Winterize Your Immune System

chilly-womanThe relationship between vitamin D status and the strength of the immune system is a hot topic. Actually a steroid hormone more than a vitamin, vitamin D is made by the skin after exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Because the sun’s angle of incidence outside the tropics is considerably lower in winter, the skin’s response is too weak to manufacture sufficient stores of this vital nutrient.

In the early 1980’s, British physician R. Edgar Hope-Simpson proposed a relationship between solar radiation and the seasonality of influenza.  Without sufficient sunlight, the skin does not produce vitamin D, deficiency of which is common in winter.  This steroid hormone has considerable influence on immunity, where it prevents excessive expression of inflammation and is able to, “…stimulate the expression of potent anti-microbial peptides, which exist in neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract where they play a major role in protecting the lung from infection.”   (Cannell. 2006)   This study, performed at California’s Atascadero State Hospital, states that deficiency of vitamin D predisposes children to respiratory infections.  UV radiation, either natural or artificial, increases vitamin D levels and thereby reduces the incidence of pulmonary infections.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with many of the diseases of modern society, but traditional medicine has been reluctant to address this concern, or even to recognize it.  This vitamin is the only known precursor to a potent steroid hormone that is able to regulate expression in a number of tissues.  It does not exist in appreciable amounts in the diet, not even in fortified foods like dairy.  People used to make enormous amounts of vitamin D until they were warned to stay out of the sun.  If not exposed to the sun, we need to get it from supplements.  The flu epidemic of 1918 took a great toll.  Autopsies on some of the fifty million people who died revealed destruction of the respiratory tract.  This is the inflammation that vitamin D has been found to prevent.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies done in Japan in 2010 found that vitamin D3 supplementation not only reduced incidence of influenza type A, but also reduced asthma attacks as a secondary outcome. (Urashima. 2010).  The elderly tend to have suboptimal levels of vitamin D, which is associated with an increased risk of falls as well as seasonal virus attacks.  Vitamin D supplementation in this group is a realistic intervention that can pay large dividends.  2000 IU a day has been suggested as a minimal dose also to help prevent osteoporosis, increased risk of certain cancers, aberrant glucose and lipid metabolism and to improve quality of life.  (Lawless. 2011)  (Cherniak.  2008). Solar activities of the sun have a cycle of about eleven years, and an interesting phenomenon is that flu epidemics seems to follow the pattern.  (Hayes.  2010).

Vitamin D is not the sole player in the winterizing game.  Viruses need to get into your cells to make copies of themselves, using your cellular materials.   Replication of the flu virus is interrupted by a standardized elderberry extract called Sambucol, the use of which brought improvement to more than 90% of the persons in a study group within two days.  Since there is no satisfactory medication to cure the flu, this natural substance is nearly miraculous because it’s also inexpensive, has no side effects, and works on both A and B strains of influenza.  (Zakay-Rones.  1995)  (Zakay-Rones.  2004). The anti-viral properties of elderberry are attributed to its flavonoids content, some of which are peculiar to that plant alone. (Roschek. 2009).

A considerable part of the immune system resides in the gut, where intestinal microflora work to maintain the status quo.  Keeping those bacteria happy and healthy makes sense, so probiotics have been examined as a support system.  In a controlled study in Wisconsin, scientists found that six months of supplementation with a probiotic resulted in reduced fever, runny nose, and cough incidence in youngsters aged 3 to 5 years.  Duration of prescription medications and missed school days also were reduced.  (Leyer. 2009)  Day care centers across the Atlantic also fared well in the reduction of childhood infections with probiotic use. In Finland, researchers saw a substantial reduction in respiratory infections and their severity among children under 6 years old, accompanied by a reduction in the need for antibiotic treatment in those who received probiotic dairy products.  (Hatakka.  2001)

Investigations of echinacea as treatment for flu were not as positive as those for prevention.  It was discovered that early intervention, at the fist symptoms, brought the best results using an echinacea compound tea, namely one called Echinacea Plus.  (Lindenmuth.  2000).  Because there are too many variables, including the part or parts of the plant used, the brewing times and techniques, the variety of the plant used, its cultivation conditions, and other factors, test results are likely to differ.  Even in trials with sound methodology, results may conflict.  (Melchart.  2000)  (Linde. 2006) Using echinacea as prevention or as treatment, then, may be an uncertain proposition.

There is more to consider.  Garlic and onions have putative anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. (Goncagul. 2010). (Harris. 2001)  Exercise, regardless of intensity or duration, and sound sleep of uninterrupted duration help the lymphatic system to clear impurities and to boost immunity.  One or all of these suggestions might be your ounce of prevention.  Oh, yeah, one last thing.  The higher the humidity in your house in the winter, the less likely viruses are to be transmitted.  (Lowen,. 2007)  (Yang. 2011)


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Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H.
Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Lawless S, White P, Murdoch P, Leitch S.
(Preventing) two birds with one stone: improving vitamin D levels in the elderly.
J Prim Health Care. 2011 Jun 1;3(2):150-2.

Cherniack EP, Levis S, Troen BR.
Hypovitaminosis D: a widespread epidemic.
Geriatrics. 2008 Apr;63(4):24-30.

Hayes DP.
Influenza pandemics, solar activity cycles, and vitamin D.
Med Hypotheses. 2010 May;74(5):831-4. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, Mumcuoglu M.
Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama.
J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.

Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J.
Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections.
J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.

Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael MD, Li D, Alberte RS.
Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.
Phytochemistry. 2009 Jul;70(10):1255-61.

Leyer GJ, Li S, Mubasher ME, Reifer C, Ouwehand AC
Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children.
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Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Pönkä A, Meurman JH, Poussa T, Näse L, Saxelin M, Korpela R.
Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial.
BMJ. 2001 Jun 2;322(7298):1327

Brinkeborn RM, Shah DV, Degenring FH.
Echinaforce and other Echinacea fresh plant preparations in the treatment of the common cold. A randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind clinical trial.
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Lindenmuth GF, Lindenmuth EB
The efficacy of echinacea compound herbal tea preparation on the severity and duration of upper respiratory and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.
J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34.

Melchart D, Linde K, Fischer P, Kaesmayr J.
Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.
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Linde K, Barrett B, Wölkart K, Bauer R, Melchart D.
Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.
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Goncagul G, Ayaz E.
Antimicrobial effect of garlic (Allium sativum).
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Harris JC, Cottrell SL, Plummer S, Lloyd D.
Antimicrobial properties of Allium sativum (garlic).
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Lowen AC, Mubareka S, Steel J, Palese P.
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Wan Yang, Linsey C. Marr
Dynamics of Airborne Influenza A Viruses Indoors and Dependence on Humidity
PLoS ONE: Research Article, published 24 Jun 2011 10.1371/journal.pone.0021481

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Life On The Membrane

Life-On-The-Membrane-1The membrane of the cell and the organelles are composed of two fatty acid tails facing each other. The bilipid layer is minute in comparison to its vital role as cell protector with a thickness of 3 to 4.5 nm. It would take 10,000 membranes layered on top of each other to make up the thickness of a piece of paper. The dynamics that occur inside this tiny organic sliver is a microcosm of supportive cytoskeleton microtubules complete with internal roadways and has fostered many hypotheses, one of the most interesting from Stuart Hameroff (Hameroff et ai, 2002). Joining with Roger Penrose, Hameroff orchestrated an objective reduction model suggesting a cognitive role conveyed on the inside, the hole in the center of microtubule structures, which is -10 nm and which acts as a quantum wave carrier of cellular information. Hameroff, an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona at Tucson, describes dynamic activities within every cell which are regulated by the cell cytoskeleton, particularly microtubules, which are cylindrical lattice polymers of the protein tubulin. Recent evidence indicates signaling, communication and conductivity in microtubules. There is a marriage between the soft flexible membrane and the structural rigidity of the microtubules. Not so within the body of the cell but significantly as the cell tries to extend its reach out into the outside world seeking nourishment in the gut using cilia, seeking oxygen in the trachea and lungs with micro-villi, and signaling in the brain with a vast array of dendrites. All are similarly constructed principally of membrane and microtubules.

Assessing the cell membrane through the examination of red cell lipids can lead the clinician into a deeper level of understanding of metabolic strategies to influence treatment outcome in a wide range of degenerative disorders. Essential (EFAs) and non-essential lipids are incorporated into the bilipid layer of the membrane of every cell in the body and brain. There is virtually no system of the body that does not require attenuation of specific fatty acid substrates and coenzymes to maintain health and repair of bodily tissues. The human cell membrane must be continually fed with the correct lipid substrates to enable the organism to function ideally, yet fatty acid metabolism has been poorly delineated in treatment protocols. Exploration of lipid metabolism brings a striking new intervention that unlocks the systemic nature of disorders as well as an exquisite capacity to impact the brain architecture.

The membrane of every cell and organelle is a lipid envelope that encases and protects the internal working cellular components. The bilipid layer is far more than isolation and protection, for linked and interlocked within the membrane are literally thousands of proteins (peptides) that are the windows and doors of the cell. They form the gates for ingress and egress; the multitudinous array of receptors and ion channels that perform the vast metabolic functions of life. In addition, select lipids, the Eicosanoids, after set free from the membrane, metabolize up to an intercellular communication and information system through their prostaglandin regulatory activity. Prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes may have evolved to be the basic information broadcasting and control mechanism that permitted metazoa, the grouping of cells, which we are, to advance to our present level. The mere thought of multi-cellular activity, and especially the evolution of humankind is, at our present level of knowledge, not possible without essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are the precursors to the regulatory prostaglandins, which provide cell to cell communication and basic molecular initiation. Before one can advance beyond protozoa, or a single cell organism, into multi-cell metazoa, there must be both communication and a means of regulation. This is the world of the prostaglandins (PGs), the “local hormones” that control the interactions without which there is no complex life form.

Life-On-The-Membrane-3This powerful role that lipids play is of prime importance for the clinician to understand metabolism. One of the greatest biochemical advances came about with the understanding of the energy cycle for plants and animals. Looking at oxidative energy through a lipid lens can help to adjust our view of their importance. Peter Mitchell’s earlier research on membrane transport led him towards a construct that explained oxidative phosphorylation (Mitchell 1961). Mitchell realized that the bilipid membrane would have to be a key factor in any hypothesis to explain that substances (hydrogen ions) were moved from one side of a membrane to the other to accumulate potential energy.

In his chemiosmosis theory, Mitchell proposed that the movement of electrons down the chain of oxidation chemistry results in the translocation (shifting) of protons (H-ions) from one side of the membrane to the other, (Mitchell 1963). In essence, the hydrogen atom is separated with the electron moving down the chain on the inside of the membrane while the H-ion is shuttled to the outside using the membrane as an insulator for a momentary separation. In his hypothesis, Mitchell stressed the importance of the spatial arrangement of the various carriers within the energy-transducing membrane. Spatial arrangement refers to the positioning of the molecules involved that sit on and span the membrane and carry out the chemistry. He suggested that those carriers that bind both electrons and protons must be facing on the inside of the membrane, while the carriers facing the outside would only accept electrons, leaving the protons to accumulate resulting in an electrochemical gradient. The accumulation of ions (hydrogen protons) is then the motive force required to link substrate oxidation to phosphorylation and drive the ATP energy cycle.

After 15 years of controversy and experimentation, mostly designed to prove him wrong, Mitchell’s hypothesis coupling oxidation to phosphorylation earned him a Nobel Prize. The awarding of this Nobel Prize was probably the most significant in Nobel history since the hypothesis, now universally accepted, explains the creation of energy for life in plants and animals.

The details of oxidation chemistry is not a prerequisite for clinicians. Every cell biology text covers the subject of oxaloacetate to citric acid to C02 and H20 with the ultimate end product of phosphorylation of ADP to ATP, (Karp 1999). The Krebs or TCA (citric acid) cycle is an example of cellular beauty in the creation of energy for the biochemistry of life. The elegance however, lies in the lipid membrane that embraces the enzymes, manipulating them to their most optimal position to allow it all to occur. The preciseness of the various peptides and lipids and their relation to one another is critical for the chemistry to play out.

The significant role of the membrane and the lipids is hidden in the details of the chemistry. The high energy phosphate heads and their lipid tails provide the structure for the trans-membrane peptides (carriers), which are positioned in that lipid membrane sea in correct juxtaposition to carry out the energy production, most of which is little understood. The membrane is one of the most elegant structures in the universe. The lipids themselves are one of the smallest molecules in biochemistry, which may contribute to their mystery, and possibly the reason for their late prominence in biochemistry. In comparison, proteins and nucleic acids are much larger and more photographable, which often provides important clues as to their function. The most famous example is when Watson snuck a look at Rosalind Franklin’s photographs which led to the discovery of DNA. Not the most honorable event but certainly an important one. Lipids however are too small with frequencies too high to capture. Their performance lies in their enormous numbers and their resonance for communication and metabolic influence which moves us into the world of Quantum Mechanics.

