Blog posts tagged with 'wellness'

by Natasha Trenev

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also known as acid reflux, takes place when the contents of your stomach back up out of the stomach and into your esophagus. The stomach content is highly acidic and can ‘burn’ the lining of your esophagus causing heartburn, a painful, burning feeling in the middle of the chest or abdomen. It can also cause bad breath, nausea, painful swallowing, respiratory problems, vomiting and damage to your teeth.

GER is typically used to refer to people who have occasional heartburn, while GERD, the ‘D’ standing for disease, describes a more serious version in which a person experiences heartburn more than twice a week for a few weeks.

GERD can affect anyone, but you’re more likely to experience it if you are overweight, pregnant, taking certain medications, a smoker or regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. GER can also progress as people age if the valve between the esophagus and stomach becomes weak.

For most people, it’s an occasional discomfort, however, anyone experiencing heartburn regularly should seek medical care because, left untreated, it can lead to inflammation and swelling of the esophagus to the point of disrupting swallowing, causing respiratory problems, leading to precancerous changes to the esophagus, or Barrett’s esophagus — which can lead to a rare, but deadly type of cancer of the esophagus.

Is There a Microbial Connection?

Several scientific studies have established the idea that a complex group of microbes that live in our esophagus might play a role in GER. One of the first teams to explore this idea was lead by Yang and coworkers at the New York University School of Medicine in 2009. They discovered two distinct groups of microbes living within the esophagus. The first type was associated with a normal esophagus and dominated by gram-positive bacteria. The second type was dominated by gram-negative species and occurred more frequently in people with reflux issues and Barrett’s esophagus. They concluded their study stating that there was a possible role for dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of reflux-related disorders. Dysbiosis meaning a microbial imbalance — in other words the “bad” bacteria might be out of balance and enough of the “good” bacteria may not be present.

Just a few years before, another group from the United Kingdom reported high levels of Campylobacter species (a type of bacteria) in people with Barrett’s esophagus. This was a particularly interesting finding because Campylobacter species had previously been linked to inflammation in the small intestine, gum disease, and even tumor formation in animals. They noted that 57% of the patients with Barrett’s esophagus tested positive for Campylobacter species while none of the control subjects did. Now, there were at least two studies suggesting a link between the bacteria in the esophagus and gastric reflux issues. However, it remained unclear if the changes in the bacteria occurred before or after the onset of reflux issues. Researchers agreed that larger studies were needed to determine the causal relationship the bacteria might play.

Unfortunately, we are still waiting for those larger studies to be completed so more definitive conclusions can be made about the cause of reflux and the role that microbes, like bacteria, may play. Let’s change gears for a moment and look at some of the most common GERD treatments and how they, too, may be leading to further dysbiosis of the microbes in the body.

The Problems with Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) are the most widely sold and used drugs in the world. Examples of PPI’s include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec) among others. They work by lowering the amount of acid your stomach makes and are considered more effective than over-the-counter H2 blockers like cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid AC), or ranitidine (Zantac). The American Gastroenterological Association lists a number of potential risks of long-term PPI use including kidney disease, dementia, fractures, infections and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. While short-term use of PPI’s can be very effective, it’s obvious from the long-term negative effects that a more natural approach without such side effects would be ideal.

The highly acidic environment of the stomach is not only important for the digestion of the food we eat, but also acts as a built-in barrier for pathogens entering the body. By taking medication to lower stomach acid, you may be creating a more welcoming environment for pathogenic viruses, bacteria and fungi to enter the body. In fact, one recent study showed that 46% of patients taking an acid-suppressing medication had bacterial overgrowth in their stomach and in their lungs. The researchers also noted an increased prevalence of potentially pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus in the patients taking acid-suppressing medications. This overgrowth means more pathogens may be present and this leads to an increased risk of infections.

Another study compared fecal samples from 1,827 twins and showed that the bacterial families that increased with PPI use were more likely to be related to those found in the mouth or throat and it was not just an overgrowth of the commensal bacteria known to exist in the healthy gut. Both of these studies indicate that PPI’s may be further adding to the problem of dysbiosis, or imbalance, between the amount of “good” and “bad” bacteria present.

Could Probiotics Help Reflux?

If dysbiosis is part of the problem, the next logical question is: Can good probiotic bacteria help restore the microbial imbalance by tipping the scale back toward a friendlier bacterial load? Research on probiotics for reflux is relatively new and while the studies have been small, the results have been very promising.

