Fish Oil as an Anti- Aging “Drug”

Please note the word drug is in quotes. I am not suggesting it is a drug in the pharmaceutical sense and of course no sane person would ever suggest in this era of censure that fish oil has drug like properties or any properties that compete with preexisting drugs.

Silly me I used to think that ageing was sacro sanct from the alphabet agencies since there is no ICD code and it is repeatedly denied that aging is disease by some of the most respected and erudite medical minds in the country.

Then the FTC took action against TA Sciences for false claims*. The guise was primarily the claims in one of their studies that showed improved bone mass. I was not privy to those discussions but second source info told me that was the bugaboo and it makes sense given that there is a drug out there for said condition.

Never mind that side effects may include osteonecrosis of the jaw and other bones. Ironic that the drug to prevent bone loss in the hip may cause it in the jaw no? In terms of studies it appears that the studies done by TAS were insufficient to prove efficacy even though they were done by good and reputable scientists.

Perhaps “more studies were needed”. Never heard that before! I would have asked how many but I can only guess the answer would have been “more than you did!”

So is aging a disease or isn’t it. The above response in all its glory suggests that its not nice to fool with mother government. Or is that who’s your daddy?!

In either case the bottom line is this: I am not making medical claims, mitigating claims, diagnosing claims but I am guessing I may still have the right to report the data as it is published.

I guess I will find out soon enough!

A recent study by one of my favorite scientists Maria Blasco showed the relationship between inflammatory Omega 6 content in red blood cells and white blood cell telomere length.

So, in a sense this study combines a bunch of my favorite topics- Omega 3 and its opposing relationship to Inflammatory Omega 6 fats (nuts vegetables, processed oils and foods) and another favorite, telomere length.

Maria pioneered what is now known as TAT, the best telomere length measurement out there www.lifelength.com several years ago.

This study shows that white blood cell telomere length is dependent on the red blood cell content of Omega 6 inflammatory fatty acids.

Now if this sounds confusing it should not be, especially if you are a regular reader of my writings.
If not or if you’ve forgotten here are a few facts to clarify the issue:

  1. The ratio of Omega6 to Omega 3 fats often called the “Land’s ratio” after Dr Bill Lands the man who pioneered it uses red blood cells as a source of how much Omega 6(inflammatory) and Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) you have in your body.
  2. This test was developed for commercial use after it was found there was a high correlation between red blood cell fatty acid content and tissue fatty acid content. The Land’s ratio takes that into account. Note: most companies that sell this test omit the reference to DR Lands. I know the man as a great scientist and I refuse to ignore the source of this test.
  3. Telomere testing as developed by DR Maria Blasco (another great scientist I am pleased to call a friend) uses white blood cells to measure telomeres because they are easy to obtain by a simple blood draw.
  4. Please note I am not longer affiliated with DR Dave’s Best or its products. My web site and the only source for my product line is www.thelongevityedge.com. I attempted to make this well-known but was prevented from doing so by legal issues.
  5. The reason white blood cells are used for telomere testing and not red blood cells is that telomeres “live” in the nucleus of the cell and red blood cells have no nuclei.
  6. Dr. Lands found that tissue fatty acids correlate very well with red blood cell fatty acids in Omega 6/3 ratios. Dr Blasco and others found a correlation between white blood cell telomere length and other tissues in the body*
  7. The white blood cell is a primary arbiter of the Immune System, and the immune system is instrumental in organizing the protection of the body from damage due to infections of all kinds, toxins of all kinds, cancer cells that develop, and healing damaged tissues. As such it may be the most important system in the body in determining how the body ages!
  8. Dr Blasco’s study has effectively merged the two concepts of essential fatty acids and telomere testing and showed a direct effect of inflammation to telomere shortening at a cellular level. Others have shown the effects at a clinical level.
  9. Many articles state telomeres are directly related to aging and disease and that their measurement is critical. This is in spite of Harvard scientists saying it is not really useful. That is the typical party line which I personally think is wrong! I think it is useful and I think you can affect changes in telomere length and those changes have a good chance of improving your health and perhaps your life span.

Taken in context I would argue that since higher levels of Omega 3 in your body displace Omega 6 inflammatory fats from their shared (Omega 3 and 6 use the same pathways metabolic pathways, and that the Omega 6/3 ratio must must must = 100% that having higher Omega 3’s will always result in lower Omega 6’s. For instance, if you have 30% Omega 6 you will have 70% Omega 3 and you will be in an “anti-inflammatory state” unless you have some super weird metabolic disorder!

This would suggest that having a higher Omega 3 is good for your telomeres as Dr. Farzeneh Farr showed clinically several years ago. Now Dr Blasco has equated it directly to your cells!

Dr Dave

* Then there was the infamous Suzanne Summers infomercial which was interpreted to be misleading because it looked like a news piece. Can’t do that unless maybe you are some other mainstream TV doctor whose show is basically one giant infomercial sponsored by a list of “trusted sponsors”.

Frankly I don’t see how that is any different but I don’t work for the government.

Something We Don’t Get Enough Of!!!

You might expect me to get launch into a sales pitch for one of my products as I am often want to do.

That will probably come later as it always seem to, LOL,  but bear with me for a moment.

I recently saw the “explosion” of “Fish oil not good for…” articles yet again, this time with dry eye.

This is another classic illustration of internet headline tactics that we should all expect by now.
As seems to be the case it flies in the face of previous scientific research that showed exactly the opposite.

Last week fish oil was good for dry eye, now its not!?

