Doctor's Note

The thrilling conclusion to my latest omega-3 series—Should We Take DHA Supplements to Boost Brain Function?—will have to wait on the publication of new trial data later this year. I’ve had access to the results but want to be able to show it to everyone from a peer-reviewed source.

In the meantime, here are the links to my most recent omega-3 videos:

If the no-heart-benefit surprised you, check out Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?

If the link with diabetes surprised you, see:

More on PCBs in Food Sources of PCB Chemical Pollutants, and more on other pollutants in:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your NutritionFacts.org account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • Tom Goff

    Dr G clearly believes in the old Music Hall (Am = Vaudeville) adage of “always leave them wanting more”.

    • laura

      I know what you mean..so is algae is okay?

      • Tom Goff

        That’s the question, isn’t it? And do you mean the actual algae or the oil derived from them? Looks like we will have to wait until tomorrow for the answers.

      • Panchito

        The Okinawans ate seaweed and they probably lived longer than the smart people advising you not to eat seaweed.

        • Mikkeli22

          Of course the longevity of the Okinawans might be due to other things, probably mainly their 90+% whole-foods plant-based diet. :) http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/

        • alphaa10

          The Okinawan longevity records were established just as the oceans became critically polluted. Post-WW2, industrial dumping into rivers and streams soared, not to mention ocean dumping, itself.

      • Kevin

        At the end he said that his recommendations weren’t just for heart health, but brain health as well. So they are not only ok they are great.

      • Ronald Green
  • michellevegan

    Are there contraindications for omega 3 DHA/EPA consumption? They (even the vegan DHA pills) make me emotionally sad, depressed, lethargic, when I take them. Especially the pills that have lots more DHA than EPA. I also get occasional bloody nose, as though DHA is thinning the blood too much.

    • Alex

      probably the EPA ‘thinning’ the blood. Who knows, maybe your polyuns are rancid.

    • The best plan is to only take supplements if the need is verified by testing. A serum test would determine your need.

    • Dominic
    • Rebecca Cody

      Whew! I’m out of breath from just listening to that fast-talking doctor. I am homozygous for MTHFR, but now I’m going to check to see if I have the FOXO3 longevity gene. I bet my Uncle Paul has that one. He eats hamburgers and other such things, and has most days since his wife died about 20 years ago, because he scarcely knows where the kitchen is. But he’s still sharp and still driving as he approaches 92. He needs new knees, but says he wants to be buried with all his original parts!

      • precie

        That’s funny Rebecca you being out of breath listening that fast talking doctor. But he’s the best.

    • David Sprouse MS PA-C NF Mod

      Interesting you should mention this, Michelle. According to this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20439549 and this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21939614 it looks like the EPA may be more important than DHA, at least when it comes to treatment of depression. Only supplements containing >60% EPA seemed to be effective. Note that I’m *not* suggesting DHA is bad (we know it’s absolutely essential for brain development, etc). Also, these were studies using relatively high doses of supplements as a “nutraceutical” to treat a specific medical condition rather than lower amounts for long-term disease prevention.

    • Stephanie Mazal

      Michelle, as Dr. G says in the beginning of this video, you can get all you need from a Tbsp of chia seeds or flax seeds. The ALA in those seeds is converted into EPA and DHA by our bodies.

      • Thea

        Stephanie Mazal: After the video talks about chia and flax seeds, it goes on to say, “Our body can then take the short chain ALA from our diet and elongate it into the long chain omega 3’s EPA and DHA, but the question has long been, can our bodies make enough for optimal health?”
        .
        That question is key. Can our bodies convert enough? That’s the question that I believe Dr. Greger intends to answer in a future video.

        • Stephanie Mazal

          I’ll be eager to see that video. I have read in the past (I’ll have to dig up some reputable sources) that those of us who eat ALA (flax/chia seeds, leafy greens), and not the pre-formed DHA/EPA are better able to convert ALA into EPA/DHA. People who are already eating fish/fish oil, will not convert much ALA from plant foods into DHA/EPA since their body has already gotten it. For people on a plant-based diet whose only source of Omega 3s are from ALA, their bodies do a more efficient job with the conversion.

          • Thea

            I have read the same thing! I have been wanting to find a source/study for that information though and have been unsuccessful so far. Thanks for your reply.
            .
            Addendum: But even if a body that eats whole plant foods can convert more ALA to DHA/EPA than animal eaters, does such a body convert enough? That still remains the question.

          • Stephanie Mazal

            OK, I found a source. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. November 2010, Vol 92, Number 5, Pages 1040-1051. The vegans in the study actually had highest levels of DHA (which most sources say it’s harder for the body to convert ALA into DHA, than it is to convert ALA into EPA) compared to the fish eaters, non-fish-eating meat-eaters, and vegetarians. This was despite the fact that they consumed less omega 3s.

          • Stephanie Mazal
          • Thea

            Just what I needed! Thanks again!

          • Thea

            Stephanie: You are *awesome*!! Thanks!

          • Stephanie Mazal

            No problem! Enjoy in good health and happiness.

          • DA

            Thank you so much Stephanie! –Great sleuthing.

        • Riaan De Winnaar

          Thing is, unless is a fountain of youth, nothing is going to override billions of years of evolution. If your body and a biologically correct diet does not provide it then you don’t need it. B12 excluded, modern hygiene makes B12 supplements essential.
          Not saying that more of something might not be beneficial, just that this would need to be proven otherwise it’s speculation.

          • Thea

            Riaan: re: “… nothing is going to override billions of years of evolution. If your body and a biologically correct diet does not provide it then you don’t need it.” I don’t disagree with that sentiment in a vacuum. However, like the modern environment prevents us from getting B12, one question is whether the modern environment allows us to get the omega 3s that we need. It’s my understanding that *none* of the foods we eat today are the foods that were eaten by our most ancient ancestors. Modern humans would not like those historical foods. Another thought is that figuring out the biologically correct diet is not as simple as it would seem. That’s what all the controversy is about…

          • I actually think a biologically correct diet is easy to establish. Eat like the animal you most look like. I am an ape so I consume macronutrients in the same proportions as what would be ideal for apes. We probably think ourselves way to special to effectively think outside the box. We were fruitarians and evolved to starchitarians (and probably occasional meat scavengers) when we moved from the equator. Plants have certainly been domesticated but there is still entire populations living on rice or potatoes that doesn’t supplement. As with B12, omega 3 needs to be proven and the lack in modern diet logically explained.

            I think that if you don’t consume additional omega 6’s and 9’s you probably don’t need any additional 3’s. The ratio of these are important, not the quantity. We did not all evolve on the cost with an abundance of fish and omega 3’s, lucky back then there were also virtually no 6’s or 9’s in our diet. It would just be silly to think I would need something for optimum survival that my body does not synthesize nor my optimal diet provides.

            Potentially the closest a population of humans have gotten to an ideal diet.

          • Riaan De Winnaar

            The question is how much is enough? As we know, with the “essential” fatty acids ratios matters more than levels. If your not consuming 6’s and 9’s you probably don’t require anymore 3’s than a whole food plant based diet provides. Your understanding about modern food is widely exaggerated, its changed somewhat over time. Nutrients are still the same at varying levels. If we need more omega 3’s that is an evolutionary adaption to eating fish, which would then be the only adaption we’ve made to meat… This only works if we all evolved on the coast, which we didn’t. It needs to make some sense at least.

          • Riaan De Winnaar

            “Another thought is that figuring out the biologically correct diet is not as simple as it would seem.”
            Sure I replied to this. A biologically correct diet is simple. Anatomically I am an ape. Thus biologically my diet should be very low in fat, moderately low in protein and very high in carbs. Probably 85/10/5.

            Biologically means what your mouth, stomach and intestines are suited to, this will always correspond with what your physique enables you to find/hunt

      • TR M

        It is a 9 step process to convert short to long chain. If you are low or missing certain enzymes then it just isn’t going to happen at the level you need.

  • Julie

    Some people have the gene polymorphism that increases the conversion of omega 3-ALA into EPA, while others have the gene that reduces this conversion. Nutrigenomics, the study of the interaction between nutrition and genes, is a new and fascinating field.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVV2RFEiqN4 (ALA to EPA gene covered @ 6:36).

    • michellevegan

      Speaking of conversion, how about B12 cyanocobalamin form? Bad reactions to it for me. Other forms as well – methyl and hydrocobalamin, bad skin reactions, and heightened stress reactions.

      • Julie

        Yes, our ability to methylate vitamin B12 and folate are certainly genetic. She covers the MTHFR gene in detail at the beginning of the video.

        • michellevegan

          So what is one to do if they can’t tolerate B12 supplements, but wants to be vegan?

          • Julie

            Maybe try a methylcobalamin in spray form which absorbs under your tongue.

      • Mikkeli22

        Maybe you could be allergic to some ingredient in the suppelement, an ingredient other than the vitamin B12 (cobalamin) itself? Perhaps you could check the ingredient list of the supplement and see if any of the ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. I don’t think they would use any known allergens (even if the allergies from them are rare) in supplements, though.
        How have you isolated your reactions to be caused by the supplements? Do the reactions come soon after taking the supplement and then go away once you just taking it and then the reactions don’t happen any other time?

        How big doses are you taking? Maybe you could try smaller doses as well? Do you get bad reactions to B12-fortified foods? B12 fortified foods contain 100 times smaller amounts of B12 (for example, 2.5 mcg versus 250 mcg) compared to many supplements. I think trying to see if you get the bad reactions from B12-fortified foods as well could help you determine whether your reactions are cause indeed by the B12 (cobalamin) itself or by an added ingredient in B12 supplements.

        I really hope and believe that you can find a way to get your vitamin B12 without any problems and continue thriving and rocking it on the awesome vegan lifestyle. :)

        • michellevegan

          No allergy to added ingredients. Tried them all, all B12 forms, shots, you name it.
          I am not the only one intolerant to B12 supplements. Others have complained and
          warned about longterm body changes for the worse as result of taking B12 supplements.
          Maybe the human immune system reacts adversely, regardless of dosage.

          Thanks for your time and thoughts.

          • sf_jeff

            “Maybe the human immune system reacts adversely, regardless of dosage.”

            Or it is also possible this is the parachute effect. You can try getting the droppers, then putting a single dropper in a gallon of water, then try using shots of the water. If your body tolerates that, it is likely that that is supplement enough for a vegan if you do it frequently.

    • mbglife

      In past videos Dr Greger says that it doesn’t matter which form of B12 one takes. But he mentions in his book, How Not to Die, that we should take the cyanocobolamin form because other forms have not proved to be efficacious. I take methylcobolamin and blood tests from my annual physical always shows high levels of B12. Does this mean that I am getting benefit from the methyl form, or does it mean that I might have a form in my blood that presents high but isn’t of use to my body? I’ll likely switch, but I’ve got so much of the methyl form that I hate to discard it or buy more if I don’t need to.

      • Julie

        I would think high blood levels of B12 show that you are benefiting from the methyl form. (This is real B12, not some weird analog like that found in seaweed). Just because cyanocobalamin is the form used in most research, doesn’t mean that the methyl form is ineffective. In “Becoming Raw”, Brenda Davis says that we just need to take the methyl form in higher amounts. Might be a good question to ask Daniel, today’s moderator.

        • mbglife

          What you’re saying makes sense, but there must be a reason Dr. Greger committed his opinion to print in a book that will be around for awhile. So, just because it seems logical doesn’t mean that’s how it plays out or that it’s the most useful form for our bodies. I just don’t know what Dr. Greger meant when he said that only the cynacobolomin form has been shown to be efficacious. I posed the question do Daniel below, in response to his introduction.
          Mark G

          • sf_jeff

            The history is that a while back, the cynacobolomin form was what was used everywhere and research showed it was effective. Then people started making the methyl form, which in theory should be better, but we haven’t seen new research using that, though.

          • mbglife

            David J’s reply to me was actually below, not above, but for convenience here’s a copy/paste of it. BTW, I’m across the bay from you in the east Richmond hills. Nice to know other NF readers are nearby. ;-)
            _____________________________
            The question actually occupied me, too. Doing some research I found papers, which argued that cyanocobalamin might be the better form of B12. It has to do with the metabolism of cobalamin. The problem seems to be that the cyanocobalamin absorbed in the gut is transformed into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. The adenosylcobalamin is an important co-factor in the synthesis of neuronal lipids, but it cannot be produced from methylcobalamin. So, we might end up in a deficiency in adenosylcobalamin if we take only methylcobalamin. If there is more information on the topic, I really like to hear it. As I am a vegan, B12 is a too important topic to be neglected.

            My sources: http://www.apiindia.org/medicine_update_2013/chap139.pdf
            and this one, which I couldn’t access, http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v69/n1/full/ejcn2014165a.html

        • David J

          Plz see my comment above to mbglife. I’d like to know if you know the answer to the question of absorbability.

      • Rebecca Cody

        I also take the methyl form because of the genetic snp, MTHFR, which means I don’t methylate well. My levels are also good. MANY people have this genetic inability to methylate well, and it is so important. But now Sayer Ji (greenmedinfo.com) is telling us that research shows our microbiome can make up for not methylating well, so a lot of what we’re all doing to try and be as healthy as possible is still not cast in stone. We’re always learning new things that affect us.

        • David J

          I am wondering how much methylcobalamin you take to achieve a “good level” (also what do you consider a “good level”)?

        • Vege-tater

          I think the utilization issue is a big one, regardless of what substance we are talking about, there are still so many unknowns and confounders. I just heard an interesting talk about vit D by McDougall where he basically was saying that, like eating an orange isn’t like popping a vit C, same applies to D, that taking the supplement is NOT the same as getting it from the source, sunshine, and D is actually more like a hormone than a vitamin. He said supplements and circulating blood levels of D are meaningless because the benefits we are seeking are not all about D, and if you live where plants can photosynthesize, you CAN get what you need from exposing your face and hands to sunshine. It seems logical to me, because I live in Florida and even people who work outside have tested low for vit D, so something doesn’t add up!

