Is Fish “Brain Food” for Older Adults?

Is Fish “Brain Food” for Older Adults?
4.71 (94.29%) 7 votes

Why has fish consumption been associated with cognitive impairment and loss of executive function?

Discuss
Republish

In the landmark Global Burden of Disease study, researchers compiled the top 20 causes of death and disability. Number one on the list was high blood pressure, two and three were smoking. The number four leading cause of loss of life and health was not eating enough fruit. Lack of exercise was number ten, then too much sodium, then not enough nuts and seeds, not enough whole grains, not enough vegetables, and number 18 was not getting enough long-chain omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood due to its purported protective effect against heart disease.

Even years ago, when this was published, however, they were already questioning the benefits of these fish fats, as more and more randomized controlled trials put them to the test and they failed, culminating in the recent meta-analysis that I profiled previously, that appeared to put the issue to rest.

Cardiovascular protection isn’t the only thing fishes and fish oil consumption were hyped for, though. Omega-3s have also been touted to treat depression. But after taking into account all the negative results that went unpublished, there appears to be no benefit for major depression, or for preventing suicide—as I explored previously in my video on fish consumption and suicide.

But what about for the prevention of cognitive decline, or dementia? The available randomized controlled trials show no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 supplementation in studies lasting from six months to 40 months among healthy older adults.

It may sometimes even make things worse. Higher current fish consumption predicted worse cognitive performance, and greater past fish consumption in childhood predicted slowed perceptual speed and reaction time. This may be due to neurotoxic contaminants, such as mercury, in fishes. We’ve known that the developing brain is particularly sensitive to the damaging effects of mercury, but maybe the aging brain is as well.

This would explain results like this, where higher omega-3 levels were associated with high levels of cognitive impairment and dementia. More EPA found in the cognitively impaired, and more DHA found in the demented—presumably because of pollutants like mercury and PCBs in seafood that have been related to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The same cognitive functions disrupted in adults, like attention, fine motor function, and verbal memory, are similar to some of those previously reported in children exposed in the womb. And the adults exposed to mercury through fish consumption didn’t just have subtle EEG brain wave changes or something, but observable deficits in neurobehavioral performance measures—for example, poorer performance on tests of fine motor speed, and dexterity, and concentration. Some aspects of verbal learning and memory were also disrupted by mercury exposure, and the greater the mercury levels, the worse they did.

But look, this study was done downstream of a gold mining area, a process that uses lots of mercury. Other such studies were done on people eating fishes next to chemical plants or toxic spills or eating whale meat. What about a more mainstream population, an elite group of well-educated participants, really well educated—most were corporate executives like CEOs, all living in Florida, and wealthy enough to afford so much seafood that at least 43% exceeded the EPA’s safety limit for mercury. And it had an effect.

Excessive seafood intake, which they defined as like more than three to four servings per month of fishes, like tunas or snappers, elevates mercury levels and causes cognitive dysfunction. Not much, only about a 5% drop in cognitive performance, but a decrement that no one, let alone a health conscious and achievement-oriented person, is likely to welcome.

It’s worth noting the irony of the situation; the fact that corporate executives who choose to overconsume seafood for health reasons instead sustained a drop in their executive functions as a result. Yet, if a 4.8% drop in executive function due to excessive seafood intake occurs in highly functioning, healthy adults with ample cognitive reserve, the major concern is whether similar mercury level elevations in individuals already suffering from cognitive decline might result in substantially greater declines—particularly with cognitive decline and dementia, and seafood consumption, on the rise.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to samkerridge via Pixabay

In the landmark Global Burden of Disease study, researchers compiled the top 20 causes of death and disability. Number one on the list was high blood pressure, two and three were smoking. The number four leading cause of loss of life and health was not eating enough fruit. Lack of exercise was number ten, then too much sodium, then not enough nuts and seeds, not enough whole grains, not enough vegetables, and number 18 was not getting enough long-chain omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood due to its purported protective effect against heart disease.

Even years ago, when this was published, however, they were already questioning the benefits of these fish fats, as more and more randomized controlled trials put them to the test and they failed, culminating in the recent meta-analysis that I profiled previously, that appeared to put the issue to rest.

Cardiovascular protection isn’t the only thing fishes and fish oil consumption were hyped for, though. Omega-3s have also been touted to treat depression. But after taking into account all the negative results that went unpublished, there appears to be no benefit for major depression, or for preventing suicide—as I explored previously in my video on fish consumption and suicide.

But what about for the prevention of cognitive decline, or dementia? The available randomized controlled trials show no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 supplementation in studies lasting from six months to 40 months among healthy older adults.

It may sometimes even make things worse. Higher current fish consumption predicted worse cognitive performance, and greater past fish consumption in childhood predicted slowed perceptual speed and reaction time. This may be due to neurotoxic contaminants, such as mercury, in fishes. We’ve known that the developing brain is particularly sensitive to the damaging effects of mercury, but maybe the aging brain is as well.

This would explain results like this, where higher omega-3 levels were associated with high levels of cognitive impairment and dementia. More EPA found in the cognitively impaired, and more DHA found in the demented—presumably because of pollutants like mercury and PCBs in seafood that have been related to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The same cognitive functions disrupted in adults, like attention, fine motor function, and verbal memory, are similar to some of those previously reported in children exposed in the womb. And the adults exposed to mercury through fish consumption didn’t just have subtle EEG brain wave changes or something, but observable deficits in neurobehavioral performance measures—for example, poorer performance on tests of fine motor speed, and dexterity, and concentration. Some aspects of verbal learning and memory were also disrupted by mercury exposure, and the greater the mercury levels, the worse they did.

But look, this study was done downstream of a gold mining area, a process that uses lots of mercury. Other such studies were done on people eating fishes next to chemical plants or toxic spills or eating whale meat. What about a more mainstream population, an elite group of well-educated participants, really well educated—most were corporate executives like CEOs, all living in Florida, and wealthy enough to afford so much seafood that at least 43% exceeded the EPA’s safety limit for mercury. And it had an effect.

Excessive seafood intake, which they defined as like more than three to four servings per month of fishes, like tunas or snappers, elevates mercury levels and causes cognitive dysfunction. Not much, only about a 5% drop in cognitive performance, but a decrement that no one, let alone a health conscious and achievement-oriented person, is likely to welcome.

It’s worth noting the irony of the situation; the fact that corporate executives who choose to overconsume seafood for health reasons instead sustained a drop in their executive functions as a result. Yet, if a 4.8% drop in executive function due to excessive seafood intake occurs in highly functioning, healthy adults with ample cognitive reserve, the major concern is whether similar mercury level elevations in individuals already suffering from cognitive decline might result in substantially greater declines—particularly with cognitive decline and dementia, and seafood consumption, on the rise.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to samkerridge via Pixabay

Doctor's Note

Fruit deficiency as the #1 dietary risk factor? For more, see Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries.

But what about those healthy Eskimos? See Omega-3s and the Eskimo Fish Tale.

For more on the shift of the evidence on fish and heart disease, see Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?

The greatest danger of mercury exposure may be for children; see

Other videos on the effect of fish contaminants and health among adults include Fish and Diabetes and Fish Consumption and Suicide.

Mercury is not the only neurotoxic contaminant of seafood, though. See Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answers.

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

227 responses to “Is Fish “Brain Food” for Older Adults?

Commenting Etiquette

The intention of the comment section under each video and blog post is to allow all members to share their stories, questions, and feedback with others in a welcoming, engaging, and respectful environment. Off-topic comments are permitted, in hopes more experienced users may be able to point them to more relevant videos that may answer their questions. Vigorous debate of science is welcome so long as participants can disagree respectfully. Advertising products or services is not permitted.

To make NutritionFacts.org a place where people feel comfortable posting without feeling attacked, we have no tolerance for ad hominem attacks or comments that are racist, misogynist, homophobic, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate. Please help us to foster a community of mutual respect. Enforcement of these rules is done to the best of our ability on a case-by-case basis.

  1. I just bought a multivitamin with all the vitamins and the whole chain of vitamin b
    I just looked at the content of the pill and it also have 10 amino acids in there methionine in there should i continue eating them or should i stop. I’ve heard that methionine is an tosic amino acid for the body




    1
    1. Sebastian Noerlev: I don’t know if I would call methionine a toxic amino acid. It is one of the 9 essential amino acids (http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html ). An essential amino acid is one that we have to get from our diet. However, more/extra of something good beyond our needs can be very bad, and it is very easy to get too much methionine. This is what NutritionFacts has to say about methionine: “Starving Cancer With Methionine Restriction” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/ and “Methionine Restriction As A Life Extension Strategy” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/methionine-restriction-as-a-life-extension-strategy/ . Scott kindly looked up one of the pages on multi-vitamins. You might look up a few more that give information with the same theme. Finally, this page includes the supplements that Dr. Greger recommends: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/, which you will notice are very limited.
      .
      Here’s how I interpret all of that information: It may not hurt you to finish up you current bottle, perhaps spreading it out, but in general, you would be better off not taking those pills long term. And trashing them now might be a very good idea.
      .
      What do you think?




      0
      1. Thank you alot forthe fast reply!
        Yes im just currently in a very stressed position regards to my body with low numbers of leukocytes and some vitamins. Im getting sick alot so im just trying everything. I have been following Dr. Greger’s advice so far and it’s been helping but im still getting sick by touching a public room or a gym. So do you have any good advice on that if i may ask. If i reply to your next comment a bit slow is it because im reading the article you send




        0
        1. Sebastian: Oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear that you are getting sick a lot. That’s not good. I’m not an expert, but do have some ideas for you.
          .
          Presumably you are getting sick because your immune system is not up to full strength and/or perhaps as you suggest, you are low on certain nutrients/vitamins. I’ll address the deficiency angle first: If you know for a fact that you are low on certain vitamins because you have done the tests and that’s what they show, then I would think you would be better off with buying supplements which contain only those vitamins that you need to supplement. And furthermore, keep testing so that you can know when you can stop taking those vitamins pills which are not on Dr. Greger’s recommended list for long term use.
          .
          On the other hand, you may have a special situation (be at the low end of a bell curve) that is not covered by general recommendations to the general population. For all I know, your body may need some extra help long term in taking in certain supplements or you may have trouble identifying which supplements you need and want to try a general multivitamin supplement. In that case, you might check out Dr. Fuhrman’s site. People have reported that Dr. Fuhrman sells pills which only include ingredients which are not known to cause problems (yet). Please note my “yet”. I’m not a fan of Dr. Fuhrman’s pill pushing and his pills are known to be expensive. And due to the likely lack of testing, who knows if those pills really are safe long term. But I think in your case, they may be a good idea at least for the short term to help stabilize you/your system.
          .
          As for the immune system, that’s an area that we need to do a whole lot more study on. I don’t think we know as much about the immune system as we do about other topics. But NutritionFacts does have some videos on the immune system that might give you some ideas: .http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=immune%2Bsystem&fwp_content_type=post%2Cvideo There’s a lot to sift through, but I think it would be worth it.
          .
          A general thought about getting sick: Lots of people say that when they go on a whole plant food based diet, they stop getting sick. A healthy diet is not a guarantee that you will never get a cold or flu again, but it seems to work very well for a lot of people. You mentioned that you are generally following Dr. Greger’s nutrition advice, but I don’t know how closely you are following that advice? Is your diet pretty much all whole plant foods? Do you avoid *all* meat/fish, dairy, eggs and oils? Some people have found that they don’t get the full advantages of a whole plant food based diet until they give up the last remaining bits of animal products and junk food.
          .
          Finally a general thought: If you are eating a healthy diet for a while and still find yourself getting sick a lot, maybe it is time for a visit to the doctor? A doctor may not be able to help, but it might not hurt to get a general check up just in case there is something obvious and easily fixable through conventional medicine.
          .
          Good luck to you. I hope some of these ideas help.




