Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw® are proud to
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Protect and Enhance
Hearts and Minds

With highly concentrated, purified, deodorized, and economical
omega-3 fish oil—without any fishy aftertaste or “burps”
By Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw

O ur new omega-3 for protecting and enhancing hearts and minds is better than most other sources of EPA and DHA (the very long chain fatty acids found in fish oils) because it is:

  • Highly concentrated

  • Purified (mercury level is below a 10 ppb detection limit; contains very low levels of iron and copper for outstanding oxidative stability)

  • Deodorized to minimize fishy aftertaste or “burps”

  • Provides more EPA and DHA (mg/g) than ordinary fish oils

  • Contains negligible quantities of the saturated fatty acids that are present in raw or low-quality fish oil

  • Costs less per gram of EPA and DHA than our original omega-3 formulation!

In fact, omega EPA and DHA is purified and concentrated by the same proprietary process that is used to produce the recently FDA-approved EPA and DHA ethyl esters combination that is available only with a prescription and at a much higher price!

We have written extensively about the health benefits of very long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), such as their important cardiovascular health protection (see “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease Health Claim” in the January 2005 issue of Life Extension News), rapidly accumulating research continues to reveal more about the many powerful benefits of EPA and DHA and details of how they work. For example:

Get Happy!

A recent paper1 reports the exciting finding that a higher intake of the dietary omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA increases the gray matter volume in corticolimbic areas of the healthy adult human brain (in 55 healthy adult subjects), areas that are associated with the support of emotional arousal and regulation (and, indeed, areas associated with happiness). As the paper’s authors note: “Such associations may mediate previously observed effects of omega-3 fatty acids on memory, mood and affect regulation.”

Get Smart

A number of studies have reported improved cognition in both animals and in humans with increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Some, but not all, studies of elderly humans show protective effects by EPA and DHA against cognitive decline. For example, in the Zutphen Elderly Study12 (conducted in the Netherlands), 210 elderly men aged 70–80 years in 1990 had data collected on cognitive functioning in 1990 and 1995 which was examined to determine whether there was an association between fish consumption (the intake of EPA and DHA) and changes over the five year study in cognition (as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination). The results showed that fish consumers had significantly less 5 year cognitive decline than did nonconsumers. For EPA and DHA, the researchers added the content of these fatty acids from fish to estimates of intake from other foods eaten by each participant. A dose-response relationship between tertiles of the combined intake of EPA + DHA and cognitive functioning was found, suggesting that a higher intake of EPA + DHA was associated with less cognitive decline.


A higher intake of the dietary
omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA
increases the gray matter volume in
corticolimbic areas of the healthy
adult human brain, areas that are
associated with the support of
emotional arousal and regulation.


A review paper by Richard Wurtman13 reports on research done by Wurtman and colleagues as well as others on dietary constituents (including DHA) that are needed by the brain to manufacture phosphatidylcholine, an important component of brain cell membranes involved in synapse formation that is required for cognition and memory. As the author reports, giving pregnant rats three dietary constituents needed for phosphatidylcholine synthesis—DHA, uridine, and choline—starting 10 days before birth of the rat pups and continuing for 20 days during nursing results in brain levels of phosphatidylcholine and related molecules (phosphatides) (per cell or per mg protein) that are increased by 50% or more. (Wurtman notes that DHA, uridine (as UMP), and choline are all found in mother’s milk.) But adult animals also require phosphatidylcholine for proper cognitive functioning. Wurtman notes that “DHA levels in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) are inversely correlated with the risk of developing dementia, as shown in aged participants (average: 76 years) enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study and followed for 9 years.” In other studies cited by Wurtman, “DHA administration has also been found to produce dose-related improvements in cognitive functions in various experimental animals.”


A number of studies have reported
improved cognition in both animals
and in humans with increased
consumption of omega-3 fatty acids
EPA and DHA.


Wurtman reports that oral DHA has now been shown to promote the synthesis of synaptic membranes (which allow neurons to communicate with each other and to transmit signals that control cognition, memory, motor function, emotions, and other brain activities). “It is thus possible that DHA affects cognition principally by promoting neurotransmission, and that it does so by increasing the numbers of certain synapses.”13

Anti-Depressant Effects

Large numbers of studies have been published and are continuing to appear in scientific journals on the potent anti-depressant effects of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. For example, in one paper,4 1 gram/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester (same as the EPA ethyl ester in our new omega-3 formulation) was effective in treating depression in 70 depressed patients who remained depressed despite already receiving apparently adequate treatment with standard antidepressant drugs (SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressant, or others). The authors of the paper note that the 1 gram/day of EPA ethyl ester “has one side effect that is likely to be beneficial in depression. It lowers triglyceride levels, inhibits platelet aggregation and inhibits cardiac arrhythmias.”

