Zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and prostate cancer survival

A study in Sweden examining the effects of zinc and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA on mortality in prostate cancer patients was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in April. Five-hundred twenty-five men with prostate cancer were followed for twenty years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Baseline dietary habits, stage of cancer at diagnosis, and deaths over the twenty years were recorded and analyzed.1

The authors chose to investigate these two nutrients because zinc and omega-3s share the common action of attenuating the inflammatory response, and chronic systemic inflammation may fuel prostate cancer progression. Importantly, zinc and DHA are both difficult to obtain on a plant-based diet.

Zinc is especially concentrated in the prostate, but zinc levels become depleted in cancerous cells. Addition of zinc to cultured prostate cancer cells leads to cell death, possibly by suppressing the activity of inflammatory molecules. A previous study found that long-term zinc supplementation was associated with reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer.2

In the current study, the researchers organized the study participants into quartiles according to their intakes of zinc and DHA. In men who were diagnosed at with early stage cancers, the highest quartile of zinc intake (15.7 mg zinc daily or more) was associated with a 74% reduction in risk of death from prostate cancer compared to the lowest quartile (12.8 mg zinc daily or less). Absorption of zinc tends to be low on a vegan diet – beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds have high zinc content, however these foods also contain substances that inhibit the aborption of zinc.3 A 2009 study of vegetarians found a high prevalence of zinc deficiency.4 To correct for bioavailability, the zinc requirement for vegans may be as much as 50% higher than that of omnivores.5

I recommend zinc supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral to ensure sufficient zinc intake in vegans or those who minimize animal foods.

The connection between omega-3 intake and prostate cancer is somewhat complex. For example, flaxseed oil was found to increase prostate cancer risk, whereas whole flaxseed, EPA, and DHA were found to be protective.6,7,8 EPA and DHA are known to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.9 In this study, the highest quartile of DHA intake was associated with 30% reduced risk of overall prostate cancer mortality, and a 45% risk reduction in men diagnosed at early stages, supporting the idea that DHA is protective against prostate cancer. Plant foods contain ALA, which can be elongated to DHA, but the major food source of DHA is fish, which often contains pollutants and is not acceptable for vegetarians and vegans. For these reasons, I recommend a laboratory cultivated DHA supplement made from micro-algae, which is also a more environmentally sustainable option than fish or fish oil.



1. Meyer MS, Kasperzyk JL, Andren O, et al. Anti-inflammatory nutrients and prostate cancer survival in the Örebro Prostate Cancer Survivors Cohort. [Abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; 2010. Abstract nr 5747

MedPageToday. AACR: Zinc Linked to Prostate Cancer Survival. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AACR/19685

2. Gonzalez A, Peters U, Lampe JW, White E. Zinc intake from supplements and diet and prostate cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(2):206-15.

3. Hunt JR. Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(suppl):633S–9S.

4. de Bortoli MC, Cozzolino SM. Zinc and selenium nutritional status in vegetarians. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2009 Mar;127(3):228-33.

5. Frassinetti S, Bronzetti G, Caltavuturo L, et al. The role of zinc in life: a review. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2006;25(3):597-610.

6. Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr 2004 Apr;134(4):919-22

7. Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, et al. Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Dec;17(12):3577-87.

8. Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Michaud DS, et al. Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the risk of prostate cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jul;80(1):204-16.

9. Spencer L, Mann C, Metcalfe M, et al. The effect of omega-3 FAs on tumour angiogenesis and their therapeutic potential. Eur J Cancer. 2009 Aug;45(12):2077-86. 

Omega-3 fatty acids slow cellular aging

DNAIn coronary heart disease (CHD) patients, higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in the blood are associated with survival.1,2 Since patients with higher circulating omega-3s seemed to live longer, scientists wondered whether these patients were actually aging more slowly. 

They were able to indirectly measure rate of aging by measuring the telomere shortening rate in the patients’ white blood cells. Telomeres are regions of DNA at the ends of linear chromosomes – since telomeres are shortened during each cell division as DNA is replicated, telomere shortening is an indicator of aging at the DNA level. Faster telomere shortening means faster aging.