Without the view of the lipid membrane as the insulator that permitted charge separation and the transfer of ions to the opposite side of the membrane from the site of the actual oxidation, Mitchell, or anyone else, could not have developed the TCA cycle hypothesis. All of the TCA cycle chemistry, as well as much of metabolism in both plants and animals, occurs on one or both sides of the membrane, be it in the cell, the mitochondria, the ER, the golgi, the nuclear membrane, or the vast neuronal network of the body and the brain. All thought, all sensory transmission, and all motion, involves the lipid membrane which carries the signals and information.

Mitochondria are tiny energy organelles often described as miniature power plants for the TCA energy producing cycle. There are -200-500 per cell, with 10,000 or more in a heart myocyte. The citric acid chemistry occurs on the inside of the second bilipid membrane (there are 2); with the space between the first and second layer (intermembrane space) the collection area of the hydrogen ions. Oxidation produces the separation of ions, which are accumulated and guided to ATP synthase, the enzyme responsible for phosphorylation of ATP. The hydrogen ions are passed back into the matrix by the ATP pump (ATP synthase) sitting on the inside membrane, after which they combine with oxygen (with H20 as a byproduct).


Both of the bilipid membranes of mitochondria are the typical “unit membrane” (railroad track) type in structure. Between the two membranes is the space where the H ions accumulate. Inside the 2nd membrane is the matrix, which appears moderately dense and one may find strands of DNA, ribosomes, or small granules. The outer and inner membranes have very different properties. The outer membrane is composed of approximately 50 percent lipid by weight. In contrast the inner membrane contains more than 100 different polypeptides and has a very high proteinllipid ratio, more than 3: 1 by weight, which corresponds to about one protein molecule for every 15 phospholipids, (Karp 1999). The outer membrane has porins, which permit / accommodate molecules up to – 5000 Daltons for the passage of ATP, NAD, and coenzyme A. The inner membrane however is highly impermeable; virtually all molecules and ions require special transporters situated in the inner membrane space to facilitate entrance through the inner membrane to the matrix, i.e. L-carnitine for the transport of long chain fatty acids.

Life-On-The-Membrane-6In addition there is a phospholipid peculiar to the inner leaflet of mitochondria that is found nowhere else in the body called cardiolipin (CL). As the drawing shows CL is a joining of the head groups of two phospholipids. It looks something like Siamese Twins — actually it is one. The two head groups are chemically linked together at the sides of the head groups. It has the compulsory two lipid tails on each PL and can be positioned comfortably in the membrane but now with the odd connection contains four lipid tails instead of two. CL is found only in the inner matrix of the mitochondria, nowhere else, and appears to have one specific function, that of hindering, slowing down the high activity level characteristic of all normal active membrane PLs.

Because of its bulky shape its activity level would be severely restricted. Active PLs are in constant motion including rotation. Placing a bulky CL strategically could restrict normal PL movement. Placed in the right spot with its inability to spin as most all PLs do — could, quite possibly — be the restricting agent that the inner mitochondrial membrane needs to fix the citric acid participants in juxtaposition and keep them steady as they perform the critical electron handoff. (PIC)

Normally, the accurate positioning of the necessary proteins within that crowded lipid sea involve a combination of phospholipids with a high concentration of double bonds (think high energy). The high frequency character of the double bonds guarantees the energy required to perform the accurate peptide positioning. There is also a wide assortment of many other proteins as well as the ones involved in the chemiosmotic production of energy. The precise arrangement of those proteins is not known, however, the requirement for a tight control and still maintaining fluidity is paramount and the main element lost with age and disease.

The membrane surrounds and protects every cell of every organ including the tissues of the heart and the neurons of the brain. It is a remarkably thin insulator, the protective outer skin, with a carbon copy duplicated over and over surrounding the tiny organelles inside each cell. Bruce Lipton puts the lipid cell membrane in perspective, in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ when he compares the function of the membrane to the DNA, currently the darling of medical science. Dr. Lipton calls the DNA the gonads of the cell and compares it to the hard drive of a computer, while comparing the lipid membrane to the keyboard. He describes the DNA as a storehouse of information, a personal library housing a pattern (copy) of every protein molecule specific to each of us. The DNA of each cell contains a duplicate set of genetic instructions for the development and function of every organ of our body.

However, the concept we are led to believe is that we are controlled by our genes, by our hard drive, but this is inaccurate. The DNA, like a central processor, is a library of information. A cell can actually exist for a few weeks or even months without its DNA. Lipton performed this in his lab with cells in a petri dish. By surgically extracting the contents of the nucleolus, the DNA, and continuing to provide nourishment, the cell could last for several months. The same does not occur with a fractured membrane, the cell dies instantaneously without it’s outer coat. It’s a bit sacrilegious to call our libraries dumb, but they are certainly not smart. Some form of energy must exist to extract the information from the library and direct it to perform a necessary function. Even though the DNA holds the program for the production of all the intricate proteins we need, it acts exactly like a library. It holds all the intelligence, but initiates no activity.

The membrane is continuously collecting pertinent information from the outside world sending instructions inward to the cytosol and the DNA. In part, it is both in position to collect knowledge and equipped with the energy component within the essential fats to initiate and direct cellular activity, the details of which is yet unknown. Dr. Lipton says, as the keyboard, we should refer to it as our mem-Brain — and, since it is -70% fatty acids, our lipid membranes now take on a whole new level of importance.

Renowned lipid researcher Michael Crawford defines the dry weight of the human brain as 60% lipid, with the dendrites and synapses up to 80% composed predominantly of the Highly Unsaturated w6 and w3 Fatty Acids (HUFAs). Phospholipids, cholesterol, cerebrosides, gangliosides and sulfatides are the lipids residing within the bilayers in the brain (Bazan et aI., 1992). The phospholipids and their fatty acid tails provide second messengers and signal mediators (Schachter et aI., 1983). Those phospholipids play a vital role in the cell signaling systems in the neuron (Rapoport, 1999). The functional behavior of neuronal membranes depend largely on the ways in which individual phospholipids are aligned and interspersed with both cholesterol and the necessary functional proteins. Neurotransmitters are wrapped up in phospholipid vesicles waiting for the right moment of release. The release and uptake of the neurotransmitters is dependent upon the realignment of the phospholipid molecules containing a high concentration of n-3 DHA. The energetic nature of the phospholipids is a vital factor in determining how efficiently the neurotransmitters are delivered since the violent expUlsion at the synaptic cleft can only be accomplished efficiently with a ready supply of the highest energy lipid, DHA. Re-modeling of the phospholipids may be accomplished by supplying both oral and intravenous phosphatidylcholine with a balance of the w 6 and w 3 oils at the preferred ratio of 80% w 6 to 20% w 3 (Yehuda 1993).

One of the most important biochemical changes regarding aging is a change in membrane phospholipid composition. Phosphatidylcholine (PC), is the predominate head group PL in the outer leaflet of the membrane, which as discussed above, is composed of two phospholipid groups opposing each other. PC also tends to incorporate a predominance of HUFAs, especially arachidonic acid (AA) on the Sn2 position, thus the outer leaflet is composed of a grouping of higher energy lipids than the inner leaflet. This varies with the curvature demands of the membrane since the tighter the curve would necessitate the preference for a smaller head group i.e. PC over PE, since PC has a larger dimension. In mammalian plasma membranes, the main variation occurs in the relative composition of phosphatidylcholine (PC), and both sphingomyelin (SM) and cholesterol. PC decreases with age while SM and cholesterol increase with age (Schacter et aI., 1983). The impact of this shift in the outer membrane is difficult to envision. It involves every cell of the body. Every sensory neuron, touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing; skin, blood cells, brain neurons, endothelium, alveoli, immune cells, bone cells, etc. It involves the organelles within the cell such as the mitochondria the peroxisomes and the nuclear membrane. The concept of aging and PC decline is a dramatic shift in the body’s homeostatic ability.

The changes in the relative amounts of PC and SM are especially great in tissues, which have a low phospholipid turnover. For example, plasma membranes associated with the aorta and arterial wall show a 6-fold decrease in PC/SM ratio with aging. SM also increases in several diseases, including atherosclerosis. The SM content can be as high as 70-80% of the total phospholipids in advanced aortic lesion (Yechiel et al.,1985), (Yechiel and Barenholz, 1985), (Yechiel et al.,1986), (Yechiel and Barenholz, 1986; Barenholz 2004), (Cohen and Barenholz, 1984). Both sphingomyelin (SM) and cholesterol are structurally similar to saturated fats. They are rigid, with the concommitment decline in fluidity and lower metabolic performance. The loss of those dynamic double bonds of the high energy lipids could be the major cause of the aging disease.

In 1985 Yechiel and Barenholtz, from Hebrew University, authored a significant paper highlighting phosphatidylcholine and its relationship to aging and disease (Yechiel 1985a.b, 1986; Muscona-Amir 1986). Using rat myocytes (heart cells) in a 20 day in vitro study, they demonstrated the ability of PC to completely rejuvenate cells that were all but expired. Heart cells can be separated in a dish in vitro, but with proper feeding within a few days, they self agglomerate (gather together) and beat in unison at a rate of – 160 beats per minute.

To demonstrate the importance of PC, they fed one group of cultures (the A Groups) egg yolk PC and continued to do so for the life of the experiment (20 days), while two other groups (the Bs and Cs) were deprived of PC and later had it added back into their feed.

The Group A cultures are represented with a straight line (green) at the top of the chart. They had been given egg PC after day 6 and for the entire 20 days they maintained a constant beating rate of – 160 beats/ min. Group B (Red) cultures were not as fortunate and were denied PC until day 16. The chart shows the result for after 6 days the B groups started to weaken and by day 8 began a precipitous decline in beating rate until day 12 wherein some of the B groups were only beating at – 20 beats/min. and others not beating at all. The Group Cs (Blue) were given PC as the A groups, but only to day 11, after which PC was removed from their feed. As you can see on the chart, almost immediately the Cs started a decline in their beating rate and mirrored the decline of group B with a 5 day drop to – 20 beats/min. In addition both Band C groups suffered a variety of cellular distortions in size and production of protein.

On day 16 all cultures, including groups Band C were given PC, and within 24 hours, the Bs and Cs recovered their beating rate to – 160 beats/min and continued so until the study was concluded at day 20. In addition, they also recovered most of their distorted chemistry. This was a remarkable demonstration of the power of phosphatidylcholine, or to be more precise, of the absolute necessity of it.

A medline search on ‘Phosphatidylcholine’ will reward you, or inundate you, with 37,471 citations. To review them would easily take a year or two, but it speaks volumes of the importance of PC. In all of our studies, we have yet to uncover a report as powerful as that of Yechiel and Barenholtz. However, there are two that are noteworthy. Tile review by Cui and Howeling, PC and Cell Death 2002, that focuses on the ability of PC to reverse a number of biochemical distortions and prevent cellular necrosis and / or apoptosis. Apoptosis is a controlled, regulated death, while necrosis is a rupture of membranes with the release of vital components into the surrounding blood stream. Cui et al presented their prior biochemical studies and many others demonstrating that perturbation of PC leads to cell death, and the subsequent replacement of PC reestablishes homeostasis.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

David Horrobin and Schizophrenia

MAD-bookDavid Horrobin MD, PhD, was one of the leading fatty acid researchers in the world. He had a life-time fascination with schizophrenia which culminated in his 2001 publication, “The Madness of Adam and Eve”. He believed that schizophrenia is a leading characteristic of mankind that makes us human. Not the debilitating versions of the disorder, but milder significant variations that contributed to a higher level of achievement in the realms of politics, religion, science, and the arts. The history of prominent world leaders who were schizophrenic or had a prevalence of the disorder in their families ranged from Da Vinci, Newton, Van Gogh, Einstein, even Churchill. What Horrobin firmly believes is that schizophrenia lies at the very foundation of human culture.

MAD-DavidHHorrobin was a brilliant Oxford student earning him two scholarships to Balliol resulting in a doctorate in neuroscience. He later became a Fellow of Magdalen College where he studied medicine. Shortly thereafter he received a prize fellowship to a chair in physiology at the Nairobi Medical School in Kenya and later a Professorship of Medicine at the University of Montreal. Unfortunately, we lost him to cancer in April 2003. He was only 64 but during his lifetime authored or participated in 939 publications, receiving a further 114 patents in which he is a named inventor, bringing the grand total to 1053. From his first publication in 1964 to his death, this equates to one publication every two weeks for 39 years – a prodigious achievement. He also developed fatty acid supplements that were revolutionary for their time, one of which was Kirunal which he formulated specifically for schizophrenia, and to a lesser degree, bipolar, which he describes in chapter 17 of “The Madness”. The book is currently out of print, however, used copies and an imported paperback are available on Amazon.

Dr. Horrobin describes his collaboration with Malcolm Peet and Krishna Vaddadi and others who worked with chronic, difficult to-treat schizophrenic patients. Vaddadi’s early work in the field found that fatty acid abnormalities, specifically low arachidonic acid (AA), when exposed to a fever, manifested an improved mental and physical states. Schizophrenics also demonstrate resistance to pain and arthritis which is indicative of low AA (Horrobin 1995, 1998). These symptoms were corroborated in the patients’ red blood cell fatty acid test scores which showed a deficiency in both omega 6 (AA) and omega 3 (DHA) (Peet 2008).