          0
          1. Thanks alot for the answers and ideas! I avoid all animal products and i eat a whole plants foods diet some days i go raw fruit just for the taste. It really means alot to me that you are taking time to answer me, and for the doctor sitiation i’ve kinda been junked by our medical system (i live in denmark) they just can’t figure out what is wrong, and they dont do anything to put me through the system to an endocrinologist or some other sort off specialised doctor.




            0
        2. Since I started following Dr. Greger’s advice, cut out all animal products, I haven’t gotten sick yet. At first I said it was a fluke.. after a year I’m pretty amazed. Not even an upset stomach.

          Like Thea recommends you might need to go a bit above and beyond. Dr. Fuhrman has great advice on this area. Cut out all animal products, eat greens daily, eat a small amount of mushroom daily, nuts/seeds daily, cruciferious vegetables daily, beans daily, berries daily. Make those your checklist, hit them most days, if you need tips on how to eat them you should post a sample day of eating and you can get some guidance.

          I strongly believe in being unhygience, not that I don’t shower or anything weird, quite the opposite, I’m terrified of BO, lol. Using purrell or hand cleaners to keep you safe is not natural, it won’t keep you healthy, your body needs to be able to fight off all the bacteria in your everyday life without even trying.




          0
          1. Dr. Fuhrman has great advice. Eat greens daily, eat a small amount of mushroom daily, nuts/seeds daily, cruciferious vegetables daily, beans daily, berries daily.

            Fuhrman calls them G-BOMBS.. an easy acronym to remember Greens Berries Onions Mushrooms Beans and Seed/nuts
            https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/29/the-healthiest-anti-cancer-foods-g-bombs
            If you do eat a small amount of fish, eat small fish, low on the food chain.. They have less time to absorb mercury.. Sardines over Salmon/tuna/whale blubber….yuck
            Mitch…




            0
            1. They didn’t use the healthiest fish in this survey. Lots are on the “never eat” list. I agree, better to eat small, wild, cold water fish, if you are going to eat fish.
              John S




              0
          2. I too have not been sick, in about 4 years, and I regularly touch door handles and pens in public places including the gym. Before, I was getting sick about 2 times per year. I also had asthma and blood sugar swings and depression. I am enjoying incredible heath, and while my friends are taking their afternoon naps, I am full of energy. My lab results (extensive) are very good.
            I have eaten a paleo diet for these 4 years, by the way, organic and grass fed. My asthma reappears only after I eat grains. Only recently have I started adding way more vegetables to my plate, after reading Dr. Terry Wahls. There is a huge spectrum of results, all backed up by science, often conflicting. Not to mention, how good was the science. It is good to read widely and avoid reading only in the “echo chamber.”




            1
            1. I think it’s Wonderful that you eat Organic grass fed (hopefully free ranger, not cage-raised). That how I began my journey and now I am vegan for about 15 years. Me too, I am in excellent health. I lost 50#s of unwanted weight. I jog, swim, walk and have no longer any backache and other ailments. Plus I save a ton of money not eating Burnt-Cooked meat, dairy and eggs (supporting torture industries).




              2
          3. I shower one or more times per day, but I use zero soap. If I’m in social situations that require it, I use a little natural (not anti-bacterial) deoderant. I started this on the advice of a dermatologist. Lo and behold, a chronic skin itch that had made my life truly miserable disappeared!




            0
        3. It would be helpful to know more about your situation to give the most useful advice. I would stress getting enough daily exercise and sufficient quality sleep. Obviously all this and more is covered in Dr. Greger’s book. It might also be useful to get an outside opinion from a medical professional.




          0
        4. Hi Sebastian

          Like others here, I would bin them. In fact, I took them off and on for years and did bin them, and other single nutrient tablets once I started eating right. I go with Dr Greger’s recommendation. The Vit D that I take is BlueBonnet drop. Just one drop a day is 2,000 units, although they have lesser amounts in single drops also. To update any Vit D it should be taken with a little fat, like a walnut or two and should be taken with a large meal. I know BlueBonnet works because I have to have my parathyroid hormone level checked every two months and one of the things in that blood test is Vit D. When I’ve taken other brands it’s dropped like a rock. When I take BlueBonnet it’s consistent and it doesn’t have fillers and other crap in it. A tiny bottle costs around $20, but it provides 970 drops (or 970 daily doses). Researchers found that half the people taking the same brand of Vit D were not uptaking it. That’s when they realized that the difference was taking it with a large meal and a little fat.

          When I was taking a different brand of Vit D and it dropped I learned the hard way and through a lot of research that (a) FDA found that about half of supplements don’t have as much or any of what their stated main ingredients; and (b) many base sources of vitamins are from China where toxins and heavy metals can end up in the mix. Once the base ingredient is shipped to the USA and manufactured here, it can say “Made in the USA” with no mention of the ingredient coming from China. For this reason, I agree with Tom Goff’s recommendation for New Chapter or other organic, non synthetic vitamin for those not listed on Dr Greger’s list.

          Figuring this out can can be frustrating. It took me a few years to figure out all that was plaguing me. During that time I had a few setbacks and I told my very conservative mainstream doctor that I was frustrated that I was eating so carefully and still having troubles. His response surprised me. He said, don’t stop; think of what kind of shape you’d be in if you ate a standard American diet. So, don’t let a slow start discourage you. And it may take a while before your body (especially your gut bacteria) rebalance and you start to feel good on most days.

          Good luck to you, Sebastian.
          Mark




          0
          1. Thanks alot i will try the drops and maybe get an injection with b12
            Really means alot that you answer my question so good! So thanks again




            0
            1. You’re welcome. I don’t think you’ll need a B12 shot unless your doctor thinks you’re too low and you’re having symptoms. If you’re older and just starting out, all you need to do (and I think Dr Greger recommends this too, but I can’t remember for sure) is take 2,500 units a day for 2 weeks to get your body up to where you should be (it’s better to take smaller amounts 6 hours apart, you’ll uptake more because B12 receptors fill up and take that long to process). After two weeks you can go with what Dr Greger recommends for your age. Also, Dr Greger recommends cyanocobalamin. Try to find one that uses small sublingual pills because big ones are just full of fillers.




              0
        5. Hi Sebastian

          I forgot to mention that if you’re getting sick a lot you might be helped by taking in more antioxidants. There are lots of videos on antioxidants and the best foods to eat. But here are a few videos I recommend you start with. My only caution is that some people might be allergic to some berries or spices. For example, I can eat all berries except blackberries (I get hives). And I am ok with most spices, but I can’t more than just a little clove or turmeric and I start to feel off. So if you are new to the food, go slow until you know you won’t react.

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-reach-the-antioxidant-rda/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-in-a-pinch/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidant-content-of-3139-foods/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-diets-and-cellular-stress-defenses/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-up-on-the-veggies/

          Mark G




          0
      2. I gave up multivitamins ages ago and only buy vitamins separately these days. One to really boost your immune system is zinc. Buy a good brand though. I take a few others because of auto-immune disease and a good B complex. So I’d trash them the sooner the better. If you’re eating a healthy diet you only need a few to supplement. I know Dr. Campbell says only vit D and B12 if needed though I’ve had a few tests and it’s always been in the mid range and I’ve not eaten meat for over 40 years since college. Food is your best medicine and vitamins.




        0
      3. The intrinsic links between B12, homocysteine, methionine and atherosclerosis would make me tread cautiously around any supplemental methionine…




        0
      4. Thea, The only fish I eat is Tuna (about once a week). My wife and I do take a DHA capsule 500 mg.a couple times a week. Our diet is about 90% plant based. We have either flax or chia seeds every day in a smoothie. Is there any reason to take the DHA fish oil capsule? We do have chicken or turkey weekly. My wife does eat salmon weekly.




        0
        1. Another option is an algal EPA/DHA supplement, which Dr. Greger has recommended in the past (not sure about now), as does Dr. Furhman.




          0
        2. ron: I waited to respond to you, because I wanted to think it over. I’m not an expert. I try to only give advice if I’m 100% sure of it. In this situation, I can’t comment from a place of certainty, especially with the information given.

          But for what it’s worth, here are some of my thoughts: With only 90% plant based, I think a fish-based DHA pill is the least of your worries. Using the traditional Okinawans as a guide, I would say that *at most*, you want to have 4-5% (by calorie) animals. Tuna once a week seems like an awful lot of to me given the negatives of fish and then you are having chicken or turkey weekly on top of that. That’s at least two meals a week with meat. Worrying over a fish based DHA capsule seems like a weird priority. (Though I’m not an expert, so what do I know…) On the other hand, you could view the fish-based DHA pill as additional animal products/servings per week. So, perhaps it is a good idea to worry about that DHA pill given how contaminated we know that most fish oil pills are.

          Another thought: Have you seen my posts to other people about studies which show that fish eaters have bodies which do a very poor job of converting ALA (the stuff found in flax and chia seeds) into the DHA our bodies use more directly? I see it as: If you eat fish and take fish oil pills, then you are not going to get nearly as much usable omega 3s out of the chia and flax. (But maybe you get just what you need? I don’t know.) Your question was whether you need to take the DHA pill or not given your current diet. However, given the information about how eating fish changes how well our bodies convert ALA to DHA/EPA, I think if you are going to eat fish as a given (not that I recommend it), then the more relevant question might be: Should you bother taking the flaxseeds? Why not just do the fish and DHA pills?

          Flaxseeds are so healthy for other reasons beyond the omega 3s (such as because of the lignans). I would definitely *not* dump them. But with your current diet, maybe you can’t count on those flaxseeds providing you with enough DHA? So, maybe you need that DHA pill. (But maybe you should get an algae-based pill to avoid the contaminants.) Or maybe your body would convert just enough flaxseeds to make up for whatever you were not getting from the fish that the two together would be enough without the DHA pill. In other words, maybe you could get by on fish and flaxseeds, without the DHA pill as you are asking about. I don’t think anyone knows enough to generalize from this information and have a good answer for you. I would think that the only way to answer this question for you and your wife would be to do some actual tests. (If there are any tests which cover this question.)

          My bottom line is that maybe you don’t need the DHA pill. We don’t know. But you have some bigger concerns to deal with. Some of the diet concerns could go away if you follow David J’s point (and of course Dr. Greger’s point) and get an algae based DHA pill instead of a fish oil pill. But you are still eating that actual fish *and* poultry… So, I don’t know.




