Should Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women Take DHA?

Should Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women Take DHA?
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Does maternal supplementation with the long chain omega 3 fatty acid DHA improve psychomotor, mental, visual, or physical development of infants?

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One of the reasons breastfed infants may have better cognitive and visual development is because human milk contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids like the omega 3 DHA, while most available infant formulas do not, based on data like these, where infants given control formula without DHA didn’t do as well as those given DHA-fortified formula. Neither did as well as the breastfed infants, who serve as the gold standard, but this was enough to convince formula manufacturers to start adding DHA to their infant formula starting back in 2002.

The question then became how much to add? Easy, right? Just add however much is naturally found in breast milk. However, the DHA level in breast milk is extremely variable, depending on what the mom is eating. For example, there’s all these healthy populations that don’t eat any seafood, and have much lower levels in their milk, and they seem fine; so, that makes it difficult to determine the optimal amount to add to formula, or for that matter, what to recommend for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Consensus guidelines recommend that women should aim to consume an average of 200 mg per day of DHA during pregnancy. Of course, this isn’t as simple as encouraging women to eat more fish because of the toxic pollutants, such as mercury, such that for most fish, such as tuna, the brain damage caused by the mercury would exceed the benefit from the DHA.

And some pollutants, like PCBs, can get stuck in our bodies for decades; and so, it’s not enough to just eat clean during pregnancy.

What about purified fish oil? The methods supplement manufacturers use, like distillation, leave considerable amounts of PCBs and other pollutants in the products, so much so that, taken as directed, salmon, herring, and tuna oils would exceed the tolerable daily intake of toxicity.

Thankfully, one can get the benefits without the risks by getting DHA from algae instead, which is where the fish get it from. And so, pregnant and breastfeeding moms can cut out the middle-fish and get DHA directly from the source, at the bottom of the food chain, where we don’t have to worry about toxic pollutants.

But until recently, we thought everyone should take these long chain omega 3’s for their heart. But the balance of evidence is now such that doctors should no longer be recommending fish oil intake or fish consumption solely for the prevention of coronary heart disease.  But what about for expectant and breastfeeding mothers? What’s the latest science show? Put all the studies together and turns out adding DHA to formula does not appear to help infant cognition after all, similar to other recent compilations of evidence that show no significant benefit. In fact, at least 4 meta-analyses, or systematic reviews, have reached a similar conclusion. Now, these were mostly based on the standard series of measurements known as the Bayley Scales for Infant Development. Maybe if other tests were used, there would be a different result, but so far, no luck. Giving women DHA supplements during pregnancy does not appear to help with other outcomes like attention span or working memory either.

Although there may be no significant benefit to infant cognition, what about other things like vision? Six trials have been done to date supplementing pregnant women. Four showed no effect, and the two that showed benefit had some problems; and so, we really don’t know at this point, but hey, if all the studies so far show either nothing or benefit, why not just take them to err on the side of caution?

Yeah, no demonstrable clear and consistent benefits, but there are new studies on this coming out all the time; if it’s harmless, maybe women should just take it to be on the safe side. The problem is that it may not be harmless in large doses. In a study in which women were given a whopping 800mg of DHA a day during pregnancy, infant girls exposed to the higher-dose DHA in the womb had lower language scores and were more likely to have delayed language development than girls from women in the control group.

So, the absence of clear positive effects along with the possible presence of negative effects in the children raised the question whether DHA supplementation is justifiable. But it was a really large dose, suggesting that there may be an optimal DHA level above which DHA might be detrimental to the developing brain. So, maybe too much is detrimental; what about too little? I’ll cover that, next. 

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.

Images thanks to Ian Allenden via 123RF.

One of the reasons breastfed infants may have better cognitive and visual development is because human milk contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids like the omega 3 DHA, while most available infant formulas do not, based on data like these, where infants given control formula without DHA didn’t do as well as those given DHA-fortified formula. Neither did as well as the breastfed infants, who serve as the gold standard, but this was enough to convince formula manufacturers to start adding DHA to their infant formula starting back in 2002.