Have you ever noticed how often this happens when the topic is fish oil?

The best comment I ever heard came about 2 years ago when a relatively famous journalist who was interviewing me about fish oil threw up his hands in disgust and said, “Why can’t we just get a final answer?!”

Remember a few weeks ago we actually did. Several internet outlets pronounced the “final” verdict on fish oil and heart disease was in once and for all, for good, really settled, never again to be revisited.

A JAMA meta-analysis by a “reputable” group stated fish oil was only moderately effective at preventing heart disease, with a modest 7% reduction while statins in similar analysis delivered 11% reduction (provided several medications for high blood pressure were also present!).

Then numerous experts including me destroyed the validity of the study by pointing out the lack of appropriate dosage and lack of any monitoring of Omega6/3 levels. That stuff did not get the airplay.

In similar fashion the fact that the FDA recently ok’d an eye drop containing Omega 3 for dry eye also seemed to be missing from the internet headlines.

So here is my advice:

  1. Take your fish oil because for every “no good” headline there are often several “good studies”.
  2. Remember there are no Fact Police on the internet and headlines are designed to get you to instantly draw a sound byte conclusion based on the 2 seconds it takes you to read them. “No Good” sounds bad right? But “No Good” has never meant harmful or bad or anything worse than “no better than placebo”. Most times it means something different- like 7% reduction in heart disease which got stated as “no good”.
  3. Keep your eyes peeled, no pun intended, for another study in the next 2 months that shows the exact opposite for dry eye suggesting that fish oil is good for it. And then look for the ads touting the eye drops with Omega 3 as an ingredient.

And, the thing we could all use more of and don’t get enough of, in addition to fish oil is the magic little attribute called patience.

In the case of fish oil, you can bet that with a little patience you will see the exact opposite of something you just read as a headline within a few weeks.

You can also bet that whenever there is a known or shown benefit, someone in the medical/pharma community will try desperately to nay say it!

But in the end, if you are patient, you will know what is real.

 

Doc

The Mystery Ingredient, or, If it Doesn’t Work Why Are They Still Doing It?

I gotta tell you, I have to laugh sometimes. I think as mentioned in past blogs and emails there has been a stepped-up effort to discredit any beneficial effects of fish oil, especially in heart disease. The most ludicrous of these attempts has been what I call the “mystery ingredient”.

The mystery ingredient theory suggests that there are as yet some unknown uncharacterized magical ingredients in fish that account for the health benefits ascribed thereof. No one knows what they might be, and there is no research to support their existence, but they are out there somewhere in fish and only in fish so don’t take fish oil.

If that smells fish to you it should. Eating fish has a series of risks conveniently left out but easy to research

There are many agendas at work here but if you follow the money you wind up looking at Big Pharma and squarely in the eyes. Now if that is OK with you far be it from me to make waves but at least do your research and find out the truth.

Along those lines I will get back to fish oil supplements in a moment, but I want to ask you to look at something else and this time we have to blame the supplement industry for hyperbole and agendas.

There is a fairly common defect called 5-MTHFR that affects folate metabolism in about 15% of Americans (some estimates are higher). Folate is a critical player in methylation pathways which are in turn critical players in epigenetic regulation our genome and Genome repair.

The supplement industry has tried to convince everyone they need a “reduced folate form” to correct this deficiency. This form is considerably more expensive and is probably needed by very few people. Increasing the folic acid form by 2-3X the dose will probably do the same thing and save you some money.

I am not “against” the reduced form of folate but its not as necessary as the industry would convince you it is. I am against misinformation.

So here is some more: Folic acid is an “acid” e.g. it must be bad because its an acid and acids are bad right. In addition, the “natural” form of folate is non-acid reduced and far more complex in its chemical appearance. This makes it better right.

Actually, it means that even in the harvesting of folate rich foods such as green leafy vegetables you may destabilize folate and lose as much as half of it. Also, true if you cook it so now you are down again on your folate. Now add the purported poor soil and you’ll see why I wrote “The Case for a Multi Part 3”.
Folic acid is FAR MORE stable and works just fine to raise folate levels in the body even if you have the 5-MTHFR deficiency. You just have to take enough.

Another example of supplement company hype is “reduced glutathione” versus N-Acetyl Cysteine. Big cost differences, no studies by non-agenda interested parties and the continued use of N-Acetyl Cysteine in alcohol and acetaminophen overdoses leads me to conclude you are fine with N-AC!

Ok now back to fish oil. What I have tried to demonstrate above in the process of busting some balloons and undoubtedly setting myself up for the usual “you are so ignorant hate mail” is that sometimes the simple tried and true non-sexy non new stuff is all you need.

Case in point- Fish Oil!

There have been many new sources of Omega 3’s out there both marine and vegetable but not one of them has been around nearly as long as fish oil as a supplement and not one of them has the huge body of non agenda funded research for (or against it!).

Trust me if krill were more than 13% of the market share or mussels were the new source for marine lipids 4 things would happen.

1) You would see an explosion of scientists using these forms of Omega 3 to evaluate their benefits. This clearly has not happened and what few studies are done are almost always paid for by these “alternative” manufacturers.

2) The words fish oil would be dropped from other marine lipid sources completely and their uniqueness would be touted. You do not have to look far to find brands that are krill based but contain the words “fish oil” in the title. That tells you what people are really looking for.

3) The Pharmaceutical industry and their mouth pieces would claim that krill is not useful and “gives you expensive urine” or some other nonsense. You do not see an attack on these alternative forms because they are not the perceived source of the problem from an industry stand point because they are not making enough of an impact on Pharma and other profits to be worth attacking.