Vaddadi, a Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University in Melbourne, was first to use gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, an AA precursor) to modulate schizotypal symptoms. However, the results were modest and too insignificant to rely on as a treatment (Vaddadi 1989, 2006). About the same time Horrobin and Peet collected additional evidence that omega-3’s as well as omega-6 fatty acids were deficient in schizophrenic patients (Horrobin 1994, Peet 1995). Shortly thereafter they began a series of trials that included both EPA and DHA from fish oils, focusing first on a higher concentration of one and then the other. They were shocked to learn that higher DHA levels did not improve the symptoms, in fact, the outcome was slightly negative. It was EPA that was beneficial; hence the focus on Kirunal which is formulated with twice the EPA to DHA ratio at 3 to 1 instead of the standard fish oil ratio of 1-1/2 to 1.

Case Study

Jonathon was thirty-one years old and had had a schizophrenic breakdown at the age of nineteen which caused him to drop out of college. Earlier he had received a single dose of an anti-schizophrenic drug but experienced such a severe adverse reaction that he vowed “never again – no drugs for me”. For ten years he drifted around London, leading the all-too-typical life of an unemployed schizophrenic patient. Peet was approached by Jonathon’s doctors who wanted to try Kirunal. Jonathan took 8gr a day providing him with about 2gr a day of pure EPA.

After four weeks there was no effect on his psychiatric state. His delusions, his auditory hallucinations and his general apathy were unchanged. But Alex, Jonathon’s doctor, felt that there was some improvement but difficult to define. She felt that he looked healthier, and that his skin and hair condition had improved. By eight weeks, Jonathan and Alex realized that something important had happened. Jonathan was clearly better. His appearance was transformed. He was more alert; more interested in life and had experienced a dramatic reduction in his delusions and hallucinations.

MAD-cellmembraneOne of the reasons why Alex was so interested in Jonathan was that he was dyslexic as well. She noted that on her tests for dyslexia his performance was improving. It was now quite easy to persuade Jonathan to continue with Kirunal. Over the following twelve months Jonathan progressively improved with regard to all aspects of his condition. After twelve years of illness, his scores on the schizophrenia rating scales were somewhat above the normal mean but not by much. People meeting him for the first time thought him somewhat quirky and unusual but certainly not schizophrenic. His dyslexia also improved substantially and he began to contemplate the idea of going back to school. Now, three years after starting the higher EPA fish oil, he has returned to college. But perhaps the most exciting aspect of Jonathan’s Kirunal treatment from the point of view of Alex is that his brain changes, as seen on the MRI scans, had reversed. He regained some of the brain tissue, the loss of which everyone believed to be permanent.

Meanwhile Malcolm Peet and Ramchand, a scientist from India, working together at Sheffield together with The Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain, organized a larger trial using Kirunal with 63 patients in Wales. The results matched Jonathon’s exciting success, but, in various degrees. For more complete details pick up a copy of the “The Madness”.

BodyBio: BodyBio was drawn into the schizophrenic scene from their research and extensive studies into psychosis and neurologic disorders and especially after the purchase of the Kirunal product line from the estate of David Horrobin after his death. Although BodyBio is a manufacturer of nutrients, it is predominantly a scientifically based research company focusing on the nutritional aspects of Fatty Acids (FA) such as Kirunal and conducts a series of lectures to doctors’ on the subject worldwide. After years of medical counseling and tracking patient’s results, BodyBio has realized that there is no single drug or nutritional answers for healing. As Vaddadi and Peet have shown prior, deficiencies in fatty acids can be confirmed by a red cell fatty acid analysis, which BodyBio has been performing for doctors for ~15 years. The lab work is performed at Johns Hopkins that is the gold standard fatty acid laboratory in the world. Fatty acids are a complex subject which BodyBio attempts to unravel for physicians and health care professionals through a proprietary computerized analysis to help clinicians digest the complex results for their patients.

FO-KirunalBasically, Kirunal is not a drug, it’s a food supplement. It is an omega 3 combination of fish oil constituents. It should be administered with respect to the body’s need for dietary balance between the n-3 FAs (EPA and DHA) and the n-6 FAs (AA). There are ~100 billion neurons in our brains which have a high concentration of arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Horrobin says that the dry weight of the brain is 60% FAs and the DHA and AA content is 20% of that total (“The Madness”).

article1-PC-moleculeWhile these constitute 80-90% of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids in our neuronal tissues, there is a deficit of AA in schizophrenia (Kim 2010), which is best obtained from diet (eggs, dairy, meat, fish and shellfish). Glen in ’94, reported that while there is a disturbed fatty acid profile in both negative and positive schizophrenics, the different forms take an opposite FA pathway. Those with negative symptoms are high in saturated FAs and low in the poly-unsaturates, while the reverse occurs in those with positive symptoms. However, all schizophrenics are low in both AA and DHA which is caused by an over-expression of phospholipaseA2 (PLA2). PLA2 is a lipase which cleaves off the FA on the sn2 position (the middle of the phospholipid molecule) where AA and DHA normally reside. This is a normal function, which, in schizophrenics is over-expressed, and which prematurely frees up much of the bound AA and DHA, dumping them into the FA pool, and effectively wasting the two most vital FAs in the brain. EPA (high in Kirunal) has the ability to lower PLA2, which in effect, would tend to keep AA in the membrane ready and waiting to become the all-important eicosanoid/prostaglandin, and, at the same time, keeping DHA there as well where it can perform its high-wire act facilitating neurotransmitter release.

When treating schizophrenia, psychiatrists are accustomed to the idea that it is better to use a single drug rather than poly-pharmacy. The same approach is taken when investigating any new treatments. However, nutritional treatments are different. Nutrients are normally ingested in complex combinations with food, and in normal physiology they act synergistically. Either deficiency or excess of a particular nutrient can have harmful effects. In schizophrenia, there is evidence for benefits, not only from omega-3 PUFAs, which would include DHA, and the n-6 PUFA for AA, but also from other nutrients. These include the “homocysteine-lowering” vitamins folate, B6, and B12 (Levine 2006), and the antioxidant vitamins (Peet 2008).

MAD-tree-renderingEarlier, in private discussions between Dr. Horrobin and Patricia Kane, PhD, (BodyBio’s Chief Medical Advisor), he confirmed the importance of fatty acid balance, and specifically noted that with Jonathon, as well as with all studies involving Kirunal, patients were encouraged to add into their diet foods high in omega 6 PUFAs like AA, high in eggs, butter and cream. He also made a special effort to lower sugar intake; however, that was not always successful.

Of special interest in the two journals both authored by Peet, Glen, and Horrobin on Schizophrenia and the Biochemistry of Phospholipids, “Phospholipid Spectrum Disorder in Psychiatry, 1999” and 2003”, there is extensive discussion on phospholipid metabolism. However, both journals predominantly lean towards genetics and the consumate protein and peptide functions in signal transduction. There is, however, a total absence of the clinical use of phospholipids, specifically phosphatidylcholine (PC), which has had a long history of success in clinics worldwide for over 30 years as either an IV infusion or an oral supplement. Brian Ross reporting in chapter two of the first edition, “Numerous, though not all, investigators have observed that levels of the major membrane phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, are decreased in erythrocytes, platelets, and skin fibroplasts of patients with schizophrenia.” However, the observation from Ross never made its way into Horrobin’s scientific exploration with psychosis and schizophrenia. This is the exact arena where BodyBio has had much success bringing both PC and PE directly into the clinic as either an IV or orally, and more importantly, introducing it directly to the doctors and their patients with psychosis. Unfortunately, David’s life struggle occurred about the same time that Dr. Kane was beginning her clinical success with PC.

There are two more important parts to the fatty acid / schizophrenic equation, which exists in a large part with all neurological disturbances and all metabolism as well, that is (1) the need for a more correct dietary intake of the base essential oils, n-6 Linoleic Acid, and n-3 Alpha Linolenic acid (Yehuda et al. 1993-2008), and (2) the loss of phospholipids as mentioned above by Ross, predominantly phosphatidylcholine (PC), as we age or become ill (Yechiel 1985, Hennis 1085). BodyBio has a long history of teaching clinicians on the science of balancing FAs (6s and 3s) and the use of both oral and i.v. administration of PC.

An interesting sequel in the effort of finding an answer for the “schizophrenia problem” is the clinical use of phospholipids, specifically phosphatidylcholine (PC). PC as Essentiale and Lipostabil has been available in Europe since the ‘70s. Both were 5 ml i.v. ampoules of PC used to rebuild the membrane phospholipids (think improved signal transmission). Essentiale (Aventis) focused on liver disease and Lipostabil (Rhone Poulanc) primarily addressed cardiovascular disorders. Both have a long history of success, especially in the former Eastern bloc countries where every doctor in that large part of the world used i.v. PC therapy to rehabilitate Russian livers from the over consumption of vodka, which either Essentiale or Lipostabil can effectively do, and which, as you might imagine, is a recurring event. We can only assume that Horrobin and his group of competent researchers who followed his lead were aware of some of the medical history of the medical use of PC.

The sequel really started with Dr. Patricia Kane of BodyBio who had researched those early years of success with IV PC and thought “why not apply it for neurological disorders”, which has since performed equally well for all the neurological disorders of our day, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, fibromyalgia, Autism, erythromelogia, etc. However, that was just about the time we lost David Horrobin to cancer and even though Dr. Kane and Dr. Horrobin were in communication, her success was beyond the timing for sharing her results. Since then Dr. Kane and Ed Kane have lectured in the US and Europe on the IV technology she developed for clinicians under the name of the “PK Protocol”. In addition to the IV PC, BodyBio has developed an oral equivalent (BodyBio PC) that has achieved therapeutic success as well and on certain occasions is more desirable since it incorporates PE as well as PC, and as a capsule, patient acceptance and compliance are more certain than the compulsory doctor administered IV

However, there’s another chapter, the fatty acid ratio. For some time FA researchers were left with two problems 1) too much linoleic (LA n-6) in the diet (much of it hydrogenated or from overeating as in fried foods), and 2) how to fill in the all important alpha linolenic (ALA n-3) which had had been fraught with difficulty since the mid 1950-60s. The early researchers had tried flax oil, which, at ~55% ALA, amply supplied the all important need for n-3 Linolenic. They soon discovered that it was only beneficial for a short time (Joanna Budwig and Donald Rudin, even Udo Erasmus), after which the individuals developed skin and neurological problems which self-corrected if they abstained. The solution came from Yehuda, Mostofsky, Carasso and Rabinovitz from Bar Ilan University in Israel. This exceptional team under the guidance of Professor Shlomo Yehuda cracked what is probably the most important nutritional answer of our time, the dietary ratio of the Omega 6 EFAs to the Omega 3s, Linoleic to Linlolenic. Before their 1993 study “Modulation of learning, pain thresholds, and thermoregulation in the rat etc”, there had been no way to know which or how much essential oils we needed. Yehuda effectively answered that question with his SR3 1:4 ratio, one part ALA to four parts LA (20% n-3 to 80% n-6) (Yehuda et. al. 1993, 94, 95, 962, 972, 983, 992, 20002, 02, 03, 04, 052, 07, 08,etc). The value of Yehuda’s work to the health of the world is of such huge import as to warrant a nomination for a Nobel Prize. For more on this important FA question please refer to the BodyBio Bulletin on the 4-1 ratio.

“Almost fifty years after the first anti-schizophrenic drug, chlorpromazine, was produced we have made virtually no further progress in controlling schizophrenic symptoms. Drugs, on average, still improve symptoms by only 15-25 per cent, leaving 75-85 per cent of symptoms unresolved. The side-effects of Parkinsonism, tardive dyskinesia (TD) and agranulocytosis have been drastically reduced, but new side-effects of weight gain, sedation, diabetes and cardiac problems are still there and may have even worsened” (Horrobin 2001). These comments were made a decade ago prior to the current BodyBio research and the development of the PK Protocol which has witnessed significant improvements in neurological and psychotic symptoms but have only been enjoyed by those in the integrative community. The relief of symptoms, however, can be monumental for those afflicted. We invite your inquiries at BodyBio – 888 320 8338.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Nerve of That Signal

FO-powerlinesNerves carry signals throughout the body initiating activity in the body and brain. What has been slow to grasp is the role of the cell membrane in carrying those signals. The membrane is the covering and protection of our nerves. It also houses (embraces) the electrolyte enzymes in its thin encasing sliver. The enzymes set up the metabolic environment in the body to enable signaling to occur. Nerves can be viewed similarly to the wiring in our homes. Both deliver energy to do work. No wires no signal; no membrane, also no signal, but of course, no cell as well.

Signal propagation in the body is a bit different than sending power to our homes but a wiring is necessary for both. The nerve is a specialized cell but it has all the standard cellular components of all cells, however, it is made up of a vast network of axons and branches that carry the signals managing our thoughts and actions. The signals travel on those specialized limbs which are endowed with the same structural membrane that encase all our cells throughout the body and the brain. In the nerves the membrane is the roadway for the message.