Improved Outlook on Life
Are You Getting Your “Fair” Share?

An interesting study5 reported a change in bargaining behavior in a commonly used model of negotiation called the ultimatum game. (We think that the behavioral changes associated with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) EPA and DHA in plasma in this study may be another example of the anti-depressant effect of these omega-3 FAs.) In the ultimatum game, two players negotiate over the division of a given amount of money provided by the experimenter. The proposer (who initially has control of the money) offers a split to another person called the responder. If the responder accepts the offer, they make the division and both keep their share. If the responder rejects the offer as “unfair,” neither proposer nor responder gets any money. Since any amount of money is better than no money, one might expect that responders would accept most offers, but in fact it doesn’t work that way. Splits that deviate too much from 50:50 are likely to be rejected as “unfair” even though that means that neither proposer or responder gets any money. In this recent study,5 the researchers found that the ratio of serum omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids was significantly lower in individuals who rejected “unfair” offers as compared to those who did not. There was a significant depletion of serum levels of alpha-linolenic (a long (but not as long as EPA and DHA) chain omega-3 fatty acid that can be converted in the body to a small extent to EPA and DHA), EPA, and DHA in the rejectors of “unfair” offers.


“It is thus possible that DHA
affects cognition principally by
promoting neurotransmission, and
that it does so by increasing the
numbers of certain synapses.”


This behavioral change could be important because of two things: First, the number of people taking supplemental DHA and EPA is increasing rapidly due to their cardiovascular protective benefits, especially the very significant reduction in the risk of sudden death heart attacks, and, second, “unfairness” is a subjective judgment that underlies many political disagreements (e.g., people who find life “unfair” are often those who think they are not getting their fair share of other people’s money). It would be nice to see a change in the political landscape as a result of folks taking omega-3 fatty acids! The Political Class leeches won’t know what hit them!!

Fish Oil Enhances the Protective Effects of Green Tea Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Another new paper6 reports that a combination of 240 mg of fish oil/day and EGCG (a catechin derived from green tea) at 62.5 mg/kg/day (high dose) or 12.5 mg/kg/day had a synergistic effect in inhibiting cerebral deposits of amyloid beta in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting (the authors conclude) that “moderate supplementation with EGCG and fish oil [have] significant therapeutic potential for the treatment of AD [Alzheimer’s disease].” This EGCG dose is very roughly equivalent to 300 mg of EGCG per day for an adult human.

A good source of EGCG is our encapsulated EGCG product, intended to boost the catechin levels when added to our special cocktail of rare Pu-erh and Darjeeling Green teas. Each capsule contains 660 mg of green tea extract, of which 297 mg is EGCG.

Important Anti-Stress Effects:
Improved Cognition, Reduced Inflammation, Reduced Anxiety

Two recent papers focus on the anti-stress effects of omega-3 fatty acids through EPA ethyl ester supplementation;8,9 both studies were done in rats. Important beneficial effects were reported in both studies. In both studies, the effects of stress were mimicked by administering the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) (by intracerebroventricular injection). IL-1beta is a central regulator of stress responses (such as impaired cognition and changes in immunity)10 in both rats and humans and is also an essential mediator of the stress-induced suppression of hippocampal (a brain area important in learning and memory) cell proliferation and of “learned helplessness.”11

One recent paper8 reported that EPA ethyl ester attenuated the memory impairment induced by the central administration of IL-1beta in rats, while another paper9 reported that EPA ethyl ester appeared to antagonize IL-1beta-induced inflammatory changes, as well as changes induced in immune and endocrine (hormonal) functions. For example, the EPA ethyl ester reduced the rise in serum corticosterone induced by IL-1beta.


“Moderate supplementation
with EGCG and fish oil [have]
significant therapeutic potential for
the treatment of AD
[Alzheimer’s disease].”


Considering the problems faced by many, such as fewer job opportunities, problems making mortgage payments, tax hikes, etc., it is nice to know that you can help yourself to deal with all these stressors with less of that burned out feeling by increasing your intake of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA by supplementation. You don’t have to develop “learned helplessness,” where you become paralyzed by all the problems you face.

Increased Plasma Omega-3 DHA and EPA Reduce Anger and Anxiety in Substance Abusers

A recent paper14 notes that there is mounting evidence that low levels of omega-3 DHA and EPA are associated with the pathophysiology of a variety of psychiatric and psychobiochemical disorders, including mood disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. This paper specifically examined the possibility that adequate intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA could decrease the anger and anxiety experienced by many with substance abuse disorders. It has been long recognized that many who “abuse” drugs (by using them to feel better, not for their medically approved purposes) are actually attempting to “medicate” themselves by taking drugs in an attempt to at least partially correct biochemical imbalances from which they suffer. As a result, the possibility that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA might be their basic problem could point to a much better way to medicate themselves, e.g., by taking supplemental DHA and EPA. Drug abusers are a useful “worst case” group for studying anger and anxiety.