4) Finally, you would see tons and tons of beneficial headlines using these forms, and see drug companies trying to usurp Mother Nature and patent these other oil formats for their own benefits as well. All you ever see both “good” and “bad” is fish oil.

The truth is that every Omega 3 based industry from krill to hemp to chia, to algae is all built upon the back of the genuine article.

After 18 years making and taking my own, I do know a thing or two!

Best, Dr. Dave

Remember we offer big discounts on cases of the real deal!

 

 

Suggested reading:

Are You Getting Enough?

A recent study done on the Omega 3 levels of non supplemented people showed that in spite of dietary recommendations and nutritional education, 98% of people DO NOT get enough Omega 3’s to make much difference in their health.

A simple and accurate way to determine if you are is to do the finger stick Omega 3 ratio test. Many years back I used to sell that test and over those years had done literally hundreds. It was very rare indeed that anyone doing the test had a healthy Omega 3/6 ratio (known as the Land’s ratio) unless they followed my guideline of 4-6 caps of purified Fish Oil on a daily basis or in much rarer cases followed a high Omega 3 low Omega 6 diet (see fast learner.org).

The recent meta analysis I panned in one of my blogs shows several typical behaviors:

  1. The willingness of ‘experts’ to weigh in on large meta analysis that use the same input studies that have shown negative fish oil results before without recognizing the recycled nature of the data and touting it as “new and definitive” research.
  2. The willingness of experts to ignore the tiny amounts of fish oil and the complete or deliberate ignorance of said experts concerning the Land’s ratio lately known as the “Omega 3 index”
  3. And I could not resist a quote from one of the expert Cardiologists tapped by “How Stuff Works” see below.
  4. The unending of the “just eat fish” argument without being able to cite what magical unknown fish components are responsible for small amounts of fish consumption reducing the incidence of heart disease when fish oil does not. Maybe it’s the lead mercury cadmium or plastic derivatives that are routinely found in the fish we eat! I refer you to pub med to read about the Helsinki Heart Study which years ago pointed out that large amounts of fish consumption yield large enough amounts of methyl mercury which is toxic to the heart and most likely responsible for the high rates of cardiac disease and death in this fish eating country. You can also find articles there that show that eating one wild caught cod fish a week is enough to induce mercury levels that are toxic. You can also find my speeches on YouTube that detail how the krill product I tested had 50X the arsenic allowed in drinking water.

Or you can just eat fish!

But if you do be aware that a recent well done study by a respected group of individuals some of whom are actually clinicians showed that 98% of non supplemented people do not get enough fish oil http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/9/930

In other words a whole ton of people are not getting enough!

You will also see in the commentary that one Dr Susan Steinbaum is astute enough to mention the need for studies using the Land’s ratio (Omega 3 Index) to document how well the doses achieve meaningful levels.

In addition, if you go here you will see an encouragingly mixed group of responses ranging from the usual- “just eat well and live well and you’ll be fine!” This is the same expert opinion on aging often used to tell you, you are wasting your money on supplements and treatments. Meanwhile people are not living a whole lot longer or better including many of those who say “just eat well and live well”. Either we really don’t know what that means and are telling people to do the wrong things, or it doesn’t really work. You decide.

The encouraging part comes when you read the number or experts who state that the studies included in the JAMA meta analysis underdosed everyone and so the negative results are not surprising, A few even mention the Omega 3 index!

One guy even does what I used to do before I had a more potent purified fish oil.  He gives his patients 20 capsules a day. Now this tells me he has to be using a run of the mill triglyceride product containing only low doses of Omega 3’s but hey, it’s a start!

As someone who has been saying this stuff for over a decade I had just about given up on reaching anyone but lo and behold some of the “experts” are actually learning the simple truth about how the body uses Omega 3 fish oil.

But not everyone.

I could not resist this quote from one of the experts from “How Stuff Works”- a Canadian Cardiologist identified as Dr. Gerstein.

Here it is:

“The good news is that taking a regular fish oil pill as a supplement doesn’t seem to do any harm. Except, Gerstein says, all those extra fatty acids, not to mention all the money spent, may end up, quite literally, down the drain.

“You’re making expensive urine,” Dr.Gerstein says.”

While it may be a lot to expect a Cardiologist to understand Omega 3 metabolism, “How Stuff Works” health writer John Donovan did tap him as an expert.

Truthfully, Almost 100% of the fats processed and excreted by your body are excreted in the stool not the urine unless you have a shunt between your bowel and your bladder. The correct interpretation by our dear doctor would be that fish oil pills give you expensive stool and have nothing to do with the urine.

Stick with your statins doc!

This reminds me of the Nationally famous urologist who got in TV in response to the infamous Theodore Braskey “Fish oil increases prostate cancer study” telling everyone to stop taking fish oil now!”

That study was refuted soon after but continues to be cited in the media.

I always love hearing from the experts about urine and stool. Surprising how many of them are full of both.

I guess we could all just take statins. That would give us expensive stool for sure.

 

Doc

The Heart of a Woman

February was national heart month and I had a chance to attend some high-level conferences in cardiology. One of the things that struck me was the double-sided sword of woman’s cardiovascular health.

If you are man reading this please don’t stop now because this is a “woman’s article”. For centuries the stereotypical female role in Western households was to take care of the man’s health along with the rest of the family. While so many other social changes have happened and recently many more have been ignited and will surely follow, the awareness of heart disease in women is not where it should be.