A Chinese study of 80 premature infants concluded that, “…probiotics can significantly decrease Gastroesophageal reflux in premature infants.” Another study of 42 infants with regurgitation tested the effects of a Lactobacillus-based probiotic and concluded that, “In infants with functional GER, [the probiotic] reduced gastric distention and accelerated gastric emptying. In addition, this probiotic strain seems to diminish the frequency of regurgitation.” In other words, the probiotics were somehow speeding up the time food remained in the stomach. They theorized that by reducing the time food was in the stomach, they were reducing the amount of acid the stomach had to produce to keep up with the digestive processes.

Yet another study, using Bifidobacterium- and Lactobacillus-based probiotics, confirmed earlier findings that patients taking PPI’s had “strong bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and duodenum” compared to non-PPI users. When given the probiotic supplement, they noted a significant decrease in fecal levels of total coliforms, E. coli, molds, and yeasts indicating that the probiotics could, “…partially restore the gastric barrier effect against food-borne pathogenic bacteria.”

There’s obviously a need for more clinical research with a larger number of participants and research more specific to adult reflux. However we’ve come a considerably long way from where we were 12 years ago when many still thought that no indigenous bacteria even lived in the human esophagus.

Probiotic Benefits

Probiotics have so many well-known benefits it certainly can’t hurt to add this beneficial bacteria to your daily supplement regimen and it may be especially helpful to those taking a PPI who are at a greater risk of developing infections. A single strain probiotic that contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus exclusively could be a GER sufferer’s best choice for better digestion. Under normal conditions, these friendly bacteria in the gut outnumber the unfriendly bacteria, are linked to improved immune function, protect against hostile bacteria, and improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients — just to name a few.

by Karen A. Masterson-Koch

Delicious and enjoyable foods are gluten free. In fact, most traditional foods, other than pasta dishes, do not contain it. The main problem is high consumption — eating less gluten and offending foods would be much better.

Eating natural foods are foundational to the body, besides being one of life’s pleasures. Unfortunately, gluten-packed grain snacks, cereals including oats, and fast foods are being consumed in copious amounts. Despite the insatiable desire for these carbohydrates, science is now proving that the excess of gluten in these foods can be a major roadblock to good health. Health conscious people are finding that just by lowering the breads, cereals and pastas (especially from whole grains) or stopping them entirely, allows them to start feeling better in just a matter of days and weeks.

Eat a variety of natural foods

Reduce or avoid gluten and other allergens

Choose a quality Aloe Vera and probiotics

Other food allergies and additives may also be problematic, explaining why disease is on the rise in almost every category. Two supplements can be helpful along this new natural path. The first step is a quality whole leaf Aloe Vera juice concentrate or tablet to support improved digestion, allergies and skin renewal of the gut and body. The second step would be adding a probiotics (friendly bacteria) partner, especially after a round of antibiotics and/or failing health. Both work as a team for improving digestion and are not contra-indicating to pharmaceutical drug use so commonly seen today.

Gluten & Anti-nutrients Affect All Body Function

Gluten, along with other food allergies, referred to as anti-nutrients, must be considered factors in all ailments from A – Z. The most detrimental triggers include whole grains, dairy and cane sugar. Consuming a large amount may even delay normal growth and development of the body, effecting both mental and physical wellbeing for infants, kids and adults including:

Healthy skin, hair, nails and gums

Energy, weight and athletic performance

Auto-immunity and immunity factor

CVD, strokes and respiratory system

Mental, brain and nervous system

The addiction to bread, pasta and other grain-based foodstuff, along with ice cream, soft cheeses, cow’s milk, many yogurt products, sodas, pizza and more have kept people from experimenting with their diets. Wouldn’t you love to hit your best weight goal, reverse disease and even achieve athletic goals you have only dreamed of? It’s never too late! Going without gluten and making better food choices is doable for the whole family.

In fact, many of the top athletes of today are finding that their best performance has come after giving up gluten. Both world tennis player, Novak Djokovic, who carries multiple world titles and 2009 Super Bowl MVP, Drew Breeze, of the Saints, put gluten on the back burner and reaped the benefits. Top track and field athlete and 2013 World Figure WBFF first place winner, Monica Brant, says, “Eating a low gluten diet and consuming a whole leaf Aloe Vera juice concentrate were two of the best decisions I have made to keep my competitive edge, even at age 46.”

What is Gluten?