          • Rebecca Cody

            I heard that talk by Dr McDougall, but I’m not convinced he, living in California, truly understands what it means to live in the Pacific Northwest where, even when the sun shines, it is at such a low angle much of the year that we are told we cannot make vitamin D, even if it were warm enough to expose much skin to its’ rays. And of course, that applies to much of the country, not just this corner.

            Many years ago Adelle Davis made the point that we make vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin when it is exposed to sunshine, but that if we wash too thoroughly and often there is nothing on the skin to make the vitamin D with. Maybe her words have been disproven, since she wrote that back in the Dark Ages of the 1950s or ’60s. Does anybody know? But it could explain your experience with Florida people getting lots of sunshine, yet still low on D.

            Or maybe McDougall is correct and it’s all just a money-grubbing scam to get us all supplementing with D3.

          • Jerry LA

            The body makes vitamin D3 from sunlight – not much in NH where I live. Recent journal articles testing “Vitamin D” for a couple different effects didn’t get much benefit. Conclusion was they were using Vitamin D2 which the body can convert to D3 in small amounts at a low rate. One of the studies did a small trial at the end with Vitamin D3 and surprise! it worked. I think the FDA’s recommended “Vitamin D” for foods is done by Food Inc. as D2, won’t work. We take D3 liquid capsules….humans and their ancestors lived in Africa before cloth was invented and obviously had no D3 deficiency.

          • Riaan De Winnaar

            Dark skinned humans evolved in Africa. Light skins evolved where there is less sun like Europe.

          • joss levy

            I’ve always struggled with low vitamin D levels, so nine months ago I invested in a UV lamp and stopped taking my oral supplement. Since then, for the first time in the nine years since I started getting my level checked, my D level has been high (at around the top end of the “normal” range). I only ever use the lamp immediately after showering (and I use lots of soap), so I feel confident that the washing-prevents-the-skin-synthesising-vitamin-D theory is fallacious.

          • Matthew Smith

            Good for you! Vitamin D for long life! Vitamin D eliminates risk of most diseases.

          • Vege-tater

            Matthew, balance and living well prevents disease, not supplements. A particular need may be had by each of us, but it is dangerous to make generalizations like that.

          • Rebecca Cody

            I appreciate hearing that, as it is such old information I had remembered and I always wondered if it could be accurate.

            My husband, who doesn’t supplement D, but spends a lot of time outdoors whenever the weather permits, had a normal level of D in his blood a couple of years ago when he was tested, despite our low, low, low winter sun which we’re told doesn’t allow us to make D in the skin. Besides that, his skin is mostly covered except during our short summers.

          • sf_jeff

            I wonder if sun exposure impacts vitamin D levels in the following winter.

          • Maureen

            Mercola has or had an article about not showering for at least 24 hours (and I think maybe 2 or 3 days in order to properly absorb sunlight. Just avoid washing all areas except scalp, underarms and public area.

          • joss levy

            Thanks Maureen, I have seen the article, which is where I first came across this theory. It is just my personal experience that the theory appears to be wrong, as I described above. I feel it may be one more on the list of fanciful ideas that Dr Mercola comes up with, such as the need to: “structure” your drinking water by chilling it and stirring it clockwise; earth yourself electrically at all times; move out of an apartment higher than ground level so the Earth’s electric field won’t make you ill; eat bone broth, grass-fed cow and whey protein; replace your LED lamps with incandescent bulbs to avoid “digital light”. Then there’s his “emotional freedom technique”, and there may be more examples, but this is just what I have come up with off the top of my head. I still like reading his articles, though.

          • joss levy

            Just a few hours after posting that comment, I read a Mercola article from a couple of days ago, which amounts to a bigotted, anti-vegan diatribe promoting an also-bigotted, anti-vegan author intent on making a quick buck (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/25/veganism.aspx?ShowAllComments=True&FocusOn=805301), and this has caused me to change my mind about wanting to continue to read his articles. I am disappointed by the attitude of both Dr Mercola and, apparent from the comments section under his articles, his entranced fanatics who blindly follow their cult leader and accept whatever garbage he spouts.

          • Vege-tater

            There are so many questions and variables, I can’t say either if McDougall is right or wrong, but the concept of missing the big picture kind of hit home with me. Like the narrow focus on calcium for bone health, for example, or vitamin C for immunity. Yes, they contribute, but not in the way it was first thought or “marketed”. The idea that in itself supplemental D= the effects of sunshine or is a measure for bone health is another feasible short sited equation. We evolved with nature and sunshine, and we are capable of maintaining homeostasis even in extreme conditions, so it’s more food for thought.

          • Riaan De Winnaar

            If plants can photosynthesize and if you are a caucasian human you can get all the D you need. Darker skins have more sun protection and thus a harder time getting all the D they need. Isolated vitamins are proven to be harmfull. Yes, the existence of an entire branch of medicine (vitamin) that you actually get from lifestyle and food apart from very rare conditions is obviously a means to make money.

            If you really worried, put mushrooms out in the sun for 30 min before cooking… All the D you need right there from a healthy source.

          • sf_jeff

            Thirty minutes is all it takes?

          • http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-vitamin-d3-better-than-d2

            Not to sure on that, but there should be studies concerning the time out in the sun.

          • Rebecca Cody

            Sun? What’s that? I’m looking at endless rain!!!

          • Matthew Smith

            I like your idea. I think you are going to live a long life. I think Vitamin D is the one Vitamin, in control of everything. I think high doses of Vitamin D are good for you. Vitamin D is powerful at treating every disease. Low Vitamin D might mean high sickness. I think they use sunblock in Florida. Vitamin D as the growth factor?

      • David J

        How much are you taking? When I searched months ago, I could not find a clear statement on absorbability, and have seen recommendations for large amounts. Dr. Fuhrman’s multivitamin contains only 100 mcg per day of methylcobalamin, but I could not find any explanation as to why he thinks that’s sufficient in general. Although I take his multi (for men), I also take 500 mcg of cobalamin per day, about 5 times per week.

        • mbglife

          I take either 500 or 1000/day (honestly I’ve forgotten and I’m not at home to look). Listening to Dr McDougall, I think might be too much but here are the reasons why:
          – Dr. Greger says take X unless you’re over 65, then take 2500/day. Well, I just turned 60 and I don’t think that you only need some small amount and then turn 65 and the next day suddenly need 2500. So I figure that 1000 for my age might be about right if the current numbers are right.
          – Dr Greger says you can’t take too much “you just get expensive pee”). I’m not sure if that’s really true. Just because consequences aren’t known doesn’t mean it’s all good. But while more research is done I’m going with this level as it’s based on best info I have.
          Mark G.

          • Daniel K

            I don’t think that’s correct. If I remember correctly, Dr Greger said that the daily amount should be around 5-7 microgramme. The B12 receptors can absorb 1.5 microgramme per meal (!) until they are saturated. The bodies mucous membranes (eg in the mouth) can absorb an additional 1% of the amount taken. So, if the serving size is 500 microgramme, the amount of absorption is about 1.5 + (500*1%) = 6.5 microgramme. 2500 is the serving size of a weekly intake, instead of a daily. cf: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cheapest-source-of-vitamin-b12/

          • mbglife

            I was wrong, but not in the way you thought. Here’s Dr Greger’s recommendations in his list for daily supplements. I had a false memory that he said 2500/day if your over 65 (which I’ve read elsewhere). He actually said, 1000/day if you’re over 65. See the link. Thanks for getting me to check it.
            http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

          • Alex

            1.5 mcg is absorbed via typical intrinsic factor pathways. But you can simply overload with higher amounts of B12 with a lower efficiency. Several studies with oral 1000+ mcg demonstrate lowered MMA levels and homocystine levels, so it seems to work (Studies in last five years or so by Ontario health and Conchrane meta review).

        • sf_jeff

          Because B12 is water-soluble you lose most of it in your urine. For this reason 30 mcg 21 times a week is a lot more than 10,000 every Saturday morning even though numerically it is 15 times less. 500 mcg in a vitamin that will take hours to dissolve is also a lot more than 500 mcg in a glass of water.

          • David J

            RIght, but the question I was raising was about the absorbability of specifically methylcobalamin. But really I now see that I should have said “stability” since I’ve since read it is thought one absorbs about 1% of the methycobalamin, but that it is less stable. For one view I trust, cf. Jack Norris at
            http://jacknorrisrd.com/what-b12-supplement-should-i-take/

            where he says “But is there any harm in taking methylcobalamin over cyanocobalamin? Probably not, but methylcobalamin is thought not to be as stable as cyanocobalamin and therefore higher doses are recommended, a minimum of 1,000 µg per day.”

      • Daniel K

        The question actually occupied me, too. Doing some research I found papers, which argued that cyanocobalamin might be the better form of B12. It has to do with the metabolism of cobalamin. The problem seems to be that the cyanocobalamin absorbed in the gut is transformed into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. The adenosylcobalamin is an important co-factor in the synthesis of neuronal lipids, but it cannot be produced from methylcobalamin. So, we might end up in a deficiency in adenosylcobalamin if we take only methylcobalamin. If there is more information on the topic, I really like to hear it. As I am a vegan, B12 is a too important topic to be neglected.
        My sources: http://www.apiindia.org/medicine_update_2013/chap139.pdf
        and this one, which I couldn’t access, http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v69/n1/full/ejcn2014165a.html

        • mbglife

          That sounds like it might be the issue. I’ll be picking up some cyanocobalamin todat, just to be safe. Thanks, Daniel!

          Mark G.

        • David J

          This convinces me. Thanks for the references.

        • David Sprouse MS PA-C NF Mod

          From the full text of the second paper Daniel mentioned: “To summarize, the preferred formulation for vitamin B12 deficiency should be a combination of the active forms of vitamin B12, MeCbl and AdCbl. In case of the oral route, about 500–750 μg of each, MeCbl and AdCbl, would be required. Only in the rare genetic disorders of conversion of vitamin B12 to its active coenzyme forms are the active forms to be used exclusively by the parenteral route.” Hope that helps!

      • Mikkeli22

        A small clarification by me here. In How Not to Die, it stated as:

        “For adults under age sixty-five, the easiest way to get B12 is to take at least one 2,500 mcg supplement each week. If you take too much, you merely get expensive pee. Well, not all that expensive: A five-year supply of vitamin B12 can cost less than twenty dollars. If you’d rather get into the habit of taking it daily, the once-a-day dosing is 250 mcg. Note that these doses are specific to cyanocobalamin, the preferred supplemental form of vitamin B12, as there is insufficient evidence to support the efficacy of the other forms, like methylcobalamin.”

        To me, it sounds like there isn’t enough evidence to support the effectiveness of the other forms of B12 (other than cyanocobalamin), not necessarily that the other forms have been proven to ineffective, that’s the vibe I got from your way of saying it. :) (maybe it’s just me)
        Nevertheless, it is probably best to stick with cyanocobalamin for now, I think it’s cheapest as well. :)

  • Daniel K. Morris- NF moderator

    Hi Everyone, my name is Daniel, I am one of the NF moderators and I will be with you for the next couple of hours. I will be trying to answer some of your amazing questions and comments from this morning and the weekend. I look forward to reading and joining the great discussions trending on NF this morning

    • photoMaldives

      Hi Daniel. I would like to know if the nutritional value of seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) is affected positively or negatively by toasting/roasting them.
      Thanks. :-)

      • Daniel K. Morris- NF moderator

        Hello, really good questions, there are so many great nutrients in seeds, both essential and phytonutrients and probably quite a few phytonutrients that we don’t have a name for yet. Different nutrients react differently to different cooking methods. Some can be affected positively, negatively or it may be neutral depending on their structure. It is really a difficult question to give a precise answer.

        However, for us to get the best nutritional value from flax seeds, they are best eaten ground otherwise its difficult to break down the seed coat. Once they are ground they need to be kept in the freezer or fridge because they are so volatile and can go rancid very quickly because of the high omega 3 content. Those double bonds are very reactive.

        For more information on flax seeds please check out the great videos at

        this is flax seeds!

        • mbglife

          But one could roast the seeds before grinding. For example, you can buy roasted tahini, which I assume means the sesame are roasted before being ground. Same with roasted peanuts or almonds that are later ground into nuts. I ‘think’ there is an NF video that discusses that almonds roasted in the shell before being ground into almond butter have additional antioxidants infused into them from the shell. But almonds roasted without the shells do not. Makes sense, but like photoMaldives, I wonder if other anything is lost to the heat. Maybe it’s like the optimal daily consumption of vegetables, have should be eaten raw and half cooked.

          Mark G.

        • Rebecca Cody

          I have read recommendations like you mention for flax for years, so I was quite amazed to see in How Not to Die, page 338, that Dr G says, “…first grind up the seeds with a blender or coffee or spice grinder, or buy them preground or “milled.” …Thanks to their antioxidant content, ground flasxeeds should last at least four months at room temperature.”

          Personally, I’m still grinding small amounts and keeping them in the fridge.

      • mbglife

        Hi Daniel, welcome. I just posted a question about B12, in response to Julie’s comment. Are you able to check on this with the doctor and report back on his thoughts?
        Thanks,
        Mark G.

    • Alex

      Hi, my question is about acne. In one of the videos on this site it says there are links with dairy and high glycemic foods. I’ve given up junk and processed food, and all dairy, but I’m still getting acne. Dr. Mercola suggests giving up normally health-promoting foods if you’re sensitive to acne, because of their GI. He includes all wholegrains (including wholewheat, brown rice and oats), bread, pasta, potatoes, corn and higher GI fruit. That is a highly highly restrictive diet, what are your thoughts?