The question then became how much to add? Easy, right? Just add however much is naturally found in breast milk. However, the DHA level in breast milk is extremely variable, depending on what the mom is eating. For example, there’s all these healthy populations that don’t eat any seafood, and have much lower levels in their milk, and they seem fine; so, that makes it difficult to determine the optimal amount to add to formula, or for that matter, what to recommend for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Consensus guidelines recommend that women should aim to consume an average of 200 mg per day of DHA during pregnancy. Of course, this isn’t as simple as encouraging women to eat more fish because of the toxic pollutants, such as mercury, such that for most fish, such as tuna, the brain damage caused by the mercury would exceed the benefit from the DHA.

And some pollutants, like PCBs, can get stuck in our bodies for decades; and so, it’s not enough to just eat clean during pregnancy.

What about purified fish oil? The methods supplement manufacturers use, like distillation, leave considerable amounts of PCBs and other pollutants in the products, so much so that, taken as directed, salmon, herring, and tuna oils would exceed the tolerable daily intake of toxicity.

Thankfully, one can get the benefits without the risks by getting DHA from algae instead, which is where the fish get it from. And so, pregnant and breastfeeding moms can cut out the middle-fish and get DHA directly from the source, at the bottom of the food chain, where we don’t have to worry about toxic pollutants.

But until recently, we thought everyone should take these long chain omega 3’s for their heart. But the balance of evidence is now such that doctors should no longer be recommending fish oil intake or fish consumption solely for the prevention of coronary heart disease.  But what about for expectant and breastfeeding mothers? What’s the latest science show? Put all the studies together and turns out adding DHA to formula does not appear to help infant cognition after all, similar to other recent compilations of evidence that show no significant benefit. In fact, at least 4 meta-analyses, or systematic reviews, have reached a similar conclusion. Now, these were mostly based on the standard series of measurements known as the Bayley Scales for Infant Development. Maybe if other tests were used, there would be a different result, but so far, no luck. Giving women DHA supplements during pregnancy does not appear to help with other outcomes like attention span or working memory either.

Although there may be no significant benefit to infant cognition, what about other things like vision? Six trials have been done to date supplementing pregnant women. Four showed no effect, and the two that showed benefit had some problems; and so, we really don’t know at this point, but hey, if all the studies so far show either nothing or benefit, why not just take them to err on the side of caution?

Yeah, no demonstrable clear and consistent benefits, but there are new studies on this coming out all the time; if it’s harmless, maybe women should just take it to be on the safe side. The problem is that it may not be harmless in large doses. In a study in which women were given a whopping 800mg of DHA a day during pregnancy, infant girls exposed to the higher-dose DHA in the womb had lower language scores and were more likely to have delayed language development than girls from women in the control group.

So, the absence of clear positive effects along with the possible presence of negative effects in the children raised the question whether DHA supplementation is justifiable. But it was a really large dose, suggesting that there may be an optimal DHA level above which DHA might be detrimental to the developing brain. So, maybe too much is detrimental; what about too little? I’ll cover that, next. 

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.

Images thanks to Ian Allenden via 123RF.

Doctor's Note

So, no clear and consistent short or long-term benefit for psychomotor, mental, visual, or physical development with DHA supplementation of pregnant and breast-feeding women. But maybe DHA failed to help women because they were already getting enough, and maybe women with very low intakes would benefit. Find out in my next video: Should Vegan Women Supplement with DHA During Pregnancy

Previous videos on the concerns about the pollutants in the aquatic food chain include:

More on fish oil specifically in:

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

67 responses to “Should Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women Take DHA?

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  1. Vegan DHA EPA nose bleed reactions, same thing happens with fish oil to me. I get very lethargic as well, whether vegan oil or not.
    Anyone else? Immune response? But the nose bleeds, not a good sign, right?
    And I only take a very small amount of vegan DHA, 1/2 a serving, even less, and nose bleed still happens. Bad headache.




