My further incursions into Dr. Sears' book, The Omega-3 Rx Zone, have been a mountaintop experience. Dr. Sears provides an integrated treatment of degenerative diseases, including the biochemical pathways that lead from the fatty acids linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and eicosapentanoic acid to the eicosanoids that include the prostaglandins as one subset of nine known families of hormones. He also ties this to insulin, which, I've lately learned, is almost as important to "non-diabetics" as it is to diabetics. (I've put "non-diabetics" in quotes because we all tend to become Type II diabetics as we grow older, and because insulin can silently wreak its damage well before any frank blood sugar modulation problems are apparent.) It's the understanding of how so many of our pills work, including aspirin, ibuprofen, Celebrex, and the statins, that is the satisfying part of this experience for me. Dr. Sears is quick to point out that this picture isn't his alone but is based upon work that won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Dr. Sears describes clinical experiments in which high-dose, pharmaceutical-grade fish oils were administered to patients with manic-depressive disorder. These patients were stabilized using high-dose fish oils, as were clinical-depression patients. (The patients' descriptions of their experiences are given in the book.) This work dovetails with the Oxford University results feeding fish oil to schoolchildren. Harvard's Dr. Andrew Stoll , Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, has also pioneered in fish oil studies, and I've ordered his book, The Omega-3 Connection: The Groundbreaking Anti-depression Diet and Brain Program. Here are several reviews of Dr. Stoll's book:
In his book, Stoll, the director of the psychopharmacology research lab at Boston's McLean Hospital and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, suggests that restoring our body's natural balance of omega-3s may help alleviate (and prevent) many types of depression--even for those who don't respond to traditional antidepressants. Omega-3s may also prove helpful with other problems, such as the inability to handle stress, memory loss, and cognitive decline. The book contains a "renewal plan" designed to help readers put Stoll's concepts into practice, recipes for omega-3-rich dishes, advice for choosing supplements, and dosages for therapeutic use.
Although Stoll is quick with the caveat that much of the research on omega-3s and brain function is still evolving, he makes a compelling case for using these fats to regulate depression and other cognitive disorders. Along with major epidemiological evidence that shows lower rates of depression in those cultures that consume a great deal of omega-3s, Stoll's own studies indicate that boosting their intake can reduce depression symptoms. And Stoll cites stacks of additional studies suggesting that omega-3s can also help with major depression, schizophrenia, and postpartum depression. Going even further, Stoll makes a strong argument that omega-3 deficiency could be contributing to rising rates of teen violence and attention deficit disorders.
Of course, depression should never be treated without physician supervision. But in laying the groundwork for the omega-3s to emerge as the next big thing in natural depression therapy, Stoll certainly gives us food for thought. --Norine Dworkin
For years scientists have searched for a "magic bullet" to relieve the pain of depression and other mood disorders -- safe enough for nursing mothers, children with ADHD, and the elderly, without the side effects associated with medicines like Prozac, Zoloft, and lithium. Now the search may finally be over, thanks to the Omega-3 Renewal Plan, introduced here by Andrew L. Stoll, M.D., Director of the Psycho-pharmacology Research Laboratory at Harvard's McLean Hospital.
In his groundbreaking research, Stoll found that omega-3 fatty acids, already known for their importance in preventing heart disease, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer, play a crucial role in mental health -- regulating and en-hancing mood, sharpening memory, and even aiding concentration and learning. And these remarkable substances, so essential to our health, are found abundantly in common fish oils and other sources.
The bad news is that even though omega-3 fatty acids have played a critical role in our evolutionary past, these extraordinary substances have been depleted by our Western diet and lifestyle, and the resulting nutritional imbalance seems to have led to a sharp rise in heart disease and depression. By contrast, in Japan and other countries where fish consumption is high, both heart disease and depression rates are low. Stoll explains how easily omega-3s can be used up in just a few generations, and how a new mother with depleted omega-3s loses still more to her baby -- a fact that may account for the severe postpartum depression so many women suffer. He documents evidence that a shortage of omega-3s may also play a role in attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other learning problems. The good news is that this downward spiral of depletion and depression can finally be reversed.
In his revolutionary Omega-3 Renewal Plan, Dr. Stoll presents readers for the first time with all the tools for restoring their natural balance of omega-3 fatty acids, including which foods to eat and how to choose the most effective over-the-counter supplements. Featuring information on how to integrate flaxseed and fish oils into diet and medication plans, and including simple recipes as well as supplement dosages and sources, The Omega-3 Connection offers an entirely new, practical method for improving mental health.
How to better understand brain dysfunction in depression, August 28, 2003
|Reviewer: Institut de Recherche Clinique from Pau France|
Omega-3 fish oil-Irish experience, November 29, 2001
|Reviewer: dr edmond o`flaherty (see more about me) from BLACKROCK, CO. DUBLIN Ireland|
Essential Read, November 11, 2003
|Reviewer: Robyn Wright (see more about me) from Missouri, USA|
there's hope if you're going through perimenopause!, April 4, 2003
|Reviewer: A reader from auburn, wa United States|
Worth reading even if you're not depressed, March 26, 2003
|Reviewer: Dave from Washington, DC|
Dr. Nicholas Perricone's books are also sounding the same omega-3 theme as Dr. Sears' and Dr. Stoll's publications..
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