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I wouldn’t give my dog Ethyl Ester Fish Oil – Part 2

fish-oil in a tinIn this part of the blog I go into even more detail debunking the arguments that seem to have gathered steam on the internet.  It is irritating because it represents “negative sales tactics” which try to capitalize on “bad news” that will shock you because it “challenges everything you know about –insert your favorite topic–“.

This is a well known sales tactic and in today’s Internet-based, opinion-rich, information-poor, sound bite climate, people know most of us won’t read past the headlines (micro scripts) much less try to find out the facts behind what is being said. And if you add a little bit of ‘sciency’ sounding stuff, you’ve convinced 99.9% of the population.

Warning: I don’t do a little sciency when I debunk. I do A LOT SCIENCY and the following is that; so you’ve been warned!

Here is an interesting email from a victim of today’s technology and a well-meaning but misinformed anti-ethyl ester fish oil campaign.

“Dr Dave, please visit ‘www.–A Consumer Advocate Site–.org’.

They say Omega 3’s are best when delivered in their natural state – be it in fish oil capsules or from eating fish – not the form that you sell, advocate and defend…

The environmental impact of the Norwegian industrial fishing industry is devastating…

Ethyl esters are not effective in the reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke…the many large, protracted studies are now showing this…

We should be as outraged about ethyl esters in our food supply as we are of GMO’s…”.

Hi, Phillip. Lately I am seeing more and more of this. I even recently spoke a t a conference where the guy before me said exactly the same thing since he was selling “natural triglyceride” formulation fish oil. The problem is that it is 100% wrong.

1) The largest fish oil trial ever done was GISSI Prevenzione and they used ethyl ester fish oil with fabulous results.

2) Ethyl ester are a naturally occurring intermediate between triglycerides and Phospholipid formats of Omega 3 and have biologic value of their own, separate from the other two formats.

3) EE’s have a unique 24-hour absorption curve instead of the spike-like absorption of the other formats of Omega 3, making them the BEST choice for someone wishing to get maximum cardiac coverage. EE’s are in the blood stream for a full 24 hours.  Most heart attacks happen in the early morning, 18 to 22 hours after most people take their daily dose of fish oil, which (at least theoretically) puts them at risk with “natural TG products”. Phospholipid formats have not been evaluated in any large clinical trials similar to GISSI.

4) ALL TG products and P’lipid products can and do pass back and forth through ethyl ester formats as the body needs them to; so saying otherwise merely shows the ignorance or duplicity of the people making that statement.

5) Ethyl esters are free of the toxins and much more potent in terms of EPA and DHA than “natural” TG products, which cannot exceed 30% EPA and DHA and are subject to the exact toxic mixture of the oceans or streams they are harvested from. In addition, whenever the krill people try to show superiority over fish oil, which they have yet to actually do, they choose the wimpiest format they can – natural triglyceride – so they have the best chance of looking better. They would not dare compare clinical outcomes to my Ultra 85 for this reason. No matter what the “parent oil” people say, the only Omega’s that matter are DHA and EPA. This is a simple fact of human biochemistry since this is what the body does when it needs Omega 3. All other forms are either intermediates to get there or are simply used for calories. The latter does not happen very often because people are mostly Omega 3 deficient.

6) Other than the fact that the Norwegians are not the suppliers of all of the fish oil that is used, I am not sure what real impact it has – economic, yes — environmental? If less Norwegian fish are being used, which may be true, as most of the fish now used are from other waters, as in the case of my Ultra 85 are fresh water sourced from non-endangered species. The molecular distillation process is low heat (135 F – the oxidation point of fish oil is 253 F) and has essentially a zero carbon footprint – at least the way we do it.

7) There was one study done recently showing the “failure” of Ethyl Esters as a potential agent to treat hypertension. This study got a ton of “airplay” on the Internet and was immediately picked up as a marketing tool for the ‘just eat fish and natural triglyceride’ sales force. However that study had gigantic flaws…

a) It used a mouse model with a SNP to create hypertension. In humans HTN is polygenic.

b) Even though it was reported as “Fish oil no good for…..”  it did not include the better part of fish oil, which is EPA, in the evaluation.

c) It completely (and I think embarrassingly for the people that published it) overlooked one gigantic fact: Mice are herbivores and people are omnivores. The way the different species use Omega 3’s and 6’s, the tissue % of EE TG and P’lipids, the eicosanoid and other active derivatives are ALL different in mice and humans, so generalizing a dietary intervention as being relevant is bound to be wrong. I think the brilliant scientists that did the study knew this, or at least should have! There is plenty of data to support the use of fish oil as an adjunct for healthy blood pressure.

As far as “many recent studies that show failures of ethyl ester fish oil”- many of them are triglyceride based as well, not just ethyl ester. I address the causes for this in #8.

