Friday, March 25, 2011



Algae pigment chases dementia marker
Big Pharma's going to hate this -- and that means I love it already: One of the tiniest and most humble creatures on the planet could hold the key to preventing Alzheimer's disease.

It's an algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, and it sits literally at the bottom of the food chain.

Because of its pink pigment, which comes from the antioxidant astaxanthin, anything that eats this algae also turns pink... as do the creatures that eat those creatures, and so on.

Think shrimp, salmon and flamingos.

But to explain how it works, I'm going to have to take you from the bottom of the food chain to the brink of cutting-edge science, where researchers have been investigating a compound called phospholipid hydroperoxides.

It's called PLOOH for short, but don't snicker at the name -- this stuff is deadly serious: It builds up in the red blood cells of dementia patients.

Now, Japanese researchers say astaxanthin can actually flush all that extra PLOOH right out of your system (OK, you can snicker a little).

In a double-blind experiment, 30 healthy volunteers between the ages of 50 and 69 years old were given either a placebo or 6 or 12 mg of astaxanthin a day for 12 weeks.

While the placebo patients had no change in PLOOH, those given the astaxanthin saw their levels plunge by between 40 and 50 percent, with those who took the higher dose getting the biggest benefit, according to the study in BMJ.

Since dementia can take so many years before it manifests, it may be decades before anyone can say for certain whether astaxanthin will stop it.

But there's no reason to wait -- because by then, it might be too late for you. And besides, there's enough research on its other benefits that I've already been calling this stuff "the alpha antioxidant."

And with 500 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E, it's easy to see why.

Studies have found that astaxanthin can protect everything from your heart to your eyes -- and since it's sat at the bottom of the food chain for millions of years, you might say it's been time-tested by Mother Nature herself.

You can't beat that kind of lab work!

 Let them eat fish
Seniors who suffer from depression don't need a drug, a hug, or a room in an old folk's home.

Just let them eat their fatty meats and fish already!A new study proves again what I've been saying all along -- the best way to get your groove back is to put fat back on the menu.

It's true at any age, but the latest study looks at seniors: Iranian researchers recruited 66 who suffered from moderate to somewhat more severe depression, then gave them either a placebo or a 1-gram fish oil supplement containing 300 mg each of DHA and EPA.

That's not a lot -- you can and should get more -- but the new study shows it's a pretty good start, because the patients who got the supplement saw more relief from their depression as measured by a standardized 15-question survey than those given the placebo.

Side note: Anyone who can diagnose a serious mental disorder in 15 questions is full of it, and I don't mean fish oil.

But that's an argument for another day.

In any case, none of this surprises me -- and if you're a longtime reader, it won't surprise you either. The only real surprise here is that researchers think this is still worth studying.

It's not.

The verdict was in long ago -- fish oil, cod liver oil, omega-3 fatty acids or whatever other name you want to sell it under is essential to the human brain at any age... and the shift away from these fats in the diet has been disastrous.

Don't expect a mea culpa from the mainstream on this any time soon -- they're still pushing bunny chow despite the fact that it hasn't made anyone thinner, happier or healthier.

Save your own noggin -- enjoy your fats, and take a quality omega-3 supplement.

Getting fishy with it,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

1 comment:

mcl said...

The best source of 'good' fats and oils are Organic Hemp Oil and Organic Coconut Oil, both of which you can buy at Nutiva. Click the Nutiva link at the upper left of the NHNA site! Hemp oil is the best source of the essential fatty-acids (omegas 3,6 & 9) in balance. I take 2 tablespoons of Hemp Oil daily. Cooking with coconut oil is not only very healthy but the taste and flavor added is wonderful! Try it you'll like it and so will your body!