Gluten is primarily found in grains and its flour products including wheat, rye, barley, oats and even brown rice. The clincher is its highest content is in the fiber. Boy, did we get it wrong! My suggestion is to aim for increasing food fibers easier to digest from fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, yams, red potatoes, and raw nuts, seeds and legumes as tolerated and leave the grains alone for now.

More devious in recent years, gluten flour is also being added to foods as a thickening agent to maintain firmness of breadstuff and many times not included on the ingredients. Even trendy foods like granolas, Ezekiel and sourdough breads, plus some tortillas have been fortified, lending a slight rubbery texture, yet also triggering more body symptoms of gluten intolerance.

The name “gluten” actually tells you its property is glue like. And, its chemistry is a protein carbohydrate molecule that is very sticky and challenging for many — if not all people to digest. Not digesting gluten and other complex carbohydrates well brings about unhealthy inflammation in the gut and the entire body.

This sometimes silent, poor digestion damages the ability to absorb valuable building nutrients from our foods and supplements. This can lead to malnutrition and lots of disease opportunity. Even neurological disorders effecting balance and brain function are accentuated, plus all body pathways decline. A fellow with Parkinson’s disease remarked that every time he ate his favorite sandwich made on whole grain bread, his limbs would shake so badly he had to lay down! Classic gluten symptoms include digestive and joint pain, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, fatigue, bruising, skin blisters, manic-depression and failing health.

Food Trends & Marketing Are Confusing!

Food trends like pizza and fast foods have all but replaced homemade dinner at an alarming rate. Yogurt sales have exploded and ironically, organic sugar is being given a healthy pass; yet these two both need to come with a warning — may increase bowel inflammation, very problematic in large amounts!

People think they are eating healthy, yet even foods marked Gluten Free still contain many challenging ingredients that bring about more gut grief for sensitives than eating just plain white flour, crackers and white rice at times. Some low gluten flours are tolerated better like millet, quinoa, bean and almond flours, plus the rare sprouted variety.

Diet fads like Raw Foods and the Paleo-Caveman diets have evolved out of the necessity to avoid the anti-nutrients and temporarily serve a good purpose. Yet research supports that long-term, the Mediterranean Diet, with a variety of quality proteins including fish and lean meats, along with an abundance of lightly steamed or raw vegetables, best supports body wellness.

Why Aloe Vera & Probiotics?

The ancients used Aloe Vera as a First Aid plant for digestion, constipation and illness on the inside. Topically, the yellow sap soothed pain, burns, swelling and wounds from head to toe. The whole leaf Aloe Vera is classed as an herbal bitter — that is if it still contains the dark yellow sap found just under the outer leaf of mature plants.

Look for the concentrated Activ-Aloe products that are not diluted and work fast. It turns on all digestive juices to flow properly including the important hydrochloric acid (HCL), giving support for heartburn, IBS, reflux, ulcers and more. Studies show absorption of important food nutrients are increased by almost 300%. A quality probiotic is also important for combating bad bacteria in the lower gut, reducing gas and supporting immunity. Together with healthier foods, Aloe Vera and probiotics make the best supplement picks of today for a healthier world — Enjoy!

[article reposted with permission from]

by Danielle Myers

Every day our bodies put up a fight against illness, stress, fatigue and aging in order to sustain overall wellness. We knowingly take precautions in order to maintain the best health possible; however, environmental as well as internal and external causes sometimes still result in poor health.

As conscientious consumers, we search and search for effective solutions. We look for ways to have more energy, healthier skin and a better memory. We turn to products such as herbal supplements, caffeinated drinks, topical creams and the like. But what if one product could address a wide scope of concerns? What if, rather than walking up and down the aisles of the health store, we could focus on just one simple, yet all-inclusive herb?

Most consumers are familiar with and benefit from the positive health properties of ginseng. Often referred to as the “King of Herbs,” ginseng is known as the world’s most powerful adaptogenic herb — meaning it assists the body to manage stress and achieve homeostatic balance. Used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years, ginseng is utilized as a remedy in treating a host of health problems, such as managing stress, stimulating one’s immune system and helping resist fatigue.

What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is a deciduous, perennial plant that belongs to the Araliaceae family. There are 12 known species identified in the Panax genus. Panax ginseng, cultivated in China, Korea, Japan and Russia, is available as fresh, red, white and wild varieties:

  • Red ginseng — peeled, heated by way of steaming at boiling temperatures and then dried or sun-dried. Often it is marinated in an herbal brew, which makes the root brittle.
  • Fresh ginseng — a raw product and limited by availability.
  • White ginseng — fresh ginseng which is dried without being heated, then peeled and dried again to reduce water content to 12% or less.
  • Wild ginseng — harvested wherever it can be found; however, it is relatively rare.