8) Finally, as to the failure of fish oil in human studies. It can almost always be attributed to the following: Inadequate dosage, no attempt to check tissue or blood levels of O3’s and 6’s, and no attempt to achieve the levels seen in what are basically “disease free” populations. This is independent of the format of Omega 3 (O3) used but “natural” triglyceride format is most susceptible to this effect because of its lower concentrations of EPA and DHA. You have to take 3x as many of this type of “parent oil capsule” to get an adequate dose of Omega 3 to impact human health. Now, keep in mind that there is a dose response curve to Omega 3’s so even a little will show some improvements in health but nowhere near what is actually achievable.

Many of the so-called failed studies are also done with only 1 gram of some type of fish oil that is often non-specified because the researchers don’t know the difference. The usual situation is also to add them onto “maximum medical therapy (drugs)” that the enrollee has been on for years to treat a well-established condition. For more on this see my blog “Fish oil Failure by Design“.

Again, I need to stress – there are no other meaningful O3’s in fish other than EPA and DHA in the context of Western Society. The other fats are just calories.

It is sad that people can say anything they want on the internet and worse that it spreads like wildfire. Next week it will be some other nonsense by people like this. We owe almost all of our knowledge about Omega 3’s and 6’s to a relatively few PhD’s whom I respect immensely. Sadly, we also owe almost all of the misinformation to the same group of people who stare at biochemistry texts and look at where the arrows go without noticing whether those arrows go backwards, sideways or are dotted, meaning they are negligible. The original group of scientists that did all this work were very concerned and delineated as best they could what was meaningful in human biochemistry.  Many of today’s researchers seem to have lost that work or have decided to ignore it. My deepest respect for those who actually take the time to learn what those before them laid out so clearly. As for the rest, you need to get your head out of the basic biochemistry texts that show every possible way a fat can be processed and learn what actually happens in people! And, if you are going to study mice, learn the differences before you decide where it’s safe to generalize to human health.

The major impact on the fishing industry occurs not from fish oil processing but from restaurant serving of specific types of fish, which are clearly overfished. Krill, while not a fish, must be placed in this category for different reasons. While human fishing has gone on for millennium, krill fishing has not and represents a severe threat to a previously untouched biosphere that has caused negative sustainability impact in a matter of a decade. At this point, the capacity of aquaculture for the major formats of fish oil is stable and has more capacity to produce. As I mention above, my Ultra 85 is sourced from fresh water non-endangered species and processed using a nil carbon foot print technology, so it has minimal environmental impact. I do have to say that I anticipate others copying this, which may force us to rethink our sourcing yet again down the road when everyone else jumps on board.

As a final note I would say this: No matter what or how you choose to replete your Omega 3’s, you should use the Ideal Omega test to establish your baseline and follow your results. If you are eating a lot of fish, you really need to get your mercury levels tested in blood, hair and nails as well. Reducing your Omega 6 intake will concomitantly reduce the need for Omega 3’s but this is beyond what most people are willing to do in our society. Ultra 85 is a pure, clean and simple way to improve your Omega 3 levels and achieve this very desirable healthy balance of essential fatty acids.


Dr Dave

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I wouldn’t give my dog Ethyl Ester Fish oil – Part 1

giant fish oil capsuleSo said the brilliant PhD whose talk preceeded mine at a recent public anti-aging conference.

While I am not 100% sure if this was a deliberate snipe at me I didn’t care because it played right into my hands. I destroyed the arguments that were advanced in favor of “natural triglyceride fish oil” also known as “parent oil” type.  I am sure it hit this guy where it hurt and ultimately he shot himself in the foot and damaged himself, not me.  This was also the same guy who told me he knew more about telomeres than the guy who discovered the human telomerase gene and the Nobel laureates, so I wasn’t too worried about anything else he might have said.

What I did not know was this might not have been his fault. He may have merely been parroting back the current doctrine d’jour with regards to fish oil. It makes for clever marketing speak and for someone who does not intimately know about Omega3/Omega 6 biochemistry in HUMANS it is a perfect chance to pitch a product that is inferior in every way or some other attached agenda.

Here is the short version and then, for those of you who want to learn the reasoning, it follows after another email I got.

ERROR NUMBER 1: Fish is better than fish oil because it contains natural proportions of oils. Natural Triglyceride fish oil is closer to natural fish oil making it a “parent oil”. Populations that eat fish do better than populations that take fish oil for this reason.