      • Rebecca Cody

        Dr Mercola, for all his valuable information, recommends animal protein, and leans in the Paleo direction, which means avoiding a lot of carbs, thus avoiding grains. I’m not convinced that some people are not healthier on such a diet, and all the “experts” quote research to show they have the correct answers, so it seems to me there is still a lot of guesswork and sometimes we have to try things we don’t want to. I used to think we needed animal protein from clean sources, but developing cancer after a couple of years of clean meat and clean, raw dairy, sent me skittering to the other side, where I remain even more convinced today – despite having type O blood. I’m not sure we’ll ever have all the answers we want.

        • mbglife

          Hi Rebecca, story to hear you had that cancer diagnosis. I hope that’s behind you now. You might want to also check Dr. McDougall’s site or his video on youtube that shows the body’s cancer levels increase from consuming man made oils (ie, olive and other vegetable oils). Also, you mention your blood type. Is that for the school of followers that believe people should eat a diet based on their blood type? Dr Greger has a video that debunks that myth, as others have. There’s no correlation. It’s hard to know what to believe, especially when in need of answers for accute health issue. In the past I was hurt by trying a paleo diet to resolve something. I hurt health for a year with that. That’s why this site is such a great public service.

          Best of health to you.
          Mark G.

          • Rebecca Cody

            Mark G – thanks for your concern, but the cancer was six years ago and I’ve done zillions of things to help myself get and stay well, including the vegan (99%) diet. But I do feel my consumption of pastured beef and pastured raw milk contributed to the growth of the aggressive cancer that wasn’t palpable a year earlier, but was large when found – after two or three years of all that “properly raised” animal protein.

            The blood type diet never made sense to me because we’re mostly all such a mixture. I just threw that in because many people (probably not those here, actually) would say I should be eating meat because of my blood type.

            I gave up the supermarket oils years ago, but have not gotten 100% free of all added fats. I don’t add them to food any more, but do occasionally use a bit in a pan to faux saute or keep muffins from sticking if I’m out of the little paper cups. And then there is the occasional organic corn chip (which all seem to have oil) slip-up now and then…

          • mbglife

            Glad to hear the cancer’s behind you. I continue to cringe when some people posting to this site talk about how they only use coconut oil and how wonderful it is. I don’t understand this since Dr Greger has done a number of videos on how bad it is, since it’s saturated, and McDougall faults it for being an oil and being saturated. But I digress. Glad to hear you abstain from it.
            Mark G.

          • Maureen

            Chris Kresser also debunks blood type diet.

          • mbglife

            Chris Kesser has little medical knowledge and thinks that saturated fat and cholesterol are good for you so have all you want. I think his understanding is is off base. For me, I would not put stock on anything be says.

      • emolmos

        For some reason, my skin got A LOT better by drinking lots of matcha tea. Maybe its the theanine that counteracts cortisol. I really don’t know.

        I eat whole foods, plant based (no animal, no dairy, no oils), and even if I felt a lot better, etc, my skin didn’t improve until I started drinking matcha.

      • Dominic
      • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

        Hi Alex. I think it would be wise to consult with a professional about your whole diet, and your whole health situation. There may be some a key in what you are eating, or what you are not eating. The diets shown by the researches of Dr Ornish, Dr Esselstyn, and Dr Barnard that have been proven to be overall healthy (reversing heart disease, reversing diabetes) have all included whole grains, fruit etc. More vegetables, and especially more green vegetables may be important here. I personally think it is more useful to focus on what to eat, than on what not to eat. Again, I don’t know your specific situation but there can be a place for a supervised fast, or an elimination diet which could clarify if specific foods were causing a problem. I would suggest getting advice and possibly help with one of these.

      • Thea

        Alex: Stopping the dairy and processed food is a great start. You might also want to take a look at Dr. Greger’s video on barberries, which has been shown to help with some acne problems. I bought a bag because those berries are also very high n antioxidants and I found that I really like how they taste. So, eating barberries may be a treat (as opposed to a chore). Just a thought for you.

      • NFModeratorKatie

        Hi Alex! Thanks for your question. Have you seen all of Dr. Greger’s videos on acne? If not, you can find them here: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/acne/. Everyone’s case is different. In general, following a whole-food, plant-based diet should help improve acne issues. However, it’s best to follow-up with your dermatologist if you’re not seeing the results you’d like with just diet alone. You also might be interested in seeing a registered dietitian before starting on a restricted meal plan. A dietitian can help make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need and will also make sure you’re not restricting too much. Best of luck!

      • Johanna
  • fwalker8

    Dr. G seems uncertain whether a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds would be enough to allow the body to produce enough EPA/DHA. If it doesn’t, why not consume two, three or even four tablespoons of the delicious seeds daily? Certainly one would think that four tablespoons would be more than enough, wouldn’t it?

    • Mikkeli22

      I don’t know the answer to your question but I’ve seen recommendations, though, for a reason that I don’t know, to not consume more than 2 tablespoons of flax seeds a day. Does anyone know more about that?

      • mbglife

        I consume 3 tablespoons a day (6 teaspoon) because a number of the cited reports show men consuming 4 tablespoons for prostate health. I had heard that the reason for the limitation is because it contains cyanide. A healthy person can process small amounts of cyanide daily, so the thought is that t tablespoons, along with other cyanide foods in the diet, like cruciferous veggies, should be too much.

        You can read about it if you go to the website, World’s Healthiest Foods at whfoods.org and search for flaxseed (all one word) then select flaxseed from the list of responses returned. It’s an odd search engine, but it’s a good site with lots of great info.
        Mark G.

        • David J

          Wow, I’ve been consuming 2 TBLs of ground, raw flaxseed every day for prostate health, but now I am wondering! I read just now at
          http://www.livestrong.com/article/538409-flax-meal-cyanide/
          that the FDA says to limit the amount to 16 grams per day. Not sure how many grams there are in 2-3 TBLs of ground flaxseed per day.

          Need to check into this further.

          • David J

            Mayo clinic has this to say “Because some unripe and raw flaxseed can have certain toxins, keep serving sizes to less than 50 grams (5 tablespoons of whole flaxseed) per day. Alternatively, the seeds can be toasted or used in foods that are cooked or baked, which destroys the toxins.”

            5 TBL of whole flaxseed makes a lot of ground flaxseed. So it seems consuming 2-3 TBL of ground, raw flaxseed per day is generally safe. As I recall, 3 TBLs per day is what Ornish et al, used in their study on flax, prostate cancer and PSA levels.

          • mbglife

            You can google grams in a tablespoon. Answer, 14 grams in one tablespoon. So that 16 g would be a tiny bit over one tablespoon. I’ve been taking flax seed for prostate health too and didn’t worry too much about it because past studies (Dr Ornish’s?) gave 4 tablespoons a day for prostate cancer/problems. I think I’ll cut back to 1 or 2 for awhile until I read more about this. Kind of creepy. This website says that cyanide can vaporize at 25.7 celcius (78 fahrenheit). Since ground flax can withstand baking without nutrient loss, I wonder if heating in the mircowave before using would help. http://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2013/8/hydrogen-cyanide

          • mbglife

            If you go to this page on Worlds Healthest Foods, and scroll down to Individual Concerns, you’ll see they’re findings and conclusions from studies they’ve looked at. Seems like 2 Tbls isin’st a problem, and probably less likely a problem if heated first.
            http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

      • Alex

        Just try it. No oils, 4+ T ground flax, for a few days, then shave with a straight. You’ll quickly understand the problem.

        • Mikkeli22

          Could you specify what you mean, please? :)

          • Alex

            I’m suggesting performing a test on yourself (if you’re otherwise a healthy adult). Consume no omega-3 for a week with a constant amount of omega-6 (olive oil for example). Then switch, no oils, but 4 Tbspn of ground flaxseeds for a week. I’m pretty sure you’ll notice your skin rips more easily (such as cuticles), you may scratch or bleed more easily. You may also notice less tension (in shoulders perhaps).

    • Alex

      Cuz you’ll bleed out of your eyeballs.

      • RalphRhineau

        Come on, let’s keep it civil here.

        • Alex

          OK, it was a bit hyperbole, but too much ALA and you’ll likely bleed very easily, not clot, cuticles tear, etc. If one is curious, one can just try 4 T for a day or two.

          • RalphRhineau

            Thanks Alex for toning it down… I find your second posting useful and not off-putting.

            I actually do take 3-4 Tbsp with my daily oats and don’t suffer negative consequences, including bleeding which I’m especially attuned to. I was on potent blood thinners for the first couple of years after my heart attack and felt like I’d joined the Romanov family. I’ve used flax seed both in avoiding the need for those blood thinners and to reverse the growth of a prostate nodule.

            I suppose the take away is “your mileage may vary”.

          • Alex

            It sounds like the flax is doing exactly what it says on the tin: blood thinning (though the process is not as direct as NSAIDs). — Alexei Nomanov

    • tgjne55e

      The conversion creates an upper bound, so even by eating a lot of it – which, though didn’t see any information regard an upper limit, but I guess not it’s a good idea – you’ll not end up getting enough of it. Note though he’s talking about *optimum* cognitive health, it’s not really necessary for your body to function.

      • David J

        There’s evidence that chronically low levels of DHA are associated with dementia. Check out also what Dr. Fuhrman has to say on this topic. He strongly recommends algal supplements based on his experience of extremely low levels of DHA in long term vegans. Different people convert more than others. Once you have a problem, it’s a bit late to undo it. My view – better safe than sorry.

        • tgjne55e

          Can you post a link to the research?

    • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

      The question is whether the ability to convert ALA to the longer omega 3’s is there. If the ability to convert is not there, then eating more of the precursor would not help.

  • VeggieWalks

    Dr. Greger, in your new book you have supplement recommendations for adults but not for children. Where can I find reliable information on B12, DHA, and D3 for children?

    Thank you so much for your work!

    • Julie

      “Becoming Vegan”, an excellent book by Brenda Davis RD, discusses the B12, DHA, D3 and other requirements for infants, toddlers and children.

    • bev.

      My kid gets sick from B12. Bad weight loss and breath stoppage. All forms of B12 do this to him.
      A real challenge for some of us to be vegan, as far as B12 goes.

      • Rebecca Cody

        Wow! That’s scary! Perhaps your little one needs some form of animal foods once a week or so? Does anybody else have a solution for this? Most of those long-lived, healthy people in the Blue Zones do eat a bit of animal protein regularly. Not a lot, but enough to get B12, since they don’t supplement.

        • AG

          Does nutritional yeast cause the same symptoms? I don’t like the B12 tabs so I bulk up on the nooch.

          • forpeople

            Nutritional yeast gives me a terrible stomach ache. I was really disappointed because I love the taste of it. How can something that tastes so good be so bad for my stomach! Grrrr.

          • mbglife

            Most nutitional yeast has additives and synthetic vitamins, like folic acid, added to them. So it might no be the nutritional yeast. I buy Sari brand from Amazon. The company follows up after the sale to make your happy with it. Great customer service. They advertise that their product is organic with nothing else added in order to keep it wholesome. Great taste too. I know I sound like a commercial, but I am not affiliated nor have any ties to the product or people there.
            Mark G.

          • guest

            n o o c h /nutritional yeast has B12 synthetic added to it. It does not naturally occur. Same pill, just ground up in the nutritional yeast.

        • michellevegan

          I find this interesting. “Most of the long-lived healthy people in the Blue Zones do eat a bit of animal protein regularly.” Humans have since beginning of time had to process cholesterol from external sources…..via bugs and insects, worms on the plants we eat. It could not be more natural, right, to consume “some” amount of cholesterol?

          • Vege-tater

            Though I don’t ingest any myself on principle among other things, (except perhaps unintentionally from the garden) I think you are on target. We used to go camping with just the clothes on our backs for a weekend, sometimes longer, with just water purifying tablets to keep us alive! Everything else had to come from the surroundings, quite an enlightening adventure! Nothing will dispel the “hunting” myth faster than trying to be one without some tools, which an actual hunter like my cat would never need! We are so accustomed to strolling the aisles for our food, we forget that the actual FOOD we evolved with was anything that we could easily get from our surroundings by expending the least energy with the biggest payoff. Hunger is a drive we have forgotten, we just go to the fridge or pantry. But when that isn’t an option, you suddenly get awakened to things you were oblivious to. Even the macho guys with us
            would soon agree, hunting even a chipmunk or bunny is way more work than it’s worth when you are hungry! And ten people ganging up on a bunny with broken sticks seemed way too barbaric, even for them! People have lost their “roots” both literally and figuratively, and rationalize with only their modern & learned preferences. In nature, gathering is what we excel at, be it plants, tubers, fruits, bugs, larva, grubs, snails, slugs, (maybe even frogs, turtles or fish, if preferably, you can make fire,) whatever is EASY. Conservation of energy and all that. Opting out of these things probably has drawbacks…which is why I come here!

      • trhn45t54u

        Try to search for fortified foods with an especially high dosage of B12, at least as a short term solution

        • Vege-tater

          But wouldn’t fortified foods be the same as taking a supplement?

      • George

        Spirulina contains B12 analogs, which in the early days of spirulina research fooled analytical instruments. But spirulina does contain some genuine B12. The challenge would be to get your kid to consume spirulina, unless he can swallow tablets.

        • TheHulk

          Dr. G doesn’t favor Spirulina because he says most of them contains neurotoxins?

    • Thea

      VeggieWalks: I want to give a second vote to Julie’s recommendation of Becoming Vegan. You can get the Express edition and get great info for kids. Dr. Greger recommends the book to. Also, I think you can get some good info about feeding children from the website/group Vegetarian Resource Group which usually does a good job of sticking to the science. They have a whole section for kids. Here are two pages to check out:
      http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm (scroll down to the nutrition section)
      this is one of my favorite articles: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php
      .
      Hope that helps.