The plants are usually harvested between four and six years of age. Special effort is made to keep the roots in tact, as this is where the valuable properties come from.

Traditionally, ginseng root was used as an ingredient in the preparation of tea and soups; however, recent breakthroughs in extraction and concentration methods have produced ginseng with higher potencies that are available in powder or liquid concentrates and capsules.

How Does Ginseng Work?

The ginseng plant root contains saponins, which are natural plant chemical components called ginsenosides. These unique active compounds found only in Panax ginseng are what make it authentic and unrivaled. The botanical genus name ‘Panax’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Pan’ meaning “all” and ‘axos’ meaning “cure.” Panax can literally be translated as cure-all, or panacea.

Orally administered, ginsenosides are difficult for the body to break down; however, they can be metabolized by intestinal bacteria and then these metabolites are absorbed from the intestines.

Is All Ginseng Created Equal?

The simple answer is no. There is a lot of information out there about ginseng and it can be a little confusing. Other herbs claim to be ginseng, but since they are from a different genus, or family, they do not contain the ginsenosides. These include Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus), Prince ginseng (seudostellaria paniculate), Indian ginseng/Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and Brazilian ginseng/Suma (Pfaffia paniculata).

Therefore, true ginseng plants belong solely to the Panax genus.

Benefits to Health and Wellness

Clinical studies have shown that ginseng extract stimulates the immune system, improves mental and physical performance, reduces fatigue, supports healthy glucose regulation and improves general quality of life. Here are a few details about how ginseng can help improve your overall health and wellness:

  • Energy and Stamina — helps to increase both energy and stamina while having a soothing effect on the nerves. Unlike caffeine, ginseng does not have jittery effects or high-low crashes associated with it. It also helps to support adrenal health.
  • Immune System — improves mental and physical performance, strengthens the immune system as well as regains stamina lost during illness. It can also help to balance blood sugar levels and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Detoxification — improves skin and rids it of free radicals that accumulate from daily sun exposure and environmental pollution. Internal use of ginseng can aid the body in repairing and building healthy cells.

Why Korean Ginseng is Better

When comparing Chinese, American or Korean ginseng, it’s important to know the ginsenoside content. Chinese and American ginsengs have 13 or 14 ginsenosides, but more than 30 ginsenosides have been identified in Korean ginseng.

Because there are many ginseng products on the market, it’s important to choose a quality brand with proven results in order to get the most benefit from what ginseng can offer.

Ginseng is a delicate plant that requires special handling and care. For the best results, ginseng plants should be harvested at the optimal time (4.5 ‒ 5.5 years), and the entirety of the root and rootlets should be maintained without peeling, boiling, steaming or using high heat. All of these factors affect the final product and determine the level of quality and effectiveness of absorption.

According to one study, less than 30% of males and less than 40% of females had full positive absorption of all ginsenosides. In other words, most consumers do not get the full benefit of ginseng because their body does not properly break it down. In response to this, some producers of Korean ginseng have developed a fermented ginseng extract that mimics the fermentation that occurs naturally in the intestine to transform ginsenosides to an end-stage compound. This has been proven in clinical trials to dramatically improve the rate, speed and consistency of absorption. Fermented ginseng extract containing this metabolite has been shown to have many adaptogenic qualities, such as strong anti-oxidants, anti-stress, anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, the fermentation process helps to increase the taste profile compared to other conventional ginseng extracts.

Is Ginseng Right for Me?

People across the globe are constantly searching for ways to attain more energy, balance and overall wellness in daily life. Most Americans start each day with a hot cup of coffee (or two), a caffeinated soda, or an energy drink. We need that extra shot-in-the-arm to start our day and to sustain energy.

Unlike caffeine, fermented ginseng can provide a calm, centered and sustained energy that lasts all day without a crash. Additionally, long-term use can help strengthen the immune system and provide optimal energy, vitality, mental clarity and focus.

While energy products and supplements ebb and flow with the tides of change, ginseng has been a constant feature for thousands of years. Recent advances in biotechnology have allowed companies to optimize the growing, harvesting, processing, extraction and concentration of ginseng, which have resulted in improved effectiveness. This humble plant continues to live up to its name and reign as the “King of Herbs” for its countless medicinal properties.