Blood levels of EPA and DHA and white blood cell telomere length were measured in CHD patients at baseline and again after 5 years.  The patients who had the lowest omega-3 levels had the fastest rates of telomere shortening, and those with the highest omega-3 levels had the slowest rates of telomere shortening. 

Omega-3s may in fact slow aging at the DNA level.

Omega-3 fatty acids, have several health benefits , and more benefits continue to be uncovered. In addition to slowing the aging process, in the past year alone the omega-3 fatty acid DHA has been suggested to promote cognitive development, prevent atherosclerotic plaque development, curb inflammation, and protect against cancer. 

Read more about the newly found health benefits of DHA, and why it may be both safer and more environmentally sound to use an algae-based DHA supplement, like my DHA Purity, instead of fish oil. I also still strongly recommend that certain seeds and nuts rich in the omega-3 ALA, such as flax, chia, hemp, or walnuts are important to be included in the diet as well for other documented health benefits. 

 

References:

1. Chattipakorn N et al. Cardiac mortality is associated with low levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the heart of cadavers with a history of coronary heart disease. Nutr Res. 2009 Oct;29(10):696-704.

2. Farzaneh-Far R et al. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7. 

Risky Fish Fat Builds Brain Power - Try Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity Instead

Dr. Fuhrman says our modern diet is very low in omega-3 fatty acids, which raises risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. And now, a new study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims omega-3’s from fish may be the key to staving off dementia and mental decline.

If fish does protect the aging brain, researchers believe that the benefits probably come from the omega-3 fatty acids found most abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna.

Lab studies show that omega-3 fats have a number of properties that could help stave off dementia -- including actions that protect nerve cells, limit inflammation and help prevent the build-up of the amyloid proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

These latest findings are based on surveys of 14,960 adults age 65 or older living in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru or Venezuela.

It’s true. Fish is high in brain-building fat, but Dr. Fuhrman points out most varieties of fish—especially tilefish and mackerel—are heavily polluted with mercury. Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity is a contamination-free omega–3 fatty acid supplement, but if you must have fish, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s opinion on it.

We are finding out each year that fish is even more polluted than we thought. Even farm raised fish not only contains mercury, but other chemicals, antibiotics and algaecides that are potentially risky for us and the environment. Of course, we have to avoid the high mercury fish such as swordfish, mackerel, pike, shark and even tuna, but the farm-raised fish is not harmless or a health food either.

Though fish is touted as a health food, because of its lower levels of saturated fats and higher omega-3, the reality is that most of the fish available in the market today is farm-raised and does not have significant amounts of omega-3, and neither should it be considered health food. Consuming too much fish has clear risks.  Instead, restrict your fish consumption and assure omega-3 adequacy with either an algae-derived DHA supplement, plus walnuts and ground flax seeds, or take a purified fish oil (certified to be contamination free). I of course would prefer people take the plant-derived DHA (cultivated for this purpose), and not harm our oceans, the wildlife, and pollute the natural habitats trying to feed the world with fish-derived omega-3.

And visit DrFuhrman.com for more on Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity supplement.

Image credit: geoftheref

Omega-3s: Healthy Fats You May Not Be Getting Enough Of...

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain fatty acids. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in some green vegetables, walnuts, and flax, chia, and hemp seeds. The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies are only capable of converting a small amount of these short chain fats to long-chain omega-3 fats, called docoshexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, seeds and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others cannot. Men generally convert less than women. Conversion of ALA by the body to these longer-chain fatty acids is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and only 2-5% for DHA.1

DHA is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. It has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

  • Improves your child's intelligence
  • Aids depression and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Improves memory
  • Important for brain and eye development
  • Promotes smoother skin; prevents wrinkles
  • Helps prevent heart disease and arthritis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer's and senior dementia
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol

These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae which serve as the source of DHA and EPA in fish. Although, fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. Therefore, it can not be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish have been shown to contain fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB's and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish also contains mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC's threshold for safety is high). Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia.

Some nutritional advisors encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to promote the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.1 In contrast, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.3

I prefer people not consume much fish to assure sufficient consumption or conversion of omega-3s. Since the ability to self-convert short chain ALA into long-chain DHA is so variable from person to person, I recommend a mixture of natural omega-3 containing plants plus some extra plant-derived DHA. I advise people obtain their omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and by also taking a daily DHA supplement like my DHA Purity. My DHA Purity is a laboratory cultivated DHA product made from microalgae. It is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination or unnecessary disruption of our ocean life. 