The fact: EPA and DHA are the ultimate and most highly active and needed fish oils. There is little or nothing other than these in fish or fish oil that is responsible for health benefits in humans. The body will create these essential fatty acids to a minor extent from shorter chain precursors (like alpha linolenic acid in plants) but it cannot do a good job of this, especially in the omega 6 rich food environment we live in. The Omega 3/6 intake of the best populations is never mirrored in ANY study using fish oil (see part 2 of this blog for why). Much of the oil in fish and natural triglyceride fish oil is used for one major purpose: calories, and fatty fish have a major component of Omega 6 fat as well, although nowhere near their Omega 3 content. In the context of trying to achieve balance in a society that does not reduce its Omega 6 intake, which is most of us, a pure highly concentrated EPA/DHA fish oil remains the simplest way to obtain a healthy ratio. The most common way to create that ultra concentrated potency is molecular distillation, which always yields an Ethyl Ester fish oil. The next two books I am currently writing will, however, have two dozen or more Omega 3 heavy recipes for those who want to use diet as the major tool.

ERROR NUMBER 2: ‘A little mercury and other toxins are OK for you.’  Fish and natural triglyceride fish oils contain the exact toxin make up of the waters they are obtained from. There is absolutely no study showing the effect of low level long term toxin exposure over decades or a lifetime to determine what real level of toxicity we should be concerned with since we are going to need our Omega 3’s as long as we are alive. We do know this:  unless you drastically reduce your Omega 6 intake to a level far lower than most Westerners will tolerate, you need a large amount of Omega 3 (in terms of fish, we are talking far more than Eskimo level) to balance the ratio of 6 to 3 omegas. In point of fact, populations where there are serious reductions in the diseases we accept as “normal aging” achieve a ratio of about 0.75, which means there is significantly more Omega 3 in their tissues than Omega 6. This puts you at risk for many different toxins and xenoestrogens, especially mercury, lead, cadmium and various plastic derivatives. Two specific famous examples of people who tried to correct their levels with large amounts of fish ingestion are Jeremy Piven and Daphne Zuniga, both actors and both mercury toxic as a result of their efforts. There are studies that show an Alaskan subsistence fishermen consuming one cod per week will achieve mercury levels considered accutely toxic by the end of that week, DO YOU want that? I don’t!

ERROR NUMBER 3: Ethyl Esters are not naturally occuring in nature, making them “Frankenfishoil equivalent to GMO’s!”  I gotta hand it to the marketers who came up with that one! Wow, that will convince a lot of people because most people are anti-GMO. Very clever, but also very disingenuous.

Ethyl Esters are not found in fish or seafood; that is true. But they ARE A NATURALLY OCCURING AND BIOACTIVE INTERMEDIATE IN HUMAN BEINGS.  We create them from triglycerides and Phospholipid (non-fish seafood sources) as a normal everyday part of our biology. That makes them about as natural as you can get.

I go on to address more of this nonsense in the next blog but if you understand these 3 points you will understand what you are being fed by the internet gurus. Don’t swallow it!

Dr Dave

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Fish oil – Failure by design

A few months ago I wrote a blog/newsletter entitled “Don’t Swallow It!

It was lamenting the lack of a BS detector on the internet and how easily factoids can spread misinformation. Today’s little gem fits right in with that theme.

The latest round of “Fish oil No Good for Heart Disease” studies was published this week by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).  The NEJM has long been considered the pinnacle of medical journals the world over. It is of course solely supported by Big Pharma advertising.

Like the other big Journals, JAMA and the Archives of Internal Medicine, it maintains an “anti-supplement” stance, rarely publishing anything positive about anything that is not a Big Pharma drug.

Since most allopathic doctors do not apply critical standards to what is published in these journals, the word of these journals is gospel.

Not surprisingly the latest “Fish oil no Good For…” study will get a lot of air time and be virally spread on the internet with even less critical thinking and even more acceptance from the general populace.

One site that repeats internet nonsense is already saying, “The pendulum is swinging away from fish oil!”

While I don’t normally bother with this because it has been coming and going for the past 10 years, I will admit there really seems to be an “anti-fish oil” campaign out there.

The “Just eat fish” crowd has conveniently forgotten the issues of lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and plastic-derived xenoestrogens and toxins that are found in most oily fish in quantity. A few have even suggested that the “other oils” in fish, the stuff that is not EPA and DHA, have value. They sure do!

They are valuable for calories! They make no contribution to the biochemical pathways and are otherwise non-essential, however.

Getting back to the study aspect of things, I’ve said it a thousand times but I am forced to say it yet again.

Any study that does not…

1)      Use a dose of fish oil that actually matters

2)      Does not measure blood or tissue levels (the finger stick Ideal Omega test is soooooooooooooo simple but they don’t bother!)

3)      Attempt to achieve the ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 that parallel the populations that have almost NO HEART DISEASE compared to ours. (It’s in the neighborhood of a 10 fold reduction).


So let’s look at the particulars of the study:

A)     Dose?  1 gram.   The study population was Italian, clearly a Waster diet based group.  No, they were not on the “Mediterranean Diet”, a Health/Marketing concept created by Dean Ornish. They were clearly eating pasta!

B)     “Eligible patients were men and women with multiple cardiovascular risk factors or atherosclerotic vascular disease but not myocardial infarction.”  In other words, they were ticking time bombs waiting to have their heart attacks. Their doctors already knew they had heart disease in many cases.