  • Mikkeli22

    I have long been confused about your EPA and DHA recommendation, Dr. Greger, and even this video didn’t clarify my question to me:
    On http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ your EPA and DHA recommendation is:
    250 mg daily of pollutant free (yeast- or algae-derived) long-chain omega-3’s (EPA/DHA)

    Does that mean EPA + DHA = total of 250 mg (for example: 125 mg EPA and 125 mg DHA, or 50 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA, or just 250 mg of one and none of the other),
    or does it mean 250 mg EPA and 250 mg DHA = total of 500 mg?

    I hope you understand my question. :) I don’t know if this has confused anyone else, but maybe you could update the recommendation page to make the recommendation more clear?

    Great video nevertheless!

    • michellevegan

      Good question. I hear that EPA is often lacking, or minimal, in vegan DHA supplements.

      • David J

        Deva’s algal supplement is an example of all DHA. But Dr. Fuhrman’s and Ovega-3 have both in a DHA/EPA ratio of about 2:1. (Ovega-3 has some ingredients e.g. careeganan, caramel coloring that some object to.)

    • Daniel K. Morris- NF moderator

      Hi Everyone, this is a really great discussion on omega 3s, EPA and DHA, remember there will be another Dr Greger video coming soon on the topic which may help give you the most up to date scientific information to answer some of the many questions on the topic.

      For information on EPA and DHA from fish oil please check out,

      this is fish oils

      The weight of the evidence is pointing in a certain direction for EPA and DHA from fish oils and CVD, which Dr Greger and a few mentioned today.

      However, EPA and DHA supplements from algae or other plant based sources are relatively new on the market and so there may not be the science available to answer all of questions at this point, what we can do is just make the best decisions on the best available evidence.

      Thank you for the great discussion, sorry I can not offer more to your great comments, but I will be very interested to read your posts after Dr Greger’s next video on the topic.

      • mbglife

        Hi Daniel. Just to clarify, I think Mikkeli22 is asking for clarification on Dr Greger’s already recommended level of optimal dosing, not on whether the algae ultimately proves to be efficacious. At least, that’s what I’m hoping to better understand.
        Mark G.

        • Mikkeli22

          That’s correct and I already updated my original question with the answer to it. :)

    • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

      Hi Mikkeli. The guidelines in the video are 1-2 g of ALA (which you can get form flax or chia seeds), and an additional 250 mg of ‘preformed DHA and EPA”. That would be 250 mg combined, not 250 mg each. The relative proportions are not discussed here.

      • Mikkeli22

        Thank you for clarifying this. :) I updated my original question with the answer along with the reasoning to the answer.

    • David J

      I agree it’s confusing, but I have never seen separate recommendation, so I’m pretty sure he means “total”. Dr. Fuhrman’s algal supplement has 175 mg DHA, 88 mg EPA per serving,, ~ 2x as much DHA as EPA. The one I take has twice as much DHA as EPA too, so perhaps that ratio is typical.

    • George

      It’s of course better to get both, but that’s not a necessity because in the body DHA and EPA interconvert, so if you get one, the body forms the other.

    • Alex

      Conversion from ALA to EPA is roughly < 7% (conversion to DHA is poorer still). One tablespoon of ground flax is about 7 g. It's then reasonable to assume < 500 mg of EPA synthesized by your body.

  • Joe Caner

    I found this study on the brain accretion rates in rats fed ALA only as compared to those who were fed with both ALA and DHA, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3927474/ , which concludes:

    “Despite large differences in body DHA accretion, there was no difference in brain DHA accretion between rats fed ALA and DHA. In rats fed ALA, DHA synthesis and accretion was 100-fold higher than brain DHA accretion of rats fed DHA. Also, ALA-fed rats synthesized approximately 3-fold more DHA than the DHA uptake rate into the brain. This work indicates that DHA synthesis from ALA may be sufficient to supply the brain.”

    This would seem to suggest adequate ALA intake would lead to adequate DHA available for brain development, at least in rats. Humans are not rats, at least most humans are not, which is why Dr. Greger has a preference for human based studies, but it is interesting none the less.

    I’m looking forward to the next installment in the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Saga.

    • Wegan

      ALA is dangerous for anyone with mercury exposure, it needs to be taken in small doses around the clock. Search “Frequest dose chelation”

      • Joe Caner

        Really? Flaxseeds and organically grown green leafy vegetables are dangerous?
        I’d love to see the research on that.

      • robert

        I think that you probably confusing alpha lipoic acid (ALA) with alpha linolenic acid.

        • Wegan

          You’re right, I probably need more of the other kind of ALA, the linolenic kind.

    • David J

      interesting article. thx.

    • Vege-tater

      I resemble that remark Joe! lol

  • sir_russ

    If just one tablespoon of flax meal or chia seeds is not sufficient basis for metabolically creating sufficient EPA and DHA from ALA, then would eating two or three tablespoons of flax meal or chia seeds allow one’s physiology to meet the EPA and DHA requirements?

    I consider the pill-form supplement suppliers to be untrustworthy, but I can get chia and flax from trusted sources. Personally, I would feel much more comfortable meeting my omega-3 requirements via food sources rather than pill makers.

    • Joe Caner

      I mix 2 tablespoons (20 grams) of ground flaxseed into my morning porridge as insurance.

      • sir_russ

        Hi Joe,
        I too add a couple tablespoons of flax meal to my breakfast, but if the claim is that the conversion of the ALA in flax meal is too inefficient to provide sufficient levels of EPA and DHA, then I’m curious as to why a supplement is suggested rather than upping the amounts of flax or chia.

        Is there a hazard to greater flax or chia consumption or some other compelling reason not to advise just adding more of those real foods as opposed to suggesting a capsule-form supplement?

        • mbglife

          Howdy. You might want to see my comment and link about this above on a previous post. Spoiler alert, concern is about cyanide. Search for “flaxseed” (one-word) on whfoods.org

          Mark G.

          • Joe Caner

            Mark, I went looking for your post, but I did not find it.
            Would you be so kind as to re-post it here?

          • mbglife

            Hi Joe. You might want to do a ctl+f to do a page search for “flaxseed” because the thread actually ended up with some interesting comments and links from other people too. But here is the first link I posted. This is for the Worlds Healthiest Foods website. I think the point about cyanide in flax is under the section titled: “individual concerns”. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

          • Joe Caner

            My bad. I misunderstood what you were saying. I thought that you made the posting yourself.
            Interesting bit regarding cyanide concerns for cooked flax. I do not heat flax because I have read that it destroys some its beneficial properties.

          • mbglife

            I think Dr Greger has said many times that cooking doesn’t hurt it. I’m not sure. I heated mine last night but decided to not do it again for two reasons. (1) Breathing the cyanide gas is much worse than eating it, so I was walking around the kitchen holding my breath.
            (2) Dry heating things increases the amount of advanced glycogenated end-products that suspected in negatively impacting brain health. So If I’ve got to pick my poison (pun intended) I’ll stick with the way I’ll stick with the devil I know (sort of). :/

          • TheHulk

            I make Rotis (indian bread) from groundflaxseeds everyday it’s delicious if you add some Cumin seeds in groundflaxseeds. Try it once, since freshly ground flaxseeds are stable at even high temperatures, we can get both benefits and remove cyanides from flaxseeds.

          • Joe Caner

            It sounds delicious. I’ve only had roti made from whole wheat flour. What is your recipe? The recipe that I saw from Alsi ki roti were made using ghee.

          • TheHulk

            Same as with wheat flour, just add some wheat flour to grounded flax and make roti as usual (sprinkling some cumin seeds give good taste) . No I don’t use ghee, which means we have to eat within couple of hours or Roti may get stiff.

        • Joe Caner

          I am also concerned about spending a dollar a day to purchase a product from a completely unrelated industry with a history of delivering products that do not match their description.

          • David J

            If I lived in a state where I could order blood tests, I’d have mine checked. But I don’t, so I’ve decided supplementation is the lesser of two evils.

          • David Sprouse MS PA-C NF Mod

            Hi Joe,
            I share your skepticism and caution regarding the dietary supplement industry. There’s a paid-subscription-based group called ConsumerLab (www.consumerlab.com) that tests dietary supplements, kind of like a Consumer Reports for supplements, to look for impurities and to see if labels match what’s actually in the product, and then they give pass rating only IF all requirements are met. Their latest tests on omega 3 supplements included 3 different vegetarian algal oils, which all passed (accurate labeling, no lead/cadmium/mercury/arsenic/PCBs/dioxins). Perhaps this is jumping the gun, since the new video on possible algae oil supplementation isn’t even out yet! :)

        • David J

          As I recall, one might convert roughly 4-8% of the ALA to EPA (some of which is then converted to DHA) depending on genes and gender. That’s a low figure, suggesting a heck of a lot of ground flax could be required to reach adequate levels of EPA/DHA to insure one does not have cognitive problems down the road.

    • I also consume 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds daily. Dr Greger is a low fat guy. But I think 2 tablespoons daily is necessary for me anyway. It could be consumed in divided doses one tablespoon twice a day to get adequate maintenance amount. But for pain relief 2 tablespoons works better according to how I feel. If I didn’t take 2 tablespoons daily I would be paralyzed and be a person on NSAIDS.

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition
    • Vege-tater

      Totally with you on that, and it should be a big concern considering supplements are an unregulated market…even the “regulated” items are scary enough! Like, um… pharmaceuticals come immediately to mind. lol

  • tony

    Fish oil supplements are often advertised by manufacturers as highly purified and therefore don’t have toxins. Are these false statements?

  • Alex

    May I have my $0 back? I didn’t particularly appreciate this cliff-hanger because, as far as I know, nothing new was presented. If there was new or corrected information, could you please note what was new/updated since previous videos on the subject?

    • mbglife

      And if it turns out that there ‘new info’ in part two will you then double your contribution. :p

      Mark G.

      • Alex

        I’ll triple it.

        • TheHulk

          Dr. G mentioned in comments that he is waiting for a study to be public, before he can share that video.

  • Matthew Campassi

    Is an algae derived substance healthy? In your video “Fishing For Answers,” you mention algae produce BMAA, a substance known to cause ALS. Wouldn’t this cause BMAA to be in the DHA/EPA supplements?

    • Alex

      Not necessarily and most certainly no. There are more species of bacteria than all of the animals on the planet. Additionally, most algae DHA is produced in closed environments (lab) and likely has few contaminants.

      • Matthew Campassi

        BMAA (according to the video) isn’t a contaminant, it’s a natural product of blue-green algae. Is there any evidence that the algae used to create DHA/EPA supplements does not contain BMAA as the algae did in the video? Citation needed, forgive me for not accepting your word

        • Alex

          Fair enough. I’d previous done the foot work to my own satisfaction, but here’s a head start on your own research. DHA is commercially manufactured from Crypthecodinium cohnii and others of the genus Schizochytrium. Look up the cyanobacteria that contain BMAA and I’m certain you’ll find they are not the same.

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Hello friend,

      Please take a look at this article written on NutritionFacts.org for more information and references to materials by Dr. Greger.

  • Tom

    Dr. Greger suggests that “Salmon” contains high levels of PCBs but does not distinquish between Farmed Atlantic Salmon and Wild Pacific Salmon. There is a major difference in contaminant levels.

    • Julie

      True, farm raised salmon is about as toxic as you can get for a food. However, wild salmon from Alaska still contains toxins. The Vital Choice website has a detailed breakdown of all the PCB’s, dioxins etc in Alaskan salmon.

      • Tom

        Thank you, Julie. I did go to the Vital Choice website you suggested. However, the conlcusions I”m reading suggest that the levels of toxins in Wild salmon is extremely low. I don’t think we can live life absolutley free of toxins. Organic produce has organic pesticide residue, even the air we breath contains some pollutants. So not breathing woud be less harmful than breathing by this logic. I don’t think Dr Greger’s lumping together all salmon is reasonable.

        • Vege-tater

          You are sadly correct, we can no longer be free of toxins, no matter how well we eat or where we live, but it is well known toxins hyper-accumulate as you move up the food chain. Animal sources are constantly accumulating toxins from their food and environments, so when you ingest them are adding a concentrated burden to your own, incrementally intensifying your exposure to them. It’s your option of course, but when you consider this crap is showing up in the antarctic, I think there are no “safe” populations of animals left, especially the dump we called the ocean, where salmon spend most of their lives. What my childlike mind has a problem comprehending is HOW, when there are so many more of “us” humans than “them” the profiteering dealers, how does this abhorrent situation continue to escalate even now that we are so aware if it? I realize why so many feel overwhelmed and hopeless or just give up because one of us alone feel there is nothing we can do to change the world. But if each one of us would STOP a contributing factor, like not eating fake and chemicalized food (and growing even a little of our own), or make any change to free us from purchasing whatever objectionable crap they are pandering, the cumulative message would make a mark and change would have to follow. Our choices do count and can create a revolution if people just got the message. Oh, but so few will risk the inconvenience. How sad. It isn’t an abstract concept or an opinion that we are trashing our planet and ourselves, we really all need to act now, the time left to dawdle is well behind us. What will it take?

  • Blaice

    Even if it is recommended, I probably will never succumb to taking epa/dha supps. Entirely due to the fact that they are insanely expensive per capsule from all I’ve seen. Does anyone have a suggestion of a DHA/EPA supp that is cheap costing, and void of additives (carmel color and such)?

    If I cannot ever find a cheap supplement, I’m saying screw it, and will only make sure my wife takes them while pregnant (and breastfeeding).

  • truthseeker

    I have read that the best flax to take is flax oil – the refrigerated version. I’ve been buying ground flax seed – not refrigerated. Have I thrown my money away all these years? Must one purchase whole flax seeds and grind them before using?