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    1. Hello, I checked the literature, and I did see a paper that linked DHA intake to reductions in platelet aggregation, which is a measure of blood’s tendency to clot. The paper also said that DHA produced this effect more strongly in women than in men. I wonder whether this has anything to do with your nosebleeds? DHA and platelet aggregation

      I also checked the archives and I found Dr. Greger had done a series of articles on other foods that inhibit platelet aggregation.

      Inhibiting Platelet Activation with Garlic and Onions

      Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries

      Inhibiting Platelet Activation with Tomato Seeds

      Research and videos aside… I’d regard the nosebleeds as a sign to stop taking DHA or fish oil. I love reading what others think, but when my body speaks up about something, I listen closely!




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    2. High intakes of DHA and EPA may be harmful. Requirements are 1.1 grams for woman and 1.6 grams for men for the entire day for omega 3, and this is not necessarily for preformed DHA and EPA intake, so a high amount of preformed DHA and EPA may lead to problems. Here are Jeff Novick’s thoughts on this. This is in regards to preformed DHA and EPA as a 3 gram supplement.

      “Intake of 3 grams per day or greater of omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding and may increase the risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke.

      Other Known Side Effects and Concerns

      High doses have also been associated with nosebleed and blood in the urine. Fish oils appear to decrease platelet aggregation and prolong bleeding time, increase fibrinolysis (breaking down of blood clots), and may reduce von Willebrand factor.”

      https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6183

      Dr. Greger is recommending 250 mg here though, not even a full gram.




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      1. Thanks. I get this with low intakes of vegan DHA.

        Interestingly, flax seed and oil suppress my immune system, make me tired. Chia and walnuts do
        the same thing. No bad reactions to omega 6 raw fats/not tired, no bleeding.

        I think o-3 can also cause issue with immune system in some, as can Vitamin D. Vitamin D pills give
        me brain fog, very tired for days. D from sunshine…..no problems, just benefits from what I have experienced.




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    3. I would think it’s more likely the effect of the omega 3’s on platelet and clotting ability rather than an immune response. Perhaps your levels are already high enough through other foods/supplements or influenced by other medications/environmental/genetic factors, that the supplements push you over the edge and cause bleeding..

      Is the lethargy from bleeding (?anaemia) or from the supplement itself?




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      1. The lethargy occurs after taking the DHA supplements. Same thing happens post vitamin D supplements.

        I know of lots of others who get exhausted after taking vitamin D pills. Theory is that in some people vitamin
        D pills can actually screw with immune system. I have heard on this website that Dr. Mcdougall says to avoid
        vitamin D supplementation. He thinks Vit D pills are harmful. But he says the sunshine vitamin D is good.
        Who knows.




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        1. Saw this and just had to reply. I have low vitamin D levels, as in 9 or 10 vs. 50 (forgot the unit of measure). Have been taking
          5,000 I.U. of D3 per day as per the internist’s advice. I feel sick when I do! Like drinking motor oil?!? The fatigue is profound and there is mild nausea to boot. Thank you for an outside confirmation!!! I trust my body, but can’t get the Dr. to believe what I am saying… I know that D3 level is low, but I feel sick on even high quality D3 supplementation. Now, just found out (after demanding I be tested) that my Parathyroid hormone is through the roof. Doctor pushed for even higher levels of D – as in 50,000 – saying that I have secondary Hyperparathyroidism and need huge quantities of D. Prescription D2 from the pharmacy. Please, any input from all the bright folks here would be really appreciated. Anyone with knowledge of the relationship between the Parathyroid glands and vitamin D? Thanks!




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          1. Yes, I work with patients that have parathyroid hormone PTH issues. It is a complicated relationship but one of the roles of Vitamin D is the uptake of calcium from the gut. There is a good description of the interplay here. Essentially, low vitamin D levels cause the parathyroid gland to work overtime in an attempt to resolve imbalance of calcium and/or phosphorus. You tend to see secondary HPT in kidney disease, but have seen elevated levels of PTH in people with prolonged deficient Vit D levels as well as a hyperactive thyroid. Have you had other blood work done? Sometimes even a diet rich in phosphorus can also lead to issues with elevated PTH. This would be a diet rich in processed foods, animal protein (more absorbable form of phosphate compared to plant protein). Hope this helps!!