Producing electricity for our homes involves huge rotating generators that wipe off electrons and chase them back and forth in the power grid which we then tap into to run our homes and offices. For our body we use a far more efficient system to build the electrical force – charge separation,

To maintain charge separation (potassium on the inside, sodium on the outside), we use a large amount of energy estimated to be ~half of all we produce. It’s quite a system. There are thousands of sodium-potassium pumps on the membrane of every cell with the role of collecting 3 sodium ions from the inside of the cell – dumping them out – picking up 2 potassium ions from the blood stream and taking them in. Each ion channel engineers that hundreds of times per micro second. The result is a high differential on either side of the membrane of every cell, potassium on the inside – sodium on the outside.

To initiate a signal a sodium ion channel (a gang of them all at once) opens and lets a flood of Na ions in. Like opening the flood gates because thousands of sodium ions rush in per microsecond through each one. The result is a change in polarity that starts the signal propagation down the nerve so we can wiggle our nose or blink an eye.

The juice to run our lights and TVs travels on a copper wire surrounded by a plastic cover for insulation. Not so in our bodies, our signals dance on our insulating membrane as the channels open and close in rapid sequence. Our signals do not move down the center of our nerves; they travel on the outside skin, the membrane. The actual signal may be a rapid change of ph but the signal actually occurs on the membrane.

Mitochondria are tiny energy generators in every cell that produce ATP, our tiny batteries. It’s a process called “electron chain transfer”. It’s also referred to as the “citric acid cycle”, or “Krebs cycle”, from Hans Kreb, 1937. The first one is more graphic since an electron is moved forward in a chain-like transfer. There are ~2-500 mitochondria in every cell, 20,000 or more in a heart cell. The chain transfer cycle occurs inside the mitochondrion with special molecules that sit (of course) on the membrane; they take an electron (-) from a hydrogen atom and keep it occupied while flipping the proton (+) on the other side of the membrane thereby separating the electron from the proton. The electrons (-) all remain on the inside, in the matrix of the mitochondria, while the protons (+) collect on the outside of the membrane. That separation of using the membrane as the insulator is our power grid in miniature. Accumulating the protons (+s) becomes the force to do work.

The end product is energy (ATP) and water. The mitochondria employ the membrane as the key player for the production of energy, which is a far more elegant electrical system than what we use.

FO-cellmembraneAll membranes are composed of molecules called phospholipids (PLs) with each having two fatty acid tails. It looks like a double sticked lollypop. The tails are strings of carbon some of which we can make and some come only from the diet. The double sticks, the fatty acid strings, are either saturated or unsaturated and come in a wide variety, but the really important ones are the poly-unsaturated, the omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. They are essential, meaning they must be in our diet. Those EFAs, the essential fatty acids, are the basic building blocks of the membrane and the beginning of life. The truth is finally out, we’re all made of fat.

article1-PC-moleculeWherever we look, the star of the show is the membrane, a thin sliver of fat surrounding every cell. It separates the inside of the cell, the cytosol, from the outside. Its size and shape is identical in all of life, including the cells of animals, plants, bacteria, nerves, etc. It’s composed mostly of fats and lipids that make it a perfect insulator, permitting the vital differential charge which the cell uses to either send a signal or to get out of here quick, there’s danger ahead. The membrane may be the skin on the perimeter of the cell but it is truly the center of life.

FO-poleclimberNeurologists are well aware of the electron chain transfer and the production of energy in the mitochondria. They also know that all signals are propelled down the nerve on the membrane for thought, pleasure and pain, basically for everything we think or do. Sending the signal on its way is only possible if the membrane enzyme complex has first done its job for charge separation. The cell membrane never sleeps – working continuously to be ready to propagate the next signal on command. Every doctor and especially every neurologist are well aware, or should be, of these basic characteristics.

If so — is it a correct proposition that the first order of the day would be to feed the right EFAs into our bodies — and if we did, would that enhance the health of the membranes of our neurons? YES – without question, they are constantly rebuilding. Would that in turn influence signal transmission? YES – of course. How about memory? YES again.
Then why isn’t the health of the membrane the first consideration, the first choice of treatment for all neurological disorders that plague society such as Parkinson’s, MS, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, palsy, etc.? Why indeed!

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Remarkable 4:1 Fatty Acid Ratio and The Brain

FA-gearbrainDelving into the subject of the Brain and Essential Fats is a difficult journey, primarily because of how important the topic is and how little we know about how we think. There are 100 billion neurons sitting on top of our shoulders with ~60% of that nerve material made up of fats, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (Connor 1990, Chang 2009). Every day some portion of our nibbling finds its way into the neurons of our brain and through some miraculous cellular metabolism directly affects how we think, play, sleep and dream.

All cells have fatty acid membranes protecting the cytosolic life that goes on busily inside our cells day after day. Nerves are no different. Neurons have the same protective membranes with the same fatty acid phospholipid composition, but nerve membranes have a special job, they are endowed with the task of carrying all the signals inside our head and transmitting them to regulate all thought and motion. We can’t blink or think without fatty acids, yet we rarely give a thought about what we throw down. Venturing into the kitchen for sustenance puts us in charge of what goes into our brain, or, we may simply transfer that to McDonald’s or Taco Bell, now they’re in charge. The potential for brain damage is awesome, especially if there are little ones waiting patiently at the table. Since our brains are mostly fatty acids (60%), and essential fats should be in most every bite of food we take, a primer on fats and oils is in order, but, caution, there’s a bit of cell chemistry involved, but only a little bit.

This article has 5 basic subjects 1) Shlomo Yehuda’s groundbreaking discovery of the preferred ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) 2) Yehuda’s 2005 paper on Test Anxiety with his preferred fatty acid ratio, 3) the over consumption of Fish Oils, 4) a primer on fatty acid technology, 5) Good oils, not-so-good oils and bad oil, which – you might want to read first.

There is extensive research on the topic of “diet” and “brain”. Type those two words into Medline, and you’ll get 15,577 “hits” or research reports. Medline is part of the NIH in Washington that organizes medical studies from universities around the world. However, you’ll draw a blank slate if you believe you will advance your knowledge on how to change your diet so you can think better. The subjects of either diet or brain are well researched, but putting them together doesn’t elevate you, in fact the literature appears to say “we don’t have a clue” (Joint WHO/FAO 2002, FAO Food 2008). We know that the membrane is composed of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, including the omega 6 and the omega 3s, but until the research of Shlomo Yehuda from Israel in 1993, the medical community did not know, and for the most part, even today, refuses to acknowledge the magnitude of his contribution to the subject.

FA-yehudaThe Breakthrough 4:1 Fatty Acid Ratio
Prior to his ’93 paper, “Modulation of learning, pain thresholds, and thermoregulation in the rat by preparations of free purified a-linolenic and linoleic acids:”, Yehuda and others had proposed that diet had an effect on the fatty acid composition of nerve membranes and even stated that fatty acids could mediate some of the observed changes in learning and behavior (Yehuda 1987, Coscina & Yehuda 1986, Yehuda & Carasso 1987, Yehuda 1989). Even though they had observed “changes in learning” in those prior studies, Yehuda now is more definitive. He clearly states in this study that modulation of learning is achieved using a 4:1 ratio, four parts of omega 6 linoleic acid (LA) and one part of omega 3 a-linolenic acid(ALA). He called it Special Formula 3 (SR-3). ω6 linoleic LA is in most all seeds and nuts such as safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed, canola, etc., while ω3 a-linolenic ALA, is found in flax, hemp, chia, walnut, soybean, etc. The discovery of the optimal dietary ratio of the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) was highly significant, since, being essential signifies that we cannot produce them and they must be in our food supply.

Earlier Research leading up to the 4:1
Prior experiments using 14C-labeled fatty acids (for brain tracking) had shown a cellular preferential uptake of omega 3 ALA over ω6 LA in the brain as early as 1973 Dhopeshwarkar , 1973). (ω is the lower case Greek letter omega). Initially they attempted to explain it by focusing on the amount of PUFAs (multiple double bonds) in soybean oil. However, sunflower oil, which contains a higher amount of PUFAs than soybean oil, failed to produce the positive effects of soybean oil (Yehuda & Carasso 1987, Yehuda 1989). Since the oil from soybeans contains more ALA (8-9%) than sunflower (about 0.4%), the benefits for the brain must have come from the increased ω3 a-linolenic. If the higher quantity of EFAs were not the answer, it must be somewhere in the ratio of the 6s and the 3s, the ratio to each other that held the key.

It was earlier recognized that ω6 LA (linoleic Acid) was important for normal health and brain development (Dhopeshwarkar, 1983). ω3 ALA had also been determined to have significant biological effects, now both were classified as EFAs (essential). Also, earlier studies suggested that ALA may be quite different from LA and may even have a biochemically distinct function (Bernsohn 1973).

Although there were a few clinical reports of the deficiency of ALA (Holman 1982, Bjerve 1989, Uauy 1990), a number of experiments in monkeys and rats had shown visual and learning impairment after consuming diets that were deficient in ω3 a-linolenic acid (Neuringer 1988, Bourre 1991, Connor 1991). These studies prompted a surge of interest in the role of ω3 ALA in brain development including the eyes (Bazan 1980,1990, Bourre 1989, Clandenin 1991, Cook 1991, Crawford 1976, Cunnane 1991, Holman 1991, Scott 1989, Simopoulos 1991, Specter 1989, Wainwright 1992, Weigand 1991).

Since ω6 LA is more common in our food supply than ω3 ALA, and ALA is now deemed to be essential, even though ω3 ALA is high in grasses, which is not common in our food supply, the question is, how much of each do we need.

The aim of the Yehuda ‘93 study was to test the basic hypothesis; is the ratio of linoleic acid to a-linolenic acid the key factor in mediating the beneficial effects of PUFAs in the body and especially in the brain? This required a significant amount of research to challenge and record the learning characteristics of small animals in a stress condition.

FA-micetrialsThe Learning Apparatus
The Morris water tank, a circular tank ~43 inches in diameter (110 cm), was filled with water with powdered milk added to make it opaque so that rats swimming in the tank were unable to see the resting platform submerged below water level. Each animal was released facing the wall in one of four predetermined starting points each separated by 90° around the inner perimeter. While the animal was swimming in the tank, it was able to observe the contents of the room. Special care was given to keep things in the room in the same location. They could navigate in the tank only by external cues, by looking around while paddling. Each animal was tested 8 times per day in the tank. The order of the starting points was determined by random selection. To prevent possible effects of a magnetic field, each one was allowed 120 sec. to find the platform, with an interval time of 20 sec. between trials. The maximum duration of the test was 16 minutes. The rats were tested on 3 consecutive days. During this period, the platform was in the same location in the tank. For each of the 24 trials (eight trials x three days), the time to find the platform was recorded. A cutoff criterion, defined as the first successful trial, was used to calculate an index of learning ability (rate of learning).

The research team tested 9 groups of rats with 7 different ratios of LA and ALA –3:1, 3.5:1, 4:1, 4.5:1, 5:1, 5.5: 1, and 6:1. Temperature control (thermoregulation) as well as motor activity, and pain threshold, were tested, food intake and body weight were all recorded. The ratios between 3.5:1 to 5:1 showed significant performance, however, the best of all was the 4:1, (4 parts ω6 linoleic to one part ω3 a-linolenic, 80% LA to 20% ALA (note, there is no omega 3 EPA or DHA, only ω3 ALA). The achievement of identifying the optimum 4:1 ratio was of major significance, and has been repeated by the Yehuda team in additional studies and also by others (Clark 1992, Wainwright 1992, Ristić 2003).

FA-budwig-rudinBudwig and Rudin
Looking back on those early years is important to grasp the significance of Yehuda’s SR-3. At BodyBio we had recently completed a computer software analysis of a Johns Hopkins red blood cell fatty acid analysis (RBCFA) as an analytical service for physicians, which was central for our teaching program of fatty acids and the cell membrane. However, the basis of nutritional treatment was a dietary adjustment using the correct EFA oils according to each individual’s test. ALA had been determined by many others to be the key missing ingredient. Discovering Yehuda’s SR-3 was a major breakthrough, since prior dietary efforts to add in the missing a-linolenic acid (ALA) had been a hit or miss exercise. Both seed oils containing ω6 (LA) or ω3 (ALA) were readily available, however, we knew that focusing on either ALA or LA, by themselves, would not provide benefits primarily from the prior history of both Drs. Johanna Budwig and Donald Rudin. Between 1960 both (Budwig) and through 1980 (Rudin) experimented with flax oil, which has a high ALA content (~55%). For years both used flax oil and both recorded significant improvements for disorders such as Schizophrenia, gastrointestinal, drying skin diseases, mucous colitis (spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome) and others, including cancer. They both reported remarkable healing results. Rudin, specifically wrote that it could last several months, but was always followed by a complete reversal, requiring stopping the flax oil. Then, several months later, he would try flax oil again on the same patient and it would work again, but only for a while and the on-again off-again cycle would return. One can only imagine their level of frustration. Both were brilliant scientists who had published extensively. Rudin was an MD and a Harvard professor, and Budwig had been nominated for a Nobel Prize seven times.

FA-balanceOil-productBoth had correctly identified ω3 a-linolenic as the missing nutritional ingredient for innumerable disorders that plagued society. The EFA ratio of flax oil is 1 to 3.5, completely opposite to Yehuda’s 4:1. They were using too much ALA. If only they had known of Yehuda’s work, the entire history of fatty acids would be rewritten. We know of this first hand since Donald Rudin was on our BodyBio Board of Advisors and shared his experience with us first hand. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2003. Before his death, Dr. Rudin wrote a letter to the editor of the Lancet, which was published, wherein he described the current fish oil ‘Omega 3 Overdose Syndrome.’