    • Jim Felder

      I don’t think so. Even ground the ALA oil is still largely protected from direct exposure to oxygen, so isn’t likely to oxidize as quickly as the extracted oil in flax oil. But just help reduce oxidation rates as much as possible, we store the preground flax seeds we buy (Bob’s Red Mill) in the freezer. The oxidation rate of whole seeds is of course even lower, so grinding our own is probably the way to keep the ALA in as best shape as possible. Maybe grind up a week’s worth at a time and store that ground seed in the refrigerator or freezer as a balance between ultimate freshness and convenience.

    • mbglife

      There have been many studies (I don’t have citations) that show that flax oil (not a whole food) are toxic, rapidly (almost instantly) go rancid, and are carcinogenic. But ground flax seed into meal has all of the benefits and long shelf life that are always discussed here. When I was much younger and uneducated I used flax oil for awhile. I’m lucky that it was for such a short time. Please, keep grinding and don’t use flax oil. It’s especially problematic for men.

    • Alex

      Extracted oil goes rancid quickly. You’re far more likely to get active omegas from seed than oil. Ground is fine, grinding yourself is better.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Dr. Greger recommends 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day as part of his Daily Dozen. Trying buying them whole – then when you’re ready to use, grind with a blender, coffee grinder, or spice grinder. If you eat flaxseed whole, they’re likely going to pass through you the same way without releasing the nutrients. Hope this helps!

    • TheHulk

      Any kind of extraction is simply processing. This means you are removing something and letting other nutrients there, that changes the balance of that nutrient. Why not eat the way nature intended?

  • Fishy

    Why is this typically ignored? It is my understanding that most recent studies that negate the benefit of fish oil is due to the patients of the studies already having heart disease and are drugged up so the benefit of DHA and EPA is muted or eliminated. The studies always quoted are rarely done on healthy people. It be the same as if they started eating plant foods but also saw no benefit because pharmaceuticals distort the benefit.

  • Have you heard about Ahiflower? AhiFlower was shown in research to increase cellular EPA levels up to 400% more than Flax, and higher than Chia and Hemp! Ahiflower contains the highest known non-GMO plant source of SDA, a Pro-EPA, which touts a 3-5 times higher conversion rate to EPA than ALA.

    http://ahiflower.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Lefort-Ahiflower-J-Nutr-Sci-2016.pdf

    DHA and EPA –
    Why the emphasis on EPA with Ahiflower?

    Research suggests it may be better for vegetarians and vegans to NOT take pre-formed DHA. Taking DHA (like
    from fish or even vegan algae supplements) may reduce the body’s enzymes (via dietary induced epigenetic gene switching?)that convert ALA to DHA. According to the study below, those getting an exogenous (preformed)
    source of DHA (fish or DHA supplements) actually had lower DHA blood
    levels than those who consumed no fish at all!

    Study: Dietaryintake and status of n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a population of
    fish-eating and non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans and the
    precursor-product ratio of {alpha}-linolenic acid to long-chain n–3
    polyunsaturated fatty acids: results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/92/5/1040.full

    “Furthermore, the average DHA level in fish eaters was 271 micromoles per liter, compared with 241.3, 223.5, and 286.4 micromoles per liter for non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, or vegans.”

    “…the precursor-product ration from plant-derived ALA to circulating long chain n-3 PUFAs was significantly greater
    in non-fish eaters than in those who ate fish,” wrote the researchers.”

    But what did the study say about EPA?

    EPA was lower in those who did not eat fish or supplement.

    “…the average EPA level in fish eaters was 64.7 micromoles
    per liter, compared with 57.1, 55.1, and 50
    micromoles per liter for non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, or vegans.”

    So what are the benefits of EPA? EPA is good for the heart and muscles!

    Athletes – In the research below, EPA increased muscle protein synthesis by 25% and decreased muscle loss by 22%, while DHA had no effect on either.

    Study: The effect of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid on protein synthesis and breakdown in murine C2C12
    myotubes. Kamolrat T, Gray SR.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23438435

    “Data revealed that after incubation with EPA protein synthesis was 25% greater (P<0.05) compared to control cells,
    with no effect of DHA. Protein breakdown was 22% (P<0.05) lower, compared to control cells, after incubation with EPA, with no effect of DHA.”

    What is the best source of EPA from plants?

    Ahiflower was shown in research link to increase cellular EPA levels up to 400% more than Flax, and higher than Chia and Hemp! Ahiflower increases EPA higher than any other single Non-GMO plant. Ahiflower contains the highest known source of SDA, a Pro-EPA (higher conversion pre-cursor to EPA than ALA).

    What is the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in Ahiflower?

    AhiFlower contains the most commonly recognized “ideal ratio” of 4:1 Omega 3 to 6.

    What about DHA and GLA?

    Ahiflower contains ALA which converts to DHA. AhiFlower is not only a complete Omega 3-6-9 also contains beneficial anti-inflammatory GLA, which is not found in fish oil. GLA levels were shown to actually decrease when Flax is consumed.

    Ahiflower Oil video: https://youtu.be/07yxgH2kc28

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi there! Thanks for your comments and for putting ahiflower on my radar. I’ll definitely be looking into this.

      • Supply Side just called it a “Game Changer” in their latest video on the hottest new ingredients to hit the market. One of the more important new ingredients specifically beneficial to vegan nutrition in a while. When something is 400% more effective than the #1 selling herb in America (Flax), that is quite a leap forward.

      • Tom Goff

        It might have been better if Geoff had been up-front and declared his financial interest in this matter.

        What is NF’s policy on such blatant promotion of a specific commercial product?

        • Lol good detective work Tom.

          I actually found ahiflower info recently and thought it to be very interesting and promising. But I was waiting for someone like Dr Greger etc to have a look at it to.

          I’m also patriotically biased as it seems a lot, or even most, is grown in the UK.

          Worth keeping an eye on I feel.

          And yeah, a bit too blatant a product promotion.

  • Im kind of curious on the process of our body converting ALA in long chain fatty acids

  • Maria

    Hello, for a year I have been eating the ground flax, I grind the brow flax in my coffee grinder and add a heaping tablespoon to my oatmeal every day. However, I recently red that flax seeds interrupt female hormones and can be dangerous or lead to cancer. Is this true? I used to eat chia before the ground flax seed.

    • Dasaniyum

      I think you’re referring to phytoestrogen. You can go to “Health Topics” above and search for phytoestrogen.

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Hi Maria, great habit around grinding flax seeds in the coffee grinder and taking it with oatmeal every day!

      Eating oatmeal and flax seeds daily are a big part of my morning start!

      Take a look at this video by Dr. Greger on the role of lignans in flax seeds on the prevention and treatment of cancer.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Maria! You can find more info on phytoestrogens here: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/phytoestrogens/. Dr. Greger recommends 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day as part of his Daily Dozen – so you should feel good about adding that to your oatmeal in the morning! Chia seeds are great too – feel free to add those in for more variety.

  • Maria

    Oops the spelling sorry “brown flax” and read not red.

  • dogulas

    None of these studies consider the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of those studied. It can therefore be assumed that their ratios were that of normal americans (far over the recommended 4:1 ratio) and that of course they wouldn’t be able to produce adequate amount of DHA from ALA. If you’re eating as you should, with less than a 4:1 ratio and consuming over about 1.2 grams of omega 3 per day in your plant foods, the need for preformed DHA/EPA doesn’t apply to you.

  • rajkhosla

    When I started the video, I was hoping that we don’t need to take EPA and DHA anymore. Alas! back to heavily priced Algae Oil.

    • Wannabemd

      I need to invest in some algae oil myself after I use the rest of this fish oil.

    • dogulas

      As I said below, none of these studies consider the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of those studied. It can therefore be assumed that their ratios were that of normal americans (far over the recommended 4:1 ratio) and that of course they wouldn’t be able to produce adequate amount of DHA from ALA. If you’re eating as you should, with less than a 4:1 ratio and consuming over about 1.2 grams of omega 3 per day in your plant foods, the need for preformed DHA/EPA doesn’t apply to you.

  • Wannabemd

    Off topic but I’m curious….Is safe to donate plasma/blood and if so, how many times during a year would be safe? I’ve been thinking about donating but from searching the internet I have read conflicting reports from donating is bad for your veins to donating decreases your risk of having a heart attack.

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Blood/plasma donation is generally considered safe for healthy people. About a pint of blood can be safely donated. Please take a look at this article from the Mayo Clinic for more information.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hello! Here’s a link that you might find helpful: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/plasma. To see if donation is right for you, I recommend that you discuss any questions/concerns with your health care providers and with your local blood donation center. Good luck!

  • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

    Hello all, introducing myself. I am the volunteer moderator for the next couple of hours. I am a family physician with a very strong emphasis on nutrition, mainly advocated Whole Food Plant Based Eating style, adapted to the individual’s needs. I trained in the US more than 20 years ago, and currently work in the UK and Israel.

    • Alex

      Were research results included in this video not covered in previous videos?

      • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

        Sorry, Alex, I don’t know if previous videos covered the same research results. I think Dr G is giving the most up to date analysis though.

  • laura

    Ssooo if its form algae is okay??am 5months pregnant and my dc insist that i take some dha..am vegan so obviously am taking a vegan dha and epa supplement. But is it safe to take…

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Algea derived DHA/EPA is safe in pregnancy. Omega-3s are important during pregnancy and there is no contraindication to algea derived DHA/EPA during pregnancy.

      In this WebMD article there is this quote at the end, “Nutritionist Barbara Levine, PhD, recommends that pregnant women get their DHA through algae-derived supplements, available in health food stores.”

      Wishing you a healthy and happy baby!

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Laura! It’s always best to check with your OB provider before starting any new supplements to make sure they’re safe for pregnancy. Here’s some info from The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that you might find helpful: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-diets-for-pregnancy

  • Jerry LA

    Fish get Omega 3 from algae, so we do Omega 3 algae pills which omits the mercury etc. that fish have. We do fish occasionally.
    Now flax seeds have plant Omega 3 which the body can use as Omega 3 with poor efficiency. Flax seeds also have lignans which raise Sex Hormone Binding Globulins SHBG. As an 81 year old male, my testosterone is O.K. but free testosterone is off the bottom of the chart because of SHBG is tying up most of my testosterone. So I’m sure not going to eat anything to raise SHBG like flax.
    There are journal reports that Omega 3 didn’t help certain heart parameters. We look at “all causes mortality” which is better with the 7th Day Adventists who are vegetarians plus fish (don’t know how much). There’s some report that Omega 3 helps Alzheimer’s – note Alzheimer’s risk 3.5 times greater with low levels of folate (from food, pills proven not to work) and 4.5 times greater from high levels of homocysteine (from animal foods). Brain cell walls with Omega 6, animal, are hard and sticky making MS worse while Omega 3 brain cell walls are soft and flexible giving MS survival rates 50 years plus.

    • EvidenceBasedNutrition

      Thanks for sharing the comment!

    • Tom Goff

      The 7th Day Adventist study showing a mortality advantage for people eating a vegetarian diet plus fish, is in fact mainly applicable to females. If you look at the detailed figures (table 4), male “vegans” had lower mortality than male vegetarians who ate fish.
      I don’t know why there is this reasonably large sex difference.
      http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710093

      • Jerry LA

        Judging from my relatives, maybe the males ate too much fish? Unfortunately to get a large sample size precision of what is in the diet is missed.

  • George

    Both EPA and DHA have high peroxidation indices, meaning they’re highly prone to oxidation, which may be the reason why the human body has adapted to make EPA and DHA in situ. High perishability of EPA and DHA means freshness is paramount, and freshness has nothing to do with the source, whether the EPA and DHA are derived from fish or from algae. If you avoid fish-oil supplements due to pollutants in them and use algae-derived oil to get EPA and DHA, if the latter is poorly handled and processed, it may not have much EPA and DHA left, and worse, you may be getting a lot of oxidized EPA and DHA. (I used to take close to 500 mg of DHA a day from algal oil but now I take only 200 mg because of this concern.)

  • Vege-tater

    Aaargh, another cliff hanger! The scientist side of me loves these videos but the nature girl side of me often leaves me conflicted. We have become so removed from what we evolved with in nature and have so polluted our environment that we are forced to become consumers of yet more often questionable supplements just to survive? What’s wrong with this picture? Yeah, technically popping a pill isn’t a biggie, I take B12, it’s the principles behind it that freak me out. I’m all for guarding our health, but what’s the point if they are killing our world? How can we work together to CHANGE things somehow? There are more of us than “them”. I don’t want that to be a rhetorical question, I have amazing grandchildren I adore!

    • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

      I agree, Vege-tater! It’s truly sad and frustrating to have to have this kind of conversation, isn’t it? One of the things that drew me to vegetarian eating decades ago is my concern about this environment. WFPB eating has become the next step on that journey; I love that it is healthy for me, for my patients, and also for the planet. Let’s keep working together!

  • NFModeratorKatie

    Hello! My name is Katie and I’m a registered dietitian and new nutrition moderator for the NutritionFacts.org team. I’m on duty for the next few hours and would love to hear from you!

    • Linda

      Hi Katie, A lot of talk here about Flax seed, but how does Raw Hemp Seeds stack up next to Flax for EPA/DHA etc… I love Hemp, and put a couple Tablespoons in to my Steel cut oats in the AM!

      • NFModeratorKatie

        Great question, Linda! Hemp seeds also contain ALA. As Dr. Greger explains in today’s video, our body can then take the short chain ALA from our diet and elongate it into the long chain omega 3’s EPA and DHA. Sounds like you’re starting your day off right with that delicious breakfast!

  • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

    Hi everyone- I’m Cathleen, a new NF.org moderator. I’m a physician specializing in Adolescent Medicine. I also have a Master’s degree in Nutrition. I’m excited to support Dr. G’s work and to discuss it with all of you.