          0
          1. Thea, thank you for your thoughtful and helpful response. Since I am now 82 and just became interested in the research of food and health, I don’t think there is alot I can do at this stage. My biggest concern having to do with my health is being as healthy and comfortable as my wife and I can be and not be stupid. So much to learn and know but I know we are far ahead of friends and relatives. So many people have little knowledge. But our 3 daughters have been doing a great job with their understanding. I think we are a good model.




            0
    2. Methionine is an essential amino acid. It must be provided in the diet. Yes, there is evidence that consumption should be restricted but it is nevertheless indispensable. Depending on the amount contained, and whether or not you already eat a low-methionine diet, it may not be a matter for concern.
      http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Macronutrients.pdf?la=en
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/methionine-restriction-as-a-life-extension-strategy/

      If you eat a wide variety of whole plant foods, plus consume certain supplements like B12, then I’d agree with Scott. Bin them.
      http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs

      If, however, like me, you do not eat a wide variety of whole plant foods, then there may be a case for using a good quality multivitamin – which I personally define as an organic food-based non-GMO vegan product. I like New Chapter and Garden of Life products but there are others on the market.
      http://www.pnas.org/content/103/47/17589.full




      0
  2. How about the seaweeds vegans so often claim are beneficial? Evidence is there that everything in the ocean is absorbing plastic microbeads, and other toxic junk. Dr. Greger, any concerns about even the seaweeds labeled as organic and clean?




    0
    1. My understanding is that the algae used to make vegan DHA are grown in tanks on land, and so not exposed to everything we’ve gunked our oceans up with. I’ve also read that oldsters (like me!), here defined as over 50, no longer convert ALA into the longer chain omega 3s efficiently, and so we ought to take supplements of the latter. But like vanrein, I’m eager to see Dr. Greger’s update on his EPA/DHA recommendation.




      0
      1. Even if the conversion rate from ALA is low, say 3% (half normal), and one is taking VERY abundant ALA (in my case 4 Tbl of ground flax daily), my thinking is that my EPA/DHA requirements should be covered. After all, there are entire populations of traditional vegetarians (say, India) who seem to do quite well in the brain department. Nonetheless, on Dr. G’s recommendation, I am supplementing with Algal DHA. Can’t hurt.




        0
        1. As mentioned in my note to Maureen Okun, I would not personally make that assumption. The risks are too high over a very long period of time. Re: people from India – I recall reading recently somewhere that there have genetic adaptions facilitating ALA to EPA conversion. So I agree with your last sentence.




          0
      2. Talking about Nori, Kelp, etc., all seaweeds from the ocean. Lots of vegans eat these “ocean grown” seaweeds, actually, most vegans I know do.




        0
      3. That’s my understanding too. I would not assume one converts ALA effectively enough to EPA (and there to DHA) to provide enough DHA for optimal brain and generally nervous system health. From what I’ve read there’s significant variation among individuals (women convert better than men, typically) and populations (I recall reading people from India are typically genetically adapted to converting ALA to EPA more effectively). I’m also an oyster (actually a very mature one) and take an algal supplement just to be sure. However, if supplements are really ineffective, then I think many vegans like me will have a problem.




        0
        1. David J: You wrote: ” I would not assume one converts ALA effectively enough to EPA (and there to DHA) to provide enough DHA for optimal brain and generally nervous system health.” I agree that we don’t have a definitive answer on this question. Dr. Greger does recommend that people take algae-based DHA/EPA. However, there is some solid evidence to suggest that the pill may not be necessary. Hopefully this information will help:
          .
          Human needs for dietary omega 3s are very low. I understand that our daily omega 3 needs are 1.1 (grams?) for women and 1.6 for men. So, it’s totally fine if the conversation rate of plant food omega 3 to the type used by our bodies 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 of omega 3s 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, a famous and well respected RD:
          *********************************************
          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.”
          ***********************************
          .
          Here’s the key point: “…it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA.” This means that our needs can be fully met by plants, including by flaxseeds. Cool, huh!

          Jeff Novick has a truly great talk on oil/fats and nuts. The talk costs money, but he covers omega 3s in detail, including a lot of information I did not include here. If you wanted to avoid the downsides of sardines, but feel comfortable about skipping the fish, you could watch the talk. https://www.amazon.com/Oil-Nuts-Essential-Facts-Oils/dp/B003UYAQIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465610704&sr=8-1&keywords=from+oil+to+nuts




          0
          1. Unfortunately, I was unable to track down this key reference
            Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Jun 3

            Is that article covered/mentioned in the Novick talk? I’ll take a look at it, if it is not too expensive. (I’m a vegan so would skip the sardines anyway and instead continue to rely on an algal supplement and hope that those work. :-)




            0
            1. David J: I have a place where I keep references and quotes that I might want to refer people to in the future. And I usually keep a link to the source. I had found that information on the internet from some article that Jeff wrote. But I tried the link and it doesn’t work. Either the page is down or I copied the link wrong or something. I’m sorry, because I have a standard of giving the source of such info.
              .
              Also, I can’t remember if that particular study is discussed in Jeff’s talk or not.
              .
              Guess I’m not as much help as I had thought! Sorry.




              0
    2. guest: Dr. Greger has covered at least one seaweed, hiziki, that is generally known to be contaminated (=soaks up arsenic, http://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-iodine-deficiency-2/). But to my knowledge, the general topic you are asking about is not covered here, in terms of finding hard data to give other seaweed products a green light or not. However, Dr. Greger does recommend those other products, so I presume that to mean that there aren’t any studies showing general overall problems.
      .
      When people ask about this topic, I fall back on the well known and uncontested principal of bioaccumulation, which tells us that the higher up you go on the food chain, the more contamination you will find. Contaminants stay and build up in the flesh of animals. So, if seaweed has some contamination, small fish will be worse and larger fish which eat small fish will be worse than that, etc. If you are interested, I believe that Dr. Greger covers the topic of bioaccumulation in at least one of these pages: http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=bioaccumulation&fwp_content_type=questions%2Cpost%2Cvideo
      .
      My bottom line is: It can be really hard (impossible) to find perfectly “clean” food. So, I take comfort in knowing that the organic plant foods I eat are about as clean as I can get at this point in human history.




      0
      1. If you eat a fair quantity of pulses and nuts then the so called anti-nutrients in these actually help transport metals out of the body. They have their place in a well rounded healthy diet…. as does fish.




        0
        1. gill: The science shows that fish is not part of a rounded healthy diet. You can start to learn why by exploring this topic summary page: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish . However, 3 servings of pulses a day is a great idea. As is about 1/4 cup of nuts. You can learn more about pulses and nuts on this site. And you can learn more about healthy eating ratios by exploring Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which is a free phone app, with more details in the book, How Not To Die.




          0
        2. I was never a meat eater but love seafood! Despite that, I choose to forgo it based on the many studies showing that our abuse and pollution of our beautiful oceans and waters has made it toxic to consume them. They have been dumping not only garbage but chemicals, metals, and barrels of nuclear and other waste into the deep where they are immediately out of sight but come back to decimate life up the food chain. I do use seaweed as an occasional sub for the flavors of the sea, (I make a mean chowder) but even that is questionable any more. So sad.




          0
  3. Ah, this would be the deferred update on Should We Take EPA and DHA Omega-3 For Our Heart? is there!

    I’ve been wondering about this, also because the Optimum Nutrition Recommendations speak of
    * 250 mg daily of pollutant free (yeast- or algae-derived) long-chain omega-3’s (EPA/DHA)
    I wonder if this advise is stil the best to give; I haven’t seen any evidence that this is better than your earlier advise to take ground or broken flax seed to take in ALA, from which EPA/DHA are made. The mentioned EPA/DHA additive is not as easy to procure as D and B12, I found.




    0
    1. I have a pertinent question as to why would we be eating fish at all if you’re following a whole foods plant based diet? Vegans don’t eat fish and do well as do those who follow the plant based diet. I wouldn’t risk mercury problems by adding fish to my plant based diet when fish is not essential to health but fruit, veggies and the other goodies that go along with PBD. I’ve read Dr. Greger’s book and don’t see where fish is essential to our health and neither the do Dr. Fuhrman, Neal Barnard nor Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Esseylstyn forbids it with his patients.




      0
      1. I believe Dr Greger reviews a lot of research, not just specifically plant based. Videos like these help answer questions to the vegan curious or the vegan-harassers some of the common questions such as ‘where do you get your omega three?’, or ‘but do I still need fish oil caps’ etc… :) Or even those that go ‘pescetarian’…




        0
        1. Note that I wasn’t asking about fish versus yeast/algae but about flax seeds versus yeast/algae. Dr. Greger has advised flax seeds as an alternative to fish in the past. I have not found a comparison with these new recommendations, and wonder where they come from.

          As for terms like “vegan” and “pescetarian”, they are useful when communicating with others, but to my own thinking about food they can be stifling words. I prefer to make my choices more fluidly, and perhaps end up in a category; that is more sensible to me than adopting a category and stop thinking about alternatives.

          The information on this site is very “convincing”, but they also leave questions unanswered, perhaps in lieu of underlying research. The more additives are required to sustain a diet, the more it estranges me. In that light, I think flax seeds are more appealing than the yeast or algea and I am wondering why the nutritional recommendations need to advise differently than in this past lecture.




          0
          1. Sorry my response above was to Maggie, your question is on flax vs yeast/algae? I remember seeing something about ease, reliability of amount and as a substitute to other pills (you know because people will take a pill before they eat flaxseeds!). As for a direct answer as to which is better, I have only seen that both are fine, provided flax are freshly ground.

            I agree with using terminology such a ‘vegan’, it becomes difficult when people bring up ethics vs diet and when places like wholefoods for all the good choices also fill their shelves with vegan donuts and the like and then people wonder why becoming vegan isn’t bringing the expected results of a wholefoods plant-based diet. I agree with reading broadly and learning and making one’s own decisions for sure.

            I believe almost all of the specific questions are unanswered due to lack of research. Who is going to fund a study on flax Vs algae/yeast for example… It’s sad…. I agree with you, the more supplements ‘needed’ the more the diet opens for critique. I usually suggest one gets EFA levels tested if they are concerned. It’s not 100% accurate some say, but at least a starting point to assess if your flax is perhaps enough :)




            0
      1. Yes, it is mentioned — but not explained. He ends in “to be continued”, which I suspect is a forward reference to this video. Given that it is stated herein that the brain isn’t impacted by those omega-3’s, I am wondering what else could be a reason to sustain the EPA/DHA recommendation.




        0
        1. My interpretation here is it is not saying don’t use omega 3 per se, just don’t get it derived from fish sources due to the pollutants..




          0
  4. What about mercury in fillings? My grandmother didn’t eat much fish but she had a mouth full of mercury fillings. She had always been super healthy but Alzheimer’s disease got her in the end.




    0
  5. If the reason for fish being bad for cognitive function is mercury, how about the fish caught in the supposedly clean waters off the coast of Alaska?




    0
    1. With all the dumping into the oceans, no matter the location, it is one body of water that is interconnected so I doubt if there is any clean waters left. The are even detecting numerous pollutants in the isolation of the Antarctic! Breaks my heart.