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              1. Hi Doris. I am wondering if your calcium level has been checked, and if your kidney functions are normal. If kidney functions are normal (one sign of this is normal range creatinine on you blood test), you may well have Primary hyperparathyroidism, this would be a situation where (usually) one of the parathyroid glands is making extra hormone. This can be the CAUSE of the low vitamin D. I would suggest that you see an endocrinologist, and if possible someone with special expertise in the parathyroids and calcium metabolism. I hope that is helpful!




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  2. Really appreciate your thorough survey of literature, esp. as evidence evolves. An invaluable service to all who will listen … and act!

    1). Question on how to evaluate the safety of carrageenan and saturated fat additives to algal DHA supplements. Granted, they are probably small amounts, but if taken daily over time ….? See ingredient links below.

    2). As a bigger question, I am aware of the Frontline show on the dangers of some select additives, and on your practical advice to eat the whole foods (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/supplements-and-safety/). However, with no specfic advice on DHA product purity available, sometimes we sit on the fence.

    From the web, I find carrageenan (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R34287KN851EL/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B002XDQSSK); a possible form of a saturated fat (Ascorbyl palmitate-ester formed from ascorbic acid and palmitic acid) in another (http://www.drfuhrman.com/shop/DHA_EPA.aspx#supplementfacts); carrageenan and ascorbyl palmitate both in two supplements (http://www.spectrumorganics.com/spectrum-essentials/vegetarian-dha-caps/ and http://www.spectrumorganics.com/spectrum-essentials/vegan-ultra-omega-3-epa-ampampampamp-dha-new/); seaweed carrageenan in a 187mg EPA/375mg DHA blend (http://www.nuique.com/omega3/); and lastly coconut oil in another 3, 6, 9 Oil Blend (http://www.udoerasmus.com/products/oil_blend_en.htm).

    Thanks again to you and your team for your service.




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  3. Glad to see this video. Been hanging on the cliff for weeks!

    Many of the studies that demonstrate no positive effect of DHA used fish oils, not isolated nor algae sources. So, I’m not sure what we’re really learning here. Is there no effect or rather are toxins cancelling the benefits?




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    1. Dr Greger sure knows how to do a good cliff hanger! That’s the best part about the DVDs for the impatient!

      Next to the video, if you click ‘sources cited’, a few of them discuss algae-based supplements and purified/isolated sources.

      I agree though, one question always leads to a hundred more! Could the needs of plant-based eaters be lower? Could the effects in vegetarian sources be negated by the effect of it being isolated/refined into an oil? What about the influence of other foods in the diet (especially other fats), and medications, lifestyle, environment, additives etc?? And how does this confer to human health/risk??…. I think we will always be learning!

      There are a fair few studies though comparing fish oils to isolated plant-based or algal sources. Here’s a few-

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18220672

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23855409

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18779299

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898234




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  4. Thanks for the video! I would love a recommendation of a plant-based prenatal DHA supplement to take. So many of them have gelatin or carrageenan. I have also seen many with rosemary extract, which I have heard could be bad for a growing fetus.




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  5. It’s too bad that omega 3 levels isn’t routinely tested. I asked about it for my annual physical. I get B12 tested, and that’s not a problem. But if you want n~3 you have to pay a couple hundred in out-of-coverage costs. Maybe someday we’ll get a good cheap test so we’ll know if we need to do more than just eat out greens, walnuts and flaxseed.

    I used to take “distilled and purified” fish oil for years. What a mistake. I wish I could take it back, along with all the other salmon, dairy, and all the other animal and junk food I ever ate.
    Mark G




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    1. Hi, you make a good point about having walnut and flax seeds for the omega three fatty acid. I also wanted to say no need worrying about what you had before as your body has amazing effect of renewing it self. Keep up the good job about learning nutrition. Keep up watching Dr G. website which is a great source of nutrition education.