    • uma7

      Can you please prod Dr. Greger to have create a pregnancy tab at the top of the site for such a critical period in life? In the book he mentions how it can take a year of plant based eating to clear out most of the industrial pollutants from animal products and that DHA/EPA and iodine stores should be built before conception. So people need to be aware of what they need to do to prepare. And he mentioned before flaxseeds should not be eaten during pregnancy but that isn’t intuitive. There are some healthy plant foods that are so anti inflammatory that they shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy either, etc. Are there any other supplements besides B12/iodine/DHA+EPA/vitamin D that are recommended for healthy plant based pregnancies?

      • Thea

        uma7: NutritionFacts may not have a pregnancy tab at the topic, but there *is* a pregnancy Topic page! And it looks like Dr. Greger just updated it. (Though I’m sure the NF team would be happy to expand the topic if you find information that got left out.) I agree with you that it is important to have the information compiled in one place. Why don’t you talk a look at this and see what you think?
        http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/pregnancy/

      • Dr.Jon_NF Volunteer

        Uma7: The Nutrition Facts staff had an exciting piece of news to report to us yesterday: The “Search” function on the website will soon be much enhanced — e.g. will allow you to search by author’s name, title words, etc. I will pass on your request for a “pregnancy tab”, which makes a lot of sense. However, as you may know, it is VERY difficult to get any definitive information about the effects on pregnancy of ANYTHING, because controlled studies on pregnant women are almost never done, for obvious reasons. So we have to rely on non-experimental studies, such as cross-sectional or retrospective cohort studies, which are not as strong. I’ll bet the Harvard Nurses Study (by Walter Willet, et al.) has some good information about diet and pregnancy.

      • Dr.Jon_NF Volunteer

        Also, see the comment by NFModeratorKatie (2 days ago) which gives a helpful link by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) with lots of information about diet and pregnancy: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-diets-for-pregnancy

      • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

        Hi uma7- what a great topic! We know that good nutrition starts in the womb (and even with how the mother prepares the womb). In case you haven’t already discovered this, at the top of the NF.org page is a tap called “Health Topics.” Pregnancy is one of the topics listed and it contains links to all Dr. G’s videos and posts on pregnancy. The supplements you list seem to be the most important, assuming you are eating foods with plenty of folate. http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/pregnancy

  • brentky

    I had been taking upper Klamath Lake blue green algae for a short while until I heard that blue green algae may be toxic and dangerous. Check this out…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphanizomenon_flos-aquae …. One study says, “Microcystin toxin has been found in all 16 samples of A. flos-aquae products sold as food supplements in Germany and Switzerland, originating from Lake Klamath: 10 of 16 samples exceeded the safety value of 1 µg microcystin per gram.”

  • Tom Goff

    Sponsored advertisements are now appearing on these pages before the beginning of the comments section. I noticed one earlier today promoting some ridiculous anti-vegetable diet and exercise system.
    I had to buy a new laptop yesterday running Windows 10 since my old one literally fell apart. So, my question is, are these adverts the result of a change in NF policy or is it something to do with Windows 10 and my new Lenovo laptop?

  • Matthew Smith

    Omega threes, from flax seed oil, can treat schizophrenia, particularly coupled with Niacin and a reduction in milk or other cerebral allergy. CNS Drugs. 2003;17(15):1081-91. Clinical potential of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of schizophrenia. Emsley R1, Oosthuizen P, van Rensburg SJ.

  • Maria

    Thank you Katie moderator and two others, and all chatting here, lots of good stuff.
    Just ground enough for the next week.

  • kaibloom

    I am interested to know Dr Greger’s opinion of hemp oil in terms of meeting omega oil requirements. I’ve been using it for many years based on the idea that the ratio of 3-6-9 is the most compatible ratio for humans from any plant, yet there is nothing on this web site about it. I don’t feel that I am lacking mentally for not taking the EPA/DHA sources, but others may disagree :-)

  • disqus_hiZDi96PRz

    Hello Dr Greger! I am just wondering about your knowledge and research on oral chelation, and what you recommend to do about our constant (and seemingly maliciously intended) exposure to heavy metals, ESPECIALLY in the questionable dental industry. Thank you, perhaps you can do a video on oral chelation!

  • Mery Daae

    I take vegan algae-based oil for omega-3s as recommended on your optimal nutritional guidelines. Should I discontinue?

    • Thea

      Mery: Dr. Greger recently updated his Optional Nutritional Guidelines and the recommendation to take an algae based DHA/EPA pill is still there. Dr. Greger will explain why he still recommends such a supplement in a future video. But in the mean time, I think it is pretty safe to say that you are doing good. :-)

      • Mery Daae

        thanks : )

  • kaibloom

    For some reason unexplained to me, the comment I posted two hours ago has been removed. It was fair comment to point out that there is no post on NutritionFacts about Hemp and my post was relevant to this topic. If the powers that B feel this is not something to be discussed then I am surprised and obviously hurt to be barred in this way. What is your problem?

    • Thea

      kaibloom: Here is a link to the post about the hemp oil. It is a perfectly good post and it has *not* been deleted. I do not know why you are having trouble finding it, but it appears that no one is deleting your posts as near as I can tell. One way you can find your posts is to log onto disqus and then click your name at the top of the comments section. And then choose ‘your profile’. The screen that pops up will show you your latest posts and you can click a button to see your posts in the original discussion.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-we-take-epa-and-dha-omega-3-for-our-heart/#comment-2558004235

  • kaibloom

    Wow, now I know there is someone there. It is only 6 minutes since I posted again and My post has been removed again!! Not cool enough to run with the cool kids, obvously..

    • Thea

      kaibloom: I am trying to investigate this, but am having trouble getting into the right screen. In the meantime, are you sure your post got deleted? We have had many instances in the past of someone thinking that their post was deleted when instead, it was just hard to find.
      .
      I’ll let you know what I find when I can get into the right screen.

    • Tom Goff

      I had this problem at one point. In my case it was because the “sort by” setting for comments (above right) was “oldest”. Consequently, all the newest comments including mine were at the bottom when I revisited the site. If there are 200+ comments in a discussion thread, this makes new comments appear to virtually “disappear”. Make sure your “sort by” setting is “newest”

  • BB

    Dr. Greger is getting fishy with his fish research again.

    ” This may explain why studies in the U.S. have shown that just a single serving of fish a week may significantly increase one’s risk of diabetes”

    He cites this study

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22442397

    But doesn’t mention the downward trend, as in less diabetes with more servings of fish each week.

    “For each serving per week increment in fish consumption, the RRs (95% CIs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.05 (1.02-1.09), 1.03 (0.96-1.11), and 0.98 (0.97-1.00) combining U.S., European, and Asian/Australian studies, respectively. For each 0.30 g per day increment in long-chain n-3 fatty acids, the corresponding summary estimates were 1.17 (1.09-1.26), 0.98 (0.70-1.37), and 0.90 (0.82-0.98).”

    If one serving per week showed slightly increased risk but more servings per week showed a decreased risk, how can you say that pollutants likely caused the higher diabetes incidence? Surely the people eating more fish and omega-3s would be more polluted and we would see higher rates of diabetes, not lower.

    He’s also leaving out important lines from the paper on PCB exposure and stroke risk:

    “Interestingly, recent meta-analyses have shown that fish consumption (a major source of PCBs) is moderately and inversely associated with the risk of stroke [17, 18] whilst no association was observed with dietary, biomarkers or supplements of long-chain omega-3 fish fatty acids [17].”
    “Neither the dietary intake of EPA and DHA together nor the consumption of fish was associated with total stroke risk before adjusting the models for dietary PCB exposure (Table 3). However, after adjusting for dietary PCB exposure, those in the highest quartile for EPA/DHA intake were associated with a 28% (95% CI, 4–46%) lower risk of total stroke. In addition, those with the highest consumption of high- and medium-fat fish were associated with a 22% (95% CI, 3–38%) and 25% (95% CI, 9–39%) lower risk of total stroke, respectively. The Spearman correlation between dietary PCB exposure and fatty fish consumption was 0.72 and 0.47 for high-fat and medium-fat fish, respectively (P < 0.001). "

    I can understand suggesting algae-based omega-3 supplements as the best of both worlds, but this video is set up in a very misleading way that just hurts the overall message of the website. This is why you have people dismissing all of Dr. Greger's videos by saying he cherrypicks.

    • Meghan Hayes, PharmD – NF Mod

      Hi BB. I believe you may have misread the result you quoted above regarding the incremental increase in fish consumption “For each serving per week increment in fish consumption, the RRs (95% CIs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.05 (1.02-1.09), 1.03 (0.96-1.11), and 0.98 (0.97-1.00) combining U.S., European, and Asian/Australian studies, respectively. For each 0.30 g per day increment in long-chain n-3 fatty acids, the corresponding summary estimates were 1.17 (1.09-1.26), 0.98 (0.70-1.37), and 0.90 (0.82-0.98).” The three listed relative risk (RR) ratios are for the US studies, European studies, and Asian/Austrialian studies. For example, if we look at just the studies conducted in the US, the RR of developing type 2 diabetes was 1.05 (1.02-1.09) for each serving per week increment in fish consumption and 1.17 (1.09-1.26) for each 0.3g per day increment in long chain n-3 fatty acids. Both of these results, which are looking specifically at the US studies, are statistically significant, thus explaining Dr. Greger’s assertion that studies in the U.S. have shown that just a single serving of fish a week may significantly increase one’s risk of diabetes.

      Regarding the first sentences you listed from Dietary exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls is associated with increased risk of stroke in women: I believe the author was referring to older studies that had brought up some of the questions that his or her research would address.
      The authors of this paper reported multivariable-adjusted RR of 1.67 (1.29-2.17) for total stroke, 1.61 (1.19-2.17) for ischaemic stroke and 2.80 (1.42-5.55) for hemorrhagic stroke for women in the highest quartile of dietary PCB exposure (median 288 ng day(-1) ) compared with women in the lowest quartile (median 101 ng day(-1) ). Overall, based on these findings, the authors concluded that dietary exposure to PCBs was associated with an increased stroke risk in women, and, based on their findings, advised a careful risk-benefit analysis of fish consumption, particularly for cerebrovascular disease prevention.

      • BB

        Ah, I did read that first one wrong, my bad. For the second one, I still feel it’s misleading to use the paper on PCB exposure and stroke risk to put the connection in our minds between fish consumption and stroke risk, when the study still found an inverse correlation for fish and stroke despite the PCBs. Other sources of PCBs may be worth talking about when it comes to stroke risk, but fish apparently is not.

        • Meghan Hayes, PharmD – NF Mod

          That you for following up, BB. I interpreted the findings of the study a bit differently. The paper only found a reduced risk of stroke in patients who consumed fish when the results were adjusted for PCB exposure. In other words, the net benefit of fish consumption is dependent upon PCB exposure. So if the fish you are eating are contaminated with PCBs, you are not getting the protective effect that you may get if the fish did not contain PCBs. To ensure that you are not exposing yourself to this harmful chemical, see Dr. Greger’s video PCBs in food a>. I hope you find this information helpful!

        • Meghan Hayes, PharmD – NF Mod

          That you for following up, BB. I interpreted it a bit differently. The paper only found a reduced risk of stroke in patients who consumed fish when the results were adjusted for PCB exposure. In other words, the net benefit of fish consumption is dependent upon PCB exposure. So if the fish you are eating are contaminated with PCBs, you are not getting the protective effect that you may get if the fish did not contain PCBs. To ensure that you are not exposing yourself to too much of this harmful chemical, see Dr. Greger’s video PCBs in food. I hope you find this information helpful!

  • sf_jeff

    I just ran across an opinion that you can have too much of a good thing in antioxidants. Any chance they could be right?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1246542/Eating-superfoods-harm-health-overdosing-antioxidants.html

    • jj

      That is very interesting. Sheds light on why some migraine specialists say to be careful of over consuming antioxidants.

    • Thea

      sf_jeff: I read the article, but did not look at the actual study. Here are my thoughts: The article talked about giving extra antioxidants to animals and looking at the results. Leaving aside for the moment that they are dealing with nonhuman animals only and thus we don’t know the effect on humans, I’m guessing that the study didn’t push extra sweet potatoes and blueberries on the poor elderly nonhuman animals. (Were they really force feeding the animals? If so, the massive extra calories would be a confounding issue.) It’s my guess that they were giving the creatures essentially pills / unnatural doses of individual antioxidants (as opposed to the many many varieties appearing naturally and in balance in whole foods). What we have seen on NutritionFacts is that humans taking antioxidant pills usually have worse outcomes compared to doing nothing. While people eating whole plants foods with high antioxidants have better outcomes compared to control groups.
      .
      I’m guessing that the Daily Mail website was demonstrating the all too common practice of irresponsible journalistic reporting, implying that the study says something that it does not. In other words, the Daily Mail jumps from “animals eating pure, unnaturally high levels of antioxidants is a problem” translates into “humans should not eat whole foods with higher antioxidants” – which contradicts the body of evidence as we know it now. As I said, I didn’t read the actual study. But that’s just my guess. What do you think?

      • sf_jeff

        Thanks. That is a good point. When I read the article I was wondering if I should replace Amla with other “good, but not off the charts” antioxidants. I know someone who said Amla gives them stomach issues. The reason it sounds somewhat plausible is that reduction events without oxidation events would seem like they would take the body to an unnatural chemical environment.

        I wouldn’t assume there is an issue with sweet potatoes and blueberries based on the article, though. If the article turns out to be useful (which is the purpose of the post), then I would still go for a variety of antioxidants, but might just skip one or two of the “heavy hitters”.

  • starchy

    This one divides the plant based community. Some say we can get all we need from ALA and some say we need to supplement with Algae. I’m on John Mcdougalls Starch Solution so I get my fats from my vegetables with the occasional nuts and seeds. My question is what are the consequences if we don’t supplement? Are there any studies that prove any detriments to our health if we don’t supplement in the longrun. I’ve been doing High Carb Low Fat for 6 months now and I feel great.