So here is a simple guide for you:

  1. The incidence of pre-menopausal women who suffer from heart disease is rising while the incidence of post-menopausal women with heart disease is falling somewhat.
  2. Post and peri-menopause are STILL the high-risk times when all women and the men who love them should wake up and be proactive about more aggressive testing. Stress testing in low risk people can lead to false positives but in this population, anyone can benefit from more aggressive screening.
  3. Women do not have the same symptoms for heart disease and heart attack as men do. Extreme fatigue even in the absence of exercise, nausea and vomiting and upper back pain are considered “atypical presentations” for angina and heart attack but they are far more typical in women than the stereotypical fist in front of the chest Hollywood Heart Attack that men get. This may be because women tend to clog long segments of a heart artery while men tend to have more specific localized blocks that suddenly rupture but the bottom line is there is a difference in presentation and even anatomy in women versus men heart wise.
  4. When I graduated Medical School so many decades ago my class graduated with 53% women making up the tally. This is a tendency that has continued with the average medical school class being at least 50% women. For whatever reason these women tended to wind up in primary care areas and not in specialty areas.

Only 10% of women who graduate medical school become Cardiologists. It may seem trendy to say that this represents a gender gap but in the case of heart disease it is an important one. I am sure there are many fine male cardiologists who pay attention to the differences in heart disease between men and women.

But I think the prognosis and outcome for women would be improved if more women went into Cardiology as a sub specialty.

I am surprised with all the activism there is not a large support group out there to help correct this imbalance.

Men and Women, are you listening? The same banding together for a common good of women in other areas would work here. The AAC has a women’s section, but at 10%, women could be far better represented. Maybe you can help?!

In the meantime: Ladies and gentlemen- are you taking your fish oil

Dr. Dave

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Fat Shaming, Supplement Shaming and Arthur Schopenhauer Strikes Again

Over the many years I have been writing to you I have written numerous “This is Rich” Entries to try to highlight what I consider is the double standard applied to the supplement industry versus the rest of the world.

Make no mistake about it your right to free choice is going to be defended by the alphabet agencies who will protect you from charlatans, quacks, money grubbing baxxrds and most of all yourself and your own education and free will.  Frankly I’m surprised they still allow the First Amendment although I have seen all kinds of incredible offenses and affronts taken by all kinds of people to shut down the opinions of others.

When it comes to supplements I am taking a page from something called “fat shaming”.  Fat shaming apparently became poplar enough in France to warrant a social outcry.  As I understand it, it occurs most often when fat people (is that still allowed?) are seen buying stuff in a bakery.  They are then ridiculed for their poor dietary choices by the not fat people.

While I think this is a pointless waste of time- we all make our own choices, as long as I am not paying for your health care I do not really care.

So now I am coining the term “Supplement Shaming”.

This occurs when Big Pharma sponsored agencies attack the supplement industry and demand it complies with the same standards drugs do.  While I would love to have 5 million dollars to do a randomized double blinded double dummy placebo-controlled trial with my fish oil versus say, a statin for cardiovascular outcomes, I don’t and I am not likely to unless I win the lottery.

And then there would be the attacks by you know who!

The latest example of supplement shaming has to do with my favorite supplement.

The headline reads “Omega-3 FA Supplements May Only Modestly Impact High-Risk Populations from CVD”.

A previous headline of the same study stated there was “NO EFFECT” because the 7% concluded improvement was not considered statistically significant.

Of course, this trail was a “meta-analysis” scientists new tool to avoid doing new research and cherry pick old research to show the foregone conclusion they already have before the run the number through a computer.

The only trial they chose that had significant positive results including on all because mortality was the GISSI trial which is actually 4 trials all of which supply data.  They chose GISSI Prevenzione only.

This was also the only trial that had a significant dosage of Omega 3 at 2.5 grams- way below what most people will need for an effective Land’s ratio of 60% Omega 3.  One trial only used EPA and this was under 2 grams.  As a matter of fact, some of the trial only used 1 gram a day.  Then there was the infamous margarine trial.

Remember that one?  The makers of Lantus insulin had egg on their face because their magic insulin did not improve outcomes in diabetics with heart disease. But to obfuscate the results they did a sub group using 1 gram of crappy triglyceride cod oil in a stick of margarine that subjects were required to consume.

At the end of the trial the conclusion was: fish oil didn’t help either.

Go figure.

So, what you have is what I entitled Fish Oil- Failure by Design. Yet again.

There seems to be an endless stream of studies that are meta-analysis and not real studies using the same old “let’s fall back on these!” known negative studies using doses that mean nothing and no mention of Omega6/3 Land’s ratios.

The conclusions range from the first on “NO BENEFIT” which is clearly not correct to “modest benefit”.

I guarantee you BIG Pharma will never do a study with meaningful doses and compare the outcomes to drugs.  Why should they shame themselves when they can shame supplements with big BS trails run on computer?

And they call that “original research”.

Now I have included a statin-based study on risk just for your understanding.  Please look at the headlines and read the study.  Notice that aggressive multiple drug therapy including statins and blood pressure meds would have at best yielded 11% reduction.

Note also this is not a real study either- its just what they think would happen based on other studies. Sound familiar?  Did anyone shame Big Pharma for getting only 11% out of 3 or more drugs.  Then notices the magical statistical manipulation accounting for “regression dilution”.  That is not a real-world thing but a way to fit data on to a straight line that is widely accepted to make data look “nice”.

