from the Heart and Soul Study from September 2000 and December 2002, following them up for a median of six years (half were followed more, half less).

Participants gave blood samples at the beginning of the study, which were evaluated for omega-3 fatty acid levels. The researchers also isolated DNA from the blood and evaluated the length of the telomere of the leukocyte, a type of blood cell.

Over the follow-up period, “patients with the lowest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids exhibited a rate of telomere shortening 2.6 times faster than patients with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids,” Farzaneh-Far tells WebMD.

How does that relate to aging? “We don’t have enough data to be able to convert the changes of telomere shortening into years of aging,” he says. “This may be one of the first studies to look at the change in telomere length over time.”

There was no association found between omega-3 fatty acid levels and telomere length at the study start. The researchers aren’t sure why, but state that omega-3 fatty acid levels is one of many influences on the length of the telomeres, with other factors including inflammation in the body, obesity, oxidative stress, and lack of physical activity. 

Would high omega-3 blood levels help those without heart disease? Farzaneh-Far can’t say. ”Whether this effect of omega-3 fatty acids on telomere length is present in those without coronary heart disease, I just can’t say,” Farzaneh-Far says, noting it was beyond the scope of the study. However, he adds, ”it could be.” Telomere shortening occurs in everyone, he says 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Aging: Other Opinions

”This is very exciting news, to show how fish oil works on a cellular level,” says Ravi Dave, MD, a cardiologist at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center & Orthopaedic Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.

The new finding, he says, builds on previous research. “There has been a strong association found that if you take marine omega-3 fatty acids, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Researchers have been trying to pin down why. Several proposed mechanisms have been found, including reduction of inflammation in the body or reducing the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, Dave says.

With the new finding, he says, “it’s no longer a hypothesized mechanism. It has some basis behind how it works.”

But, he adds, “fish oils are only one of the things that affect telomere length.” Many other factors, he says, such as oxidative stress on the cells, play a role.

Eventually, Dave says, if the telomere research bears out, a test to check a person’s telomere length may be one way to predict the risk of heart disease.

The new research demonstrates a protective effect of fish oil on the aging clock, adds Robert Zee, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of molecular epidemiology at the division of preventive medicine of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has reported a link between shorter telomere length and heart attacks. But the new findings need replication, he says.

Omega-3s and Health: Advice

What should healthy people and those with heart disease do in terms of omega-3s?

Farzaneh-Far points to the existing American Heart Association guidelines. “The American Heart Association already recommends at least a gram a day” of omega-3 fatty acid intake for those with documented heart disease, he says. Preferably it should come from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, or albacore tuna, according to the AHA, but supplements could be considered if a patient’s doctor agrees.

For those who don’t have heart disease, the AHA recommends eating a variety of fish, preferably oily types such as salmon, at least twice a week, and including in the diet healthy oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean.

One of the researchers, William S. Harris of the University of South Dakota, reports receiving research grants from companies with interests in omega-3 fatty acids. Another co-author, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

 By Kathleen Doheny – WebMD Health News

 

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Coconut Oil Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients

October 28, 2009

There is a mad rush for coconut oil these days. Do you know why?

A few months ago Dr. Mary Newport released her study that hit the news in print as well as online ‘What if there is a cure for Alzheimer’s and no one knew?’ In her study Dr. Newport reported about the healing benefits of Coconut Oil in connection with Alzheimer’s. 

The article was published in EyeOpener magazine # 5, which was sent to health food stores and nutrition centers just three weeks ago, you would be able to pickup a copy now.

Dr. Julian Whitaker also reported about this exciting connection between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s in his popular, widely read Health & Healing newsletter, issue October 2009, as did Dr. Bruce Fife in his Coconut Oil News online. 

Health food retailers are reporting that their customers all of a sudden are demanding more coconut oil, saying that they have an Alzheimer’s patient in their family, or are curious about the prevention aspect.

Personally, I am not surprised, having spent years studying lipids and writing several books, Fantastic Flax and Good Fats and Oils. Fat is not just a source of calories. Many fatty acids play different vital roles in our bodies. We all are made aware of this fact in the book FATS that HEAL – FATS that KILL, which I mentored Udo Erasmus to write, and which I published at alive (1986).

It always saddens me to see at check-out counters how much of the bad fats and refined oils are actually purchased by so many uninformed consumers, who do not realize that these unnatural refined oils and hydrogenated fats are responsible for a whole slough of degenerative diseases, especially heart disease, inflammation in the arteries leading to high cholesterol, and cancer. 

When purchasing food, many consumers often seem to put their monetary savings ahead of the health benefits offered by the higher quality fats and oils, such as Flax seed oil, unrefined Hemp and Pumpkin seed oils, Extra Virgin Olive oil and raw DME Virgin Coconut oil. My best advise to you is to consider an oil change for your health sake! Select only the highest un-processed qualities of precious natural nutritional oils.

*contributed by Siegfried Gursche author of Good Fats & Oils

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