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The Omega Principle

Friday, April 05, 2019

Today we feature reader reviews on Paul Greenberg's 2018 book, The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet

"It's a rousing environmental manifesto on the shifting tides of geopolitical power and the harvesting of tiny fish for excessive omega-3 supplementation, which is leading to less healthy and bountiful oceans." 

"The main takeaway is that our lives depend on changing how we produce, acquire, and consume food and that our own health and the health of our planet cannot be broken down into segments, isolated incidents, or maladies. Our bodies and our planet have to be treated holistically. Everything and everyone is connected. We are all in the same boat." 

"We should think carefully about allowing commodity crops to determine how we eat. We need to decide for ourselves what is healthiest for us and what will be best for the planet."

Omega-3 fatty acids have been celebrated by fish oil companies and many doctors. But Greenberg's closer look at the omega-3 fatty acid industry reveals something much deeper and more troubling: a vast global endeavor that has used trillions of pounds of marine life for animal feed, fertilizer, and dietary supplements. 

The victims of the industry may seem insignificant to the untrained eye, but they are essential to the survival of our oceans. The book focuses on the push and pull of science and business, the fate of our oceans, the sustainability of seafood, and the human quest for health and long life at all costs. 

Paul is also the best-selling author of Four Fish and American Catch, the eye-opening investigation of the history, science, and business behind omega-3 fatty acids, the compound intertwined with human health and the future of our planet. 

These books got our attention, since we are always interested in human health, ocean health, climate change, and the food systems required for public health. 

The bottom line: A serving of fish once a week, along with reasonable portions of vegetables and other omega-3 metabolizing foods such as walnuts, beans, brussels sprouts, avocados, and flax or chia seeds should supply all of the omega-3 fatty acids we need in mostly junk food-free diets. Human health span, our oceans, and planet earth will let us know when sustainable health levels are reached. 

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


Stand-alone supplemental EPA / DHA from fish oil has not proven to deliver the health benefits promised, even though big money talked and fish oil industry lobbyists pushed legislation to codify the benefits of fish oil in product labeling guidelines for a number of years.  Back in the earlier 2000s, the FDA started allowing dietary fish oil supplement labels to state that supplemental fish oil may reduce coronary heart disease risk, even though the FDA stated the research was not conclusive. Today, supplement industry DHEA labeling rules are being enforced. Published clinical studies are not allowed to be discussed and specific diseases are not allowed to be mentioned in educational or marketing materials, therefore fish oil companies now simply mention "supports heart health, brain development, and overall wellness."   

Money still talks. 

Here is the link to NPR's Terry Gross interview with Paul Greenberg about, The Omega Principle. It's delightful and well worth listening to.