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  6. The music jingle that starts all your excellend NF videos is loud, especially the “thump.” I always have to remember to turn down the volume or suffer ear pain. Anyway to mic it down or change the jingle?




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    1. Sorry to hear it bothers you! I personally quite like it, and it is not particularly loud on my devices. I do use the mute button for adverts, maybe that could be an easy option?




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  7. I used to suck the liquid out of the capsule. Now I get DEVA vegan omega 3 liquid, no carrageenan. There is ascorbyl palmitate in it which is vitamin C ester.




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  8. I enjoy these scientific presentations on nutrition, health, and life styles. However, I really try to keep my perspective SIMPLE. I just follow the Gorilla Diet. If I eat like the gorillas I am getting all the DHA I need, all the protein I need, and all the other nutrients I need. Gorillas are essentially vegans and eat over 250 varieties of plant based foods.




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    1. Definitely an interesting argument to make, and one somewhat alluded to here-
      The problem with the paleo diet

      and here-
      Raw food diet myths

      But I would be careful assuming we are ‘exactly’ the same… we aren’t gorillas… the environment we live in has changed significantly, as has food agriculture, some evolutionary factors, such as body size and position and numerous other adaptations making us a separate species….

      The general gist (more fruits and vegetables, limit processed junk) though is plausible!
      http://nature.berkeley.edu/miltonlab/pdfs/nutritionalchar.pdf




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    2. It sounds pretty healthy. I think the BBC did an experiment along these lines some years ago which tested something they called the “Evo Diet”. The results were good but it was only a short-term experiment
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/humanbody/truthaboutfood/healthy/evodiet.shtml

      However, in the wild, gorillas tend to eat up to 3% of their diet in the form of insects, caterpillars etc. Plus the plants they eat are unwashed. You might therefore want to consider a B12 supplement and possibly iodine supplementation.
      http://www.berggorilla.org/en/gorillas/general/everyday-life/what-do-gorillas-eat/.
      https://seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/diet-and-eating-habits/
      http://www.veganhealth.org/




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      1. Tom — I take about 3 drops of J. Crow’s Lugol Iodine solution every few days. I also take liposomal vitamin C. and, yes, I take a B12 sublingual spray and a B complex vitamin. Plus, I cheat and take a Dr. Mercola krill capsule every once in a while, and a L-carnitine capsule every few days. I do all of this just to be on the safe side. One more thing, which a vegan is not suppose to do, I take a lot of serrapeptase enzyme which is made from the silk worm. So, I do not follow the Gorilla diet 100 percent. However, I never eat meat.




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  9. Around the 4 minute mark it says that the high doses of DHA were from fish oil supplementation. It still leaves a question for me as to whether it was the high dose of DHA or contaminants from the fish oil that lead to language delay relative to control group.

    Would high doses of algae derived DHA have any negative neurodevelopmental consequences? I’m guessing the study hasn’t been done…




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  10. Hi. I am interested to know your thoughts on the DHA-Accelerated Aging Hypothesis . Do you think we maybe better off giving up our DHA supplements and just consuming more flaxseed? Thanks for your time.




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    1. There are a handful of lifespan studies. DHA or fish oil increased lifespan in autoimmune prone mice, (1), decreased lifespan in senescence-accelerated mice (2), has no effect in healthy mice (3), and decreased lifespan of long lived mice (4). I’ve a lot of respect for Dr. Spindler, an author of the last paper, so I suspect the mild reduction in lifespan is correct. On the other hand, there’s still a plausible net benefit in inflammatory or autoimmune disorders.




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      1. Darryl: These studies are fascinating, especially number 4. Do you think that this study (#4) has any implication on the recommended dietary supplement of 250 mg/day of Algae derived Omega-3’s for a healthy individual? Thanks for sharing these studies.




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      2. Very interesting post. Thanks.