      0
    1. No need for supplements, just eat foods high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the shortest of the omega-3 fatty acids, and limit the consumption of foods with large amounts of linoleic acid (LA), the shortest of the omega-6 fatty acids.

      Foods with the highest ratio of ALA to LA are leafy greens (5:1 to 2.5:1) and flax (3.9:1) and chia (3.1:1) seeds. All “good” sources of ALA like walnuts actually have 4 to 5 times as much LA as they do ALA.

      Refined vegetables oils, especially safflower, grape seed and sunflower oils are the most concentrated (about 20 grams per 2 tablespoon (28 grams/1 ounce). Whole foods have at most half of that, with 9.6 grams per 28 grams/1 ounce for sunflower seeds.

      Unsurprisingly then the best prescription would be to eat lots of leafy greens with some flax seed on your morning oatmeal of blended into your smoothy and avoid all refined vegetables oils. Your body will handle the rest, it is pretty smart.




      0
      1. I’ve also been concerned about the high omega-6 content of nuts. I eat a handful of walnuts every day anyway, because nuts may have other benefits beyond the PUFAs.




        0
    1. willabeest: Dr. Greger does have a clear agenda. The agenda is promoting overall health for people. Here’s why your suggestion would be inappropriate. Mercury is just one health hazard of eating fish. If Dr. Greger were to expound on which fish have more mercury than others, it would falsely imply that some fish are healthy to eat, which is clearly not true. You can start to learn about the other problems with fish from this topic page: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish
      .
      If you take the opportunity to read that page slowly and investigate the links, you will both learn about fish and about why the videos are presented here as they are presented.




      0
      1. If what you are saying is true, then Dr. Greger’s video is incomplete. As it appears as of today, there is simply no basis for the conclusions reached. Perhaps he could redo the video? Thank you for the insightful reasoning behind Dr. Greger’s incomplete video.




        0
        1. Would you complain that a single chapter of a book was incomplete because it didn’t contain the entire book? These videos are short so as to be approachable and viewable by a general audience in a short period of time. It is thus impossible to make any given video the definitive resource on a given topic. I think it would be better to view Dr. Greger’s work here as a book with hundreds of chapters. Best to read the whole book before saying it is incomplete. And even then this book is being continuously written and rewritten as science continues to advance with brand new research and old research seen in a the light of newer results. So pull up a computer and sit a spell. If you are interested in a given subject, the search feature is very useful. Plus the good doctor and his team have gathered videos on a given topic together. If you are interested in mercury, here are over 40 videos in the library that directly or indirectly address mercury.




          0
          1. Jim Felder: Thank you for this reply! I’ve had a hard time explaining to people that this site has a format that works great for what it is. (Argh, I’m still not explaining it right.) Your analogy is really helpful and way better than any explanation I have given in the past.




            0
            1. We have to watch a combination of a few videos to get questions answered. That is good. We end up so smart! We should all end up with honorary doctorates!




              0
          2. //Would you complain that a single chapter of a book was incomplete because it didn’t contain the entire book? // Answer is no.
            // I think it would be better to view Dr. Greger’s work here as a book with hundreds of chapters. Best to read the whole book before saying it is incomplete// I would agree if i stated the whole book was incomplete, but i did not. I stated the one video was incomplete.
            I think it is great that someone is sharing this information for free on the internet, apparently without financial remuneration. I do think the video is misleading, and an easy fix would be to state that this video is part of a very large series in which one may find the reasoning behind some of the generalizations made by the good Doctor.




            0
        2. It only costs a few dollars for a domain name and if you have the time maybe you could make a website offering critiques for improving other websites about health and nutrition information. If you don’t want to do that,I know that Dr. Katz has started “The True Health Initiative” and he could probably use some help developing new articles and videos on his website: http://www.truehealthinitiative.org/

          I really believe that volunteerism is one of the ways to change the status quo. Have you noticed how many people Dr. Greger has on this website to support and give feedback to people who comment and want to learn about a Whole Food Plant Based diet? I have found so many of these people to be kind and helpful and supportive. You are lucky that they’re here to interact with you, I think. Don’t you think that’s true? I’m pretty sure that they’re here because Dr. Greger has become so busy promoting a WFPB diet, that he’s enlisted these many volunteers. He might not be able to make the changes you have requested.

          I would say that there is no question that Dr. Greger wants to see people eating whole plant foods to nourish their bodies, but I don’t think it;s a vegan agenda. A vegan simply tries to avoid consuming foods and products that are made using animals. Dr. Greger is much different than that. He wants people to eat whole plant foods and avoid all processed foods, even those that are labeled vegan.

          I’m a step further in that whole food direction. I not only avoid processed foods, and eat whole plant foods, but I use rhassoul clay to wash my body and hair. I have quit using all processed products including soap. As for animals, I believe it is wrong to kill and consume animals and to use them in a way that devastates their life on this planet. I would say that it’s evil to kill and eat something when it’s not necessary. The argument “tasty” just doesn’t sit well with me and I see it as profoundly ignorant and selfish to use 30% of our carbon footprint growing and consuming animals because they are tasty.

          As a species living on a planet facing global climate change because of what we doing, don’t you think we could at least quit destroying every other living thing around us.in order to stop climate change? If we quit eating animal products, we could end the crisis.

          What is the definition of evil? An act wit no goodness is the definition of evil; eating animals is an act with no goodness.

          How’s that for a vegan agenda? I’m going back to school to get a degree in Theology. Don’t you think I’ll make a great Vegan Ideologue.




          0
          1. //As for animals, I believe it is wrong to kill and consume animals and to use them in a way that devastates their life on this planet. I would say that it’s evil to kill and eat something when it’s not necessary. The argument “tasty” just doesn’t sit well with me and I see it as profoundly ignorant and selfish to use 30% of our carbon footprint growing and consuming animals because they a re tasty.//
            i certainly respect what you are saying. i am so respectful of life that i cannot put an avocado pit in the garbage.
            instead i throw them on a bank near my house. i guess i feel sorry for the avocado pit! BUT – thinking it is bad to kill when not necessary is a long, long way from saying consuming all types of fish is bad for your health. bad for your health is not the same as ethically bad.




            0
            1. Hi Willabeest
              You might be new to this site. If so welcome! If you have a question (all fish bad?) go up to the top under topics and start researching. Listen to a couple videos. If you are wondering where the info is coming from click on sources–also a click away. Some articles are the full pdf and some are just the abstract. If you have access through a university even better. (I do! Yeah!)

              Or buy his book. I gave many out as gifts.

              Gale




              0
    2. The human infestation of the Earth is destroying its marine ecosystem. Some humans fantasize about how eating fish is good for the economy and their brain because they have read it in commercials.




      0
      1. reading something in a commercial does not make it incorrect, Panchito. BTW i agree the humans are altering the marine ecosystem, as well as the non marine ecosystem. whole planet is being altered. eventually the ecosystem will self correct.




        0
        1. Life will self correct the same as when dinosaurs became extinct. I don’t see a point in humans dominating anymore but the other animals are victims.




          0
    3. How could it not be though when it is all stewing in the same toxic brew that was once the ocean? It bioaccumulates up the food chain, but even seaweed is probably not safe anymore.




      0
  6. Hi, I can’t seem to find a topic on ‘hypotension’ and don’t know the correct place to ask questions on this topic, so i thought i’d just shoot in the dark and ask here.

    I just tested my blood pressure, which was 104/44, and when i check online it tells me that i have low blood pressure. Sometimes i do experience some of the symptoms also, which promted me to find out what Dr. Greger says about this. So, should i just be putting salt on my food, because i don’t use any addad salt to my food at the present moment. Thanks in advance!




    0
    1. You actually have a healthy blood pressure. Well your diastolic pressure at 44 does seem a bit low. However a systolic pressure of 104 is right where you want it to be. Human babies are born with a blood pressure of around 95/60. So your blood pressure is only “low” relative to a population like the US where high blood pressure is the norm. Science has long understood that disease risks starts to increase at diastolic pressures over 100. So if we really classed high blood pressure as a pressure which caused an increase in disease risk you would in fact likely be classed as having borderline high blood pressure.

      Blood pressures above 110 classed would likely be classed as high blood pressure if the criteria were actual based on disease risk. But we can’t have that because 90% of the US population would be classed as having high blood pressure and so we would collectively have to acknowledge that we are eating a diet that is making nearly all of us sick and actually do something about it. However, there are populations in the world who eat a low sodium plant based diet (not vegan, but the vast majority of calories from whole plant foods) where it is normal to have diastolic pressures under 105 for an entire lifetime. I think you might find this video and this video of Dr. Greger interesting.




      0
      1. Thanks for the reply!

        Is having a low diastolic pressure like mine less of a concern, than if i had a low systolic pressure?




        0
        1. It’s more the difference between the two- known as the pulse pressure- that is a little wide in your reading. Does your pressures vary if you take every day?




          0
    2. If you experience bad effects then it IS low for YOU. Bumping up both markers 10 pts is perfectly fine and it will not raise your CVD risk.




      0
    3. To Bananamangosmoothie: You have a very good blood pressure. I’m not sure what “symptoms” you are experiencing but I think you should look at other issues. For example are you having dizziness after being out in the sun all day? Are you drinking a lot of water but not eating properly? Are you not drinking much water? Be sure to get a routine physical exam because there are many things that can give “symptoms” similar to Hyper/Hypo tension.




      0
    4. Most plant-based doctors support research suggesting a benefit in blood pressure all the way down to 95 systolic. Your pulse pressure is a little wide, which could be worth investigating only if you have symptoms, most of which can be overcome with increasing fluid intake.




      0
      1. I definitely suffer a lot from fatigue, and now and again i feel a bit dizzy when i stand up.

        Today i measured my blood pressure again and it was 100/55, with a resting heart rate of 64.




        0
        1. If your experiencing symptoms, it is best to get it checked out. One test you can do is take your blood pressure sitting and then do it again in a standing position. If there a difference (orthostatic) this could be dehydration. Increasing your fluid intake would help with this. Also, B12 deficiency could lead to slower RBC production leading to anemia. If you are on a strict plant based diet you may need B12 supplementation. Dr. Greger has a number of videos on B12.
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-necessary-for-arterial-health/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vegan-epidemic/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/daily-source-of-vitamin-b12/
          https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Low-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301785_Article.jsp?appName=MobileApp




          0
          1. Thanks for the tips, i’ll definitely try to increase my water intake.

            As far as supplements go, i take 1,000mg of B12 and 5,000 IU vitamin D3 three times a week.




            0
        2. Unfortunately fatigue is one of the hardest things to diagnose the cause! Especially over the internet!
          One way you could test is to eat some salt and drink a few extra glasses of water. This can increase blood volume and should increase BP transiently. If this resolves your dizziness and fatigue then you can attribute it to blood pressure and find ways to increase yours. If not, you may want to look for a different cause. BP numbers being low aren’t usually a problem until they cause negative symptoms.

          How is your health otherwise? WFPB? Any medications etc?




          0
  7. In this video there was no mention of wild-caught sardines and salmon; which from my knowledge is much safer and healthier to eat than the fish mentioned.