1. Davis, B. C. and P. M. Kris-Etherton. Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(3 Suppl):640S-646S. Brenna, J. T. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2002;5(2):127-32.

2. Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr 2004 Apr;134(4):919-22.

3. Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features. Urology 2001 Jul;58(1):47-52.

Image credit: niznoz

Vegetarians Have Less Cancer Risk than Meat-Eaters -- UPDATE --

New findings in the British Journal of Cancer reveal of the 60,000 Britons studied those who were vegetarian—half of them—had a lower risk of developing cancer, compared to meat-eaters. The research followed participants for 12.2 years, with 3,350 incidences of cancer. The number of meat-ears who developed cancer was 2,204 and 829 among vegetarians—only 317 fish-eaters got cancer. Overall, vegetarians were 12% less likely to get cancer; Medical News Today reports.

But vegetarian and vegan diets most often aren’t ideal. Dr. Fuhrman points out many vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in things like omega-3’s, found in fish. Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity can help. It’s derived from microalgae and supplies plenty of brain-building omega–3 fatty acids.

In related news, animal fat was shown to raise the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, while leafy green vegetables—such as kale and cabbage—help fight and protect against cancer.

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some additional thoughts: 

A vegan diet can be ideal if well designed as can be a diet with a small amount of animal products, such as one or two servings a week. A nutritarian diet is designed to reverse disease and promote longer life, and features:

  • Adequate depth and variety of nutrient-rich natural foods
  • Limited animal products, but adequate ALA/EPA/DHA
  • Adequate whole food plant fats and proteins from seeds, nuts and beans
  • High intake of green and cruciferous vegetables
  • Careful attention to supplements or lab tests to assure no deficiencies are present with genetic variation of absorption and variable needs

Image credit: Carly & Art

Fatty Acids Improve Heart Health in Diabetics

A new study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, shows omega-3 fatty acids lower blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known to raise the risk of heart disease. For the study, 81 diabetics were randomly assigned to groups receiving daily omega-3 supplements or a placebo. After two months, data revealed a 22% reduction of homocysteine in the omega groups, compared to only 1% for the placebo group; Nutra Ingredients explains.

Omega-3s are powerful stuff, found in foods like flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to slower progression of age-related vision loss, reduced inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease, and less likelihood of repeat stroke. Not too shabby!

In March, a study showed fatty acids help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Good thing Dr. Fuhrman sells a DHA supplement that provides essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Image credit: CarbonNYC

What Vegans May Be Missing...

Certainly a plant-based diet which minimizes animal products is the best approach for losing weight, preventing and reversing disease, and optimizing health. However, those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and those not consuming fatty fish like salmon each week, should be aware of recent studies that suggest they may be deficient in a critical and essential nutrient, especially EPA & DHA, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fat and is the precursor of the longer chain omega 3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and to a lesser extent DHA can be made in the body from ALA. Primary sources of these fatty acids are certain fish and seafood.

As a result, vegetarian, and especially vegan, diets provide little EPA and DHA directly. A recent study reviewed the varying dietary fat intake across vegetarians, vegans, omnivores, and semi omnivores and its impact on essential omega-3 fatty acid availability in tissues. It concluded that vegetarians were left with reduced levels of omega-3 and recommended that they consume additional direct sources of EPA and DHA, regardless of age or gender, for physical, mental and neurological health benefits.1

In addition, ALA, EPA, and DHA are especially important for the prevention of certain cancers, particularly those of the breast and colon, and possibly of the uterus and the skin, and are likely to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, manic-depressive psychosis, dementias, Parkinson's, hypertension, toxemia, diabetes, and to a certain extent, age-related macular degeneration.2

Although vegetarian diets are generally lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than are non-vegetarian diets and may appear to offer cardiovascular health benefits due to higher intakes of antioxidants and fiber, the lack of direct EPA or DHA dietary sources may cause an adverse effect.3,4

With all of this documented research, it is not surprising that when I draw blood for fatty acid analysis on many of my patients, I find that a large percentage of individuals who do not eat fish or seafood regularly do not have optimal levels of DHA, even those eating walnuts and flaxseeds on a regular basis. I often see patients eating otherwise excellent diets with itchy dry skin, seborrheac dermatitis and other signs of DHA deficiency.