C)     What was the type of fish oil administered? It does not say; so it could easily have been a non-concentrated “natural cold pressed triglyceride” fish oil, which provides only 30% EPA and DHA. I need to try to find this out because it makes a huge difference.

Why? Because they may have actually been only getting 300 mg of the active oils for cardiac disease prevention. You have heard me say the average Westerner needs at least 6 grams a day to fix their Omega 3 deficit and balance out their excess Omega 6’s.

D)     No levels were measured in these people – if they were, they would not have even scratched the surface with the dosages they chose to give people.

E)      The GISSI Prevenzione study also done in Italy over a decade ago using 2 to 3 grams a day of the highly concentrated ethyl ester form, like mine, (still an under dosage but better than this one) showed a far different 35% reduction in Cardiovascular Death.

Two other things of note: The placebo was Olive oil, which is appropriate since Olive oil is Omega 6 dominant (21 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3).  Next, they had to fiddle with their chosen end point: “At one year, after the event rate was found to be lower than anticipated, the primary end point was revised as time to death from cardiovascular causes or admission to the hospital for cardiovascular causes.”  This kind of last minute post study fiddling makes the entire study questionable in my opinion!

At least this was a study, however, and not a “meta analysis” – a computer generated file based on cherry picked data that can prove anything the authors want without spending more than a few dollars in computer time and many hours of doctoral candidate slave labor!

So what should this study have been titled?

Here’s mine:


Frankly, this kind of study, done in an era where the data already exists for both primary and secondary prevention with Omega 3’s, constitutes malpractice in my opinion.

Also, I am not insensitive to the fact that my study title would probably not get many people to be interested, so here is another one which might intrigue the reader more – something you have to do for a sound bite society.

I would call it the Educated Authors Trying to Suppress Healthy Interventions Trial. You may be aware it is customary in medicine to use the first letter of every capitalized letter in a trial to create an acronym for the trial’s name. I will leave you to that.

I will also comment that acronym is pretty much my opinion of this study, which was designed to fail, adds nothing to our knowledge base and will undoubtedly contribute to the misinformation database out there in cyberland.

Finally, I will say that if you actually do figure out the acronym based on what I told you above, you might anticipate a new Meta analysis that will tell you this practice is actually healthy for you! I doubt it will make it into the NEJM, however, unless there is a Big Pharma drug somehow involved.

Don’t swallow it!!!!



Reference articles:  n–3 Fatty Acids in Patients with Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors

The Risk and Prevention Study Collaborative Group

N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1800-1808 May 9, 2013 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1205409

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Nov;70(22):1897-911.

Heavy metals in Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) from the Aleutians: location, age, size, and risk.

Burger JGochfeld MShukla TJeitner CBurke SDonio MShukla SSnigaroff RSnigaroff DStamm TVolz C.


Division of Life Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8082, USA

“If a subsistence fisher from one of the Aleut villages ate one meal of cod per week for As, or one meal per day for Hg, they would exceed the U.S. EPA reference dose for As and Hg” As is Arsenic, HG is mercury!

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My Favorite Telomere Scientist

Dr. Maria Blasco

Photo credit:

I know a lot of amazing people in the telomere field. I have been honored to meet, speak and learn from all of them. But my favorite, as you may already know, is a young lady named Maria Blasco.  I like Maria best for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is she “gets it” when it comes to the purpose of her telomere research. She may eventually become very wealthy because a drug company may come along and buy her inventions and discoveries.  She may become famous because of her work and may even get the Noble Prize one day.  She is certainly revered in her home country of Spain, because of her work and her role as the Director of the Spanish National Cancer Institute. And I am personally eternally grateful for the many hours of her time she spent with me, both in person and on the phone, because of my intellectual curiosity and of course the current book on the topic I am writing.

But, the reason she does what she does is because she is not afraid to extend the healthspan, lifespan, and quality of life of human beings – like you and me.  She gets it! So many times people lose track of that simple fact. Scientists, doctors, healers of any kind need to be reminded: the end point of your work is the betterment of humanity!

I know Maria knows this.

On March 22nd an SHA seminar about anti-aging entitled “The keys to a long healthy life” included renowned scientists like Dr. Maria Blasco Marhuenda, Dr. Gloria Sabater and Dr. Vicente Mera, discussed about the latest advances in telomere and telomerase research and its application in areas such as rejuvenation, anti-aging for a life extension and cancer prevention.

Obviously telomeres were the topic of discussion, but if you don’t know what a telomere is:  Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, DNA coding regions whose length determines the biological age of our cells and how long our cells can live. Furthermore, our biological age can ONLY be measured by an analysis HT Q-FISH test, in the U.S. This is the only test that gives both average and percent of short telomeres, which allows for a determination of your biologic age.  Chronologic age is how many birthdays you’ve counted.  Biologic Age is how old your metabolism and cells actually are, or how old your body really is.