    0
          1. Thea: “Funster” is the same person who was harassing me awhile back …. he’s changed his name and is at it again. Take your insanity and go back to the hole where you belong Robert.




            0
    1. Wild-caught sardines and salmon tend to have lower levels of mercury than larger or farm-raised fish. However, this doesn’t mean they are pure and safe to eat. For example, sardines often contain high levels of PCB’s.




      0
  8. If you’re going to call out new orgs and other doctors for using sensationalist headlines, you need to adhere to your own standards. This is an article about mercury’s effect on older brains, not fish. I get that you have a vegan agenda, and I continue to listen to your insights.




    0
    1. I think one would be hard pressed to find fish that doesn’t have mercury or PCB or other heavy metals in them. So to my way of thinking, this is still on point. Although, the title could have been more specific if it had said something like, “Are the Touted Benefits of Fish for Brain Health Worth the Toxins?”




      0
        1. Good risk:reward ratio in my book. Look at most Blue Zones, especially the Mediterranean ones.
          The good doc is pushing it with the contamination scare of (mostly farmed) fish. Wild once a week is fine.




          0
          1. That would be true if the rewards could not be obtained anywhere else. Since long-chain omega 3s can be obtained from souces without any of the risks that come from eating fish, then fish represents an extremely lousy risk:reward ratio. And the risks come from fish being a source of animal protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol. As such even a completely non-contaminated fish (say trout from an absolutely pure mountain stream) represents a health risk. The contamination of fish in the real world just adds to risks.




            0
            1. The amounts of SFA, Chol involved makes the weekly consumption a practical non-issue. Also, flax being the mostly referred source of plant omega 3s comes with its own (e.g. estrogenic/cancerogenic) risks if we go that detailed. Contamination is not reserved only to fish – plants can also come with heavy metals, pesticides etc. For all practical reasons, I maintain you won’t have any elevated risk with weekly wild-caught fish consumption.




              0
    1. Food is a packaged deal. You might be focusing on getting DHA and EPA from salmon, but your body still gets everything that is in the flesh of the salmon. And there are known risk/harms associated with all animal foods, including fish. Animal protein, amount other things stimulates the production of IGF-1, reduction of IGF-1 binding protein, and increases production of vascular epithelial growth factor. All of which stimulates the growth of cancer. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

      But if fish and salmon in particular were the only source of an essential nutrient, then we would have no choice but to eat it regardless of the harms it is also doing to us. In that case we would only want to eat the bare minimum to get the necessary nutrients while minimizing the harms. The thing is is that salmon, or fish in general, do not contain any essential nutrient that can not be obtained from sources that do not present the same risks. Thus zero servings a week is the amount that best balances benefits with harms.




      0
  9. Dr Greger: You recently said we probably can’t produce enough long-chain Omega-3s (EPA, DHA) from the short-chain vegan sources such as nuts & seeds (ALA). “Enough” as in supporting optimal cognitive function, I assume you mean? So what about krill oil? I can’t find any studies on your site about it. It is claimed that since it comes from very deep Antarctic waters, it is free of contamination and is of course earlier in the food chain than fish. Land-based algae-based sources (which I am suspicious about – what is it? How is it farmed?) do not contain astaxanthin which is a great antioxidant which, apart from making flamingoes pink, also helps prevent rancidity, which prevalent in fish oils. How about a new article on this, please!




    0
      1. I found this reply from Dr. G. to a question about Krill oil: “The longest study I could find done on krill oil was only 3 months in duration, so long-term effectiveness and safety is unknown, but recent short-term studies suggest that krill oil would have comparable bioavailability and metabolic effects. They are lower on the food chain and would be expected to have lower levels of accumulated pollutants, though an upcoming paper in Environmental Pollution suggests that they do take up DDT metabolites. When it comes to industrial toxins, always seek as low as you can go on the food chain, in this case, algae that produce bioequivalent long-chain omega-3’s. Check out videos like Algae-Based DHA vs. Flax and The Problem with Organic Salmon.”




        0
    1. Algal sources of long chain omega 3 come from golden algae raised in vats in a very controlled environment. As such they don’t have any of the contamination issues of open ocean sources of these omega 3s. The DHA and EPA from the algae are chemically identical to that from krill because krill get them from the marine algae they eat. So ultimately it all comes from algae. Thus there is no advantage to obtaining EPA an DHA from krill, sardines, or any other fish, and there is much reduction in environmental harm by not doing so.




      0
    1. You “non-vegans” ask too many questions:) whatever the question the three answers are as follows: it is bad for you; it is bad for the environment; or it is good for harm-promoting institutions and their representatives.
      Smaller fish are better cause they don’t eat everything




      0
      1. Great reply! smaller fish are less contaminated. Also The only reason that some fish contain DHA is because they consume algae.Also another alternative Flax seeds you can grind it with a coffee grinder at home, so you can digest it, is great source too.




        0
  10. When I eat salmon or take fish oil I often get my arteries in a finger broken. The finger gets a bit swollen and it hurts. I don´t know why that is but I think maybe that also happens in the brain which reduces the cognitive function. What do you think?




    0
    1. There are a few questions comes to my mind such as if you are taking any medications such as blood thinning medications? The ratio of omega three to omega six ?What dosage are you taking?
      Omega-3 fatty acids should be used cautiously by people who bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood-thinning medications, including warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin. High doses of omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding, even in people without a history of bleeding disorders, and even in those who are not taking other medications.
      I hope this is useful to you.
      Omega-3 fatty acids




      0
      1. Thank you Spring for your reply!
        I don´t take any medications at all. I have tried fish oil with DHA EPA and AA. It also contains evening primrose oil with GLA. But my fingers bruise after taking it. Thank you also for sending the link to the university of Maryland. It seems so good taking this oil. So i am so sorry I can´t take it. Do you know anything about why you get bleeding from blood-thinning medication. What happens?




        0
        1. That is good that you are not taking any medication. You asked how these blood thinners work. The blood thinners work by interfering with your blood’s ability to coagulate (clump together), they can either prevent a clot from forming or keep an already-existing one from getting larger. The drawback: If one has a minor injury such as a cut in the finger for example slicing vegetables — one may have trouble stopping the blood flow. I would also like to add if your diet is sufficient with fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds and all that Dr. G. recommends there won’t be a need for supplements that can cause an issue for you.




          0
      1. I think it is the arteries. My fingers bruise at the first joint. It also can happen to my toes. I would be happy to hear from someone knowing more about this.




        0
            1. Hi Eva – I eat fruits, veggies, nuts,seeds, and grains. I go easy on the nuts and seeds as they are high in fat. I eat a fair amount of beans and grains. Grains – mostly brown rice and oats, but others at times. I do not count calories and i am not worried about getting proper nutrition as long as i eat a wide variety of the foods i mentioned. As i said, I do not count calories, but i eat until i am full and go about 5 hrs between meals. I make my breakfast and lunch the 2 biggest meals of the day and have a lighter supper. I am 61 yrs old, work hard 6 days a week and do not remember the last time i was sick. No colds, flu’s etc. I also do not use any added oils except a tsp of flax oil about once every month or so just in case i need it. i do use some flax seed, chia seeds and walnuts for good healthy fats and omega 3’s. But again i eat all nuts and seeds in moderation. About 1 – 1 1/2 ounces a day.. I would eat less but i do burn a lot of calories working. I get most of my calories from grains, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Some other things that i have read about fish – All sea waters are polluted and even your wild caught cold water fish are polluted to some degree. Also i have read several articles that say that a lot of the fish that you buy, especially in restaurants are not what they say they are. And also in supermarkets, especially the canned fish like salmon. I would like to add this – i grow a lot of our own food for my wife and i. I use mostly organic methods. I do use some non organic sprays at times when needed to keep the bugs from eating it up. Would rather use some non-organic sprays than to go to the store and buy food with lots more than i use. The food we do buy from the supermarket is not organic as we cannot afford it. I would rather not but do not let it bother me when we do. We do avoid GMO foods. Hope this helps.




              0
        1. Sorry I didn’t word that very well, I meant it is unlikely it’s your arteries. Bruising is usually micro-trauma to capillaries. If you have anything that decreases the clotting of your blood you will bruise easier (ask anyone who has ever had a clexane/enoxaparin injection!), which following the omega 3/fish oil effects on thinning the blood, that would explain your finger and toe issues. There is definitely research to support what you are saying about cerebral microbleeds affecting cognitive function, for example- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24322485
          http://www.jns-journal.com/article/S0022-510X(12)00281-X/abstract




          0
  11. ok, but what about DHA and EPA supplements from algae? Should we continue to supplement?
    No advantages for the heart, no advantages for depression, and the brain?
    Since we already follow the advice of 1 tbsp flaxseeds ground + some chia, and no oil?




    0
    1. You can do an EFA spot test if you are interested to know if you are getting enough from whole foods! I don’t believe Dr Greger has changed his recomendations yet…




      0
      1. Thanks! The point is that a whole food plantbased diet Esselstyne style has already low omega 6, so that if I follow the dha supplement idea (even if less, like 200mg every 2 days) + 1 tbsp flax other problems like bruising could arise (see http://jacknorrisrd.com/omega-3-supplementation-not-for-everyone/).
        So maybe it is not an option with no consequences, so I would like to have some updates on that.

        Maybe even only 1 tbsp flax is already too much on a omega 6 poor diet and whole food plant based?




        0
  12. Dr Greger,
    Is there a way of knowing if the fish consumed in, say, the Florida study was store bought or caught locally? In other words would it make a difference if you eat wild caught or farmed fish. Does all fish contain mercury??
    Thank you for the great information as always!




    0
  13. I am 74 and know from 23andMe that I have the APOE4 gene allele which puts me at higher risk of Alzheimer’s. However, recent research suggests that the risk from this allele can be minimized by eating fatty fish once a week (I eat wild caught Alaskan canned salmon). Could Dr. Greger comment?




    0
    1. You should consider if Alzheimer’s is related to B12 deficiency as in so many elderly individuals. Do you take B12 as Dr. Greger recommends? Many do not.




      0
    2. David Spafford: You might be interested in the book, Power Foods For The Brain by Dr. Barnard. Dr. Barnard reviews the literature concerning fish and Alzheimers and concludes that fish might be a step in the right direction if the alternative is beef, but it’s a step in the wrong direction for people eating a whole plant food diet. Fish is a lot more like beef than broccoli, he says.
      .
      I highly recommend the book: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Foods-Brain-Effective-Strengthen/dp/1455512206/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1465598012&sr=1-1&keywords=power+foods+for+the+brain




      0
  14. Omega threes, such as from flax seed, are essential for the human diet and the lack of them is a major cause of mental illness. Omega sixes are dangerous. Omega threes from the sea have an ambiguous record, according to Dr. Greger.




    0
    1. Omega 6 fatty acids are just as essential as omega 3s. The are critical for many processes in the body. Arachidonic Acid is often the most vilified of omega 6, but it serves as the basic building block for the man eicosanoids that the body makes that are in turn used to regulate many functions in the body. If you didn’t have enough arachidonic acid you would get sick and possibly die. The key is the balance between the two. The issue is that omega 3s oxidize much easier than omega 6s and sources of oil high in omega 6 are really, really cheap. The result is that a lot of cheap, stable high omega 6 vegetable oils are used in packaged foods and food preparation because packaged food companies are interested in your health, well until it interferes with profits, and then not so much.