Although, there are some vegans and vegetarians regularly consuming walnuts and flaxseeds (which supply adequate ALA) may produce enough DHA on their own and may not require supplementation. However, because this issue is so imperative to their health it should be confirmed with a blood test before assuming that the conversion level is adequate. In order to assure optimal production of DHA fat, without recommending that the consumption of fish or refined fish oils, I recommend taking a vegetable sourced DHA supplement. DHA alone can deliver the same benefits of fish oil, since the intake of DHA can cause a natural retro-conversion to EPA internally.

Laboratory cultivated DHA is made from microalgae and is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination. It is grown in the laboratory, not collected in the wild. It has no mercury or other toxins, which is a concern even for non-vegans who are cautious about eating fish or seafood.

DHA has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

There are other problems with consuming fish oils. The main problem is that the fat turns rancid as it sits on store shelves. As a result, many people complain of burping, indigestion, a foul taste, and long lasting fish-breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat can place a stress on the liver. Patients of mine have had blood tests showing abnormal liver function when consuming fish oil in significant amounts and then have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.

Fortunately, vegetable derived DHA, from microalgae, is an alternative. However, even algae derived DHA can become rancid if not cared for properly. We go through great lengths to deliver the purest and freshest DHA product available on the market today. My DHA Purity is manufactured under strict conditions to ensure purity. Every step of the way, from production to packaging, transportation and storage, this product is kept refrigerated and handled to ensure optimal freshness.

In conjunction with a high nutrient, plant-based diet, I advise all people take a daily DHA supplement from a clean source. Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

1. Kornsteiner M, Singer I, Elmadfa I. Very low n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid status in Austrian vegetarians and vegans. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008; 52(1):37-47.

2. Bourre JM Dietary omega-3 fatty acids for women. Biomed Pharmacother. 2007; 61(2-3):105 12.

3. Davis BC; Kris-Etherton PM Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003; 78(3 Suppl):640S-646S

4. Lee HY; Woo J; Chen ZY; Leung SF; Peng XH Serum fatty acid, lipid profile and dietary intake of Hong Kong Chinese omnivores and vegetarians. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000; 54(10):768-73.

Image credit: CB Photography

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Lower Inflammation

New findings in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition show high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids result in less inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. For the study, experts divided 124 adults into groups based on the amount of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation linked to heart disease, in their blood and found an inverse relationship between fatty acids and C-reactive protein, greater levels of omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA helped reduce the risk of inflammation; Nutra Ingredients reports.

Walnuts a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. I eat some everyday. Actually, omega-3’s also help prevent stroke, lower the incidence of prostate cancer and reduce risk of type-1 diabetes in children. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own fatty acid supplement, DHA Purity.

In February, a study showed omega-3 fatty acids help protect the liver from damage caused by obesity, reducing inflammation and improving insulin tolerance.

Image credit: flora.cyclam

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985), a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.

Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate, this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.

When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.

Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.

More than 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by resting tremor, muscular rigidity, gait problems and impaired ability to initiate movements. Recent scientific findings show diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have a protective effect on this type of neurodegenerative disease. Studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and thereby modify brain functions leading to reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.1

A recent study examined mice which were exposed to two diets; one group was fed a diet with DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids; while the other group was given ordinary food, lacking DHA. After a period of time they were given a dose of a chemical that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's disease. The mice on the DHA diet seemed to be immune to the effects of the chemical, whereas the mice that ate ordinary food developed symptoms of the disease.

According to the researchers, among the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation - in particular DHA - omega-3 fatty acids replaced the omega-6 fatty acids in their brains. Due to the fact that concentrations of other omega-3s (LNA and EPA) had maintained levels in both groups of mice, the researchers suggested that the protective effect against Parkinson's indeed came from DHA.2

Another conclusion drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may create a fertile ground for developing Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, are abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, which we already know contribute negatively to our health.