Any body do it with the fish oil data?

Nope!

Finally note the magical conclusion that states and I paraphrase “We need to use more statins in more people including those who are not at this high risk to see the benefits” In other words more statin prescriptions and more drugs for us all.  Lower the threshold for cholesterol, lower it for blood pressure, lower it for blood sugar and then tell people the only way to do it is drugs.

Why even bother with lifestyle modifications!

But remember the status quo (not the musical group but the state of things) is good and anyone who challenges it like me is bad, misguided or far worse and should be censured and attacked.

Also remember that your body and your health and your future don’t give a rat’s ass about meta-analysis and regression dilution.

Educate yourself and don’t take everything that is status quo as good. And remember even a crappy study showed 7% improvement.  That is not NOTHING!!!

And when you are done go here.

Doc’

“’All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer”

We are at the violent opposition stage.
 

 

 

JAMA

Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease RisksMeta-analysis of 10 Trials Involving 77 917 Individuals

Theingi Aung, MBBS, FRCP1,2,3; Jim Halsey, BSc1,2; Daan Kromhout, PhD4; et al

Eur Heart J. 2004 Mar;25(6):484-91.

Evaluating the impact of population and high-risk strategies for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Emberson J1, Whincup P, Morris R, Walker M, Ebrahim S.

Author information

Abstract

AIMS:

To estimate the potential effectiveness of different “high-risk” and “population” approaches to the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in middle-aged British men, after correction for regression dilution bias.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We used a combination of cohort and randomised controlled trial evidence to estimate the effectiveness of high-risk strategies, based on the identification of high-risk factors or high absolute risk, and strategies based on population-wide reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure. High-risk strategies were potentially effective but would need to be used widely to have a substantial effect on CVD in the population. Aggressive pharmacological treatment (using statins, beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and aspirin) in individuals with a 10-year Framingham event risk of >or=30% (6% of population) would have reduced major CVD by at most 11%. This figure increased to 34% at a >or=20% treatment threshold (26% of population). In contrast, modest downwards shifts in the population distributions of serum total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure led to marked expected reductions in major CVD. Taking regression dilution bias into account, 10% reductions in long-term mean blood cholesterol and blood pressure could have reduced major CVD by 45%.

CONCLUSIONS:

If high-risk strategies are to have a major impact on CVD in the population, they need to be more widely used than previously envisaged. Population-wide reduction of major risk factors is needed if CVD is to be substantially reduced.

 

 

This Week’s Omega 3 Headlines

This week had a plethora of new fish oil headlines- again fish oil, or in one case fish not krill.

Here are a couple:

New Study: This Common Oil May Harm Your Liver

This one is by a certified Health and Happiness Coach, Believer in Magic, and Life Coach. Google of course blasted it all over the internet- one more reason the internet becomes the world’s worst and best source of information all in one. No one is looking at the validity of anything on the internet!
In this one I suspect this individual should simply read more carefully as they completely misinterpreted this study which did not even use fish oil! Sign me up for the coaching by all means!!!

Next:

There is Absolutely No Scientific Proof That Fish Oil Reduces Heart Disease.

This one is classic and I reviewed the study  they are referring to in another emailand showed all the reasons why it was weak at best including: a) it’s a meta analysis which allows the ‘researchers’ to quickly publish “original research” without doing anything other than using a computer and feeding in pre selected data that for the most part was already negative and using statistics to make a conclusion. In addition the doses were far too low in all but one of the studies (that one showed a positive result) and no one bothered to do an Omega 6/3 ratio to see if the doses were adequate.

It’s a simple finger stick guys and it would add negligible amounts to the cost. Of course you would actually have to touch live people instead of feeding data into a computer. Not popular among our youthful scientists who are enamored of technology and desperate to publish whatever the validity.

By the way even this crappy excuse for a study showed a 7% improvement in the incidence of heart disease- which the above media outlet decide should be told as “absolutely no proof”.

You want “phoney news” this is it!

Next: Lawsuit Filed Over Trident Fish Oil Pills sold by Costco
Since this one is not yet in the courts and there is not yet a determination of which way the courts will rule I will simply remind you, you get what you pay for and we test and publish our results from 3rd party labs every now and again

And a few more:

Omega3’s Tied to Reduced MS Risk

Study Suggests Fish Oil and Probiotics During Pregnancy May Reduce Risk of Allergies in Children

Fish Oil During Pregnancy may Prevent Diabetes in Children of Overweight Mothers

Fish Oil May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Now, I am not going to comment on the positive studies because I do not want the FDA and FTC coming at me saying I am making medical claims. But you can read them and decide for yourself.

I recommend you use Pub Med and not some Life Coach’s Website.

Remember much of what is on the internet is simply catchy headlines to grab your attention and get you to pay attention to someone in particular who often should do the world a favor and remain silent!

I can tell you that taking high dose fish oil has improved my life dramatically and is one of the best ways to improve my own health.

Doc

What is Better: Different Fish Oil’s Versus Krill

Fish Oil Vs Krill: A lengthy explanation that is worth getting to the bottom of!

Now that the Marine Omega 3 market has reached 30 billion dollars a year and is forecast to double by 2030 it is understandable that attempts, primarily by marketers, are being made to distinguish different types of product, with the goal of convincing you one way or the other: fish oil vs krill oil.

In marketing parlance this is called USP or Unique Selling Proposition.

