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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fish Oil

My father asked me about his Fish Oil supplement today, and after doing a considerable amount of research, here is my reply to him. I thought it might be of interest to others.
As you say in your note to me, the term “pharmaceutical grade” may indeed be a marketing ploy; I wasn’t aware of that. Your research disclosed valuable information.

In addition to purity and the absence of mercury and other contaminants, an important aspect of fish oil is the total omega-3 (DHA plus EPA) content. Your pharmacist’s recommendation of 3,000 mg a day sounds like it’s in the right ballpark. (For example, I use about 4,900 mg per day.) There’s no harm taking more because, as Andrew Stoll, M.D. points out in The Omega-3 Connection,“If you are using omega-3 fatty acids for health, mood, or cognitive enhancement, 1 to 2 grams (1000-2000 milligrams) daily of total omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA) is probably adequate. If you are using them for mood elevation or stabilization, a higher amount is sometimes required. . . . I have no experience using EPA in dosages exceeding 8 grams per day, but higher levels seem to be safe, since the traditional Greenland Eskimo diet consisted of up to 14 grams per day” (pg. 209) (emphasis supplied).

Nature’s Bounty (which you use) provides 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA = 300 total omega-3 per capsule. They recommend 3 capsules per day for a total of 900 mg omega-3. To get your pharmacist’s recommendation, simply take 10 caps per day. (As Stoll points out, there are a wide range of effective safe dosages and 3000 mg per day is probably well within the safe range.)

Nature’s Bounty doesn’t specify what kind of fish is used, where it’s from, or what the levels of mercury might be. They claim to meet the FDA’s standards. But the FDA’s standards are the least stringent of all regulating agencies (source: Environmental Defense Fund – http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=19376) (Accessed 2/28/09). They do, however, meet the standards of the Council for Responsible Nutrition – a trade association comprising many supplement companies – which established voluntary standards equal to or more stringent than those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Because of the low cost of Nature’s Bounty it might be an acceptable choice for now. I would, however, keep my eyes open for other options too since at some point you may wish to consider the convenience of a liquid supplement.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Resveratrol

Not to be outdone by other researchers who were discovering exciting things in the field of longevity, some scientists went on to claim that there must be an ingredient in red wine that helped people avoid heart attack and stroke. They isolated resveratrol and the rest is history. But not so fast! We don't know for sure that resveratrol is the factor that confers the advantage of longer life. But many people are turning with renewed enthusiasm to the wine of the month.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caffeine

I have been reading a book entitled Caffeine Blues which is all about the harmful effects of caffeine and coffee. But the book is rather one-sided so I decided to read another book, The Caffeine Advantage which not surprisingly is all about the benefits of caffeine and coffee and tea. But neither book does much to address both sides of the issue. The latter does discuss some of the sleep-disturbance potential of caffeine (as well as its ability to "cure" jet lag). But it doesn't mention homocysteine. As any nutritionist can tell you, coffee raises homocysteine and you don't want that to happen since it can lead to heart attack and stroke.1 (Tea apparently does not raise homocysteine in most people.)2

References
  1. Helga Refsum, Eha Nurk, A. David Smith, Per M. Ueland, Clara G. Gjesdal, Ingvar Bjelland, Aage Tverdal, Grethe S. Tell, Ottar Nyg√•rd, and Stein E. Vollset. 2006. “The Hordaland Homocysteine Study: A Community-Based Study of Homocysteine, Its Determinants, and Associations with Disease.” J. Nutr. 136:1731S-1740S, June. (Accessed Feb 26, 2009).
  2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 77, No. 4, 907-911, April 2003. “Can black tea influence plasma total homocysteine concentrations?” Jonathan M Hodgson, Valerie Burke, Lawrence J Beilin, Kevin D Croft and Ian B Puddey. But see, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 73, No. 3, 532-538, March 2001. “Consumption of high doses of chlorogenic acid, present in coffee, or of black tea increases plasma total homocysteine concentrations in humans.” Margreet R Olthof, Peter C Hollman, Peter L Zock and Martijn B Katan. (Accessed Feb 26, 2009). This study based its tea conclusions on feeding people 4 grams of black tea solids.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Heroes of Sleep

There is nothing more important than sleep, unless it's a good night's sleep. And nothing helps sleep like exercise during the day. Strength training has the effect of making a person produce more melatonin at night. This in turn leads to sounder sleep. There is solid evidence that strenuous exercise during the day can result in the body being more liable to slip into stage 4 sleep, also known as delta sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep. Also important is having a good sleep number bed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tea and Caffeine

Dr. Mercola says: "A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in July 2008 found that caffeine from tea (as opposed to caffeine from coffee) contains a natural protein called theanine, which actually counters the normal side effects of caffeine such as raised blood pressure, headaches and tiredness." Put more simply, this means that tea may be safer than coffee not only because tea contains less caffeine, but also because the theanine in tea mitigates certain deleterious effects of caffeine. Intriguing, to say the least. It's almost as if Nature were offering us a solution to the hazards of caffeine. I'll certainly be doing more research on this topic and posting it here.

References
  1. "Is Tea Healthier Than Water?" "Dr. [Joseph] Mercola's Comments." http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/09/30/is-tea-healthier-than-water.aspx (accessed Jan. 27, 2009).
  2. "L-Theanine and Caffeine in Combination Affect Human Cognition as Evidenced by Oscillatory alpha-Band Activity and Attention Task Performance." J. Nutr. 138:1572S-1577S, August 2008. Supplement: Proceedings of the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health. Simon P. Kelly, Manuel Gomez-Ramirez, Jennifer L. Montesi and John J. Foxe. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/138/8S-I/1572S (accessed Jan. 27, 2009). (Discusses interaction of L-Theanine and caffeine.)

Motorcycles

I used to have a Harley-Davidson. But it was not the best vehicle for me because I did not have the best balance and often fell off the bike, especially when riding in the off-track terrain and on beaches. It was a beautiful machine, however. I miss it. In fact I wish I was able to ride that bike today, but alas it was stolen. My favorite motorcycle brand is a Harley. I do not know anything much about motorcycle accident attorneys.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Importance of Good Posture

Posture is important, but many people don't realize that the cumulative damage done to joints and bones can cause problems later in life. Poor posture when you're young can lead to difficulties when you're an adult. This is why we always strive to maintain good posture in our spa on Lake Huron. We advise people to take it easy, to relax, but never to slouch. We don't hesitate to use couches and easy chairs that are comfortable but also structurally sound, that is, furniture that can help the spine. We sometimes even use discount furniture.

Warning: Fiber May Kill You


This video is by a friend of mine, Konstantin Monastyrsky. His research is fascinating, and the information he presents in this video is sure to be controversial. But his facts are persuasive, and if he's right, America has made a big mistake in embracing a high fiber diet!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Supplements for Pets

Naturally this health blog focuses on the benefits of supplements and vitamins for human health. But once one realizes that health is composed of many elements, one may wish to bring health to one's pets. I myself do not have any pets, but if I did I would certainly have a horse. A thoroughbred horse can provide a great deal of income if it wins races. And I would always make sure to give the animal plenty of horse supplements.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chocolate Malt Ovaltine Drinks

Since, I stopped drinking coffee I shifted to Chocolate Malt Ovaltine. And it's quite tasty and delicious. I really love it. Well, Ovaltine is a popular chocolate malt drink, and it is sold as a powder-like substance which is mixed with hot or cold milk as a beverage. It is essentially a chocolate drink mix with the addition of malt extract, and sometimes fortified with vitamins. I hope that there's no harmful ingredients in it; then I can enjoy it more this winter. But before I go on further let me check this flour moth traps first.