      The start of the solution is to not eat packaged foods and fix your own food at home without added oil, especially those types with an overabundance of omega 6 like sunflower, corn, soybean oil and cottonseed oil. The rest of the solution is to eat varied diet of whole plant foods have both types of fats especially leafy greens, flax and chia seeds but also whole grains, seeds and nuts (even those that have an O3/O6 ratio that skews strongly toward O6).




      0
      1. The AHA has dropped its advice that omega sixes are bad for you. There are very few omega three advocates. Step back from the brink. Omega threes are for temperate people, omega sixes for tropical people. Omega sixes are making us sick. In my opinion, eating a tropical oil in the winter, rich with omega sixes, is very bad for you and you can see sickness in the winter from this. Omega three fatty acid deficit is an silent killer and costs the economy extensively, in my opinion.




        0
    1. I see that your first article noted that “Higher intake levels of α-linolenic acid were associated with slower global cognitive decline, but also only in APOE ε4 carriers” which indicates to me that seafood consumption is not necessary if your vegetarian diet includes high levels of ALA. Given the high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein in fish, why bother eating fish when you get the same reputed benefits from a well-planned vegetarian diet?




      0
      1. Yes. I eat lots of flax, soy, walnuts, etc. so I think my ALA intake has always been quite high. The van der Rest et al., 2016 article suggests that seafood was assessed separately and confers benefits separate from ALA, which also lowers risk of cognitive decline. My total cholesterol is 104, so I think that’s a low risk factor.




        0
        1. Ah, OK. That was not necessarily my interpretation but the article itself is behind a paywall and the abstract seems a bit ambiguous on that point.

          It is never quite clear to me if the perceived benefits of seafood seen in such observational studies are actually real or just arise from the substitution effect. That is, if people eat seafood, they tend to eat it in place of bacon, burgers, sausages or steak etc and it is simply “less bad” than those foods rather than actively beneficial. Certainly, as Dr G has noted, when Omega 3 as such is tested, the results seem to be disappointing. You however are eating it in place of whole plant foods. From my perspective, that may be a backwards step but perhaps that is just me.

          You might want to check out Dr G’s videos on turmeric and saffron for Alzheimers.
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-alzheimers-with-turmeric/
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/saffron-for-the-treatment-of-alzheimers/




          0
          1. I believe in tumeric. I eat a ton of it and grow my own here in Hawaii. Just to be clear, I don’t have cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s. My eating a small amount of Alaskan wild-caught salmon is a preventative precaution based on reasonable evidence. If I hadn’t done 23andMe and found that I have APOE 4, it wouldn’t have occurred to me.
            As you probably know, in the last year the FDA has prevented 23andMe from informing people of their genetic risk factors. I was lucky enough to have received my information before the FDA made that unfortunate decision.




            0
            1. Yes, I understood from your original post that you are in good health, do not have AD.and are interested in prevention.

              However, your first link did not demonstrate that fish consumption is preventative merely that it is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline. Similarly with your second link, while there was an association with a lower risk of AD specifically, there was no association between fish consumption and a lower risk of dementia overall (AD is only one of many types of dementia) ….
              ” However, there was no statistical evidence for similar inverse association between long-chain omega-3 fatty acids intake and risk of dementia or AD, nor was there inverse association between fish intake and risk of dementia.”
              http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763414002930

              Consequently, I am personally not convinced that fish consumption is protective. In any case, I do not know if I am an APOE E4 carrier or not so the issue is a relatively academic one for me.




              0
  15. Dr. Greger – Do you no longer recommend supplementation with any form of DHA/EPA? What about DHA/EPA derived from clean sources like algae that don’t have the contaminants found in fish?




    0
    1. PG342: In Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die, he has a section in the appendix with the title: “Consider taking 250 mg of pollutant-free (yeast or algae derived) long-chain omega-3s daily” I think that’s your answer?




      0
  16. As most of the fish I consume are my own fresh local catches, I have to rely on the state wildlife department warnings as to which streams have toxicated fish in them. My trips to the shore are infrequent enough that I don’t really have to worry about the toxicities I consume from such adventures. Whereas I’d gladly give up all other animal products consumption, personally I doubt I’ll ever consider fully eliminating fish from my diet. I do eat less at any one meal now and FAR fewer meals of fish. So there’s that.

    Hope to be able to send “samples to the lab” someday for actual testing on MY schedule. I may inquire to the state as to how/when they check fish populations for contaminants.

    Thanks for the video and the “forum” herein included. This is just a sharing of my personal habits, which have changed dramatically and for the good with influence from Dr. G. Please don’t do as I say or do, just do your own thing, and be AWARE of the likely/possible consequences.

    More useless personal info: What truly scares me is “farmed fish” and it’s prevalence in restaurants. I LOVE how they try to use it as a selling point (so I don’t usually have to ask), but I steadfastly refuse to eat any fish identified with “farming”. Why? Because farmers are not fishermen, and Fishermen work a hard and dirty and risky job, and I prefer to my monies go to support their income rather than Big Toxic Aquaculture INC.

    [end mini-rant]




    0
    1. Farmed fish basically are swimming in their own toilet. There is no way they can flush enough water through the pools/tanks to keep the water clean. Doesn’t that sound yummy!




      0
      1. And they’re fed unnatural and sometimes toxic feeds. And that’s in our own country. I don’t care to imagine how bad it could be in other parts of the world.

        My last two fishes to eat were Smallmouth and Sauger. You won’t see them at the fish market.




        0
  17. Modern medicines are very dangerous and the vegan diet should be promoted. The drugs sound like they are getting more dangerous. Medicines used as prescribed cause many deaths. Mistakes even more. Modern medicine is killing us.




    0
  18. So what’s the benefit in Fish? According to “Overcoming MS” Omega 6 oils make brain cell walls hard and sticky which in MS are attacked by the immune system. Omega 3 oils make brain cell walls soft and flexible, much less likely to be attacked by the immune system. “Overcoming MS” reports average 20% improvement in MS systems with plant based foods plus lots of Omega 3 and fish.
    What I take from that is the fish benefit is Omega 3 oils, and the fish detriments are mercury, arsenic, plastic, … since we use the Ocean as a dump.
    Fish get Omega 3 from algae so we go direct to algae Omega 3 grown in drinking quality water omitting all the toxic junk in the Ocean.
    Now what’s been tested is fish, not algae Omega 3, so I don’t have any proof.
    A good example with another disease is Mediterranean Diet (includes fish) reducing Type II diabetes risk 83% see http://www.bmj.com/content/336/7657/1348




    0
  19. Greger talks about the negatives of polluted fish which we all know. But still didn’t address the requirements to take EPA and DHA. Lack of omega 3 is 18th on the graph he showed. So what is he proposing here? Continue not getting enough?

    i have seen his videos about taking algae based omega3 which i take just in case. But i worry he doesn’t emphasize this enough. he also never addresses if the studies (algae omegas) their efficacy have conflicts of interest. even though he has the habit of pointing such things out on other things.




    0
  20. Somehow people keep beating around the bush instead of following the straightforward dementia approach.
    “…the risk of getting (Alzheimer’s) was 330% times greater among people whose blood folic acid levels were in the lowest one-third range and 450% times greater when blood homocysteine levels were in the highest one-third”. See page 221, “The China Study” (2006) by Cornell nutritional biochemist prof. T. Colin Campbell. Those are huge risk numbers.
    Now do note “folic acid pills” didn’t work for mild dementia in a recent study. Folic acid is an earmark of a diet with lots of plant based foods vegetables etc.. Likewise homocysteine level is an earmark of lots of animal foods in the diet including red meat, eggs, dairy.
    There is a “Reductionist” trap of trying to find a single item, like “fish”, as a shortcut instead of adopting a proven solution for healthy nutrition see “Nutritionfacts.org”, “Healty at 100” by John Robbins, “Whole” by prof T. Colin Campbell.




    0
    1. Thank you for this great review. Dr. Greger reviewed in a video how B6 and B12 prevented brain atrophy. Spinach, Broccoli, citrus fruits, asparagus, and beans are rich sources of folate. Dr. Greger has lamented how EPA/DHA, Omega 3s, and Folate/B12 processes are costing vegans their extra lifespan. I am glad I am on this journey with Dr. Greger.




      0
  21. [Edited] Greger talks about the negatives of polluted fish which we all know. But still didn’t address the requirements to take EPA and DHA. Lack of omega 3 is 18th on the graph he showed. So what is he proposing here? Continue not getting enough?

    So whats the conclusion? Do we need the recommended EPA and DHA?

    I have seen his videos about taking algae based omega3 (which i take just in case). But i worry he doesn’t emphasize this enough. How many vegans know about this? He also never addresses the quality of these studies (algae omegas) and if there is conflicts of interest (read that most are funded by these commercial algae companies and research is at its infancy). Even though Greger has the habit of pointing such things out on other things (Dairy and egg).

    note: I was on a vegan diet for 3.5 years and this issue kept nagging me. I now eat Sardines ( small fish, low pollution, sustainable). What does Greger say about the dangers from Sardines?




    0
    1. Natalie: You wrote, “What does Greger say about the dangers from Sardines?” Sardines are just a different kind of fish. Dr. Greger has a lot to say about fish. You can see an overview here: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish/
      .
      Human needs for dietary omega 3s are very low. I understand that our daily omega 3 needs are 1.1 (grams?) for women and 1.6 for men. So, it’s totally fine if the conversation rate of plant food omega 3 to the type used by our bodies 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 of omega 3s 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, a famous and well respected RD:
      ****************************************
      .
      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.”
      *******************************************
      .
      Here’s the key point: “…it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA.” This means that our needs can be fully met by plants, including by flaxseeds. Cool, huh!
      .
      Jeff Novick has a truly great talk on oil/fats and nuts. The talk costs money, but he covers omega 3s in detail, including a lot of information I did not include here. If you wanted to avoid the downsides of sardines, but feel comfortable about skipping the fish, you could watch the talk. https://www.amazon.com/Oil-Nuts-Essential-Facts-Oils/dp/B003UYAQIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465610704&sr=8-1&keywords=from+oil+to+nuts
      .
      One more point for you: You say that you worry that Dr. Greger doesn’t stress the idea of taking an algae-based omega 3 enough. Why do you think that idea needs to be stressed? In Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die, the idea of taking an omega 3 supplement not only fails to make the Daily Dozen, but is merely mentioned in the appendix as something we might “consider” taking. I take that to mean that the science is just not strong enough to say any more than that. And if you look at the videos on this website, you will see that omega 3 studies show that omega 3 supplements fail to protect us from most of the original promised benefits, such as heart benefits. At most, it might help with brain health. But then again, from what I’ve seen, we have no evidence that omega 3 supplementation provides any benefits in the context of a whole plant food diet.
      .
      What I take from all this: While omega 3s (just like omega 6s) are an essential fatty acid (meaning we must get them from our diet), I don’t see that there is enough evidence to worry about omega 3 deficiencies in the context of a whole plant food diet. But if someone is worried about it, they can always take an algae-based omega 3 supplement. Problem solved–and far more safely than trying to take fish oil or the whole fish.