The truth is the really unique work on fish oil is actually being done by drug companies. This also primarily a market driven thing.  What most people don’t realize is the huge connection between drugs and natural ingredients.  While the Pharmaceutical Industry makes extensive use of computer modeling and design, oft times the molecules exist in nature.

For example, the statin class has now made about 500 billion for Big Pharma. It originated as Chinese Red Yeast Rice.  Most anti-biotics have their roots in molds, fungi or bacteria. Eventually computer modeling and semi or wholly synthetic molecules were created as they often are from the original natural compounds.  If you look at the history of the ACE inhibitor class you will find claims they were created solely by computer modeling. Soon after they were discovered in nature.

The problem for Big Pharma is they must create new molecules or settle for what is known as a “use patent”.  A new molecule or an extracted molecule (like mevacor from red yeast rice) can be fully patented.  A natural molecule like fish oil must settle for a use patent which is harder to enforce and results in much less profit.

So, the pharmaceutical industry has progressed slowly and not without trouble from the FDA when it comes to developing “new” molecules for fish oil.

All in all, the main reason for doing this is to make money, but the essential fatty acids in fish oil do a fantastic job of improving health.

Now in the supplement industry there is still a huge desire to create a USP.

Sadly, this has done nothing but confuse the public and create a not so classy attempt by marketers to sell hype not substance.

Here is the truth: Anything that contains the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA will work to improve human health especially in a population that is deficient. Fish Oil vs Krill Oil? It might not matter so much until you dive into the details.

The alphabet agencies decided a long time ago that fish oil was not a vitamin.  But this is a huge mistake and frankly I think you should approach this as a nutritional deficiency.  Fixing this deficiency will result in many benefits as you might expect.  This is, by the way, why fish oil is so good for so many different things.  Its not just marketing hype and if you understand it’s a deficiency then it all makes sense.

You should also know that no public health agency or governmental alphabet agency agrees with this statement.  The current recommendation is NOT to exceed 3 grams of Omega 3 per day no matter how you get it.

This is because “experts” say going above this level will not help you and may hurt you.  We’ll get to that later but be aware this is not a government or medically sanctioned approach.

So, if everything that contains EPA and DHA works, why bother looking and why bother thinking about it at all? Does it matter if it’s fish oil vs krill oil?

Again, it’s a bit more complex than it sounds.

Long ago fish oil was available only in its “natural triglyceride” form.  Basically, you catch the fish, wack them over the head and process (press) the unused parts of the fish to extract the oil.  If you want to get a bit fancier you can run a type of cleaning process using clay.

If you boil the mix, the temperature change separates out the oil from some of the other components of the fish. Be aware the oxidation point of fish oil is 254 degrees F so there is no chance of free radical toxins being created this way.

This may act as a cleaning process but it also changes the chemical classification of the fish oil, at least in part, to something known as ethyl esters.

Critics have repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to convince the consumer that the ethyl ester form is “chemically altered” implying that chemicals are used to change it into something unnatural. Strictly speaking it is no longer the same chemical as extracted from the fish directly (thus chemically altered but not with chemicals- merely by the purification process).

In point of fact over 80% of the fish oils on the market have been subjected to this process.  Some have even been subjected to repeated and more aggressive cleaning and concentration processes.  These are generally molecular distillation processes and can concentrate and clean the fish oil to the point where it contains 85% or more essential fatty acids and no measurable toxins.

The same cannot be said of natural triglyceride fish oils which usually approach only 25% purity and may contain whatever toxins exist in the oceans where the raw fish were caught.

The term Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil originated over a decade ago to distinguish the higher potency purer fish oils form their “natural counterparts”.  That term has no meaning any longer except for search term optimization on the Internet.  Manufacturers of fish oil are more or less forced to use it.

If you are buying a “Pharmaceutical Grade” fish oil look for purity and potency values that suggest it has indeed been concentrated to at least 50% and purified from toxins.

What about taking a natural triglyceride type of fish oil.  Such a fish oil may work fine for you if you feel you need to stay “natural”.  Just be aware you will need to take as much as 3X the amount of a purer fish oil to get the same levels in your body.  Also, be aware that you may be ingesting the very same toxins including lead, mercury, and arsenic as well as plastic derivatives that your body cannot get rid of easily or quickly.

You will at least get some Vitamin D and A and perhaps some anti-oxidants like astaxanthin depending on which fish was used as the base.  The more you distill fish oil the more concentrated the essential fats get, but the more of the other stuff including the vitamins you remove.  Most people who take fish oil on a regular basis also take a multi-vitamin so this is not likely to be an issue.

With fish oils that contain toxins, the problem is not in the use of small doses short term but in the use of larger doses long term.  Most of the toxicity of these metals and other toxins is not familiar to most Western doctors and can present as dementias after chronic exposure.  It is unlikely that most modern doctors will even think of mercury toxicity when the patient is over 80.  They will simply say you have Alzheimer’s and write you off!

More and more people are on larger doses of fish oil on a daily basis more or less for life, so chose wisely!

Critics of ethyl ester fish oil also state that it is not a “natural molecule”. An entire species of shrimp known in the North Atlantic as Calanus contains this type of molecule.  No one calls that shrimp unnatural!

The human body contains all the needed absorption and enzyme components to efficiently absorb ethyl esters and uses that very form as an end point or intermediate in the many things that are made in the human body from EPA and DHA.  You can find ethyl ester intermediates in just about every anti-inflammatory mediator that is made from membrane bound EPA and DHA.

