12-6-2003
Was Humanity's Rise to Preeminence Fueled By Fish Oils? - 6

Dr. Sears' Description of the Advantages to a High-Dose Fish Oil Diet 
    "Here's my promise to you. Within 30 days after taking 1 to 2 teaspoons (2.5 to 5 grams) of pharmaceutical grade fish oil and following the rest of my dietary recommendations for the Omega Rx Zone, you can expect to find yourself thinking more clearly with a greater sense of concentration, owing to increased dopamine production. In addition, your ability to handle stress will greatly increased, owing to increased serotonin production. Finally, you will see an improvement in your physical endurance, owing to better blood flow. Most important, however, you are keeping yourself in the Omega Rx Zone, ensuring a longer and better life."
    Dr. Sear's cites the example of his friend Dan Ward, who specializes in preventing and reversing physical and mental disabilities in the elderly. After one week on low-dose fish oils (1.3 grams a day of health food grade fish oil), Dan couldn't get his pulse rate over 120 (where previously it had routinely gotten up to 168). 
    "This meant that his heart didn't have to work as hard to pump blood while he was training. He knew that something very beneficial was happening to his body." (pg. 108)

Alzheimer's disease
   
Dan Ward tried 2.5 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids a day on four patients who were in the end stages of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Within four weeks, they showed some signs of improvement. Then he increased their dose to 9 grams a day. "Within two weeks, he measured even more dramatic improvements." He then increased the dosage to 25 grams a day. He also split the now-expanded group into three subgroups. One got 25 grams a day of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Another subgroup were kept on an insulin-controlled diet with no fish oils. The third group got both treatments.
    The third group was dramatically better than either of the other two groups.
   " One of Dan's patients, an eighty-five-year-old man nicknamed the Colonel, had such severe Alzheimer's disease that he couldn't recognize his wife. As his wife said, 'He was in and out of every hospital and rehab facility in the Houston area, where we lived at the time. Nobody offered any hope, and my husband was in terrible shape, curled up in a fetal position, unable to walk, talk, or feed himself. I thought he was going to die, and I was feeling desperate.'

    "Within five months of going on my dietary program, the Colonel was walking and playing cards with his wife. He had regained his sense of humor and then started going home on weekends. Family members who had not seen him since before he started on my program were amazed by his improvement. They are even more amazed now, since he is able to live at home full-time.

    Two other cases are cited who recovered in part, but who are still institutionalized.
    "In data from the Framingham heart study, patients who had lower levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a 67 percent greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease (i. e., one third the chance)."
    "An ominous finding is that the people who consume the most omega-6 fatty acids have a 250% increase in the development of Alzheimer's disease.
    Dr. Sears presents a table showing that the AA (Arichidonic Acid) to EPA (EicosaPentaenoic Acid) ratio of Alzheimer's patients is 12, while that of healthy controls is 6. Similarly, the AA/EPA ratios of those with Dementia (caused by cerebrovascular mini-strokes) is 11, as is that of those with cognitive impairment.
    Even with fish oil doses of 25 grams per day, Alzheimers patients still had AA/EPA ratios between 1.5 and 2, within the optimal range for good health, suggesting that 25 grams a day was about the proper baseline dose for them.

    There are other dramatic stories in this chapter (pp. 108 - 114). 

High Blood Pressure
    Dr. Sears describes a man who walked into his office with a systolic blood pressure of 200 and a diastolic blood pressure of 110... a walking time bomb. A week after taking 9 grams a day of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, it had dropped to 140/80, and after a month, it hit 120/70.
Attention Deficit Disorder
    Ritalin increases dopamine. One of the effects of fish oils is that they also increase dopamine levels in the brain. 
    The EPA levels of children with ADD were very low... so low that their untreated AA/EPA levels were 23 (higher than Alzheimers patients)! After giving them 18 grams a day of pharmaceutical grade long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, their AA/EPA ratios went from 23 to 3, and their ADD symptoms disappeared.  These benefits faded over the summer as the children reverted to their normal diets.
    (Dr. Sears mentions a four-month Mayo Clinic study that used small doses of DHA--no EPA--and didn't control insulin that showed no effect of feeding DHA upon ADD.)
    Dr. Sears mentions that fish oil levels in the blood fade after a few days.

Dyslexia
    Nine to eighteen grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids a day sufficed to eliminate dyslexia.
Depression
    Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft elevate serotonin levels in the brain, as do fish oils.
    The Japanese and the Eskimos have little or no depression, New Zealanders, who eat the least fish of any population in the industrialized world, and who are characterized by a high consumption of omega-6 oils, have a rate of depression that is 50 times that of the Japanese. The AA/EPA ratios in their cerebrospinal fluid are highly elevated.
    Dr. Andrew Stoll at Harvard treated manic-depressive disorder  using 10 grams a day of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the experimental arm and olive oil in the control arm. The study was terminated after four months because the patients given the placebo were deteriorating, and it was considered too dangerous to continue. Dr. Sears feels that the difference between the two groups could have been even greater if the fish oil arm had been administered 25 grams a day of long-chain omega-3s, and their insulin levels controlled. . 