      0
      1. Natalie: I have to amend my post a bit. Dr. Greger does say “Consider taking…” when it comes to algae-based omega 3s. But in the body of the appendix section, he does say, “I recommend…” I needed to say that so I didn’t misrepresent what Dr. Greger is saying in his book.




        0
  22. Algae based omega 3. Is the research behind them enough? credible? What about Sardines (low pollution, sustainable, high omega 3). Greger can you talk about Sardines?




    0
    1. Natalie, The algal EPA and DHA are chemically identical to that attained from sardines because sardines get their EPA and DHA from algae. So getting preformed EPA and DHA from algae just cuts out the middle-fish. As for contamination, sardines being lower on the food chain would have less than fish that eat sardines, but they will have more than the phyto and zooplankton on which they feed. But given the global contamination of the ocean, any food from the ocean will have some degree of contamination. If all you are trying to get is these two preformed omega-3 fatty acids, getting them from vat-raised algae is the best way to make sure they don’t come with a side of toxins, not to mention avoiding the distruction of millions of creatures and the habitat in which they live. So win for you, win for the environment.




      0
  23. Nbenda: Have you really looked into the omega 6 amounts on a whole plant based diet? I haven’t tried to analyze Esselstyn’s diet, but I recently looked into Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen and amounts of omega 6s and it seemed like plenty. If I remember correctly, just two servings of barley (Dr. Greger recommends three servings of whole grains), met likely omega 6 needs. And that doesn’t take into account the omega 6s one would get from the rest of the Dr. Greger Daily Dozen, especially the nuts.
    .
    I’m not an expert, but I don’t see a whole plant food diet as being low in omega 6. And if done properly, it is not high in omega 6 either. It is just right. And when it is just right, you can likely (from what I have read) meet your omega 3 needs from whole plants alone. But a DHA supplement could be added insurance for those people who eat too much omega 6. This is not an expert’s opinion. So, take that for what it’s worth.
    .
    I’m not sure if I’ve really answered your question. If not, maybe you could re-phrase it and hopefully someone who has studied the data more than I could answer you.




    0
    1. I will check the omega 6 omega amount in my diet. On a Esselstyne diet or also Ornish diet there are almost no nuts and it is very low in fat (10%). Since I take the flaxseeds it could be that the ratio is very omega3 favorable so that the absorption is quite high.
      That’s why people may have bruising and bleeding issues. Not yet my case, just curious if a DHA supplement is still an idea, since the reasons why we should take it are going away and since there is a possibility of getting problems because of too much of it.
      The last video of Dr. Greger about omega 3 ended saying he still recommends it (supplement) because of the brain, and he finished with: TO BE FOLLOWED.




      0
    1. Are you on any other blood thinners? If you have a concern with “overthinning” the blood or if you are on medication to control your blood sugar, it would be good to let your doctor know. Some of the benefits of chia seeds are blood thinning and better glucose control. You may find that you need less medication support. As long as you stay on top of it and keep your doctor in the loop.




      0
    2. Even better would to go whole plant based and eliminate the foods shown to be the root cause of your heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. That would give you a real shot at eliminating your medications and keeping that stinted artery from closing back up. I would highly recommend Dr. Neal Barnard’s book on reversing diabetes on a plant based diet. A second recommendation is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book on preventing and reversing heart disease. Both recommend the same basic low-fat (and I do mean low fat, not this 30% high fat diet that so many studies oxymoronically label as being “low-fat”) diet, but Dr. Barnard food suggestions focus on low glycemic index foods at the start of the diet to prove better glucose control as your body starts to heals. Both end with the same whole-food plant based diet to keep your diseases from coming back.

      But like Joan says and perhaps even more so if you do try a low-fat whole plant diet, you really need to work with your doctor to make sure that your medications can be adjusted appropriately since going 100% plant based can result in changes so rapidly that your current dosages could result in dangerously low blood pressure and blood sugar. That said you might also have to ignore your doctor if he or she scoffs at the idea that diet can be such a powerful treatment modality.

      First, the majority of doctors receive ZERO training in nutrition in medical school, so they think they know what they are talking about with respect to diet (because they are doctors after all) but actually are likely to have just absorbed the conventional wisdom with just a few fancier Latin names for things. Second, chronic diseases represent built-in repeat customers base, and seeing patients is how they make their money. They may not consciously acknowledge this, but nutritional treatments that can actual cure these diseases represents a threat to their livelihood, and so the natural tendency is to discount it.

      So I would present this as “just a couple month experiment” that you are going to try, and that if it doesn’t work, you will go back to the recommended treatment plan. But do really give it a couple month trial at 100%. After all if your doctor said take this pill three times a day in order to feel better, would it make sense to just take one every other day to start and then quit taking it after a few times because you felt just as bad as ever? The same here. If you have been eating anywhere close to the standard Western diet, your body has been weighed down by decades of foods that have been chipping away at your health. Eating smaller amounts of those same foods is very unlikely to suddenly turn the ship around. So make a total change and then give yourself a good couple months for the improvements to become obvious to you and your doctor.

      Good luck!




      0
  24. I’ve been following Dr. Gregor since Jan of 2016, and I have done the whole food diet thing very strictly: no meat, no oils, no bread, no dairy, no eggs. I feel much better. Also, I used to be a vitamin junkie. I still have around 50 bottles of different supplements in my pantry. I have stopped taking them for the most part because of a concept I have adopted from becoming a vegan, and it is this. If 600 pound gorillas don’t need supplements from the health food store, why should I if I am eating berries, few nuts, a lot of green leafy vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 2 cups of black beans and rice everyday? I think that a lot of stuff in the health food store is damaging to health because a lot of it has soy, or sugar, or contaminants from China. I have a suspicion that the corporate owners of some of these supplement companies might be the same corporate owners of major pharmaceutical meds such as statins. These corporations got us coming and going. That hit us at the doctor’s office. If we avoid doctors they hit us at the health food store. And, if you avoid doctors and health food stores they hit us at the grocery store with their Mercury contaminated tuna fish and thousands of other products. I am thankful for Dr. Gregor who is a watchman on the wall showing us the true path to health.




    0
      1. My dog eats the feces of deer droppings in my backyard. I have read that mainstream medicine sometimes prescribes that a person should get an infusion of fecal matter from people who have super good gut flora. The infusion is done rectally. So, the idiosyncrasy of animals eating fecal matter does not draw away from my comparison to gorillas. Yes….we all know that gorillas eat a few bugs here and there, and that they do not secrete amylase from their salivary glands like humans do……and YES we know that gorillas have a longer GI tract than humans but the point I am trying to make is that they and the rest of the animal kingdom including chimpanzees never go to the health food store and consume a bunch of supplements in order to live out their natural life…..only stupid humans do.

        By the way your links are important for people who only have partial understanding of the complete vegan diet. I especially liked Dr. Greger’s link to a few supplements such as B12. In this video, Dr. Gregor shows research that indicate that Omega 3’s are not as important as the supplement industry tries to make us believe. Again, this supplement companies are just like all other businesses and manufacturers trying to get us to buy their products. They will over exaggerate, lie, and even use subliminal programming to steal our time, money, energy, and health at times…..kind of like organized religion you might say.




        0
        1. Though probably unhealthy for other reasons, one could eat fæces on a vegan diet for the B12 contained in it; this has been shown (with an extract of the fæces) to cure B12-deficient vegans; we are all hosts to the bacteria producing B12 at some point in our digestive tack, but need it for uptake at an earlier point, so it is not helpful unless we recycle the fæces to an earlier phase, for instance through eating.

          Rectal implants of fæces don’t help with B12, it is only done to provide gut bacteria to a host that has somehow lost part of the cultures he needs. This is why it is a one-time procedure instead of repeatedly as would have been required for B12. Also you don’t need to have “super good gut flora” to be producing B12, we probably all produce it, so another person’s donation is not required for B12. In short, the two are unrelated.




          0
  25. If I grow my own fish (Tilapia) indoors and feed them organically grown food is the meat still a yellow item? Would it become a “green”?




    0
    1. buttonhut: Here’s how I see it: Even if you could guarantee zero contamination (which I wouldn’t count on even with organic feed), you are still left with saturated fat combined with cholesterol and animal protein, a combination that is best avoided completely–details of which you can learn about by exploring the information on this site. At the same time, the fish flesh is practically devoid of fiber and phytonutrients and carbohydrates (which should be the majority of one’s diet), substances which are good parts of plant foods and which you generally do not find in animal foods.
      .
      Here is an overview of fish, but it only touches on the problems around consuming fish. Some of this information would apply to contaminated fish, but other information applies to all fish: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish
      .
      I don’t see how raising your fish indoors with organic feed does too much to change the status of their flesh. Personally, I would treat all flesh products the same as table sugar. *Some* people might be able to tolerate very small amounts without affecting their health, but that doesn’t make the product healthy.




      0
      1. Thank you. I appreciate your quick response. Fighting an aggressive prostate cancer and combing your site for ideas. I am Vegan now and your answer cemented that stand. Thanks again.




        0
        1. buttonhut: I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer. I’m glad you are on this site as we have a lot of information about cancer in general and prostate cancer in particular. I’m sure you have already seen it, but just in case, I’ll point out the search box at the top of the page. Also note the “Health Topics” link, which gets to you to the summary pages.
          .
          Best of luck to you.




          0
        2. buttonhut: I just realized I should have included this tip: If you are interested, look for the series on this site/NutritionFacts about IGF-1. If you can find the begining of the series and watch it through, it does a great job of explaining how animal protein can lead to cancer growth. That might do a better job of helping you stay firm than my little post. :-)




          0
  26. OT:

    I seem to remember on video wherein Dr. Greger discusses a polypeptide/protein that survives digestion and gets absorbed into the body. Does anyone remember which one that was, or what protein/polypeptide it was?




    0
    1. How about the guy just before that said basically because top athletes burn an extra 5000 calories a day they can eat anything that has calories including a burger and fries and the body will just do its magic. What he completely ignores is the level of effort required of the body to do that magic and what are both the long term as well as short term costs.

      Like the Cro-mags singer/triathlete said his recovery time on a plant based diet is so much faster that after a triathlon he can be back to his regular regime in a couple of days rather than a week or more. The result is that he can train better. As the program said as intro to the plant based bit, lot of top class athletes are pushing all or nearly all animal foods off their training plate for this very reason.

      Just this last week the quarterback of the Greenbay Packers (in the heart of America’s dairy country) announced that he was cutting out all dairy in an effort to extend his career. That went over really well with the dairy industry not to mention all the cheese-heads ( for our international readers, this is the term used for Packers fans who wear foam wedges of cheese on their heads to show their membership in the tribe, I shit you not)




      0
    1. The article is behind a paywall and it is difficult to offer sensible comments based on the abstract alone, especially since we do not know the numbers n each of the various subgroups. However, here is my two penn’orth

      The first thing to note is that the association was only found in APOE E4 carriers. So, if you are not a carrier, the study is essentially irrelevant. Even there, no significant association was apparently found among carriers with high levels of fish consumption. The lack of a clear dose response relationship may be a question mark for whether there actually is a causal relationship. For example, it may simply be a marker for people who have followed health guidelines which have traditionally included advice to eat one or two meals of fatty fish a week, and are therefore likelier to have had a healthier diet and lifestyle overall .