There is another form of fish oil known as re-triglyceride fish oil.  This is where using an expensive and involved process a molecule that truly does not exist in nature is formed. This process allows for a few more % points in concentration but achieves nothing over molecular distillation.  The difference between 85% concentration and 92% concentration would be the difference between 6 capsules and 5.9 capsules per day.  Since you cannot divide capsules it becomes meaningless!

Still if you like hi tech innovations you might want to spend the money.

Most of the different formats have tried to make a USP out of short term absorption.  In order to show this difference, the use of special diets is needed and a measurement at no more than 12 hours time is needed.

If you give an ad lib diet (where people eat normally) and measure at 6 weeks the only things that matters is the total dose of essential fatty acids.  This creates an advantage for the highly concentrated ethyl ester types of ultra purified fish oils.

The other advantage is that there is at least 30X more studies done with this type of fish oil because it is very common on the market place.

As a researcher, if one wants to deliberately show that fish oil is no good for something one would pick an unpurified cod or triglyceride form of fish oil as the test.  One would avoid a concentrated purified ethyl ester or a re-triglycerided form because of the much higher essential fatty acid content per dose.

Now what about krill?

Krill has been around for almost 20 years and finally found market niche, or a USP because it is “different”.  The marketing hook is that it is a “superior molecule” because it is already packaged in the format that the human cell “likes and uses” known as phospholipid.  There are also some studies that suggest that it is better absorbed.

There are also some that suggest it is not superior in absorption and there is no study that has a clinically relevant end point that shows that krill is superior to any fish oil form. Unless the study has been sponsored by a krill manufacturer!

The largest study on fish oil ever done was entitled GISSI. It was done in Italy to show the benefits of fish oil on people who already had a heart attack.  Not only did it reduce sudden death, cardiac death, and several other forms- it reduced total all cause mortality (deaths from any cause) by nearly 1/3!

The oil used was a highly purified ethyl ester that eventually became the first “fish oil drug” on the market.

Almost all of the non-sponsored studies that are designed honestly to show benefits are done with ethyl ester fish oil. That said, there is no reason any of the other forms will not work.  They simply have not been tested as extensively.

Krill (vs fish oil) now has approximately 13% of the marine lipid market for human health. In the process of riding the wave of success of fish oil there is now serious concern (far more concern than with over fishing which is regulated by the Marine Stewardship Council) of the effect of harvesting krill on the environment.  There is currently no regulatory body that oversees the entire krill industry.

Another statement made by krill manufactures is that because it’s a tiny little organism it does not accumulate nearly the toxins that larger fish might.  This is absolutely true and worth considering if you ignore the fact that these tiny little brine shrimp (my kissing Gorami’s love them!) need to be used in huge numbers to make one capsule and one bottle of krill.  Something small multiplied many times yields something much larger.

I would like to see the krill manufacturers publish their toxin data.  I have not seen one do it so I did it myself.  Using a major well-known internet doctor’s krill brand, I found 50X the level or inorganic arsenic as allowed in drinking water. I suspect this individual has never done 3rd party independent testing on his product. It also calls into suspicion the supplier as there are only a few major krill suppliers out there. More fish oil vs krill oil “marketers” supply testing data, especially with the higher quality products on the market.

Again, the issue  of fish oil vs krill might not be serious if you take small amounts over short times.

There is also a well documented and tragic case of an explosion at Canada’s major krill supplier that killed 6 people.  This occurred because a solvent that has been linked to cancer, called hexane exploded on the plant site. I am not sure about you, but I am not a fan of using carcinogenic solvents for the extraction of oils that people are going to consume!

Krill’s superiority (and their USP) stems from the “more bioavailable” nature of the phospholipid.  Human cells store EPA and DHA like this.  But as mentioned above they also use ethyl esters derived from these phospholipids for almost all forms of non-membrane uses of essential fatty acids.

Finally let’s assume that krill is 2X more absorbable than fish oil.  The average krill dose per capsule is 350 mg.  Some are far less.  A highly concentrated ethyl ester fish oil (or chemically altered fish oil if you believe the marketers) contains a gram of essential fatty acids.  This means that krill still falls behind in the all critical dosage war.

So, what have we learned when it comes to the “other” fish oil vs krill?

We have learned that ALL types of marine lipids that contain EPA and DHA work, no matter if it’s fish oil vs krill oil.  If you get the doses adjusted and ignore potential toxins they should all work the same.  They just have not all been tested to the same extent, especially in live people!

We have also learned that there are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of essential marine lipids. And they are ultimately more the same than different except for purity and potency.

They type you chose will be entirely up to you.  You will most likely make that decision not based on science but on marketing. The ultimate decision will be made based on who and what you feel most comfortable with, probably not what makes the most scientific sense.

The good news is that marine lipids are really good for you, and you will most likely benefit from using them no matter which one you ultimately pick.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details!

 

David Woynarowski MD

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Acting Your Age Might Actually Have Some Merit!

Over the years I’ve told you to be, act, and think younger than you are.

While there is ongoing debate about the power of the mind to influence the body, more and more evidence suggests that you do indeed have some say in how you look and feel and of course, how you experience life (also known as how you behave!).

But today’s message is just a little different take on things. About 11 months ago a wrote a blog that revealed to you things I might have done differently. One of the things I mentioned was I would warm up more before exercise and I would stretch afterwards. The temptation to jump right in and put a check mark in the “done box” of exercise always made it difficult for me to get ready.

Even the concept of getting ready to exercise was kind of humorous a few decades ago. I mean, did you come to exercise or did you come to be the guy stretching and doing those silly calisthenics for 2 minutes!