The results showed that
assignment to omega-3 fatty acids
(mostly EPA and DHA) and the
resulting increases in plasma levels of
both resulted in significant
decreases in anger and anxiety.


In that regard, this recent study14 assigned 22 substance abusers to either 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly EPA (2.25 g/day and DHA (500 mg/day, or soybean oil in identically looking capsules. The trial was double-blind and randomized and lasted 3 months, in which researchers monitored anger and anxiety by administering tests to assess these at baseline and once a month thereafter. Blood samples were also collected at baseline and at the end of the trial. The results showed that assignment to omega-3 fatty acids (mostly EPA and DHA) and the resulting increases in plasma levels of both resulted in significant decreases in anger and anxiety, but “an increase in EPA was more robustly correlated with low end-of-trial anxiety scores and an increase in DHA was more robustly correlated with low end-of-trial anger scores.”14


Women with untreated “borderline
personality disorder” who were
treated with EPA ethyl ester were
found to have decreased aggression
and hostility as well as a reduction in
the severity of depressive symptoms.


The authors explain that the data from this study are consistent with evidence from other studies showing a link between omega-3 fatty acids and hostility. They point out that rates of homicides are higher in countries with lower seafood intake and that a reduced plasma level of DHA predicted greater hostility in violent male subjects with “antisocial personality.” They also cite a study in which women with untreated “borderline personality disorder” who were treated with EPA ethyl ester were found to have decreased aggression and hostility as well as a reduction in the severity of depressive symptoms.

Reduced Telomere Shortening with Higher Omega-3 Intake in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

There is evidence that has been documented in several populations that shorter telomeres (the end section of chromosomes) are robustly associated with greater cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.7 A new paper7 reports that in a prospective cohort of 608 ambulatory outpatients with stable coronary artery disease, in those individuals in the lowest quartile of intake of dietary DHA + EPA, there was an inverse relationship between baseline blood levels of DHA + EPA and the rate of telomere (as measured in blood leukocytes) shortening over 5 years. In other words, the higher the baseline DHA + EPA, the lower the rate of telomere shortening was likely to be.

More Youthful Skeletal Muscle Function

Another new paper3 reports that omega-3 fatty acids improve the ability of human myotubes (skeletal muscle cells) to switch from the use of glucose to that of fatty acids (and vice versa) as fuels for producing energy. This is vitally important in skeletal muscle function; the impaired ability to switch appropriately between these fuels is seen in obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and aging. As explained by the authors,3 in the fed condition (high glucose, low fatty acid), skeletal muscles are supposed to use glucose for fuel while suppressing fatty acid oxidation, whereas in the fasted condition (high fatty acid, low glucose), skeletal muscles are supposed to increase fatty acid oxidation. This metabolic flexibility is what takes place in the skeletal muscle of lean, healthy individuals. They also note2 that a recent study showed that there was a reduced postprandial (following meals) switch from lipid to glucose oxidation in men with impaired glucose tolerance, “suggesting that inflexibility plays a role in the early development of T2D [type 2 diabetes].”

In this study,3 24 hours of pretreatment of human myotubes with 100 µM of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA increased the suppressibility caused by the acute exposure to glucose on fatty acid metabolism compared with pretreatment with oleic acid and EPA increased the substrate (glucose or fatty acid)-regulated flexibility of the cells compared with control and oleic acid pretreatment. The authors conclude that “[t]hese results suggest a possible favorable effect of omega-3 FAs [fatty acids] on skeletal muscle substrate handling and metabolic switching.”

Bone Loss/Osteoporosis

A number of studies on experimental animals as well as a few on humans provide evidence that omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA protect against bone loss due to, for example, ovariectomy (a good animal model of menopausal bone loss due to decreased estrogen) or periodontal disease.

A particularly useful study was published very recently15 on the Fat-1 mouse, a new genetically engineered mouse that can synthesize omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA directly from omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, something neither other mice nor humans can do. The researchers compared the effects of ovariectomy in the Fat-1 mouse to that in wild type mice, which cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids.

Results showed, for example, that the ovariectomized Fat-1 mice, as compared to ovariectomized wild type mice, had significantly lower levels of markers of bone resorption such as RANKL, as well as having higher bone mineral density in distal femoral metaphysis, proximal tibial metaphysis, femoral diaphysis, and lumbar vertebra. LPS (a bacterial cell wall component)-stimulated bone marrow cells from Fat-1 ovariectomized mice produced significantly lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6, as well as producing significantly higher levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10. Higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lower levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines are associated with bone loss.