[article reposted with permission from]

by Mark J. Kaylor

Why are we still talking about sugar? You would think that with all we know about the health costs associated with excess sugar consumption, we would all be eating less. This is not the case. While the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9.5 teaspoons a day (a figure I believe is still too high), the average American still consumes about 20 teaspoons. This adds up to 130 pounds of sugar every year with a whopping 3,550 pounds consumed over a lifetime. Sugar remains the largest source of calories in the US.

How Big is the Threat?

So how big of a concern is sugar consumption? In a recent statement, the UN Secretary General said that conditions associated with sugar and carbohydrate consumption, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are a bigger threat to the entire world than infectious disease. Roughly 35 million people die each year from these diseases. And there are 30% more obese folks than there are undernourished ones. Today, about one in twenty of us suffer from diabetes. By 2030, in the US, that ratio could be as high as one in three.

While many of us think we don’t eat any sugar, it is often added to or hidden in processed foods under an assortment of names (see image on page 12). You will find sugar in breads, sauces, dressings and virtually every other processed food. We also need to beware the “healthier” sounding fructose (sounds a lot like fruit). While it does not spike your blood sugar like glucose does, due to the way it is metabolized, it creates a whole other series of health concerns.

Sugar's Evil Twin

A leading concern with the consumption of fructose is that it turns off leptin, the hormone that tells you when you are full. Excess fructose consumption is also associated with fatty liver, elevated triglycerides, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries and insulin resistance. By raising uric acid production, fructose may also increase one’s risk for gout, hypertension and kidney stones. In the US, about half of our sugar consumption is fructose. It is important to mention here that I’m talking the isolated concentrated fructose, as seen in high fructose corn syrup, not the naturally occurring fructose that is found in fruits.

Sugar, the Consequences

Let’s get right to it. First, there is no need to consume refined sugar. Second, there is no nutritional necessity or justification for eating it. Sugar is a pointless food; nothing but empty calories.

The number of health concerns associated with sugar consumption is too long to list here. Leading consequences include Alzheimer’s disease, negative behavior, dental issues, cardiovascular disease, aging before your time and, of course, obesity and diabetes. In fact, drinking one serving a week of a sugary beverage raises one’s risk for diabetes by 15%. Many of the health concerns associated with excess sugar consumption are related to its capacity to increase inflammation, oxidative stress (free radical damage), glycation (a process whereby sugar binds to various proteins in the body causing them to malfunction) and insulin resistance.

Sugar and Cancer

Sugar and corresponding insulin resistance are often overlooked as leading contributors to increasing one’s risk for cancer, as well as malignancy and recurrence. Studies suggest that malignant cancers are relatively rare in communities that don’t eat the high sugar, high carbohydrate Standard American Diet, a.k.a. SAD. A study published in the leading cancer journal concluded that eating refined carbohydrates and sugars dramatically increases one’s risk for breast cancer. It also found that recurrence is twice as likely if refined carbohydrates and sugar intake stays the same or increases after surgery. In general, diets that consist of a large amount of foods that are high on the glycemic index are associated with greater risk of developing cancer.

Sugar Liberation

Chromium — This mineral is essential for insulin activity. Unfortunately, it has been estimated to be deficient in up to 50% of the US population. Multiple studies confirm it improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity by improving the cells communications. Not surprisingly, when you consider sugar’s damaging effects on the body, chromium was able to improve lifespan in one animal study. My preferred chromium is chromium polynicotinate.

SX-Fraction — What makes this unique extraction of the Maitake mushroom so promising is that, in clinical studies, it has demonstrated effectiveness at lowering the twin culprits of high blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies have found that it can significantly lower the important measure of long term sugar levels, HbA1c. The clinical evidence suggests it works by improving insulin sensitivity. Evidence of this is seen in its cardiovascular activities, i.e. lowering cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and blood pressure while improving HDL levels. In fact, it was found even more effective than a leading pharmaceutical in a comparison study.

Glucomannan or PGX — Four to five grams of this highly viscous fiber can reduce the after meal insulin spike by ~50%. A double blind study found that when one gram was taken before meals, the individuals lost 5.5 pounds over 8 weeks. PGX is an even more viscous fiber blend. A clinical trial showed it reduced after meal blood sugar spike by 23% and after meal insulin release by 40%, while improving insulin sensitivity by over 55%. There are a number of other promising blood sugar battling allies including Green Coffee Bean, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Carnosine, Banaba Leaf, Cinnamon (water soluble extract) and Bitter Melon.