Ongoing Yehuda Research
After ’93, the Yehuda group continued their research with numerous studies using the SR-3 formula on both animals and humans, here are a few examples: 1994 on epileptic seizures with 84% reduction of seizures, 1996 on Alzheimer’s with improvements in mood, cooperation, appetite, sleep, ability to navigate in the home, and short term memory, 1996 on lowering cholesterol with improvements in fluidity, cognition, and neuro-pharmacological effects, 1997 with improved learning and improved neuronal communication, 1998 with in-depth analysis of learning, neuronal membrane composition and increases in brain essential fatty acid levels, 2000 on lowering cholesterol, stress, and improved learning, 2001 mediation of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, 2004 on control of induced anorexia and improved myelination, 2004 on seizure management, 2005 on student Test Anxiety (details below), 2007 on sleep deprivation, REM sleep, and cognitive impairment, 2011 on ADHD, currently poorly handled with drugs (check out “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker, 2010, a must read for anyone concerned about ADHD and all psychiatric disorders).

My wife, Dr. Patricia Kane, and I, have spent almost two decades teaching Yehuda’s brilliant work (the PK Protocol) to a growing group of doctors and their patients worldwide, which, even though subjective lacking documented research, have witnessed dramatic improvements for individuals especially with neurological disorders. In reviewing Yehuda’s studies for this article, we selected the 2005 paper on Test Anxiety with students, which epitomizes the uniqueness of the 4:1 ratio. Test anxiety can seriously impair academic performance, and the mere anticipation of a critical examination can hinder the ability to study for it. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced “Test Anxiety”. The anxiety experienced before an exam or an interview, or first standing before an audience, or a first date, or beginning an athletic event before a crowd of onlookers, all can induce apprehension and anxiety. It’s a universal malady; you could call it “butterflies”.

FA-anxietyManTest Anxiety 2005
As head professor of advanced psychology at Bar Ilan University, Israel, Yehuda had ample experience for this disorder. He first secured two trained psychologists who identified 126 male students as test anxiety sufferers. The Bar Ilan University Ethics Committee approved the study. Seventy other students from the same classes who did not suffer test anxiety, served as the control group. The study started one month before the examination. No food intake was allowed 30min before taking the sample. Each subject was instructed to take one capsule which contained 225 mg of pure linoleic acid and pure a-linolenic acid in a ratio of 4:1, twice daily in the morning and evening. Thirty-eight students received placebo (mineral oil) and 88 received the special FA mixture.

There’s no easy way to judge the EFA’s examination outcomes, however, there are a number of characteristics that illuminated their benefits. The subjects reported better appetite, improved mood, better ability to concentrate, less fatigue during the day, better sleep and the ability to organize themselves for the test was much improved. No improvement was observed among the placebo group. The non-anxiety group who also took the treatment likewise showed some improvement in ability to concentrate, less fatigue during day and improved quality of sleep. While test anxiety students showed an elevated morning cortisol level, the PUFA treatment reduced the elevated level to normal. It is interesting to note that the control group also showed a reduction in their cortisol level.

Improving cortisol levels (lowering) with the SR-3 mixture had also been reported earlier (Yehuda et al. 1999, Van Duinen et al. 2004). The Anxiety Study started one month before the examination. Morning salivary cortisol samples were collected at 8:00 AM, while the subjects were still at home. No food intake was allowed 30min before taking the sample. Briefly, samples were collected using cotton swabs chewed for 2 min and inserted into a plastic test tube, cooled and later measured by radio immunoassay. Seventy-eight out of the 88 test anxiety students reported that even after the conclusion of the study they no longer experience a state of anxiety.

FA-veggieKidEven though the Test Anxiety study demonstrates the importance of correcting body EFAs though diet, there is a subtle characteristic reviewing the results. The improved studying capability occurs without fanfare. There’s no spontaneous improvement, which suggests a subtle changed mental ability. It now becomes the norm. It’s not easy to wrap your mind around the implications of adding the correct EFAs to the diet. Just one teaspoon of 4:1 oil a day. How difficult is that? We readily add 3-4 times that much oil on our salads, which rarely provide the correct EFAs we need. It is generally something like olive oil, which has little beneficial value. What would that do for our youngsters, not just university students, going to school every day? The whole concept is life-changing, and the cost is literally peanuts. At BodyBio we currently use a mixture of sunflower and flax oils that we combine to deliver a 4:1 ratio. Some of our little ones take 5 – 6 tablespoons a day, and request it. Imagine – they request it. What do they know—or what is their brain telling them they need?

FA-mombabyThe Basic Fatty Acid Dilemna
Part of the difficulty of a better understanding of fats and oils stems from the word itself – fat. Some think instantly of excess weight or of someone they knew who was a bit dull “fathead”. The word “fat” has a bad image. In addition the recent media explosion regarding fish oils has managed to distort the entire fatty acid picture. Anyone interested in their health searching Google for the latest is inundated with the marvelous results of fish oil and omega 3 EPA and DHA. However, reviewing the research of brain benefits for fish oil the results are mixed, there are as many negative results as positive (Holness 2004, Arendash 2007, Church 2010, Rockett 2012), even though fish has long been regarded as brain-food.

The sheer volume of information on fish oil and omega 3 is overwhelming. As you would imagine much of the Googled information originates from producers touting their special fish oil. After so much media hype, the inevitable occurred sweeping everyone into taking fish oil. The general philosophy prevailed, “if one is good, 2 or more is better”. I don’t have to tell you that most go for the “MORE”. Yes – fish oils are important for our health, but, careful, too much of any nutrient can harm, remember Budwig and Rudin. At BodyBio we see the over-expression in their RBCFA test results from Hopkins. The over-expression of fish oil has become endemic. Almost everyone seeking to improve their health has taken too much. The RBCFA Report tells it like it is. Too much omega 3 fish oil suppresses the omega 6s. You now have too much 3s and too little 6s, all of which is correctable, if, you know that you have overindulged. Most don’t know. Most never get an RBCFA Report which could tell them. Should you now rush out and get a FA test? The answer is — not necessarily. That’s a medical decision. If you’ve taken more than one a day, our general suggestion is to stop the fish oils and go back to eating fish, or, stop for 3-6 months and then take just 2-4 capsules per week, which will allow the body’s metabolism time to readjust. However, if you are plagued with a difficult health problem an effort to balance your EFAs scientifically is highly recommended, but would require a consultation with your doctor.

Most everyone associates fish oil with the omega 3s, which they are, but – fatty acid technology needs a bit more explanation. To get “the rest of the story” please read the Two EFA Families.

The Two Essential FA Families and their two levels:
As reported there are two (2) EFA families, omega 6 (ω6) and omega 3 (ω3), with the lower FA level LA and ALA (1st floor) becoming the precursor for the upper FA levels (2nd floor) in both families. The lower ω6 level is linoleic acid (LA), found in most nuts and seeds and high in safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, *cottonseed, *canola, etc. (*these last two are not recommended, canola is high in erucic acid which is toxic to the membrane, cottonseed is permitted higher pesticides since it is not classed as a food). The 2nd floor ω6s, which all animals can produce initially, however slight, is arachidonic acid (AA), which the media has been attacking for half a century, and which is also totally mistaken. There are also two additional 2nd floor ω6 EFAs, GLA from Primrose oil and DGLA from GLA, both are on the 2nd floor with AA. For this discussion we will disregard GLA and DGLA and confine the 2nd floor omega 6s to AA. The 1st floor ω3 FA is a-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flax, hemp, chia, walnuts, soybeans, canola, etc, which is the precursor for the 2nd floor ω3s, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosapentaenoic acid). Viewing the precursors ALA and LA as living on the 1st floor and AA, EPA and DHA as living on the 2nd, we can begin to unravel the distortion of fish oils and the omega 3s.

Fish oil contains only the 2nd floor EPA and DHA, while eating fish provides all of the membrane FAs that the body needs including ω6 EFAs (Connor 1990). A reverse distortion is quite possible concerning omega 6s. Egg yolk contains a high concentration of AA. Imagine a concentrated capsule of egg yolk with a high AA content, which, I must add, we would welcome for individuals with a low test result of AA. Now picture the media taking off touting “Egg Yolk” and the health benefits of Arachidonic Acid (Payet 2004), which is critical for our health (eggs and animal proteins are a preferred source of AA). However, touting that singular nutrient “Egg Yolk AA”, even though important, would not work any better than it has for fish oil. The end result would be an overdose of AA. Balanced nutrition is the only way to go. The vast majority of the media has been woefully ignorant of the two levels of EFAs in their touting of fish oils, omega 3s, and their tirade against ω6s and inflammation, which, is significantly one sided and beyond the scope of this article*.

FA-fishoil-pillsThe Large Animal FA Dilemma
Humans have very limited ability to take the 1st floor EFAs, LA and ALA, and metabolize them up to the 2nd floor EFAs, DGLA, AA, EPA, and DHA (Singh 2005, Chang 2009). Our cellular production for all the vital 2nd floor fatty acids dramatically declines with age (Uauy 2006). All large animals, which we are, lose the ability to maintain adequate production of 2nd floor EFAs, either ω6 or ω3s. Little guys like mice and gerbils, etc., are capable in producing all the AA, EPA and DHA they need, and they do it from LA and ALA. Their metabolism is much higher and their life span much shorter. They can do it – we can’t. So, in a way, for us, all the FAs on the 2nd floor, of necessity, become Essential. We must add them into our diet (which has been our evolutionary history). As a consequence of the metabolic insufficiency, all large animals including the grazing animals, in ratio to their size, have smaller brains and weaker eyesight, except humans and dolphins (Crawford 1989, 2000). All predators get their 2nd floor EFAs – predominantly AA and DHA, from the internal organs and brains of the grass eaters which have accumulated them over their lifetimes. Predators enjoy the higher EFAs at almost every meal, which directly relates to their superior brains and eyesight. Where do we fit into that evolutionary picture (?), certainly not with the grazers.

As discussed, much of Yehuda’s research was with rats. To an extent, using efficient little animals has added to the confusion regarding our evolution. How come we are we so smart and endowed with a large brain if we are inefficient in metabolizing the important brain fatty acids that would make us smart? Michael Crawford, Imperial College, London, along with David Marsh, clears up the mystery in ‘The Driving Force’. They hypothesized, that we did not evolve on the plains of Africa, we were more aquatic and lived near oceans or lakes where we had access to shell fish, crustaceans, and fish oils, as we continue to do today with modern cooling technology.

Fatty Acid metabolism is generally not a table-talk discussion, even though it is a part of most meals and a vital detail for our health. The health value of the essential omega 6s does not correlate with the media hype of claiming that they are the sole source of inflammation in the body*, or that fish oil and the omega 3s are the panacea. However, fatty acid technical manuals cover the subject of fatty acids and membranes quite accurately, showing the beneficial role of the ω6 PUFAs. Also, the newly discovered 4:1 ratio brings the ω3 ALA PUFAs into a clearer focus.

Yehuda laid the foundation in ‘93 with his seminal paper regarding the ratio between the omegas’. His profound 4:1 ratio of omega 6 LA and omega 3 ALA has given us the basic Essential FA formula to enable us to raise fluidity (Yehuda 1996, 2012, Lu XF 2010) of our highly active membranes, which are endowed with that very task. Now, we are better equipped to send the right signals from the brain to run the entire system, and we can do it throughout our lives. In media vernacular, that’s “News”. Think of it – brain function for a lifetime. Take a walk through any psychiatrist office on the globe today and the mere thought of sending clear intelligent signals simply by changing your diet, takes on a whole new meaning.

Good oils, not-so-good oils and bad oils
However it evolved, the bad image of FATs is with us, even though fatty acids are vital for every cell of the body and brain. To add to the distortion, the medical media has descended on saturated fats as heart destructive, which it is not, yet reversing a 100 year negative concept is probably impossible; however, we may be able to dent it with facts.