      Presumably(?) there was however a clear dose response relationship between ALA consumption and stroke. Given that stroke doubles the risk of dementia, this seems a potentially more interesting and convincing finding,
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317093908.htm




      0
  27. Title of video should be, “Is MERCURY brain food?” and the answer is no, of course–just like, “Is LISTERIA in my fruits and veggies healthy?”. As a matter of fact, an observational study conducted by researchers concerned about effect of consuming Hg-contaminated fish from the Great Lakes suggests that DHA consumption by moms might protect their children’s neurodevelopment from methyl mercury (the most bio-available form).

    Strain JJ, Yeates AJ, van Wijngaarden E, Thurston SW, Mulhern MS,
    McSorley EM, Watson G, Love TM, Smith TH, Yost K, Harrington D, Shamlaye
    CF, Henderson J, Myers GJ, Davidson PW. Prenatal
    exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated
    fatty acids: Associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an
    observational study in the Republic of Seychelles. 2015 Jan 21.

    Abstract

    Background: Fish is a
    rich source of n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) but also contains
    the neurotoxicant methyl mercury (MeHg).
    PUFAs may modify the relation between prenatal MeHg
    exposure and child development either directly by enhancing
    neurodevelopment
    or indirectly through the inflammatory milieu.

    Objective: The objective was to investigate the associations of prenatal MeHg exposure and maternal PUFA status with child development
    at 20 mo of age.

    Design: The Seychelles
    Child Development Study Nutrition Cohort 2 is an observational study in
    the Republic of Seychelles, a high
    fish-eating population. Mothers were enrolled
    during pregnancy and their children evaluated at 20 mo of age by using
    the Bayley
    Scales of Infant Development II (BSID-II), the
    MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI), and the
    Infant
    Behavior Questionnaire–Revised. There were 1265
    mother-child pairs with complete data.

    Results: Prenatal MeHg
    exposure had no direct associations with neurodevelopmental outcomes.
    Significant interactions were found between
    MeHg and PUFAs on the Psychomotor Developmental
    Index (PDI) of the BSID-II. Increasing MeHg was associated with lower
    PDI
    but only in children of mothers with higher
    n–6/n–3. Among mothers with higher n–3 PUFAs, increasing MeHg was
    associated with
    improved PDI. Higher maternal docosahexaenoic acid
    (DHA) was associated with improved CDI total gestures (language
    development)
    but was significantly adversely associated with the
    Mental Development Index (MDI), both with and without MeHg adjustment.
    Higher n–6/n–3 ratios were associated with poorer
    scores on all 3 CDI outcomes.

    Conclusions: We found no
    overall adverse association between prenatal MeHg exposure and
    neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, maternal
    PUFA status as a putative marker of the
    inflammatory milieu appeared to modify the associations of prenatal MeHg
    exposure
    with the PDI. Increasing DHA status was positively
    associated with language development yet negatively associated with the
    MDI. These findings may indicate existence of an
    optimal DHA balance with respect to arachidonic acid for different
    aspects
    of neurodevelopment.




    0
  28. great video but i don’t see the data of plant-based DHA/EPA and its effects on cognition discussed or addressed here. what does the research say about this specifically?




    0
    1. Good question. I think that the answer is “not much”. eg
      http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/732403
      However one of the moderators or someone else better informed than me might be able to give you a fuller answer.

      By and large you are probably better off trying to get your DHA/EPA from food rather than supplements. My understanding is that most nutrients including need to be accompanied by a range of other, nutrients, minerals, enzymes and similar co-factors to have an optimal effect. Whole foods provide these ready packaged.

      As a matter of personal disclosure, I do take an algal DHA supplement but that is because where I am currently (Philippines) I am unable to access a wide range of plant foods (or at least ones that I am familiar with). To mimic the effects of whole food sources, I accompany this with a good quality vegetarian multi. This, however is obviously very much a second-best solution.

      You may find these discussions/summaries helpful – I don’t know because they do not directly address your question – but I found them informative backgrounders.
      http://veganhealth.org/articles/omega3
      http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=84&tname=nutrient




      0
  29. This is off-topic but has been irritating me for a while.

    It seems virtually impossible to find the page below using the NF search box by using any or all of the words in the title. I have to go out to Google to find it. My memory tells me that at one time there was a direct link to it on the NF front page but that has seemingly disappeared. Unless there has been some kind of policy decision to the contrary on this point, I personally think it would be helpful if it were up-front again so people can find the page easily

    http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/




    0
    1. Tom Goff: I share your frustration and approve your idea. I don’t know if it was ever on the front page, but I think the idea was recently nixed concerning adding it to the front page in favor of encouraging people to buy the new book. Perhaps this decision will be changed in the future.
      ..
      In the meantime, I’ll share my secret as I am often referring people to that page and need to find it again. Years ago, under the old search engine, I could never get it to come up until I remembered that one of the recommendations was for brazil nuts. Then, all I had to do was type in “brazil” in the search engine and only a few items were returned, one of which was the one we are talking about.
      .
      As much as I think the new search engine is a step in the right direction, it has been something of a trade off, with some searches being much harder. This is one example. Now, if I type “brazil”, I get back 83 videos, selected by default. That’s way too many (it can’t be that 83 videos mention brazil can it???). And what I really want is in the Posts. But I can do the extra steps of deselecting the videos and selecting the posts and once again, I have a very short page of return answers with the correct one included.
      .
      That may not be a satisfying answer, but I hope it is a good enough work around until we get something better.




      0
      1. Tom Goff: Please note that my fingers hit some kind of key combination that caused my post above to be sent before it was finished. I have edited it to finish the tip.




        0
        1. Thanks Thea.
          I do seem to remember that it was at the bottom of the front page for a while, although my memory might be playing me false.
          It seems crazy that Google can find it in a flash but NF’s own in-house search engine can’t find it at all unless you input a completely different search term.




          0
  30. My son is about 90% vegan (eats some cheese) but is obese and cannot seem to lose wait. I was wondering if there could be other reasons beside diet that should be considered that could be the cause of his problem. For example, what tests he could take?

    Thanks




    0
    1. Does he eat a whole-foods (no processed foods), no-oil diet? “Vegan” doesn’t really say much about what he eats, only what he doesn’t. It is very possible to live entirely on junk food and still be vegan (the downside to the growth in popularity of vegan foods!). In addition to the second half of Dr. Greger’s How Not to Die, I highly recommend Dr. Fuhrman’s The End of Dieting or Eat to Live. Fuhrman advocates what he calls a nutritarian diet. It’s well worth looking into! I am not a doctor, but based on my research, if your son doesn’t effortlessly achieve a healthy weight on a true nutritarian diet, there most likely is a medical issue.




      0
  31. Dr Greger is talking about fish from the sea/ocean. What about fish coming from fresh water or from commercial farms. Do they cause the same cognitive decline. Also do other seafoods like shrimp, crabs, see weeds etc have the same cognitive decline effects?




    0
    1. Thanks for your question Nanette!

      It seems like freshwater fish also present some level of contamination and its severity depends on which region of the world you analyse the fish (1, 2, 3, 4).

      When it comes to the other marine food you mention, I am not aware of its impact on cognitive decline. However, it is important to take the high level of cholesterol naturally present in these animals into account (eg. according to the USDA Database 1 cup of canned shrimps contains ~323mg of dietary cholesterol) & this can be dangerous as according to the IoM, any intake of cholesterol above 0 is harmful to health.

      Hope this answer helps!




      0
      1. Thanks Darchite for this clarification. So the key issue here is d contamination and not about the fish itself. What do the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 mean. Txs much again




        0
  32. The only facts presented by NutitionFacts.org is in the name. There is no truth in labeling here. NutitionFacts.org is a PeTA front group here to scare you into the radical animal rights-approved diet.




    0
    1. Timmothy Weaver: NutritionFacts is an evidence based, carefully researched source of information about the ‘body of evidence’ for nutrition. NutritionFacts has absolutely no connection to PeTA. The lack of connection to PeTA is pretty self evident if you actually listen to the videos and see what information is included on this site. Also note that you can click the ‘sources cited’ button for any video if you want to review the studies yourself.
      .
      If you wish to discuss the science, your participation will be welcome. Completely unfounded accusations will not be tolerated.




      0
  33. I am hoping Dr. Gregger or someone can reconcile why the Pescatarian group which also inlcuded egg/dairy eaters: “10% are pesco-vegetarian (Eat fish, milk and eggs but no red meat or poultry)” in the Adventist Health Studies lived the longest.

    Everything I read here (and in other areas) indicates fish is as bad as meat in many areas. Thus, the Adventist results contradict this as the “fish-eaters” outlived the Vegans

    “The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality in all vegetarians combined vs non-vegetarians was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.80–0.97). The adjusted HR for all-cause mortality in vegans was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.73–1.01); in lacto-ovo–vegetarians, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.82–1.00); in pesco-vegetarians, 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69–0.94); and in semi-vegetarians, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.75–1.13) compared with nonvegetarians.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191896/

    Am I missing something as this large trial of comparably matched subjects contradicts Dr. Greggor and other citations? Thank you!




    0
  34. There are 2 issues with the conclusions from this video (and Dr. Greger’s How Not to Die book):
    1) Often, fish are lumped together. There is a huge difference between wild salmon caught in Alaska (which I do and eat) vs farmed pollock elsewhere, for example. Levels of pollutants range from none to heavy, depending on what fish is eaten from where. I would like to see more detailed conclusions based on specific fish, when the conclusions focus on damage from pollutants such as mercury and PCBs.

    That leaves the conclusions regarding fish’s damaging effects on CAD and other diseases suspect, since we don’t know whether “clean” fish w/o pollutants have the same negative effects.

    2) Mercury sampling for most of the tests cited seem to be done with hair analysis, which, I think, carries a tremendous amount of skepticism in the medical world. Here is one example from Volker Auwärter · University Medical Center Freiburg

    “One of the major problems with the interpretation of (quantitative) analytical results in hair analysis in general is to differentiate the portion of analytes originating from inside the body (via blood stream, sweat and/or sebum) from the portion coming from outside (external contamination from dust etc.). For some analytes, the detection of metabolites may help, but in the case of minerals or trace elements you will hardly be able to find out.

    Is hair analysis of minerals and trace elements reliable?. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/post/Is_hair_analysis_of_minerals_and_trace_elements_reliable2 [accessed Jun 19, 2017].”

    So that leaves me with 3 uncertainties with fish and fish oil:

    1) Is the animal fat and animal proteins in fish, specifically wild, clean salmon in my case, truly as bad for us as any other animal protein??

    2) Are there reliable studies compariing fish oil vs flaxseed oil?

    3) As with the recommendations for consuming whole plant food vs extracts, are there studies comparing the EPA/DHA benefits of whole fish vs fish oil?




    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This