The Time to Act is Now

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not just diagnosed high blood sugar at issue. A growing body of evidence suggests that even high normal blood sugar levels may be problematic. A study of nearly 2,000 men covering 22 years found that fasting glucose levels over 85 yielded a 40% greater risk of death and cardiovascular disease. The bottom line is that excess sugar and insulin are major contributors to many diseases and even mortality. One study found that high blood sugar levels doubled one’s all-cause mortality over 10 years. The time to act is now. Give up the sweets, move more, embrace a whole foods diet and profoundly impact your health and healing.

Since over-consumption of sugar is to a large degree a diet issue, the answer is correspondingly a diet one as well. It’s actually really simple, but not very easy for most of us. Stop eating refined sugar and carbohydrates. Focusing on a plant-based, whole foods diet will take care of this and bring with it a wide array of health and healing benefits. That’s not to say there aren’t some natural remedies that can help us keep our blood sugar under control…there are.

[article reposted with permission from]

By Nick Noloboff

Even though humans are at the very top of the food chain, there’s no escaping the risks of this interconnected hierarchy. In fact, there’s a kind of natural justice in being vulnerable to the life led by your food. All the elements that were consumed by the animal you’re now eating—nutrients, chemicals, minerals, etc.—have made their way to you. So it’s worth repeating just how important it is to take care of our food sources, and to make wise choices about what we eat.

One overlooked chapter in the story of our food is the role of fat. On one hand, dietary fats have played a pretty ominous part in our recent history: Heart disease. High cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome. Saturated fats proliferate in many of the foods we eat, even now that their adverse health effects are known. On the other hand, a different kind of fat, essential omega-3 fats, quietly disappeared from our diets without anyone really knowing they were there to begin with.

The short of it is that we’re eating way too much meat and foods filled with seed oils, and not enough (or not the right) fish. This imbalance has less to do with conscious food choices than it does with changes to the agriculture, livestock and seafood industries over the past 50 years. But first, let’s talk about the fish you’re not eating.

Go wild with fish

Until recently, nearly all the fish we ate was taken from the wild, where the smallest fish consume microalgae, nature’s original source of marine omega-3 fats. Larger fish eat those small fish, getting all the omega-3 fats of their prey. This process works its way up the food chain until it lands on your plate as a delicious fillet of sockeye salmon. But increasingly, you have to seek out “wild-caught” fish. The alternative is farmed fish that are raised on fishmeal which is devoid of omega-3s. Plus, wild-caught fish costs more. So people eat less wild fish, and get fewer essential omega-3 fats.

Before wild fish became pricey, meat became cheaper, as economies of scale turned pasture-raised cows into grain-fed cattle. Similar to farmed fish, these livestock get far fewer omega-3 fats than they would by eating their natural diet of grass, and much more of another essential fat, omega-6, which is found in the grain and corn diets of feedlot cattle. Add to this change in the fat composition of meats the proliferation of seed oils in just about everything else we eat—dressings, processed foods, cooking oils, you name it—and you wind up with an abundance of omega-6 and a dearth of omega-3. A big fat mess, so to speak.

It seems that the obvious answer is to eat more wild-caught fish, and greens, but that’s just half of the solution. It’s true that we all need to consume more omega-3s, but we also need to radically cut back on sources of omega-6 to balance our intake of essential fats. Here’s why: Omega-3 and omega-6 fats both reside in cell membranes where they perform a variety of functions that are vital to health. But space in cell membranes is limited, and with so much omega-6 in our bloodstreams, it has a much better chance than omega-3 of getting incorporated into cells simply because it’s more prevalent.

Supplement with Omega-3s

Until the 1970s, few people outside of Scandinavia recognized the health benefits of omega-3 fish oil. Today, over 8,000 clinical studies have documented omega-3s’ effects on health, yet Americans remain woefully undernourished in these fats. At least 90 percent of Americans are deficient, according to a 2015 report issued by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Committee.

Although we now know how important omega-3s are, we have a tougher and tougher time getting them into our diets. One sure way to get more is to supplement with a high-quality fish or algae oil. Both of these sources naturally contain the long-chain marine omega-3 fats that are essential for health. Supplementing also ensures a consistent daily intake, even when you eat a few healthy servings of wild-caught fish each week.

[article reposted with permission from]

fish , omega-3 , fats , health , wellness