  1. article1-LipidMembraneFats and oils come in just 2 varieties, either phospholipids with two fatty acid tails or triglycerides with three FA tails. Phospholipids make up the protective skin of the membranes of our cells, while triglycerides are simply put away for later. Phospholipids are tiny building blocks which automatically assemble into membranes and surround every cell and organelle. They are the beginning of all life on the planet, and they are 70% FAT.
  2. FA-moleculeFatty acids do not make you fat, carbs do. Carbohydrates (excess sugar) are converted into the 3 tailed FAs – triglycerides, which are stored for use later, an important asset to have in case we run out of food, which no one does any more, at least not the ones in our neighborhood. A triglyceride is a fat molecule with 3 (tri) fatty acid chains that finds their way around our middle and is the stored fat we regard as “bad”, however, on a baby it can be quite pleasant.
  3. We generally eat fats at most every meal, even if it’s in a salad with dressing. The EFAs are highly fluid, but the SFAs (saturated FAs) are rigid, they are not fluid. Real butter from a cow is a SFA. Our membranes need the SFAs for substance and form, however, we are able to produce SFAs, they are not essential. Most all seeds and nuts have fluid EFAs that are crushed into oils that go into food manufacturing, most of which are over-processed and become rancid and/or hydrogenated, which covers all supermarket oils on the shelf. The over-processing oils also include processed butter look-a-likes, margarines, butter-type spreads, including your favorite mayonnaise, Hellman’s, Mayo, etc. Vegenaise, in the refrigerated section, is a much better choice for mayonnaise.The runny, liquid oils (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, flax, etc.) contain the healthy EFAs and should be cold pressed and organic for your table oils. Suggest keeping them in the frig. SFAs are solid in the body (butter, lard, coconut (less so)) but are still vital for our health. They are plentiful in animal foods (beef, eggs, chicken, fish etc.). We need both, SFAs and EFAs.
  4. FA-oliveoil-bottleWhat we generally do not need are MUFAs, mono-unsaturated FAs. They are the omega 9s, predominantly olive oil. All plants and animals are able to produce ω9 MUFA, which provides some fluidity in the body, but, in reality, ω9s are inconsequential. We don’t need them which includes olive oil. It will not harm you if you use it, but will not be missed if you avoid it. Olive oil has an image of health – and respectability. Placing a bottle of olive oil on the table makes the chef look good, though, in essence, what olive oil actually does is provide an oil with less value when there are really better choices. Olive oil has a nice image, but the EFAs are where the action is for body function, especially the brain. If the EFAs are not on the table where you can eat them, you’re thinking machinery will just make do without — not a good idea. Put the olive oil back on the kitchen counter, you can heat it without concern so use it for cooking.
  5. FA-coconutCoconut oil – now there’s a winner. Coconut oil is fluid in the body, but it’s solid in any spot on the globe that happens to be cool. Coconut is a medium chain fat which is rapidly burned for energy in the mitochondria, which loves those shorter FA chains. They are more easily handled and absorbed. There is no better oil for French fries than coconut. In fact that should be a stable food in every house. Try it, their yummy.
  6. FA-frenchFriesThe bad guys on the block are the fast food fries, they’re everywhere in most every fast food chain. They all use vegetable oils, the EFAs, which should not be heated because of their multiple double bonds. They quickly become rancid, and are turned into hydrogenated fats, trans fats, the worse kind for our health. The Fast Food emporiums all heat the EFA oils over and over again, and, for the most part, this same disregard for oils goes on in every restaurant on the globe making it very difficult to dine out and make good food choices.
  7. Over the last century and continuing today, we have been plagued with disinformation about Fats and Oils and have been the recipients of bad manufacturing processes originating from the oil and food producers with mechanical hydrogenation of the EFAs. This is currently changing and becoming less in the Western countries with the increased knowledge of trans fats. However, this ugly mechanical distortion of oils has yet to reach most of the world.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Fat Facts on Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids —EPA and DHA— are the BIG news in nutritional m medicine today — and for some very good reasons. The scientific evidence is now irrefutable that EPA and DHA are essential for good health and long life. They are such important nutrients that agencies and institutions historically hostile to nutrition have gone on record to support their use. The American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), even the good ol’ “Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” are all praising EPA and DHA.

While all of this is certainly a positive development, the rise in sales of omega 3 (n-3) fatty acid is in direct response to the high press coverage. It’s like everybody on the globe is jumping on the omega 3 fish oil bandwagon. The result of this excessive reporting in the media with relatively little knowledge of fatty acid chemistry, has lead to overindulgence (prescribing and taking too much). TThis overzealous use of omega-3 fish oils has occurred worldwide at a disturbing rate.

At BodyBio we have been observing these results through the in-depth examination of thousands of individual fatty acid tests, year after year. Analyzing red blood cell fatty acids (RBCFAs) is a principal part of what we do at BodyBio. The bioactive ingredients of fish oil, EPA and DHA, are generally found in a ratio of 3 to 2 (180 mg of EPA and 120 of DHA). They are both dynamic and powerful nutrients, with a wide range of functions that influence the brain, the sensory organs, synaptic and cardiac activity, and the modulation of arachidonic acid effects in inflammation. All membrane fatty acids are intimately involved in regulating all aspects of the body’s chemistry, including control of each others’ families, the 6s and the 3s. However, excess omega 3s will easily suppress the omega 6s, whereas the reverse does not seem to occur; 6s do not suppress the 3s.

If we follow the popular media mantra, we are led to believe that adding fish oil to the diet will improve our wellbeing by raising the omega 3s and avoiding / lowering the omega 6s. This should be a good thing, since any suppression of omega 6 arachidonic acid would tend to reduce inflammation and lead to a healthier state. However, based on our research and the testing of red cell lipids over the years, we have found the opposite to be true. Dr. Patricia Kane’s own findings concur.

To understand the fatty acid disturbance we see requires a shift in thinking about omega 6 fatty acids and inflammation. While inflammation can be disturbing, in itself it should not be regarded as bad. Aside from the correction that the body undertakes to alleviate the stress that results in inflamed tissues, it is predominantly sending a signal, a message that something is wrong. We certainly want to suppress the disturbance, but the last thing we should be doing is killing the messenger, which is exactly what fish oil does.

More than 80% of the BodyBio red cell fatty acid tests performed yearly* register high omega 3s and low omega 6s. There is a direct correlation with the amount of fish oil consumed and the elevation of EPA and DHA. Associated with the distorted fatty acid analysis is a wide array of disorders, such as fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, eczema, headaches, visual disturbance, memory loss, etc.

While we are told that omega 6s are “bad guys,” there is really no such thing. If it is essential, as omega 6s are, and the body spends precious energy to create and maintain it, it is wrong to assume that the metabolic effort is misdirected. Maybe too little or too much — but certainly not bad. Currently, there is no way for humans to survive without omega 6 fatty acids. This includes arachidonic acid (AA), containing 4 double bonds and occupying as much as 14% of the red cell membrane.  Arachidonic acid also boasts the highest concentration of energy in the membrane as the lead regulator of all cellular signaling, and quite possibly of all regulation in the body. As we have recently seen and hereby report the suppression of AA in a large number of individuals by the over-consumption of fish oil has been directly responsible for an unusual increase in physical and mental distress.

Our approach is to remove fish oil from the diet for a time and to encourage a nutrient-dense diet that is low in carbohydrates and rich in omega 6 fats from foods that include egg yolks, evening primrose oil and a blend of cold-pressed safflower and flaxseed oils (BodyBio Balance Oil delivers a 4:1 ratio of linoleic acid to alpha-linolenic acid.).  Together with essential vitamins and minerals, these dietary inclusions help to elevate lower-order EFA saturation levels. The patients, after shifting their diet and supplementation, consistently report that they all improve. In the world of medicine one should never say all, however, we repeat, all patients tend to reverse their negative symptoms by bringing their omega 6s and their omega 3s back in balance.

It is, after all, about balance. Is fish oil bad for you?? Of course not! The error, either by self-medication or by being over prescribed, is an excessive expression of omega 3s which can occur with any drug or nutrient. Also required, and in part because the medical reliance on fatty acid nutrition is quite new, is a new-found respect for the metabolic power of the omega 3s, especially EPA. Without the valuable analysis from the world’s premier fatty acid laboratory, we would never have been able to make this analysis and relay to you how to readjust your patient’s essential fatty acid balance. We would have no reference to do so.

*The vast majority of BodyBio Red Cell tests were performed on individuals who had been seeking medical help for a period of time before consenting to do an Fatty Acid Analysis. Fish oils were commonly employed in their effort to find relief. The 80% referred to above is unusually high but is the result of 1) that narrow select group and 2) the individuals personal reporting of the use of fish oils often over several years. Would this have been the case 20 years ago? Probably not.

Annette was determined that she would not follow in her family’s footsteps in regard to her health. To hold off aging and ill health she used 10 capsules daily of fish oil, restricted all meat, eggs and dairy in her diet and limited her intake of all oil except olive oil that she used in her salad and to cook with. After two years of high fish oil intake, Annette noticed that she was developing eczema. Her allergies got much worse and she felt tired all the time. Her moodiness was irritating to others but worst of all she had developed severe difficulties with her ability to think and perform at work. Annette visited a physician specializing in fatty acid therapy and longevity who tested her red cell lipids and found them to be alarmingly unbalanced. Her omega 3 EPA was 1500% high while her omega 6 Arachidonic Acid was 156 % low and her omega 6 Gamma Linolenic Acid was 94% low. Her doctor explained the importance of balance of her fatty acids and set up a targeted nutritional protocol for her. After two weeks of getting on the correct balance of fatty acids Annette felt much better. Her eczema started to clear, her mood stabilized, her energy and alertness returned and she found her work performance normalized. After 6 months of re-balancing Annette’s physician allowed her to begin fish oil with one capsule of Kirunal daily along with wild salmon and sardines, evening primrose, 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3 balanced oil, and eggs / butter in her diet.

Jordan is a 3 year old boy with autism. His mother was told by his natural practitioner to give him 4 capsules of fi sh oil daily. After 4 months on fish oil Jordan’s behavior and attention had deteriorated. Testing Jordan’s red cell lipids revealed that he had a gross overdose of omega 3 as EPA and DHA with a deep suppression of the omega 6s. Jordan was then given primrose oil, eggs, butter and safflower oil for a few months and his behavior and attention improved dramatically. In keeping with balance, Jordan was then given 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3 balanced oil, primrose, eggs / butter and one capsule of Kirunal three times weekly to maintain a balance of his essential fatty acids.

Adam is an 8 year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy. A health care practitioner prescribed 6 tablespoons of fish oil which he took over an 18 month period. Adam’s parents were deeply concerned with his deteriorating condition and a red cell lipid test was drawn June 2005. Adam’s EPA was grossly elevated (H) at 3888 %, his DHA was also (H) at 312 % and his Arachidonic was deeply suppressed (L) at 356 %. Adam’s EPA was the highest on record with Arachidonic Acid the lowest ever recorded. Adam presented with symptoms of nausea, poor appetite, hypotonia (low muscle tone), poor coordination, severely abnormal gait (walking), with stiff and very slow movement. Interesting to note that Adam’s brain function was good, even elevated, however he could not perform physically. As soon as the fi sh oil was stopped Adam’s appetite increased and his nausea disappeared. He was started on 10 capsules of high potency evening primrose oil daily along with 4 tablespoons of 4 to 1 omega 6 to omega 3 oil. Because of the severe distortion of Adam’s essential fatty acids it will be necessary to retest in 3 months to track the changes. Fatty Acids are normally tested yearly.

Adam’s hypotonia provides a clearer picture of the modulating effect of EPA on Arachidonic. the term modulate is insuffcient to describe the power of EPA considering excess intake. It takes an exaggerated overdose such as Adam’s to paint a vivid picture of the power of fatty acid function. Elevation of EPA can literally block function, not just modulate, thereby impacting all thought and motion. EPA’s effect is similar to the action of NSAIDS blocking Cox I and II, and could be an alternative therapy to those common drugs. A concept anathema to the drug world since the occasional use of EPA would have few negative concerns, however, deep over-expression could be — as with the above case histories. the mode of action of NSAIDS is to specifically block Arachidonic, which it effectively does. EPA accomplishes the same effect, which opens a new focus on EFA metabolism. It also brings the omega 3 fatty acids into sharper focus in relation to drugs and homeostasis, all of which is little understood or appreciated in today’s rush to endorse too much fish oil. A smaller fish oil capsule with a higher EPA content such as Kirunal could be a much better choice to fight inflammation. It’s natural (NSAIDs are drugs) and we all need fish oil, they’re essential – however, as stated above, use carefully.

Note: There is an innate ability to re-acquire a balanced state given a change in lifestyle. The variation in age, gender, and general health are so varied that to make an estimate as to time difficult. Physicians can order a BodyBio Fatty Acid Profile for accurate assessment to determine the right balance of fatty acids needed. (Information on the BodyBio Red Blood Cell FA test for Health Care Providers – please call BodyBio at 888 320 8338 or go to our website at

The literature is replete with information on the value of omega 3, with little on the value of omega 6. It is much too deep and complicated a subject to address in brief; however, the omega 6 family is by far the predominant fatty acid family, having vast number of management functions throughout the body. The power of EPA, at ~ 0.46% of the red cell compared to ~14% of arachidonic acid, is relegated to modulate and down-regulate arachidonate, thereby refining function and raising performance to a higher level, which it effectively does. A look inside the retina provides an excellent example of the specialization of the two fatty acid families.

There are 100 million photoreceptor cells responsible for sight in each retina. To perform at a high level they require the optimal lipid energy available in the membranes of the outer segment of the cell. Predators such as cats, bears, birds of prey, all carnivorous life in the oceans, and especially primates have a high concentration of DHA, a 22 lipid carbon chain. DHA has the highest number of double bonds [6] within that chain. The more double bonds, the higher the energy value.