Parkinson's Disease
    Some improvements were noted with Parkinsons patients, although not as dramatic as those registered with other neurological conditions described above.
Multiple Sclerosis
    A Norwegian study administering 0.9 grams of fish oils a day, combined with three to four meals of fish a week and more fruits and vegetables led to a 95 percent reduction in MS attacks, and a 33% improvement in their disability index.
    Dr, Sears recounts the case history of one of Dan Ward's MS patients at River Oaks. She was put on 35 grams a day of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (presumably with insulin control), then 50, 40, and finally, a maintenance level of 25 grams a day  She improved markedly, from immobility to partial functionality.

Schizophrenia
    Dr. Sears hasn't tried to treat this.
Violent Behavior
    Dr. Sears speculates that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids might help dampen violent outbursts.
Alcoholism

    Dr. Sears speculates that long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids may also help alcoholics. Alcohol depletes DHA in the brain, and results in lower DHA levels in the blood. This is why drinking alcohol during pregnancy maylead to fetal alcohol syndrome, leading to irreversible neurological damage because of depletion of DHA in the fetal brain. Animal studies, however, show that increased consumption of fish oils can completely prevent the alcohol-induced depletion of DHA in the fetal brain.
    "Alcoholics also have lower levels of GLA, the building block of "good" eicosanoids, in their bloodstreams. This strongly suggests that supplementation with high-dose fish oil coupled with small amounts of GLA (probably about 10 mg. per day) would provide maximum benefits and reduce the craving for alcohol. 
    "As important as high-dose fish oil and GLA are for the treatment of alcoholism, consistent insulin control is just as vital. This is clear if you ever go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, where you see that the addiction to alcohol is often replacd with a new addiction---to cigarettes or doughnuts. It turns out that nicotine increases insulin resistance, which elevates blood sugar levels. Likewise, doughnuts are another form of self=medication to help maintain blood sugar levels. Without insulin control to stabilize blood sugar, supplementation with high-dose fish oil will have little lasting effect in treating alcoholism. Following all the components of my dietary plan can provide the recovering alcoholic with the hormonal tools necessary to overcome poor genes. This is probably also true of virtually every other type of chemical dependency."

    Other topics include heart disease, cancer, reversing Type 2 diabetes, eliminating arthritis, autoimmune disorders, looking younger, treating asthma and lung diseases, bronchitis, and emphysema, Crohn's disease (study in the New England Journal of Medicine), ulcerative colitis, and so forth.

One Chapter is "Building a Better Brain" (pg. 178)..

Some Caveats:
    As I read Dr. Sears' accounts of his and Dan Ward's efforts, they're not claiming that advanced cases of Alzheimer's disease can be cured. It's my understanding that Dr. Sears' and "Dr.
*" Ward's dietary interventions are alleged to only partially reverse the symptoms of this debilitating disease. Still, reversing Alzheimer's symptoms at all is no mean feat, especially if accomplished using only dietary intervention (or its equivalent in fish oil capsules).
    Proof of the ability to prevent, or at least postpone of Alzheimer's disease by any means, would seem to me to be something that only long-term, large enrollment, placebo-controlled studies can hope to validate. On the other hand, such studies take decades to fund, carry out, and analyze. 
    I think it's important to note that these reports are anecdotal, and don't include the range of successes or, perhaps, the least successful cases. Independent confirmation will be welcome when it arrives.
    In his book, The Omega Rx Zone, Dr. Sears devotes 7 pages (Pgs. 84 through 91) to potential side effects of consuming fish oils.. 


* - There's a brouhaha over the claim that Dan Ward has taken the title of "Dr." Ward without having been awarded a Ph. D. Mr. Ward submitted legal testimony that "his completed dissertation in behavioral psychology was approved in the late 1980's by Columbia Pacific University in California through a long-distance learning program. But the school never became accredited and dissolved before he received a doctorate certificate." 
    "According to Dr. James E. Lemire, Ward is one of the most intelligent men he has met in his field. Lemire, a physician in Crystal River, worked with patients at River Oaks for about a year and said Friday he was impressed by the center and the care provided there. In fact, he felt it strong enough to place his own father there last December for a short stay. During that time, Lemire said, his father went from taking 12 medications to three, got off insulin and lost about 25 pounds. He attributed the success to the center's diet. 'We would often cut (residents') medications down," he said.'"

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