You can decrease the loss of the telomere segment by lifestyle modifications and some supplements like Fish Oil and Co Q10 (ubiquinol not ubiquinone!). But, you can only lengthen the critically short telomeres that determine your true biologic age by using TA-65. At that conference, Dr. Blasco certified that there are some food supplements such as TA-65 that activate telomerase and contribute to natural rejuvenation and life extension without causing cancer.

What is said here is as important as what is not said. Where are the other so-called Telomerase Activators in the speech?


Here’s to long telomeres!

Dr Dave

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New Study on Telomeres Answers some Huge Questions

broken dna strandA couple of questions have been nagging at those of us who study telomeres and telomerase closely.

The first is – what is the correlation, if any, between tissue types? Typically we measure telomere length in the granulocyte line of White Blood Cells. These cells are typically responsible for fighting off viral infections and the immune surveillance against cancer.  How do the lengths that we measure correlate with other tissues? Limited studies have pointed to a good correlation with telomere behavior but not necessarily length. In other words, when someone has short telomeres in one type of tissue they will have short telomeres in another type relative to that type.  The numbers will not be the same but the tendencies will be.

Next, why is there variation in the speed at which telomeres are lost? It seems most of us lose a lot of telomere length relatively early in life and then sometime around late-middle age we slow down that loss. In old age there is a steady slow loss of telomere length unless you provoke it.

Finally, what is the major stress for telomere loss and how does it explain what happens to us when we get sick and/or age rapidly?

A most recent study has pointed to the following very important answers:

1)      The White Blood Cell Line we measure is probably the most important for two reasons. First, it does indeed correlate well with other tissues’ telomere behavior even though the absolute lengths are different.  The white blood cell line is capable – and actually required – to have tremendous ability to replicate because of the short lives of these cells and their high demand. This results in a line of cells that actually have the shortest telomeres among the cell types tested. The other lines had increasingly longer telomere lengths in this order: skin, fat, muscle. Once again it is important to understand that once you have established a relative “normal length” for the telomeres in each specific tissue type, you do see a correlation between “long” or “short” telomeres in each tissue type, basically making the White Blood Cell (WBC) measurement a reasonable surrogate for what is happening elsewhere.

2)      The variation in the speed of loss during life seems to depend on the need for each tissue to replicate.  The WBC are constantly replicating their entire volume throughout life. Early in life the amount of cells actually has to grow to meet the growth of the person from infant to adult. All the while there are immune challenges that have to be met for that child to reach a healthy adult state. That means lots of replication. Muscle cells, on the other hand, need far fewer replications to go from childhood to adult. They do not die off at nearly the rate WBC’s do and once they are there they simply grow larger rather than replicate to make more cells.  Skin cells turnover a lot so they behave more like WBC’s and fat cells behave more like muscle. The variation in the need for replication in each tissue accounts for the rapid telomere loss early in life and a slowing down later in life, since once the person is mature, only maintenance is required.

3)      The major stress for telomere loss is replication but here is the absolute super important fact. It affects the stem cells most. Recall stem cells are the parts bags we use to rebuild our bodies. Stem cells have only a small amount of telomerase (the enzyme that lengthens telomeres) to keep them young for a time, but they do age like other cells as we get older. This means they cannot keep pace with the need for replication and we start to age and get sick because of the combined loss of non-stem cell mass (typical cells) and the loss of our repair parts (stem cells).  When damage exceeds repair we get into trouble and age and get sick.

A couple of very interesting things also were backed up by this new study. First, inflammation is absolutely critical in accelerating the loss of both our typical cells and our stem cells, especially in the WBC line. Since they are part of the immune system, low grade inflammatory stuff like obesity, sedentary behavior, poor diet, smoking, lack of sleep and stress all accelerate their demise and burn out the stem cell lines. This is particularly true if you have high Omega 6 levels and low Omega 3 (fish oil) levels. So take enough fish oil to make a difference!

Next, certain specific behaviors can accelerate telomere loss in tissues that normally don’t see a lot of it.  We know that the cartilage cells in basketball players tend to have short telomeres.  The repeated jumping undoubtedly stresses the replication capacity of the stem cells of those tissues and burns them out faster. Similarly the muscles of long distance runners have shorter telomeres for the same reason – burned out stem cells.

There are two other things you can intuit from these findings. 1) Things that stimulate telomerase not only benefit regular cells but, in particular, stem cells.  This would mean that the natural telomerase activator TA-65 is a true stem cell stimulator. I’ve often said it has to be, but now we know why.

On the flip side, it is already known that EGF-1 one of the main ingredients in RG-Cell Super Stem Cell Activator have been shown to be telomerase activators. We are not making this claim for RG-Cell yet since it has not been specifically tested, but it is highly likely.

