Omega-3′s Improve Depression Symptoms

Omega-3s Effective for Improving Depression Symptoms

Recently there has been some confusion regarding the effect of omega-3s on mood, and more specifically on depression.  A recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed no benefit of omega-3 supplementation on mood or depression.  However, most of the participants in the study were not diagnosed with depression.  While the study was meant to examine whether low-dose supplementation with EPA, DHA or ALA would affect mood, they could not assess improvement on those who were not depressed to begin with.

A different study, published in 2010, showed that higher doses of omega-3s (above 1,000 mg per day) were successful in treating major depression.  It has been determined that high levels are necessary to impact mood and depression, and low levels cannot achieve these same effects.  

Dosage

1,000mg per day (or more) of DHA and EPA are recommended simply to maintain health, and to achieve more specific results, including improving depression, it has been suggested that this dosage be increased up to 2,000mg per day.  Therefore the study was flawed on two levels and studying the effects of low-dose omega-3 supplementation can generally be considered a waste.  At least 500mg is necessary to start seeing any health benefits. 

A Surprising Outcome

Despite the low-dosage of omega-3s, the recent study did find that those who participated in the study who were diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants actually experienced somewhat of an improvement in regards to symptoms of depression when taking the EPA/DHA in conjunction with the anti-depressants.  This shows that while there was some small benefit in taking the low dose, higher doses can be much more effective.    

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The Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive Oil Protects Against Dangerous LDL Cholesterol

While many are familiar with LDL cholesterol as “bad” cholesterol, it is even more dangerous to the body when it becomes oxidized. LDL becomes oxidized when it reacts with free radicals. Then oxidized LDL in turn becomes more reactive with the surrounding tissues, which can cause damage to them. One of the problems resulting from oxidized LDL is that it can cause the arteries which supply blood to the organs and tissue to become inflamed, thus increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.   

Factors that can increase oxidized LDL Levels:

  • A diet high in trans fats
  • Smoking
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

The Benefits of Olive Oil

In Mediterranean countries where olive trees are grown, olives and olive oil have been used for medicinal purposes to treat various health conditions including malaria, infections and cardiovascular disease, and in addition to uses as food, olives and olive oil are consumed to promote overall health and wellness.

Clinical studies have shown that the typical Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables and grains corresponds to a low risk of coronary heart disease. It is likely that the antioxidants that are found in olive trees may be a key component in the prevention of cardiovascular disease as they help to prevent LDL oxidation.       

New research has found that there is a direct correlation between the polyphenol content in olive oil and the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol.   It has also been determined that olive oil polyphenols promote the development of OxLDL autoantibodies.  The autoantibodies increase in proportion to the polyphenol content of the olive oil.  Therefore olive oil can be an important part of the diet by playing a role in preventing and limiting the oxidation of LDL

 

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GMO Alfalfa Threat to Organic Food

The recent ruling by the USDA to allow genetically engineered alfalfa has created a big buzz in the organic food industry.  There is great concern over the impact the genetically modified alfalfa will have on organic farming.

The alfalfa has been modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). Use of this genetically modified alfalfa will result in approximately 23 million more pounds of glyphosate being released into the environment every year.  This will be added to the yearly total of 531 million pounds already used in the United States.

Just as bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, weeds are also developing more and more resistance to herbicides such as glyphosate. This results in an increased use of herbicides to control the increasingly resistant weed strains. Because alfalfa grows in a very dense pattern it is naturally resistant to weed infestation.  As a result alfalfa has often been used in rotation to give land a natural break from the use of herbicides.

Japan, Egypt and the EU have banned genetically modified foods while the USA has continued to expand their use. The good news is the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice have filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture to argue that the approval of GMO alfalfa was unlawful.

Reuters recently published an article discussing the dangers of herbicides such as glyphosate. There are those such as Dr. Don Huber retired scientist from Purdue who warned the Agriculture Secretary that certain herbicides may be contributing to abortions and infertility in livestock. Glyphosate can predispose plants to disease and toxins according to Dr. Huber. Dr. Huber says “Toxins produced can infect the root and head of the plant . . .the toxin levels in straw can be high enough to make cattle and pigs infertile.” The Institute of Science in Society has called for a global ban on glyphosate because they claim glyphosate is highly toxic to human cells.

So you may ask, what does this have to do with me? I don’t eat alfalfa. It starts with the bees that for the most part pollinate alfalfa crops. Honeybees have a range of 5 miles or more from their hives. So a honeybee can easily carry pollens from the genetically modified alfalfa to the wild growing or natural alfalfa. This would cause the natural varieties of alfalfa to become cross contaminated with the genetic material of the genetically modified alfalfa. In turn, this would make it very difficult for people producing organic meat and organic dairy products to keep their animals away from exposure to the genetic modified alfalfa.

Many farmers may have to give up organic production or find a different crop to feed their animals, resulting in a decreased supply of organic food. The natural result of decreased supply is an increased cost to you the consumer for organic milk, dairy and beef.

So what can you do about this problem?

  1. You can educate yourself on GMO’s and food. Watch the film The Future of Food to learn more about GMO’s or Food Inc.
  2. Contact the US Department of Agriculture and let them know your opinion.
  3. Write your representative, senator., and president.
  4. Purchase and eat organic foods.

Please leave your comments and let me know what you think of this issue.

 

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