    • Thea

      starchy: That’s a great question and one that I share. As I have also heard that while vegan have been shown to have lower amounts of DHA, there has not been any clear evidence that there is any harm from that. Perhaps Dr. Greger will have some new information on this point in his future video…

      • starchy

        Yes Thea- I heard about the lower levels of DHA in Vegans and there being a lack of evidence to prove that it is harmful in anyway. I do hope Dr Greger has an answer for us on that one. I do incorporate a lot of what he has to say into my diet except for some of his recommended guidelines on things like nuts etc. I’m more inclined to think we’re fine without supplements because if humans are born vegetarians then we should be able to get all we need from our vegetables and fruit- supplementing occasionally with nuts and seeds.

        • Thea, could you PLEASE convince the dear Doctor to include in his next Omega 3 video possible sources and brands of Algae DHA? That is if we really do need to supplement! We used to take the supposedly purified Cost Co fish oil supplements until Dr. Greger said that we can’t necessarily believe in their purity. We need help in choosing the right algae source if we need it for brain health.

          • Thea

            Gayle: I may be a vocal moderator, but the truth is that I have zero contact (and thus influence) with Dr. Greger. Also, it’s generally Dr. Greger’s policy not to promote a particular brand or brands. So, I don’t think your particular request would go anywhere.

            But here is something that may help you: Darryl is one of the posters in the NF community with consistently high quality posts. I think Darryl generally knows what he is talking about. And I seem to remember a post from Darryl saying that he did some research and found that all of major brands for algae-based DHA/EPA come from the same source. So, the packaging is different, but the content is the same.

            This post I’m talking about was probably a couple years ago. I don’t know if the situation has changed since then or not. But I think you can probably safely get whatever brand of algea-based DHA-EPA that meets your budget, pill size and any other related needs you have.

            Does that help? Or are you still hoping Dr. Greger would address a certain question? I ask because I *think* (not sure what the process is anymore) certain question posts get passed on to Dr. Greger or maybe he read the posts as often as he can. So, posting your question here is a good thing and if my answer hasn’t satisfied you, you may want to repeat or clarify what your question is.

    • Hi Starchy! Dr G has said on the site that vegans need only supplement with two things: B12 and Vitamin D. To hear him talk about this, go to the video http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-supplements-worth-taking/.
      There are no studies that show any detriments to our health if we do not supplement a vegan diet with anything beyond these two vitamins.

      • Minor clarification to my comments: Dr G says in How Not to Die that we should consider taking 250mg of Pollutant Free (Yeast or Algae Derived) long chain Omega 3’s daily. As you know, he does not recommend fish oil due to contamination issues of even “purified” forms. Algae used for supplements are grown in tanks and never come in contact with the ocean (see pp 410-411 in How Not To Die).

        • starchy

          This is an interesting one for me too- I remember taking fish supplements years ago before I became plant based and had an adverse reaction to those too. So I’m concerned I may have the same reaction with the Algae supplements. Ive found the best way for me is to always get my nutrients the way nature intended. I seem to be fine with B12 which is great.

      • starchy

        Thank you Lisa- that’s great to know. I do take a B12 supplement but I tried taking Vitamin D supplements and had a strong reaction to them- I just didn’t feel right after just a few days. I then read Dr John Mcdougall’s research on Vitamin D and he says that taking it is actually detrimental to one’s health. According to Mcdougall the best way to get your Vitamin D is through sun exposure and I think Dr Greger offers that alternative too which is great. Vitamin D is fat soluble so we’re able to store up enough for the winter months.

  • Eric Danger Palmer

    What about purslane, I’ve seen some places say that it contains ALA, EPA, and DHA, could this be a whole food to satisfy our omega-3 needs?

    • I really like this article I found about lettuces (including purslane) because it contains so much information about lettuces! http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=68 Interesting to note that mixing of different lettuces was traditionally done for taste reasons, mixing mild, bitter/tart, piquant, and peppery/spicy! Ironic how mixing for flavor may have distinct health benefits as well, since the taste differences are a consequence of the different antioxidants and phytonutrients! Mixing seems to be the best way to go! In doing a quick search of purslane and ALA content, there are a number of articles, but I am not confident about the journal sources or the study designs. I would definitely recommend a mixed whole foods approach!!

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Another publication completed in Portuguese: http://nutricao-em-fatos.org/omega-3-epa-dha-coracao/

  • easyout

    Alberto Villoldo Ph.D medical anthropologist, shaman, in his book One Spirit Medicine, says you can detox the fat cells in the brain, with the brain being mainly fat cells, as part of his 7 day brain detox for a higher mental state, by taking along with ALA and some superfoods, 3 grams (3000 mg) of DHA a day, for the big part of his 7 day brain detox.

  • Whatever

    Last time I checked, the European Food Safety Authority was promoting snake oil. They have about as much “nutrition authority” as fortune tellers.

  • Ronald Green
  • Julia Pace

    Might want to consider that if your alleles in gene FADS2 rs1535 for
    converting ALA in Flax or walnuts to EPA is A/A, you are a high
    converter. A/G is intermediate – 18.6% lower and G/G is 29% lower
    conversion. per Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, PhD. https://livewello.com/library/rhonda-perciavalle-patrick-phd-how-to-personalize-your-nutrition-based-on-your-genes?author=stoic1

  • ExplorerBob

    Dr. Gregor recommends 250mg of algae long chain omega-3’s daily. He does not mention individual doses of DHA or EPA (most supplements are 2:1 ratio). There are also supplements that have DHA only, and whether there are suitable? Some supplements have Schizochytrium Oil in addition to the DHA and EPA (which appears to be safe according to EFSA, see http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/3843.pdf)

  • TR M

    250 mg?? That is so low I’d not expect to see any benefit. The best way is to measure the AA/EPA ratio with blood tests and get down to 2-3. Most people on the “standard American diet” are into double digits (12+).

    I eat 3 tbsp of hemp hearts and 1 tbsp of chia seeds a day but still take 2 gr a day of purified EPA/DHA (IFOS).

  • Dustin Pratt

    I thought increased DHA levels in the blood was associated with increased prostate cancer risk?

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8735103

  • Melani Harriman

    Dr Greger, is the issue of Omega 3 requirement based on proportion of Omega 6 and Omega 3 or just a fixed amount of Omega 3?

  • Cheryl Henry

    I’m sorry Dr G. But Somtimes you just need to pray over you fish. Yes the oceans are polluted and the fish may be contaminated. But my husband and I go fishing and we love redfish (I’m from New Orleans and red fish is what we eat occasionally) I do take omega-3 supplements but I do not want to live off of pills and supplements all my life. Our Creator ate fish and he also ate lamb during the Passover and he asked us to give thanks for everything before eating it…. blessing it before it is consumed. I know you’re trying to help us out but somethings only God can take care of. Thanks for your wonderful information and your diligence in finding out knowledge about nutritional facts.

  • MobyTcguire

    So is this right that taking 1 tablespoon of chia or flax seeds will provide enough dha and epa? I just recently adopted a vegan lifestyle. I feel like I could really benefit from more Omega 3

    • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

      It’s great you’ve adopted a plant-based diet! The current recommendation is to get at least half a percent of your calories from short-chain omega-3 ALA. One tablespoon ground flaxseed has just that (as do chia seeds and walnuts). In his book, “How Not to Die” Dr. Greger still recommends taking a 250 mg supplement as the research is still out on what is the optimal amount for brain health.

  • [email protected]

    CONCERN: I have been plant based now for two plus years. I have always had good cholesterol numbers. Now my total has dropped to 137 but my HDL has plummeted to 45 and my LDL IS 84. Is it bad to have such a low HDL ? Everything I read wants that number way higher. I keep reading that if I use some olive oil that it will help all around. THOUGHTS ?

    • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

      Thanks for your question, run26. It actually isn’t uncommon for HDL cholesterol to go down when eating a plant-based diet as total cholesterol is going down. We know that populations who barely have coronary artery disease and eat plant-based diets have very low levels of total LDL and HDL cholesterol. What determines the health benefit of all types of cholesterol is whether or not it is oxidized—meaning damaged. So therefore, plant-based diets are protective since they provide an abundance of naturally curing heart and broad spectrum antioxidants. Your total and LDL cholesterol are in a very healthy place; much better than the average American. Congratulations! I don’t think you need to add olive oil. Here’s Dr. G’s most recent video on olive oil: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/.

  • Marco Bellacci

    Hi everybody :-).

    Today I saw in a danish newspaper (taken from The Telegraph and The Guardian) an article about a new study that claims that vegetarian has 40 %

    increased chance of getting cancer (colon), if generations in one family lives by plantfood / vegetarian food.
    So they warn about teaching children about a vegetarian lifestyle!!
    The study claims that it is because of the omega 6 acids.

    I was very surpriced about it. Well we all know that we have to be careful with the omega 6 acids, meat eater or not. But a study like this?

    Do any of you know anything about this new study?
    Can you help me understand this better?

    Thank you all!

    Regards from Marco.

    • Thanks for your question Marco!

      Ar you referring to this article?

      If so, Dr Greger has addressed this matter in a few other comments & I will use his words directly regarding this topic:

      “As you can see it says nothing of the sort. They compared a genetic marker in a population in India (most of which ate meat) to a U.S. population and found higher rates of a gene variant that facilitates the elongation of omega 6 fatty acids. They found higher rates in India, which they speculated may have come from natural selection of generations of a population which historically has been about 40% vegetarian. Says nothing about the health of U.S. vegetarians (or Indian vegetarians for that matter). Even if you have this gene variant, you’d just avoid omega 6 rich oils like sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oil, which is a good idea anyway. Classic man bites dog story media nonsense sadly.”

      Please find the link to the study here.

      Hope this answer helps!

  • Rebecca

    I just listened to a “whole food plant based” podcast interview with Scott Jurek. They discussed Udo’s Choice 3-6-9 oil (http://www.amazon.com/Choice-3-6-9-Blend-32-Ounce-Bottle/dp/B0010ED3DQ) and said people following a whole food plant based diet should take it for brain and other health. What is Dr. Greger’s position on this? Thank you!

  • Jordan

    Dr. Greger if you could respond this would be wonderful. Today I was discussing the importance from my understanding of taking Algae oil as well as ALA’s I got this response….

    “All his studies are looking at people with unknown omega-6 intake of various types. Plenty of studies have been posted here showing plenty of conversion and Dr. Greger can say whatever he wants, there is no such thing as an intervention study showing fish or algae oil affects health outcomes in people eating plant based diets that are not full of other harmful fats.

    The only relevant issue here is one of DHA vs EPA and the evidence is currently falling strongly in favor of EPA.”

    Could you or someone with the resources and credentials give a proper response to this persons doubt? It would be greatly appreciated.

    If you are interested in my response It was something like this…

    “Well I trust a Doctor that has high ranking position at the Humane society over a post in a forum. Since he links the source material to show his claims (thanks to his team of researchers)

    Do you have any sources to back up your claims?

    Until there is evidence to back up not taking Algae oil I’ll continue to take it.”

    • Thea

      Jordan: I have neither “resources” nor “credentials,” but I hung onto your post for a few days, and I don’t think anyone else responded. (They may have and I may have just missed it.) So, I thought I would share my thoughts with you to see if that would help.
      .
      First, the poster (let’s call her Poster X) *may* be absolutely correct that people who eat a diet of whole plant foods and who have a good omega 6 to 3 ratio from their food may absolutely not need to take an algae based omega 3 pill. This is a reasonable belief given these two points: a) there is at least one study (which I have somewhere around here…) that shows that people on a whole plant food diet have bodies which are several times better at converting ALA to DHA compared to the people who eat animals and b) whole plant food eaters who have lower levels of DHA have not been found to have any negative consequences. (As far as I know–to date.) In other words, if lower DHA levels were tightly correlated with specific diseases the same way that high cholesterol is, then we would have something to worry about. But to date, I’m not aware of any such strong body of evidence to indicate it’s a problem. Perhaps the levels of DHA in whole plant food eaters is the normal levels and the sick people are the ones with extra high levels…
      .
      Having said that, I think that an argument or two can also be made against Poster X. Poster X’s argument is just like the silly arguments we have seen time and again here on NutritionFacts. Example: “Your egg study didn’t test *organic* eggs. So, it’s all rubbish and doesn’t apply to me.” or “None of your salt studies looked at *real* natural pink salt. Your study doesn’t apply to me.” People find a tiny way in which the food or situation studied is not like them and then say, “Ha, I don’t have to listen, because it can’t possibly apply to me.” All when clearly the pathways involved *do* apply to them. The trick to deciding if a set of studies applies to someone or not goes beyond finding a tiny difference in the food. It must involve a *reasonable* look at what we know about how the food helps or hinders health. So, the question is, does the science concerning DHA/EPA supplementation apply to Poster X’s diet based on the deeper understanding of what is going on with the dietary effects of DHA/EPA?
      .
      The answer is: *I* don’t know. Dr. Greger hasn’t given us the underlying reason yet to take algae based DHA/EPA. He says that the standard reasons people give, such as preventing heart disease, do not seem to hold up. If you read the Doctor’s Note above, you will see that Dr. Greger still suggests all people (even Poster X style eaters) consider taking algae DHA/EPA. The reason has something to do with the brain, but no details are provided. That video/published study is not out yet. We don’t know the details enough to argue whether this is very strong evidence and whether or not it would apply to people eating Poster X’s diet. All we really know is that Dr. Greger generally has well thought out positions and doesn’t make supplementation recommendations lightly. (Which was your point.) But while I don’t have Dr. Greger’s book with me at the moment, but I’m pretty sure the DHA pill recommendation was not as strong as say the B12 recommendation. I think the wording was something like, “Consider taking…” So, how strong is this evidence for DHA/EPA supplementation in regards to Poster X type people? We really can’t argue this point either way I think until we get more information.
      .
      I’ll leave you with these thoughts: It seems unlikely that taking the algae DHA/EPA pills would cause harm. I think a lot of Dr. Greger’s recommendations follow the logic of: “Based on the evidence, eating X is unlikely to cause harm. The known side effects are generally good. And the evidence shows that there is the potential for great benefit. So, why not eat X.” That doesn’t meant that eating X is *proven* to have Y benefit. It just means that Dr. Greger thinks there is enough evidence to support eating X. Is that the case/logic behind Dr. Greger’s DHA/EPA recommendation? We don’t know yet… Thus, my bottom line is: for someone who wants to take those algae DHA/EPA, trusting that Dr. Greger is making a good judgment for whole plant food, balanced omega 3 and 6 eaters, I say go for it. It is a perfectly reasonable action. And later, when Dr. Greger is able to release the video on why he is really recommending an algae omega 3 pill, you could reply to Poster X with some good evidence.
      .
      What do you think?

