Photo by Oktaviani Marvikasari.
Y’all know I’m a huge fan of fish oils for almost every aspect of health — from heart and mind to skin and joints, and that’s only for starters.
But a California environmental group found there’s a fly in the ointment, so to speak: They tested 10 (out of 100) common brands of fish oils and found them to be high in carcinogenic and toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The chemicals were banned in the US 30 years ago, which just goes to show how toxins stick around in our environment once we let those genies out of the bottle. (This is a good thing to remember at a time when even the stalwart European Union is sanctioning new genetically engineered potatoes.)
California has a labeling law that, the environmental groups say, requires these fish-oil purveyors to list PCBs on the bottle, and they’ve just filed a lawsuit to this effect. (more…)
There’s big money in medications for depression, and drugs such as Prozac and Wellbutrin help many people who take them. But a growing body of research finds people getting sugar pills instead of meds also feel better —making some researchers wonder if the drugs are “nothing more than expensive Tic Tacs.” That was the conclusion of a January 2010 study (“Listening to Prozac but Hearing Placebo”) published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings raise a moral dillemma: If patients feel better because they believe in the medications, is it right to tell them the improvement is all in their heads? Another question is whether drugs should be the starting point for depression, or a last resort if natural therapies like exercise, probiotics, fish oil and others don’t quite lift the dark clouds.
Photo by Oktaviani Marvikasari.
You’ve always heard that fish is brain food. Now, a growing body of research is supporting that contention.
One study published in the February edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that fish-oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids warded off psychosis in high-risk teens. Study participants received either fish oil or a placebo for 12 weeks. One year later, more of the fish-oil teens were still psychosis free. Researchers say the results are as good as those seen with antipsychotic medications, with benefits lasting longer than any other intervention. And, unlike typical pharmaceutical prescriptions that cause problems including weight gain and libido loss, fish oils seem to have no major negative side effects.
Other studies are finding that omega-3 oils can help the mind stay young and sharp. Earlier reports found that DHA, one specific form of omega-3, helped slow dementia but didn’t help folks with Alzheimer’s disease. A February report in the Journal of Neurochemistry suggests that EPA, another omega-3, may do the trick. The report’s authors believe EPA helps slow the natural decline of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, helping keep the brain young and boost memory and learning. Both DHA and EPA are typically found in fish-oil supplements in varying ratios.
A version of this post originally appeared on Wellwire.com.
December 18, 2009
Photo by Nihan Aydin.
It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” — and depression is rampant. Between the darkness (if you live in the northern hemisphere), family drama and financial stresses, it’s a time when many people find their mood going in an unhappy direction. Here are some tangible tips for feeling better. (more…)