In primates, particularly humans, the membrane of the eye contains ~50-55% DHA (the highest in the body, the brain has ~17- 22%). Grazing animals have ample access to the lowest order of omega 3, alpha linolenic (ALA), which begins the n-3 family with 3 double bonds. ALA is high in green leafy vegetation, although the fatty acid content is low. However, grazing animals cannot efficiently metabolize ALA up to DHA. We are also inefficient in this process, however, we are a predator – we can eat fish and get all the DHA we need. Small mammals, such rats are 100% efficient in fatty acid metabolism. The big grass eaters use instead a 22 carbon omega 6, which they metabolize up to 5 double bonds, the maximum number for the n-6s.

There is a dramatic difference in the energy value of a 22 carbon n-6 with 5 double bonds contrasted to a 22 carbon n-3 DHA with 6 double bonds. That difference registers with a significant improvement in eyesight, which gives all predators a leg up in survival. The big cats can watch the herd close u,p whereas the antelopes have to raise their noses high in the air and sniff, hoping to get a sense of what’s out there. That’s a huge advantage. In addition, the higher concentration of DHA in our predator brains translates to higher intelligence since DHA is directly involved with synaptic activity and brain function. However, it does not correlate that an over-expression of DHA will increase brain power in adults, but if the mother does not take in sufficient omega 3 HUFAs (highly unsaturated fatty acids with DHA) during pregnancy or when nursing, the baby’s intellect may not fully develop. The pregnant mother needs generous intakes to nurture her fetus throughout pregnancy. Postpartum depression has in fact, been linked to omega-3 deficiency. The newborn needs it to build and mature all the organs. Older children need the omega-3s to help them function in school and avoid behavioral problems. Parents need them also, perhaps even more so.

The Right Stuff

Getting these vital fatty acids into the body has presented a challenge of purity, itself a concept that encompasses more than a single idea. Acquiring oil from fish is not as simple as getting juice from an orange, where a single earnest squeeze yields results. In juice, there is nothing that needs to be separated, unless pulp is an issue. With fish bodies, there are concerns with removing proteins, environmental insults like heavy metals and micro-organisms, and even ancillary fats that might impede EFA/DHA uptake.

Practically endless discussion has pitted the triglyceride (TG) form of fish oil against the ethyl-ester (EE) form in terms of bioavailability, safety and efficacy. Looking at myriad scientific reviews, we conclude that the differences are minor and inconsequential, unable to be judged as physiologically or clinically significant. So far, it seems that once a steady state of supplementation has been achieved, the biological outcomes are alike. In fact, most CVD-related trials have used the EE form and the National Eye Institute uses it in its AREDS 2 trials (West, 2016) (Ackman, 1992). Clouding the matter is that humans absorb these fats through different routes:  preduodenal, lymphatic via chylomicrons, and the route that uses the portal vein to the liver. Thus, it is difficult to compare results. It is the EE form that has been recommended for standardization (and has been used to manufacture a pharmaceutical fish oil).

BodyBio Kirunal is derived from fish bodies by a process that uses supercritical fluid extraction based on the very low temperatures of solid carbon dioxide. This process provides an oxygen-free media, therein preventing the oxidation and eventual rancidity common to most fish oil products on the market. It further allows extracting selectively low polar lipid compounds, thus avoiding the co-extraction of polar impurities that include inorganic substances, such as heavy metals.

If there be a limitation to supercritical CO2 extraction, it is the increased cost, not only because of the high-pressure equipment, but also because the raw material needs to be freeze dried in order to reduce moisture below 20% and to keep the n-3 fats, the delicate PUFA’s, unaltered. The high level of n-3 fats in supercritical CO2 extraction surpasses all other processes, largely due to low temperatures and a non-oxidant atmosphere. Rarely does the temperature reach 104° F (40 ° C).

There is no detriment to appearance of the oil liberated in this manner, since color, neutral lipid composition and fatty acids profiles are similar. Important are oil acidity, total oxidation value, inclusion of volatile compounds, sensory properties and heavy metals, all of these characters favoring the supercritical CO2 method. Here, fishy off-flavors are eliminated and the potential for a trimethylamine miasma removed.

To BodyBio’s delight, in spite of the high initial investment, refinement costs and downstream processing eventually make the process competitive in that it may likewise be used to make specialty oils, such as nut oils and seed oils.

EPA and DHA are large and spacious n-3 fats, unable to sit next to each other on a single glycerol molecule. Therefore, most fish oils do not contain more than about 30% EPA and DHA. To increase concentration, these fatty acids can be removed by converting them to ethyl esters. Once they are freed, their concentrations are enriched. Supercritical extraction is able to reduce or eliminate cholesterol and contaminants that include the typical environmental insults, such as dioxins, PCB’s, and heavy metals, offering an EPA/DHA content in excess of 60%. Extending the process to feature supercritical fluid chromatography, 90%+ concentrations may be realized.

Molecular distillation, long the darling of the fish oil trade, suffers as much as 350% higher thermal stress than supercritical fluid extraction, and a much lower capability to selectively extract the essential fats desired. Attaining 95% EPA and DHA gives BodyBio Kirunal a triple value in a single capsule.

Fat Facts: Separating Fat From Fiction

Our life blood is in the sources of fatty acids we ingest to nourish our bodies. The media circus makes it difficult to separate the factoidal wheat from the chaff. The internet would have us believe that fish oil is the answer to all of life’s aches, pains and decrepitudes, and that omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids, especially the linoleic acid that is common to seed oils, is the scourge of our well-being. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here Are The Facts In A Nutshell:

All essential fatty acids are just that – essential. Removing an essential fatty acid from the diet will likely lead to serious medical conditions. The omega-6 fats in the food supply include linoleic, gamma-linolenic and arachidonic acids. Although health enthusiasts now agree that pasture-raised butter and free-range eggs are healthy, they draw the line at seed oils, labeling linoleic acid as especially detrimental to health. However, these purveyors of misinformation have no qualms about pushing the consumption of nuts, which are heavy in monounsaturated fats and shallow in the polyunsaturated omega-6s. The judgment that n-6 fats are unhealthy arose from their capacity to drive inflammation by converting to arachidonic acid (AA), a physiological process actually lacking in efficiency and reliable outcome. Nonetheless, indisputable is that Linoleic acid (LA) is a primary essential fatty acid vital to the mitochondria. Do you see the problem? No one checked the medical facts. Linoleic acid is crucial to health. To settle the dispute, not one medical paper, not even from the most respected lipid researchers, has found LA to be a threat to health at all.

So What Is Bad For The Body?

Toxic fatty acids from heated, overheated and continuously-heated oils are harmful. The greater is their unsaturation, the greater is their toxicity. While there is no doubt that trans-fats are vile, toxic fatty acids are worse. What they exact upon the brain and body is frightening.

Have you ever noticed a health food store chains with prepared food cook in canola oil? They actually fry chicken in canola oil! Canola is a genetically-modified, polyunsaturated oil that creates dangerous aldehydes when heated to cooking temperatures. These formaldehyde cousins eventually embed themselves into our lipid membranes, causing inflammatory responses and a menagerie of diverse problems. Is olive oil any better? A monounsaturated omega-9, it contains oleic acid, a fatty acid whose health benefits are heralded, but whose associated polyphenols display more salubrity by modulating the oxidation of blood lipids, this according to a 2011 report by the European Food Safety Authority. A monumental concern, made public recently, is that olive oil is being diluted as much as 70% with sunflower, canola, walnut and other polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).  These relatively tasteless adulterants contribute to aldehyde toxicity when heated. Even at two dollars an ounce, first-cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil may be a contaminated fraud. At its finest, (extra virgin) olive oil serves better as an enhancement than as a cooking oil, unless its temperature is carefully monitored, lest its phenolic promises be compromised. It is prudent to avoid cooking with any monounsaturated (avocado, olive) and especially with polyunsaturated oils (grape seed, sesame, canola, safflower, sunflower, corn) due to their PUFA content. It is advisable to cook at moderate temperatures, using coconut oil, animal fats, or butter/ghee. Get back to basics; guess what our grandmothers used?

To our disappointment, a majority of polyunsaturated fats have become hybridized without our knowledge, leaving us with altered products that fail to deliver the health benefits we once enjoyed. What is now high-oleic sunflower or safflower oil is not the same healthful fat we used to know. To compound matters, the food supply has become a nationwide, uncontrolled experiment in culinary and dietary manipulation, offering the spoils to the victorious industry and the spoiled results to the victims. Salad dressings, mayonnaises and assorted fat-related condiments have suffered a similar fate.

If people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, it is doubly so in the realm of fatty acids. To render false information is lying, but to hide information is also a lie. In this regard, we have been deprived of knowing the details of omega-6 pathways, having been told only that omega-6s present with inflammatory compounds as end-products. First, let’s be aware that pre-formed AA, provided by meat and its fat, and by butter and cream leads to the essential series 2 prostaglandins. Albeit pro-inflammatory, these prostaglandins are the lead eicosanoids in the body and are crucial to maintenance of our health. For example, without them there would be no healing of a cut, since white blood cells and platelets would not be beckoned to the scene. Linoleic acid, the mother n-6 fatty acid, is the premier support of cardiolipin and the mitochondria. LA is converted by enzyme activity to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), dihomo-gamma linolenic acid (DGLA) and eventually to the anti-inflammatory series 1 prostaglandins. 

The second tidbit to which we need attend is the potentially virulent, toxic and inflammatory character of oils exposed to elevated temperatures. The problem does not come from linoleic acid or any other n-6 fat! We have seen microscope images of cell membranes that have been assaulted and battered by these debased and corrupted lipid entities, particularly in the membranes of individuals suffering autoimmune and neurological diseases, where aberrant, renegade lipids have become attached to their DNA, effectively altering gene expression from epigenetic insult. Removal of aldehyde-ridden supermarket oils from the diet is mandatory if optimal health is our goal. Though not top heavy with PUFAs, olive oil is likewise categorized.

Third in the list we find that essential fatty acids (EFAs) appear in echelons of physiological activity. The lower-echelon fats include linoleic acid (from sunflower seeds, high-linoleic safflower oil and high-linoleic acid sunflower oil) along the n-6 branch, and alpha-linolenic acid (from flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts) along the n-3 branch. The higher-order fatty acids include arachidonic acid (from cream, egg yolks, cheeses and meat) along the n-6 branch, and EPA / DHA (from marine sources) along the n-3 branch.

The fourth item of interest tells us that monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are not essential, meaning that the body can make them from the diet. These fats offer us only calories and gustatory satiety; they are not bioactive lipids. Avocados, olive oil and tree nuts provide MUFAs, while coconut oil and coconut butter, cocoa butter, meat fats, and dairy butter give us SFAs.

The quality of our Life is riveted in the lipids we ingest as they pivotal in the health of the cell membrane and as we have come to understand… the membrane is everything in optimizing our state of health.

Most Important To Avoid To Regain And Stabilize Health:

  • All fried food including French fries unless cooked at home in coconut oil
  • Fast foods, almost all contain heated, toxic oil
  • Commercial foods organic or not, almost all contain heated, toxic oil
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine, processed oils
  • Canola oil -often in processed foods / dressing, contains very long chain fatty acids
  • Peanut butter, peanuts, peanut oil, contains very long chain fatty acids
  • Mustard- contains very long chain fatty acids
  • Commercial mayo or salad dressing, use homemade with high linoleic safflower instead
  • Most Olive oil, limited availability of the pure oil, difficult to tell which one is pure
  • Commercial oils, high-oleic hybrid oils, including those labeled organic

Lipids, Oils And Fats You May Be Included In The Diet, But Don’t Contain Bioactive Lipids:

  • Organic coconut oil, useful in cooking
  • Olive oil, caution – limited availability of the pure oil, does not contain bioactive lipids

Lipids, Oils And Fats That Contain EFAs To Include To Optimize Health:

  • Concentrated phospholipids as PC and PE from BodyBio
  • 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 oil, SR-3, as BodyBio Balance oil
  • High Linoleic, organic, cold pressed Safflower oil (this is imported)
  • Nutiva® Organic Hempseed oil
  • Evening primrose oil, pure cold pressed (not sourced from China)
  • Wild caught, cold water fish
  • Caviar, Anchovies, Sardines from clean waters, not farmed
  • Free range, organic egg yolks
  • Raw, organic seeds-hemp, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, fenugreek, sesame
  • Homemade kefir (cow, goat, sheep, camel)
  • Limited amounts of grass-fed, free-range sources of dairy (cow, goat, sheep, camel) butter, ghee, cream

Alterations to the food supply explain the fifth entry. Where sunflower, safflower and soybean oils once were high in linoleic acid, they now are high in oleic acid, ostensibly making them candidates for the sauté pan, a place where they will still be denigrated and debased, yet a bad thing, although at a slower rate. The damage done to an oil that has been heated and reheated in a fast-food restaurant or local diner is mind-boggling. It’s little wonder that these oils are reclaimed to be used as biofuels in diesel engines. Using them in salad dressing or atop steamed vegetables is one thing, but cooking with them is quite another. No matter the molecular nature, a heated MUFA / PUFA oil is ultimately toxic.

Sixth in our hit parade is the contraindication of marine oils in the treatment of childhood seizure disorders, where administration of such has only exacerbated the condition. Here, the DHA fraction impinges upon the NMDA receptors and stimulates excitation, while the EPA moiety suppresses beta hydroxybutyrate, the primary ketone. Aggravating the matter is that most commercial fish oils are processed using elevated temperatures for extraction, leading to aldehyde formation and degradation of the fatty acids. Thus-damaged fish oils are toxic. On the other hand, wild fish, the ultimate source of marine oils, are not. Salmon, anchovies, sardines and caviar are preferred.