In summary, the above strongly support Fish oil, TA-65 and RG-Cell as the ultimate anti-aging combination! These are the telomere supplements you have been looking for!

Big Stuff!!! And speaking of Big Stuff, keep your eyes on my newsletters for a huge announcement any day now!

Things are getting really exciting!


Reference study: Telomeres shorten at equivalent rates in somatic tissues of adults

  • Lily Daniali, Athanase Benetos, Ezra Susser, Jeremy D Kark, Carlos Labat, Masayuki Kimura, Kunji Desai, Mark Granick, Abraham Aviv, Affiliations Contributions, Corresponding author

Nature Communications

4, 19 March 2013

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Short telomeres are associated with decreased cancer survival

TelomeresAt the end of 2010, one of my least favorite journals, JAMA, published a very important and surprisingly forward-thinking (for them) article on telomere length and cancer.  The study was a large Meta-analysis of telomere length and the likelihood of getting cancer.

People were divided into “quartiles” according to telomere length. Basically, this means there were four groups, each with successively longer telomeres. Again, not surprisingly, they found the shortest group had a 500% increase in cancer incidence, versus the longest group.  The other two “middle” groups were in between, with each successively lengthening in those groups, having a lower chance of cancer. Finally, the types and aggressiveness of the cancers were noted to be much worse in the shortest group.

In summary, the shorter your telomeres, the higher the likelihood you’ll get cancer and the worse it’s likely to be.

A recent Danish study showed an association between post-cancer survival and telomere length, once again in quartile fashion. Those with the shortest telomeres were the most likely to die and those with the longest, most likely to survive.

You may wonder why I am harping on telomeres so much.  The simple answer is that not everyone is convinced they are important.  Generally speaking, the status quo is hard to change.

I got a typical email from a friend of mine that pretty much says it all.

“Hi Doc,
Hope all is well. I haven’t talked with you in while – are you still traveling around, speaking on telomeres? It’s funny… you were the first one I ever heard bring that up, now I’m reading about it everywhere. I just saw another article on it the other day…cool stuff!  Lou”

Yes, my friend, I am still out there beating the drum, fighting the naysayers and trying to help people live longer and healthier.

So, when people ask me what to do about their telomeres, I give them a 4-step process, which is listed in order of cost, since many people still value cellphone minutes above their health. You can pick and choose to do none, some, or all of it based on your priorities.

Over the coming years you will see the following: More and more evidence that telomere length is directly related to lifespan and healthspan. Occasional nay-saying articles that question or “refute” those findings. This type of article will be far fewer in number than the positive ones, but will get more press, because no one wants to hear another repetitious finding – they want controversy, because controversy sells. More and more “telomerase activators” with no proof of activity, or scant proof that is not repeated. More studies about the efficacy of TA-65.

How do I know all this? No, I am not clairvoyant, I have simply seen and heard it all before with Fish oil, the greatest supplement discovery of the last century.  TA-65 is the greatest supplement discovery of this century so far, so it stands to reason history will repeat itself.

Here’s to longer and longer telomeres!


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Yet another study connects human lifespan with telomere length

DNA StrandScientists are by nature skeptics.  Usually it takes more than one positive result and one positive study to convince them.  There is no set number of studies you need to do to sway scientific opinion and quiet naysayers. More often than not, it depends as much on opinion and bias of the so-called scientific community.  This has been proven over and over again with things as diverse as the “earth is flat” to telomeres are merely “markers of aging”.

Well recently another big study showed a direct correlation between telomere length and survival.  It was adjusted for age, disease and other lifestyle factors, yet the correlation still held.

I have often referred to my two favorite tests, Omega 6/3 ratios and specifically short telomere testing as offered by as the “BS detectors”. What I mean is there is no hiding from these two tests.  If you think you have a healthy diet, then you should have a good level of omega 3 fats in your blood and tissues and your telomere lengths, again, specifically your percentage of short telomeres, should be better than your actual age.

This is how we predict “biologic age”- how old your body really is, independent of the number of birthdays you’ve had.

I encourage you to look at these tests because, if you are not actually living as healthy as you think, you still have time to do it. It’s easy to fix a low omega 3 level, just take more fish oil.

It’s also easy to help your telomere length but so far there is really only one choice for that as well.  TA-65 remains the only telomerase activator with human data, human cell data, and mouse data. More is on the way, specifically human studies.

While it may take another 100 or even 1,000 studies linking telomere length and telomerase activation to longer and healthier lives, there is enough data right now if you are willing to look carefully. And it may take years for another 100 or 1,000 studies to actually be completed.

While you are waiting, Father Time is eating at your vitality.

I chose not to wait to do something proactive.



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Aging fat as a cause for diabetes – the role of short telomeres

Older coupleOver the past couple of days, I have dug pretty deep into the metabolic associations between obesity, diabetes, and short telomeres. The end result is of course, accelerated aging.