  • Daniel Stoker

    I can’t eat flax seeds because I’ve noticed a mild allergic reaction to them in the past. What can I eat instead for omega-3s?

    • Thanks for your question Daniel!

      Dr Greger addresses plant based sources of omega-3 here and here. In addition the sources mentioned by Dr Greger, this review also suggests chia and perilla seeds as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

      Hope this answer helps!

  • precie

    To be continued…. just means the jury’s not out yet with a verdict. More research will have to be done to determine whether we, as vegans, need DHA supplement.
    My understanding is that our dietary needs was established a long time ago before we started hunting animals for food. So were we fishing and if so then that would explain our need for DHA. I’ll go with organically produced algae. After all it is a whole plant and we as vegans eat whole plants.

  • Louanne

    We should make sure we get Omega-3 but what about Omega-5 and Omega-7?

    • Dr. Jen

      Hi Louanne,

      Great question!

      Although there appears to be value in consuming omega 5 and omega 7 fatty acids, Dr. G doesn’t make any specific recommendations about them. It seems that, with a varied diet- and some avocados, macadamia nuts and pomegranates, you are probably all set.

  • Hendrik
    • Cathleen_NF_Moderator

      Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this article, Hendrik. I particularly appreciate its discussion about how difficult it is to translate mouse research to human clinical applications. Still, even though this was done in mice, it seems like just one more good reason to avoid fish oil!

      • Hendrik

        Thanks for the response Cathleen. I also found this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25550171 interesting. It addresses the body’s poor conversion rate for turning ALA into DHA. It seems that turmeric can increase this rate. Suggests to me that a combination of flax, turmeric and black pepper can also serve as a source of DHA. This might have a bearing on the effect of turmeric on Alzheimer’s, mentioned in some videos on this site.

  • cheryl

    Doesn’t algae come from the ocean or the sea ??

    • Thea

      cheryl: Yes, algae comes from the sea, unless people grow it in sterile/clean vats for the purposes of making DHA/EPA oil. And the “grow in clean vats” is exactly how DHA/EPA algae-based pills are made. Does that answer your question?

  • VE

    Hi Dr G, Love, love, love your site. What do you think of the information from the PBS Frontline and New York Times investigation regarding the quality of supplements?
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/hidden-dangers-of-vitamins-and-supplements-revealed/7412382

  • rusty_047

    Here is an interesting study about another component which contributes to the healthy effects of the fatty acids. In short – its the furan fatty acid, a much more potent anti inflammatory substance than dha/epa. The problem is that this acid is very fragile and susceptible to oxidation. Found The main feature is that this furan acid ring is capable of trapping two radicals. Found in the pheromone of the leaf beetle and the green lipped mussel.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/42/17533.full.pdf

  • alphaa10

    This video article addresses a vexing problem of diet for millions who no longer eat fish for fear of their toxic burden. Such people are forced to do without the omega3 which is vital for maintenance and growth of the body.

    Their dilemma seems inescapable, and even algae is traditionally harvested from the ocean, which merely reproduces the problem with fish tissue.

    Dr. Greger reminds us properly-sourced algae contains pollution-free omega3, and even if no cardiovascular benefit is demonstrated, omega3 benefits the nervous system, helping to prevent disease. Part 2, to be released when study data are published, promises a major dietary advance.

    • Thea

      alphaa10: re: “…problem of diet for millions who no longer eat fish for fear of their toxic burden. Such people are forced to do without the omega3…” Are you saying that people who don’t eat fish are forced to do without omega 3s?
      .
      People who don’t eat fish (or any animal products) hardly lack for sources of omega 3. As you, yourself mention, there are plenty of algae-based DHA/EPA supplements available. There are also foods like flaxseeds and chia seeds which not only have a lot of omega 3s, but which convert to DHA and EPA much better in the bodies of people who eat a healthy diet (whole plant foods). And then there are dark leafy greens, which have a lot of omega 3 relatively. If people really ate all the servings of veggies that they are supposed to eat in a day, their omega 3 amounts would come close or even meet the amounts recommended. Finally, English (or was it black?) walnuts are a great source of omega 3s. I just don’t see the dilemma you are talking about.
      .
      I wrote this post, because I think it is important to keep the role of fish in the human diet in perspective. Fish contains a whole lot more than just omega 3s verses contaminants, including a lot of bad stuff like a lot of saturated fat combined with animal protein combined with cholesterol. Meanwhile, we can get omega 3s from other sources of food. You could be right that we will get some compelling data concerning omega 3s in the future, but I don’t see how any one study will do much to change the daily recommendations nor where we would do best to source the omega 3s from. Something to think about.

      • alphaa10

        Thea, your comments about the negatives on fish, and about O3 alternatives to fish are true, except for the fact the human conversion of plant-based short-chain O3 to long-chain, easily-assimilated O3 is dismally inefficient in many people.

        My own research encountered one fishery-associated source which put the figure for conversion of short to long-chain O3 in the single digits– at least, that was the estimate offered. The actual figure may be difficult to determine and highly variable, depending on the individual’s metabolic chemistry and diet.

        Of course, it would be a delight to discover the conversion efficiency is not a problem, after all. But at the moment, based on current research, that is still wishful thinking.

        • Thea

          alphaa10: The conversion rate may be low, but it is 2 times better in vegans than in fish eaters. That was my point.
          .
          And inefficient is only a problem if you don’t get enough. In other words, our needs for omega 3s are very low. I understand the daily omega 3 needs to be 1.1 (grams?) for women and 1.6 for men. So, it’s totally fine if the conversation rate is low/inefficient as long as what is converted is enough to meet our needs.
          .
          Another factor is that while vegans have been found to have lower amounts in our bodies, there is no evidence of harm from that lower amount.
          .
          To back up what I am saying here, here are some quotes from an article from Jeff Novick:
          ***************************
          This recent study showed that the conversion rate in Vegans is 2x that of a fish-eater.

          Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Sep 22.

          Dietary intake and status of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a
          population of fish-eating and non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans and the precursor-product ratio of {alpha}-linolenic acid to long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort.

          “Comparison of the PLLC n23 PUFAs:DALA ratio between
          dietary-habit groups showed that it was 209% higher in vegan
          men and 184% higher in vegan women than in fish-eaters, was
          14% higher in vegetarian men and 6% higher in vegetarian
          women than in fish-eaters, and was 17% and 18% higher in
          male and female meat-eaters, respectively, than in fish-eaters
          This suggests that the statistically estimated conversion may
          be higher in non-fish-eaters than in fish-eaters.”

          In addition, another study showed that despise this “theoretical” low conversion rate, there is no evidence of any harm so, the problem may not be in the conversion rate, but in the assumption that it is low.


          Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Jun 3.

          “There is no evidence of adverse effects on health or cognitive function with lower DHA intake in vegetarians.

          In the absence of convincing evidence for the deleterious effects resulting from the lack of DHA from the diet of vegetarians, it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA. ”

          **************************************
          I wrote that the following link was the source in my little database, but the link is not working now. Hopefully you can find the studies if you are interested. http://209.204.155.28/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=19443&start=0

          Here’s the key point: “…it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA.” Cool, huh!

          • alphaa10

            Yes, the Novick-sourced studies seemingly corroborate the idea we get enough EPA/DHA, provided we eat adequate amounts of food containing either ALA or short-chain EPA/DHA. Therein is the issue– how much should we eat?

            That is why Dr. Greger’s forthcoming article may hold the answer– we may or may not need supplementation, provided our intake is adequate. The study should help refine such dietary recommendations.

            The EPIC-Norfolk study (Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Sep 22) was also a surprise in that non-fish eaters did better on conversion of ALA to long-chain EPA/DHA. But again, what I eagerly await is confirmation the typical vegan dietary intake of ALA is enough for adequate EPA/DHA production– however “adequate” is defined.

            Thanks for the links– Novick always has been interesting.

      • I measure my nutrients on cronometer and my omega-3 levels are through the roof!! And I do occasionally take algae oil but I never count that on cronometer, only my whole plant foods are measured. I eat flax everyday and I like to keep hemp seeds a fairly regular part of my diet. I eat tons of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.

        If you’re familiar with Emily of Bite Size Vegan (she actually had Dr. Greger on her channel a couple of times, maybe more), she doesn’t supplement at all and from what I observed, she doesn’t appear to eat flax, but eats a ton of whole veggies and fruits. She said when she got her blood tested, her doctor was impressed with her omega-3 levels and had assumed she took fish oil.

        • Thea

          Shaylen: Thanks for sharing.
          Your bit of info about Emily of Bite Size Vegan is especially interesting to me, because I recently saw one of her videos where she shows what she eats in a typical meal. It was a *giant* bucket of lettuce and a few dates. Greens are supposed to have a lot of omega 3 relatively, but you have to eat a lot of it to get enough. That’s the theory/how the numbers play out. Sounds like she proved the theory, at least for herself.

  • Where is the “to be continued” video to this? It’s seemingly impossible to find a vegan product with 200 mg EPA or any EPA at all that isn’t filled with unhealthy fillers like caramel color, artificial sweeteners, etc. and unhealthy PLUS unethical fillers like palm oil! So I contacted Nutru over my concerns and they recommended their 300 mg DHA capsules and said I didn’t need to worry about EPA because it can be converted from the DHA. I also read that our bodies do a much better job at converting EPA from ALA. And I also eat hemp seeds regularly which has the compound to help with the conversion. I can’t afford to buy a ton of supplements, so more info would be great! Also I know of a lot of people who don’t supplement at all and just eat a whole foods vegan diet and their blood levels for omega-3’s come back perfect. Thoughts, videos?

  • Bill

    It seems that all Omega 3 supplements from Algae include Carrageenan. Does this negate the potential benefits of Algal Omega-3?

    • Cathleen

      That’s a tough question, Bill. I found this nice summary of the possible risks of carrageenan that you and others may find useful: carrageenan. I think given the limited data, each of us will have to make our own decision on this. As with so many other food issues, it may be best to stick with what is naturally found in whole plant foods, in this case ground flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.

  • Julia

    When will this be continued?

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Julia – Dr. G will be sure to continue this when more research is available. Stay tuned and thanks for following!

  • Michael Baier

    So I keep seeing this 250mg number being touted by Dr. Greger. I recently got a bottle of Udo’s DHA 3-6-9 and it says 115mg of DHA+EPA per tablespoon. Does that mean 2.5 tablespoons per day? That seems like a lot of oil.

  • Jim Bean

    Quality of life, not longevity. Take a look at the old who can’t afford to eat, cool their homes in the summer, care for themselves… who are broke. No thanks.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I take one tablespoon of cold pressed canola oil per day, it has 1200mg of Omega 3 and 2600mg of Omega 6. It also has 12% of my RDA of E and K.

  • Lakiesha Vaughan1

    It was great to stumble upon this post. I need help with this too! You will be surprised how easy it can be to fill forms. Try fillingl CA Form 275-321 through the online sowtware http://goo.gl/zRzutV

  • Stephanie

    Hi I know Dr. Greger recommends ground flaxseed to get your omega 3 but I’m allergic to alot of seeds so I’ve started taking Sea Buckthorn which apparently has omega 3,6,7,9 to the ratio of 1:1:1:1 would this be a good alternative? Also if you were to take a supplement and then did eat flax or chia to boost the omega 3 would that be a good idea?

  • Jim

    I listened to a recent Joe Rogan podcast with Chris Kresser as the guest. A significant amount of time was spent discussing the apparent flaws of a plant-based diet including the “myths” surrounding dietary cholesterol and heart disease as well as nutrient deficiencies.

    Chris posted this article following some criticism of his statements made on the podcast. Just looking for additional information in the interest of clarity and objective science.

    https://chriskresser.com/why-vegetarians-and-vegans-should-supplement-with-dha/

    • Thea

      Jim: I don’t know about the specific link you gave, but Chris Kresser is not generally a good source of information. You can learn a lot about Kresser in this video from Plant Positive. http://plantpositive.com/22-cholesterol-confusion-5-cho

      More generally, if you spend time on Plant Positive’s site, you will be able to see through the types of arguments that cholesterol deniers like Kresser put out there. In the interest of science, Plant Positive’s series is a must-see. He looks at actual sources of information in a very scholarly way.

  • Andy Hughes

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37330d9541061207f8e641f8707982247a23ea5fcdf2212285ec6e107911c7de.jpg I am confused by this video. In a youtube video that got me interested in this area and finally finding and donating to nutritionfacts.org it clearly stated that EPA and DHA were important factors in having healthy arteries. (I am attaching a snapshot from Dr. Greger’s talk). Was this wrong? I know it was an older video but this talk was a cornerstone of my understanding. Clarification would be helpful.