Another study observed the effect of DHA on monkeys treated with MPTP, a drug that induces Parkinson's like symptoms, and the results suggested that DHA can reduce the severity of, or delay the development of these drug-induced symptoms and therefore can offer therapeutic benefits in the treatment of Parkinson's. 3

Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. All the good efforts on proper nutrition can be undone with one deficiency such as Vitamin D, B12, or DHA. I see this every week in my practice.

History repeats itself: Some authors, doctors and leaders of the vegan movement today are heavily biased towards the idea of not needing these supplements. They simply give inadequate nutritional advice and in spite of all the science they still pooh-pooh taking long-chain omega-3 DHA. They are risking the quality of their own lives and that of their followers.

Likewise, I have seen so many vegan-promoting doctors and authors negate the need for taking B12, as well as dismiss the need to take vitamin D, stating minimal sunshine is enough. They also deny the need for omega-3 supplementation. There is so much scientific literature available today pointing to the contrary, however, this irresponsible information keeps radiating from the podium of lecture halls.

It reminds me of all the statements in the past, that the need for B12 was exaggerated and that the small amount of bacteria on organic produce or in seaweed was sufficient.

TC Fry (1926 - 1996), another long-term Natural Hygienist, raw foodest, vegetarian-fruitarian, advocated you did not need supplements as food contained all that we need. He died of an atherosclerotic-related embolism at the age of 70. I saw his hospital record at his death and reviewed his blood work drawn immediately prior to his death. It was quite revealing. He had severe B12, deficiency, so long-standing that his B12 levels were almost undetectable and the lowest I have ever seen. It is kind of interesting reading internet interpretations of why he died, such as "did not practice what he preached," "cheated on his diet," "too much sex," "ozone treatments for his vascular disease". He died prematurely simply because long-standing B12 deficiency leads to extremely high homocysteine levels, which can cause intra-vascular inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

I have seen this over and over again in vegans not supplementing with B12. I even had a patient with extremely severe hyper-homocysteinemia and vascular disease who flew in to see me from Scandinavia. When I diagnosed the problem and discussed how to solve it, she still refused to take the B12 supplements, stating that Dr. Shelton and Dr. Vetrano said that nature provided us with all that we need in natural plant foods. She flew home angry that I disagreed. She died soon after.

Don't be fooled into thinking that by merely eating right you are doing all you can do to protect your health. People must be made aware that by neglecting to take the supplements that are essential to assuring nutritional excellence, they are putting themselves in harm's way. Specifically, not taking DHA, B12 and vitamin D can be potentially dangerous and even life threatening.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity is a pure, fresh, all vegan, concentrated liquid. This DHA is derived from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions.

1. Calon F ; Cole G Neuroprotective action of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids against neurodegenerative diseases: evidence from animal studies. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007; 77(5-6):287-93

2. M. Bousquet, M. Saint-Pierre, C. Julien , N. Salem, Jr., F. Cicchetti and F. Calon Beneficial effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid on toxin-induced neuronal degeneration in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:1213-1225.

3. Samadi P ; Grégoire L ; Rouillard C ; Bédard PJ ; Di Paolo T ; Lévesque D Docosahexaenoic acid reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesias in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine monkeys. Ann Neurol. 2006; 59(2):282-8

Image credit: merwinglittle dear

Omega-3 DHA Revs Up Heart Health in Men

New findings in the Journal of Nutrition claim supplementing with omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may lower inflammation in men with elevated levels of triglycerides (hyperrtriglyceridaemia). Participants, 34 men with hyperrtriglyceridaemia, ages 39 to 66, were given a placebo or DHA supplement for 45 days. Results showed DHA decreased the levels of circulating white blood cells, down 11.7%, and these reductions continued until the end of the 90-day study; via Nutraingredients.

In January, a study determined infants of breastfeeding mothers taking a DHA supplement scored better on development tests and had less mental delay. Makes sense, Dr. Fuhrman lists a host of mental problems associated with deficiency in DHA fatty acids, such as depression and dyslexia.

Time for some shameless promotion! Hey, it’s relevant. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own DHA supplement. It’s derived from micro algae, is free of environmental contaminants and is 100% vegan.

Image credit: juanjoseixas