But, more and more I have to tell you, I think aging is the real cause, or at least a major contributing factor to many of the diseases we associate with aging.  In other words, I think we have it ‘bass acwards’.  Fix aging and you’ll probably get rid of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis and cancer, to name a few.

Now understand, we can accelerate the process greatly by eating poorly, sleeping poorly, exercising poorly, or not at all and stressing out more frequently.

From my clinical experience, there is a certain inevitability to many of these diseases and even people who seem to age well eventually get nailed by one or more of them when they run out of telomeres!

So, today I want to share with you a bit about diabetes and how aging fat may cause, or at the very least, contribute to it.

If you look at my most recent blogs, I talk about a hormone-like chemical made by fat cells called adiponectin.  The actions of adiponectin limit appetite, improve sugar control and insulin secretion and are generally anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity.

When fat cells get old, they have the same choices that other cells have. Either kick back in the rocking chair and wait for the grim reaper (senescence), or blow up from the inside out (apoptosis).

It’s pretty easy to imagine an exploding cell being the cause of inflammation, but it’s less clear about the rocking chair senescent ones.  Well, if you’ve read my stuff before, then you are aware of something called senstatic activation or more recently SAPs – the senescent activated phenotype.

Bottom line is, those cells sitting in the rocking chair are fairly oozing pus in terms of inflammatory chemicals.  In the process, they not only become non functional, but they support aging as an inflammatory process all by itself.  The only place I know where you may have heard this before is right here in my blog or my newsletters.  Mark my words, you’ll hear much more about it.

As a consequence of aging, fat cells make less adiponectin and take up less sugar – all of which can lead to or worsen age-related diabetes.

The consequence of all of this is shortened telomeres and a vicious cycle of more inflammation, less adiponectin and more destabilization of blood sugar.

Now here is the kicker.  Depending on the following — genetics, epigenetics and lifestyle — the same processes happen in every other cell and every other disease we associate with aging, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease, all of which are inflammatory.

Short and sweet: Do everything you can to keep your telomeres longer. I won’t belabor those steps here; you’ve heard them all before if you’ve read our book The Immortality Edge or read any of my blogs in the past three years.

Hint: fish oil and TA-65!


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Telomere Length and Metabolic Obesity in Skinny People

telomeres photoI read an interesting article recently. Without going into all the gory scientific details, the gist of the article was as follows: even lean diabetics may have the same metabolic profile and telomere length shortening as non-diabetic obese people, if those lean diabetics have poor sugar control.

What is the big deal? Well, it means that, metabolically speaking, your telomeres really don’t know and certainly don’t care if you are fat with normal sugar levels, or skinny with bad sugar levels.

The central problem is a signaling molecule that comes from fat (yes, fat is very active!) called adiponectin.

In order to make sense of the opening statements, let’s take a brief simple look at this fat made hormone known as adiponectin.

Adiponectin is secreted in very high concentrations relative to other hormones, probably because it is so important to metabolic regulation.  It helps regulate appetite, sugar levels and fat levels in the bloodstream.  When it is present in high levels, blood sugar is reduced, appetite is reduced and fat synthesis is reduced.

All good things.

The problem arises when you get fat.  Then, adiponectin levels go down. This is part of what I refer to as the vicious cycle of obesity. Simply put, you getting fat supports you getting fatter and makes weight loss harder. If you’ve ever been fat or know someone who has been for a while, you know the struggles involved.

Here’s a tip: Being fat is inflammatory, and anti-inflammatory supplements can actually increase adiponectin (good!). This includes our old friend fish oil!

If you are not on fish oil, you should be.

Losing weight and reducing your blood sugar, even if you are not diabetic can also help.

Blood sugar control is another big one!  Poor blood sugar control with large excursions into high blood sugar levels can reduce adiponectin levels (bad).

High triglycerides (blood fats) can also lower adiponectin levels.  Remember, fish oil is good for that too! As a matter of fact, the only current FDA approved use for all the fish oil prescription “drugs” out there is to lower triglycerides.

OK, let’s look at this soon to be household word “adiponectin” and telomere shortening.  There is a linear relationship between adiponectin levels and telomere length.  Higher adiponectin levels equal longer telomeres, all other things being equal. Lower levels, as in obesity and poorly controlled diabetes, metabolic syndrome and most likely, low tissue Omega 3 levels, leads to more rapid shortening of telomeres, all other things being equal.

Now rest assured, Big Pharma is hard at work trying to create an “adiponectin-like” drug, which is bound to have horrendous side effects, the way they all do when you mess with Mother Nature.

Fortunately you can control your adiponectin and your telomere length with the following:

1)      Healthy telomeres*

2)      Healthy body weight

3)      Healthy blood sugar control.

In other words, all the things you already knew!

If you need added incentive let me add this:

Being overweight increases the risk of several cancers including breast, pancreas, and colon.