        The first study has some relevance to me because I have an autoimmune disorder (mild psoriasis). On the other hand,that study only showed the effect of substituting fish oil for corn oil. It is therefore hard to say whether the fish oil was positively beneficial or whether it was perhaps simply less harmful than corn oil. I do currently take a vegetarian DHA supplement but it is studies referenced by Dr G and you that increasingly make me question the risk/benefits of such supplementation.
        As for mice lifespan studies, I still think this 2014 study may be a useful pointer for us humans:

        ‘The team put mice on 25 different diets, altering the proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat. The mice were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted to more closely replicate the food choices humans make.
        “The healthiest diets were the ones that had the lowest protein, 5 to 10 to 15 per cent protein, the highest amount of carbohydrate, so 60, 70, 75 per cent carbohydrate, and a reasonably low fat content, so less than 20 per cent,” Professor Le Couteur said.
        “They were also the diets that had the highest energy content.
        “We found that diluting the diets to reduce the energy intake actually made the animals die more quickly.”
        The mice that ate a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet lived about 50 per cent longer than those on the low-carb diet.”
        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/low-carb-diet-may-shorten-your-life-study-finds/5299284
        http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(15)00505-7
        http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2032903762/2049230860/mmc2.pdf




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    2. Interesting question! Do you have a link to the hypothesis? Is it based on all DHA or only fish derived?

      I have seen links to cancer/CVD such as-
      Omega3s and cancer/CVD
      But this seems largely fish-derived/sourced.

      If you look at it from an anti-inflammatory perspective, omega three’s could be beneficial to counteract the inflammatory increase with ageing discussed here-
      How to counteract the inflammation of aging

      The summary from this video (Algae-based DHA Vs flax) is

      “We can make DHA ourselves from the shorter chain omega-3’s in flaxseeds, but probably not enough for optimum health. Still, flax is amazing stuff.”




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  11. 1. More on carrageenan here-
    Is carrageenan safe?

    Should carrageenan be avoided?

    2.

    The frustrating part of evidence-based nutrition! And food ingredients/additives and labelling laws to boot such as (Who decides if food additives are safe?)! I think as always evaluating the evidence available, in the context of pros and cons, and what the whole food options are available, and making what is the best decision at the time.

    I agree coconut oil and saturated fats are an unhelpful additive to omega three supplements!

    For example palmitate-
    Saturated fats/palmitate

    and coconut oil-
    Does coconut oil cure Alzheimers?

    Does coconut oil clog arteries?

    Health benefits of coconut oil?

    Is coconut oil bad for you?

    Is coconut oil good for you?

    Perhaps there is a product avoiding both?




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  12. Hi, so my sister sends me this…

    “Hi Dave, l have had some stomach problems and my homeopath recommended colostrum. It had really helped, it’s the bovine’s first milk and contains all the immunities and much more that we need more as we age. Check it out on the Internet, it could help you with any health issues you may have.
    Have a great day”

    So I did a quick search on this site and others like Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Barnard and Dr. McDougall.. but nothing on colostrum. I’m guessing the knee jerk response is going to be bad stuff, not a plant source.
    Has there been any research done on this good or bad. I’m not sure how I can respond to my sister without any good references.
    BTW – I have been PBWF + GF going on 4 years and this site has been my main guiding source




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  13. This is off topic but, to me, is interesting since this forum is dedicated to the promotion of whole, plant-based foods. There was a group of nursing students at the hospital today. As is the custom they brought this as a thank you gesture. Who can guess what it is based on the following list of ingredients: wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, water, palm oil, dextrose, soybean oil, yeast, whey, salt, mono- and diglycerides, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, soy flour, egg whites, pre-gelatinized wheat starch, natural and artificial flavors, sodium stearoyl lactylate, polysorbate 60, artificial color, skim milk, eggs, egg yolks, dat em(?), calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, sugar, maltodextrin, cornstarch, diglycerides, citric acid, agar,xanthim gum, potassium sorbate, milk. And BTW, I was told it was delcious.




