You may have seen the recent headlines attempting to discount the importance of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (particularly salmon) and nuts.
But after taking a closer look at the studies cited in these stories, I didn’t find anything earth-shattering to make me lose my faith in the power of omega-3s.
In fact, the studies just confirm what we’ve always known: Getting the right dose is key.
More specifically, the new studies didn’t use a large enough dose of omega-3s. So, not surprisingly, they didn’t find a strong connection to improved health. (As I explained earlier this month, we need to think of omega-3s in terms of food quantities.)
But other studies that use larger, effective doses of omega-3s do show powerful benefits for health.
This dosing problem happens a lot when the mainstream tries to research natural approaches. Mainstream researchers just don’t seem to understand the science behind dietary supplementation. And they typically don’t use effective doses in their studies. (It makes me wonder, is it just plain ignorance or do they use too-low dosages on purpose? Of course, a lot of mainstream research will do anything to twist results — and discount natural treatments — to keep money in the pockets of big pharma…)
All together, these poorly designed studies simply show that the wrong dose of a nutrient like omega-3s — doesn’t work. And it just means you need to take higher doses to achieve optimal blood levels of omega-3s, which translate into major health benefits.
In fact, remember that study on omega-3s I told you about just last month?
In that new study, researchers measured levels of two key omega-3s in 2,500 men and women. Turns out, men and women with the highest omega-3 levels had a 33 percent lower risk of dying from any cause over the seven-year study, as compared to those with the lowest levels.
Food sources of omega-3s
When I think about the best dietary sources of omega-3s, I instantly think of fresh wild-caught fish.
I’ve got to hand it to brown bears and grizzlies — they’ve got the right idea. I picture them pulling wild, pink salmon out of the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. And then taking a walk in the woods to forage for nutritious nuts and berries.
These foods are among the healthiest foods on the planet. And they contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. (Somehow, I don’t think the grizzly has trouble getting the right doses of omega-3s…)
Years ago, I started with my daughter to collect all the evidence about the importance of omega-3s and turned it into what I call “The Bear Diet.” (My daughter is now graduating with her MS Environmental Sciences this week).
If you’re a subscriber to my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, you can learn about my so-called Bear Diet in the free special report called, The Top-of-the-Food-Chain Cure for Obesity. Just sign in on my website, www.DrMicozzi.com with your username and password. And if you’re not yet a subscriber, no problem! Click right here to get started.
Now, I find most people think of fish as the main source of omega-3s, but, as the bears know, nuts are another great source.
And some of the best science on omega-3 essential fatty acids come centers on nuts…
Nuts in diet slash disease rates
As I reported previously, a 2015 study found one daily ounce of nuts (which equates to about a handful) reduced the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 9 percent. That amount also reduced total cancers by 15 percent, dementia by 35 percent, diabetes by 39 percent, respiratory disease deaths by 52 percent, and kidney disease by 27 percent. And a single ounce of nuts a day lowered overall premature deaths by an amazing 22 percent.
Plus, a brand-new study shows eating pecans daily offers significant protection against Type II diabetes and heart disease. Researchers at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University conducted this well-designed study.
As a young investigator, I remember meeting Jean Mayer when he was one of the very few researchers at a modern medical center who was interested in nutrition and health. Now the whole center is named for Mayer. My colleague there, Dr. Jeff Blumberg, worked on this new pecan study.
Small handful of pecans daily makes a big difference in health
Researchers recruited 26 overweight and obese men and women (average age 59 years) to participate in the new four-week study. They provided all the meals to participants to carefully control their food intake.
One group ate pecans daily, which accounted for 15 percent of total calories. The control group ate no pecans. And the total calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins were the same in both diets.
After four weeks, the researchers measured cardiometabolic and diabetes risk factors. Turns out, the pecan group significantly improved their insulin sensitivity and markers of cardiometabolic disease.
Many other studies have found tree nuts (almonds, pecans, and walnuts) reduce the risk of heart disease. But this was the first study to specifically look at the effects of pecans on the risk of Type II diabetes.
Pecans are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins, minerals, and bioactive botanical compounds, all of which positively impact on health.
And since we’re talking so much about dose today, consider this…
The new study shows an incredibly small “dose” of nuts significantly impacted health. Particularly in adults at increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
You can learn even more about the importance of omega-3s on health in the upcoming June 2018 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up today!)
“A Pecan-Rich Diet Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Nutrients 2018, 10, 339