Being overweight shortens your telomeres and your health and lifespan.

Once you lose telomere length from obesity, studies suggest you do not “get it back”, even by weight loss, unless you actively pursue telomerase activation – see TA-65 below.

You do not need to wait until Big Pharma releases their next round of abominations with all the attendant side effects and problems that are bound to happen, when you isolate one receptor and slam it with a drug that is beyond anything the human body was designed to handle.

If you need help, here are a few suggestions:

1)      For weight loss, Ultra Strength Fat Furnace (I cannot tell you it will control blood sugars in disease states, but I will tell you I put some “healthy sugar support” compounds in there!).

2)      For telomere support/telomerase activation, TA-65, The Telomere Edge Packs or better yet, both!

3)      The world’s best cleanest fish oil.

If you can handle things with diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications and you can KEEP doing that day in and day out every day, you won’t need that help and more power to you.

For the rest of us humans, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just get there!

Dr Dave

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Chasing the wrong rabbit – why cholesterol levels are just a distraction

CholesterolThere is a 30 billion dollar industry supporting the use of statins for both primary prevention and secondary prevention (after the fact) of heart attacks.  Similarly, hundreds of millions in studies have been spent to “justify the use of statins”.  The JUPITER study is the most recent.  I have already commented on my expectation that Big Pharma will try to position statins as “anti-aging” drugs as soon as enough people are saying the words “anti-aging” to make it OK for conservative medical doctors to look at those words without screaming “fraud and quack”.  To jog your memory, recall my comments on the “Is it Low T” scenario. I still laugh at all the abuse I took in the first 8 years of this century until Big Pharma came out with an acceptable drug for “Low T”.

OK, back to cholesterol and the big 30 billion dollar myth.

Statin drugs lower LDL and this is where, purported anti-aging effects notwithstanding, the major focus of the scientific literature has been.

What an absolute waste!

If you look at the Eskimo population that eats a traditional diet, and the traditional Japanese diet as well, you find loads of people who have high cholesterol.  You will also find more than you’d expect with high blood pressure and, especially in the Eskimos, significant obesity.  But you find almost no heart disease.

No, I am not tricking you by misrepresenting high HDL (good cholesterol) as part of this number. Many of these people do have higher than average good cholesterol but they also have LDL bad cholesterols that would prompt any self-respecting family doc, internist or cardiologist to whip out the ubiquitous prescription pad and start writing for statins and more statins.

OK, so it must be genetics or epigenetics, right? Somewhere, buried in the Eskimo and Japanese genome, there is a magic allele (a variant of the typical gene) that allows these people to stave off heart attacks in spite of too much bad cholesterol, right!?


The whole thing is very simply the effect of their diet because when you take these populations and stick them on our food pyramid or “traditional Western Diet” they develop heart disease and all the other things we get, at exactly the same rates, if not more.

Bottom line: the risk of heart disease in any population is directly related to the Omega6/3 levels.  The higher the tissue levels of Omega 3 (and yes, the blood levels as well), the lower the risk of heart disease.

I tell people to shoot for 1 to 1 Omega 6 to 3, but most of these populations are closer to .85. In other words, they are Omega 3 dominant.  And no, they don’t bleed to death (unless you shoot them), they don’t smell like fish, and the LDL particles that are supposedly causing harm in this situation either go away after a few months on a highly dominant Omega 3 diet or, as in the case of the above populations, they don’t matter.

LDL may wander into an inflammatory lesion and get oxidized but the toxic effects are caused by high Omega 6 levels unbalanced (e.g. in the presence of low Omega 3 levels) in the first place.

The real culprit is free fatty acid release from the liver, which must take place in order for cholesterol to be released as well. Free fatty acid release is caused when the liver gets too many calories in a single bolus to handle them, so it sends them out into the blood where they, along with the Omega 6’s, do the damage.

The cure for free fatty acid release is:  Don’t eat so damn much at one sitting!

So heart disease could be reduced by several hundred thousand people a year by combining the following:

1)         Reduced Omega 6 intake

2)         Increased Omega 3 intake

3)         Smaller meals and, if needed, small snacks in between

You can do most of this with diet alone but the majority of people, myself included, like to eat with other people socially and are more “omnivorous” than we might need to be. Secondly, I don’t really like fish all that much and I do not want all the mercury and other toxins that are in many different fish species, even though the FDA says a little mercury won’t hurt.

There are absolutely no long term studies on “a little mercury consumption”.  My way of thinking is a little over a long period of time can be very deadly, especially since mercurial dementia is not a typical part of the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  Also I do not want to count on today’s breed of ADD doctors to remember to check for mercury toxicity in a demented 80-year-old?! NO thanks! I will just avoid mercury.

I can’t count on them to chase the right rabbit!

This is why I have my fish oil purified to parts per trillion.