The authors note that in a rat study,16 not only was it shown that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency caused severe osteoporosis, but when deficient animals were replenished with the omega-3 fatty acids, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids was restored and the process of bone degradation was reversed. In a separate rat study,17 omega-3 EPA and DHA (from fish oil) were able to significantly reduce bone loss associated with severe periodontal disease.

In a human study18 of 65 women (mean age 79.5 years), supplementation with EPA and GLA (gamma linolenic acid) along with calcium experienced, over 18 months, stabilized mean lumbar spine density as compared to a 3.2% decrease in the placebo group. During a second period of 18 months (when all patients were on active treatment), lumbar spine density increased 3.1% in patients who remained on active treatment and increased 2.3% in patients who switched from placebo to active treatment. Femoral bone mineral density increased in the latter group by 4.7%.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters Alter Levels of Important Circulating Molecules in Blood

A new paper2 measured the oxygenated omega-3 fatty acids called oxylipins (which may be an important class of mediators) in the plasma of ten healthy volunteers before and after four weeks of 4 grams/day of the prescription omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters of EPA and DHA. They found omega-3 oxylipin levels increased by 2- to 5-fold and selected n-6 oxylipin levels reduced by about 20%. The authors explain that “the extent to which the beneficial cardiovascular effects of omega-3 FAs [fatty acids] are mediated by increased omega-3 and/or reduced n-6 oxylipin levels remains to be explored.” They also predict that “it is likely that a full explanation for the beneficial effects of fish oil in human health will involve oxylipin-mediated mechanisms.”

References

  1. Conklin et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake is associated positively with corticolimbic gray matter volume in healthy adults. Neurosci Lett 421:209-12 (2007).
  2. Shearer et al. Detection of omega-3 oxylipins in human plasma and response to treatment with omega-3 acid ethyl esters. J Lipid Res 51:2074-81 (2010).
  3. Hessvik et al. Metabolic switching of human myotubes is improved by n-3 fatty acids. J Lipid Res 51:2090-104 (2010).
  4. Peet and Horrobin. A dose-ranging study of the effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in patients with ongoing depression despite apparently adequate treatment with standard drugs. Arch Gen Psychiatry 59:913-9 (2002).
  5. Emanuele et al. Serum omega-3 fatty acids are associated with ultimatum bargaining behavior. Physiol Behav 96:180-3 (2009).
  6. Giunta et al. Fish oil enhances anti-amyloidogenic properties of green tea EGCG in Tg2576 mice. Neurosci Lett 471:134-8 (2010).
  7. Farzaneh-Far et al. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA 303(3):250-7 (2010).
  8. Goshen and Yirmiya. Interleukin-1 (IL-1): A central regulator of stress responses. Front Neuroendocrinol 30:30-45 (2009).
  9. Koo and Duman. IL-1beta is an essential mediator of the antineurogenic and anhedonic effects of stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105(2):751-6 (2008).
  10. Song and Horrobin. Omega-3 fatty acid ethyl-eicosapentaenoate, but not soybean oil, attenuates memory impairment induced by central IL-1beta administration. J Lipid Res 15:1112-21 (2001).
  11. Song et al. Effects of dietary n-3 or n-6 fatty acids on interleukin-1beta-induced anxiety, stress, and inflammatory responses in rats. J Lipid Res 44:1984-91 (2003).
  12. van Gelder et al. Fish consumption, n-3 fatty acids, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline in elderly men: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr 85:1142-7 (2007).
  13. Wurtman. Synapse formation and cognitive brain development: effect of docosahexaenoic (DHA) and other dietary constituents. Metabolism 57(Suppl. 2):S6-10 (2008) doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2008.07.007.
  14. Buydens-Branchey et al. Associations between increases in plasma n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids following supplementation and decreases in anger and anxiety in substance abusers. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 32(2):568-75 (2008).
  15. Rahman et al. Endogenous n-3 fatty acids protect ovariectomy induced bone loss by attenuating osteoclastogenesis. J Cell Mol Med 13(8B):1833-44 (2009).
  16. Reinwald et al. Repletion with (n-3) fatty acids reverses bone structural deficits in (n-3)-deficient rats. J Nutr 34(2):388-94 (2004).
  17. Kesavalu et al. Omega-3 fatty acid effect on alveolar bone loss in rats. J Dent Res 85(7):648-652 (2006).
  18. Kruger et al. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis. Aging (Milano) 10(5):385-94 (1998).

©2010 by Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw

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