Well, I can tell you now the 2 minutes has expanded into more like 20 or 30 and has become the main focus on a daily basis.

Along those lines I can tell you one of the main ironies of aging but it may be better if I tell you a story.

Not all that long ago a somewhat younger doctor colleague of mine who used to be a resident under me told me the tale of his father’s heart attack and subsequent bypass. His dad, also a doctor always “exercised” which consisted of playing tennis 3x a week and swimming once or twice a week.

In his mind that was enough.

My friend told me the tale with a mixture of confusion and knowing. He shook his head in a “no” movement with wide eyes when he said, “He thought the exercise would save him but it didn’t”. Again I cannot stress enough the mixture of confusion and lost puppy-ness on his face.

My response was probably not comforting.

I simply said, “You cannot exercise away a bad diet”. I might have added, “Not with some social tennis and lazy laps in the pool!” But at least I had the good sense to leave that out.

Another conversation about 2 friends well into their 50’s: “How are Joe and Johnny doing?”
“Oh, fine both of them tell me they are really working out hard these days.”
“Gee that’s funny, every time I see them they look exactly the same!”

And in those conversations my friends is the kernel of today’s message.

Exercise as therapy needs to be fairly aggressive within the limits of what is healthy for you. The current recommendation for “anti-aging” benefits is 40 minutes 5 days a week.

Going back to my doctor friend and his doctor dad, I saw the lifestyle close up. Eating out more nights than eating at home. A glass of wine or 2 every night (I can hear you saying, “But I thought that is healthy!”* Ad libitum eating under the guise of “Oh well I worked out today”.

Sorry, that will not help you age better. As a matter of fact, the great irony of aging is truly “Youth is Wasted on the Young!” In simple terms that means most people start to coast in their 50’s and onward.
They eat worse they drink more and they exercise less and with less vigor. Many have more financial means than ever and somehow being financially secure leads to a behavior of being secure in your health.

The inconvenient truth is you should spend more time exercising stretching and working out than ever as you age, again within the limits of your joints and health. Most people could do far more than they do safely**. Coasting may be a natural tendency but it is in fact deadly!

And exercise is not an excuse to eat poorly.

If you are one who works out don’t forget your multi and don’t forget to be on the higher end of fish oil consumption so you can reduce post workout soreness and help your muscle intake of nutrients and insulin response. All that will make your work outs more healthful and effective.

No one said successful aging was easy. But it sure can be fun especially when someone 20 years younger is panting to keep up!

Treat your body to the best so you can be your best.

Yours in having fun and staying young!
Dr. Dave

 

 

*As we dive into “personal omics” the so called use of genes to look at “personalized medicine” it becomes more apparent that some of the “healthy” habits are not healthy for everyone. 2 glasses of wine a day, supported buy the so-called French Paradox ignores the rest of the French life style and epigenetics of that population and lays all the benefit to red wine. I have ALWAYS doubted that although I am sure red wine sales have gone up over the past 20 years. You can do just as well taking red wine extract and avoiding the alcohol. Similarly some people can smoke a few cigarettes a day or an occasional cigar and have no issues. Some cannot. Aging well does have a wee bit of denial associated with it but let’s not get dramatic. You do not need wine every night, cigars and cognac every weekend and a fancy gourmet meal 5 days a week to enjoy life. If all this sounds foreign to you I can assure you there are plenty of people between 55 and 75 who do this all the time!

** Always consult your doctor when it comes to your exercise program.

Valentine’s Day in National Heart Month

First off, I want to wish you the happiest of Valentine’s Days! I hope you are able to spend it with everyone who loves you and you love.

You may or may not know that February is National Heart Health Month.

As such I thought it would be a good time to remind you of the heart healthy benefits of Omega 3 fish oil.

It’s easy to lose track of the role of fish oil in your health because of all the push and pull in scientific publication. In case you haven’t noticed there is a war going on. The Big Pharma driven industry is trying desperately to control the public’s enthusiasm and consumption of fish oil as well as many other supplements.

There is an unending “good- no good” battle in the media. The funniest one most recently was “Once and for all Fish Oil is no good for your Heart!” What they were trying to say was that in a huge meta analysis there was only a 7% improvement in overall cardiac outcomes and this was not statistically significant. A day later a study was released that said exactly the opposite!

Of course, I have written to you for years about how worthless meta analysis really are because the end result is predicated on what data you put in, pick all negative studies and you get negative result. Most of the Big Pharma sponsored journals are the ones that doctors read. I come from that world and I can tell you true. Most doctors know nothing about the true biochemistry of Omega3’s and Omega 6’s. Like you, they read only headlines and maybe a part of the abstract and have already drawn their conclusion.

They are simply too busy to dig deeper.

This sets up the perfect storm to create a legion of true believers that spread the word for Big Pharma.

The problem is the battle is being lost and will continue to be lost until they do something out right nasty to our little supplement industry and clamp down in a fashion that everyone will recognize is an invasion of all of our rights.

So, far they have been smart enough to avoid that but don’t put it past them. They have all the money after all, and they mean to keep it.

In spite of that, fish oil sales continue to increase logarithmically and I would venture to say more and more doctors are using and telling their patients to use it.

They just don’t admit it in public LOL!

If you educate yourself and look at the question of fish oil and heart health as a whole I think you can draw your own conclusions. And I know what they will be.

In the meantime to quote the old 60’s mantra, “Make love not war!”

Think of your loved ones when you order your fish oil.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Dr. Dave