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        1. Yeah, it started sounding like bread, and then got funky, any pastry item was going to be my guess. A lot of minds are blown when I show them the artificial colors in their “white” “food” from the grocery store. Look for it, “white” stuff will have blue food coloring nearly every time, and all that other junk.




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          1. What blows my mind is the fact that most people don’t care. The students were thoughtful enough to leave a baker’s dozen for the staff on each of the four nurses stations and I guarantee I am the only person in the hospital who read the label.




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            1. Psych MD: I was going to guess donuts, and then thought, “Naw, has to be something else. Donuts can be *that* bad.” ;-O Then I saw your answer in the next couple of posts.
              .
              I’ve seen this before too. People at work eat things without looking at the ingredients. It’s willful ignorance. They know it could be bad, but they are going to eat it anyway. So, why look…




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            2. Yes they don’t care because this society has taught them that there’s no way to understand how nutrition works, so why bother? That’s the major (health) dysfunction of America.




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  14. What about EPA? Some studies on Omega 3 against depression found that EPA was helpful, though they agreed DHA was not helpful, and that the DHA/EPA ratio in fish oil is too high to see the benefits of EPA. Others have found no significant benefit from EPA either. Seems like there at least seems to be some consensus on avoiding DHA supplementation, but for EPA there doesn’t seem to be enough research done yet to definitely advice for or against oil supplements. Or is there?




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      1. Thanks, that was the reason for my question, because the study that Dr. Greger refers to in that video as showing that EPA has no benefits to depression is actually saying: “The small effect size difference favoring EPA over both DHA and placebo is intriguing; although speculative, it may suggest that EPA supplementation might be a useful augmenting agent.”

        The study only involved 173 people divided in into placebo, 1000mg DHA and 1000mg EPA per day. It showed improvement in all 3 groups, though slightly less with DHA than placebo, and slightly more with EPA than placebo. The fact that the differences were not statistically significant does not prove that there is no positive effect of EPA, just like the fact that some studies didn’t find a statistical significant harm from saturated fats does not prove that saturated fats are not harmful. The results are simply inconclusive. I’m hoping that other studies on different kind of benefits/negative effects of EPA might shed some more light on the matter.




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          1. Thanks, great, that’s only from last month. It concludes that DHA is unhelpful, but doesn’t seem harmful to depression either, and that EPA is helpful in absolute dosage (not relative to DHA as previously assumed), but mostly in combination with anti-depressants. So perhaps the EPA interferes somehow with the working of the anti-depressant, or helps against inflammation that the anti-depressant might cause. But besides the beneficial effect with the anti-depressant, EPA might also have unknown harmful effects. So that still makes the helpfulness of EPA supplementation in general inconclusive.




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  15. I would like to know if the effects of 800 mg of DHA per day (lower language scores / delayed language development), are due to the DHA itself, or to the PCBs and pollutants in the Omega 3. In oder words, would an 800 mg/day dose of microalgae DHA show these negative effects as well?




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    1. That is a great question, as far as I am aware, that particular study has not been performed, only the studies mentioned by Dr Greger on potentially polluted sources of DHA and depressions/suicide found at the link DHA




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  16. I would like to ask if the harmless effects of high doses of DHA (800 mg/day) described in the video are due to the DHA itself, or to the pollutants/contaminants in fish Omega 3. In other words, would these harmful effects be present when using 800 mg/day of micro algae DHA?




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  17. I’m a breastfeeding mama, well kind of. My supply is super low so I’ve had to supplement with formula which is NOT ideal for me…I want, as I’m sure all mommies do, my baby as healthy as possible. Is there anything I can eat to increase my supply? I’ve tried quinoa and coconut oil with no avail :( Is there a special recipe I could make to replace the store bought formula? Thank you for your advice!




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  18. Hi!

    I’ve been looking for a non-sugar non silicon dioxide no carragenane DHA supplement for vegan but I haven’t found anything. I would like to take one but I don’t want at the same time including artificial component such as what I have mentioned because of that.
    Any suggerence?

    Thanks a lot.




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