To realize that coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil, among a few others, are not essential fatty acids makes number seven in our list. Coconut oil and MCT oil produce ketones quickly, not needing bile to be digested and absorbed. Since coconut does not contain EFAs or MUFAs, it may be used for cooking.

Number eight is worthy of fanfare and flourish. Oils that carry very-long-chain fatty acids are a considerable challenge to the liver and the brain. Because of their size, they dangle outside the mitochondrial membrane, so need peroxisomes to be metabolized, to be burned or beta oxidized. Mustard oil, canola oil, peanut oil and peanut butter are sources.

Knowing the ninth entry introduces us to the bioactive oils that display EFAs and phospholipids crucial to optimal health. In this camp we find Specific-Ratio 3 or SR-3 oil as a prime source of a balanced 4:1 omega-6 / omega-3 ratio, featuring organic, cold-pressed, non-GMO safflower and flaxseed oils as the mother fatty acids. Related bioactive oils are high-linoleic safflower oil, raw organic seeds (sunflower, hemp, pumpkin, chia) and seed creams (soak overnight, blend), Canadian evening primrose oil, wild cold-water fish (especially caviar, anchovies, sardines), free-range eggs (the yolks).

Uridine and Phosphatidylcholine, Perfect Together

article4-cellsWhether the human body contains ten trillion or a hundred trillion cells makes little difference. It would take several lifetimes to count them. What does matter is how those cells communicate with each other, how they share messages about function, repair and reproduction. The basic unit of structure and function of living things, the cell is the building block of life. The word “cell” means “small room,” a fitting term for a structure that houses an assembly of bodies that direct life processes. Environment, genetics and lifestyle exert a greater influence on a cell’s viability than many people can imagine. To remain healthy, the cell must overcome insults every day. Air and water degradation, tobacco and alcohol use and abuse, and wretched eating habits are major participants in the unremitting assault on cellular equilibrium.

Of the several compounds vital to the cell’s structure and function, phosphatidylcholine, at 50% or more the major constituent of the cell membrane, is deemed paramount. As a circus would be useless without a tent, so would be the cell without its membrane. Phosphatidylcholine, abbreviated as PC, is a ubiquitous, naturally occurring phospholipid composed of a phosphate group, two fatty acids, and choline. Often confused with lecithin, PC verifiably stands alone, while lecithin is a mix of several second-team players that make a perfect emulsifier for mayonnaise but an inferior contributor to cellular integrity and health. PC is responsible for the surfactants critical to lung function and gastrointestinal stability, and is the precursor to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, responsible for arousal, learning, memory and motor activity.

PC is one of four phospholipids that comprise the membrane. The others are phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylserine (PS), and phosphatidylinositol (PI). Without its membrane, the cell would cease to function altogether—the Krebs cycle would be interrupted and there would be no energy and thus no life. It has been postulated that almost one third of all the genetic output of the human DNA cache is rooted in the membrane (Mouritsen, 2005).

The fluid character of the membrane is provided by essential fatty acids (EFA), both the omega-6 and omega-3 that the body must get from dietary sources. It’s not enough that we supply the proper amount of EFA’s; the ratio is perhaps more important. The proportion of n-6 to n-3 fats has been established as 4:1, as discovered in studies that have examined improvement in quality of life for both the well and the infirm (Yehuda, 1993, 1996) (Simopoulos, 2002, 2004, 2008).

All biological processes—every single one— rely on PC for their unimpeded activity. Information flowing from DNA to RNA to proteins needs PC; the manufacture of cellular energy and intracellular communication or signal transduction demands it. EFA-rich PC fluidizes the cell membrane to allow the smooth passage of vital substances into the cytoplasm and the movement of detritus out. It is well-accepted that some diseases, such as certain cancers, liver disease, neurological disorders and cell death, are related to a decrease in cell membrane fluidization resulting from a deficit of PC (PDR, 2001).

article4-bluegraphicThe shape of the PC molecule is ideal to serve as the basic structural unit of the biological membrane. The kink in the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) chain affords fluidity that acts to balance the lipids—and cholesterol—that are not members of the bilayer family. Lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder, PC molecules organize themselves into a protective phalanx that guards every cell and every organelle within. PC’s two tails are hydrophobic, face the inside of the cell and directly oppose others of their kind, thus forming an inner and an outer leaf. The hydrophilic head group faces the watery environs of which the body is largely made. The channels, gates and receptors that occupy the membrane help to run the machinery of life. Having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties, PC is an amphiphilic molecule. Its arrangement in the cell membrane parallels the structure, activity and function of a liposome.

A liposome is a tiny bubble (a vesicle) made from the same material as the cell membrane. But a liposome can be filled with medications and be used to deliver drugs in the treatment of some diseases, such as cancers. The core of a liposome is almost always aqueous and the circumference always a hydrophobic bilayer.

article4-liposomeHydrophobic substances, including pharmacologically active non-drugs, may be encapsulated by a liposome to increase their water solubility, thereby improving bioavailability and absorption. Liposomal delivery protects the contents from degradation in blood, thus increasing efficacy and reducing the possibility of a toxic event. By manipulating the lipid bilayer, scientists can create a time-released product that targets delivery of the material. A liposome can be made when a legitimate phospholipid, such as phosphatidylcholine (not lecithin) is placed in water and agitated or sonicated to form a bilayer. Low shear rates will form multilamellar liposomes, which resemble the layers of an onion. Sonication is the application of ultra sound to disrupt the stable condition of matter, allowing the lipid perimeter to re-amalgamate around the chosen material. (It works especially well to deactivate bacteria and to clean things, like jewelry, by breaking intermolecular interactions.) Vitamins, antigens, and even monoclonal antibodies may constitute a liposomal core.

One bioactive candidate substance that has garnered attention recently is uridine, a nucleoside component of RNA made from one molecule of uracil and one molecule of D-ribose. Uracil is a pyrimidine that replaces the thymine in DNA to make RNA. Together, pyrimidines and purines make both DNA and RNA. Ribose, or rather D-ribose as found naturally, is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) that forms the backbone of RNA. It’s related to the deoxyribose found in DNA.

article4-dna-strandsWhat’s the difference between DNA and RNA? That’s a good question. Both are nucleic acids, but they differ in that RNA is single-stranded while DNA is double-stranded. In RNA, uracil is an unmethylated form of thymine. It might be easier to view RNA as a carrier of messages and DNA as the owner’s manual for cell replication. There’s more, but that can be saved for another time.

Uridine is the active ingredient of its compounds, some of which may be phosphorylated or acetylated. It’s made by the liver from some foods, notably tomatoes, sugarcane, brewer’s yeast, broccoli and organ meats. Eating foods that are rich in RNA, however, may lead to health concerns because RNA also contains purines, the elements (adenosine and guanosine) responsible for conditions such as gout. But on the bright side—the very bright side—uridine as a supplement, combined with the essential n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, has been found to be as effective an antidepressant as commonly prescribed medications, such as Prozac® and other SSRI’s (Carlezon, 2005). Not only is uridine associated with positive mental health outcomes, but also with the resolution of mitochondrial disorders, some of which may be induced by certain medications, particularly those related to treatment of HIV and orotic aciduria, the latter a genetic disorder characterized by retarded growth, macrocytic anemia, and leukopenia, accompanied by urinary excretion of large amounts of orotic acid. (Weinberg, 2011).

In its monophosphate form, uridine is synthesized de novo from glycine, the smallest of the twenty amino acids found in proteins. Glycine is non-essential and can be manufactured by the body from another amino acid, serine. In the central nervous system, glycine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, with primary activity in the brainstem, spinal cord, and retina. Alone, it’s been used to enhance sleep quality (Yamadera, 2007). Uridine monophosphate is successfully converted to its di- and triphosphate forms, eventuating to a factor crucial in the formation of dendritic spines, which are bodies that protrude from the dendrites of a neuron in order to receive messages across the synapse. They act as a storage unit, a kind of capacitor, to assist the transmission of electrical signals to the neuron’s cell body.

article4-blue-orange-strandsDendritic spines are essential for intellectual ability, where their plasticity is associated with motivation, learning and memory. Long-term memory is mediated by the growth of new spines or the enlargement of existing ones. This helps to reinforce specific neural pathways. Because their lifespan is heavily influenced by (sensory) input activity, spine dynamics play a role in the maintenance of memory over a lifetime. In youngsters, the rate of spine turnover is relatively high, producing a net loss because the rate of elimination surpasses the rate of formation. Spines remain persistent in adulthood (Alvarez, 2007) (Zuo, 2005).

A form of uridine known as triacetyluridine is classified as a pro-drug because it serves as a precursor to an endogenous compound—cytidine triphosphate (CTP)—that has the capability to address the progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons that characterize Parkinson’s disease (Cansev, 2008). In its several forms, uridine promotes neurite outgrowth and stimulates downstream messengers that modulate neurotransmitter release (Krügel, 2001) (Shoji-Kasai, 2002) and helps to increase the number of dendritic spines in the brain (Sakamoto, 2007).

Living in an impoverished sensory environment retards memory development and impairs its function in adulthood. Brain phosphatidylcholine synthesis uses uridine as an element of its totality and, in combination with polyunsaturated fatty acids, has been found to improve cognitions in young and aged laboratory animals and humans, much the same as would be expected from living in an enriched sensory environment from birth (Holguin, Aug. 2008). In later study by Holguin, phosphatidylcholine constituents, PUFA omega-3’s, and uridine combined to make a cocktail shown to increase total brain phospholipids and to enhance cognitive function by increasing synaptic membrane content (Holguin, Nov., 2008).

When cerebral function is disrupted and presents with periodic convulsive seizures, a diagnosis of epilepsy may be anticipated. Here, a sudden discharge of excess electrical activity may affect many areas of the brain or focus on only a few, resulting in either grand mal or petite mal episodes, the former being characterized by loss of consciousness and the latter by clouded consciousness. More than one condition may elicit seizures, making etiology difficult to pinpoint, although genes, head trauma, dementia, or developmental disorders, among others, may be implicated. Anti-epileptic drugs, because of their limited efficacy and unwelcome side effects, have spurred an interest in new, perhaps even alternative, treatments. The Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth investigated uridine as a possible endogenous anti-epileptic modulator in specific patterns of epilepsy. It was learned that administration of uridine effected a reduction in EEG spike frequency and improved visual spatial memory in laboratory animals exposed to lithium-pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, which may entail hippocampus damage (Müller, 2009) (Zhao, 2006).

Of greater concern to the general public is Alzheimer’s disease (AD), whether addressing prevention or the presence of inchoate dementia. Often beginning with slight memory loss and culminating with the inability to exercise judgment and to communicate effectively, Alzheimer’s has been the target of a number of pharmaceutical approaches. Decades-old research from the U. of California identified synapse degradation as a major factor in the onset of cognitive impairment (Terry, 1991). Years later, a medical food containing phosphatide precursors (PC) and associated cofactors, including uridine and PUFA’s, was found to improve memory in mild AD patients (Scheltens, 2010). Subjects suffering mild cognitive decline in the absence of dementia also found significant benefit from this medical food. In both mild AD and incipient cognitive impairment, total phospholipid and fatty acid levels were deficient (Conquer, 2000). Herein lies but one rationale for marrying uridine to PC. Because the typical American diet lacks the nutritive wholeness of the past, based on the shared rogueries of perfunctory agricultural practices and food handling, and on the dubious ways of too many home and commercial kitchens, supplementation of uridine and PC might a prudent habit to cultivate.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

PC (Phosphatidylcholine) – Fountain of Health (Longevity & Vitality)

article3-moleculemodelPhosphatidylcholine is a wunderbar nutrient – yet, it remains an enigma. At 6 syllables it’s a bit of a tongue twister, easier to say PC. In Europe, it’s even longer, Polyenylphosphatidylcholine, 10 syllables, which abbreviates to PPC. Both mean exactly the same. Both refer to the same wonder nutrient. While most all supplements such as anti-oxidants, B- vitamins, minerals, pro-biotics, CoQ-10, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, etc., have excellent nutritional value and contribute to better health, few rank on a level with PC – in fact – none do.

So – why is it that PC is still a relatively modest player in the world of nutrients and natural medicine, while the research literature on PC is awash with positive studies? Why, in the normal evolutionary process of recognition, has PC failed to obtain its rightful role? There’s a story underlying it that needs to be told. Somehow, a glitch on this side of the Atlantic essentially sabotaged its climb up the ladder. About the mid 90’s, our illustrious North American edible oil producers made a decision which muddied the waters and threw a wrench into our wonder nutrient, however, that decision was a profitable one, for them. The history begins with the pressing of the oil from the seeds, such as sunflower, canola, corn, flax, etc., but mainly soybeans, the largest seed oil produced in the world. After pressing, hydrating and harvesting the oil and the seed protein, one of the products left over is a gummy substance called lecithin, found in all cells.

That sticky substance became an important ingredient in foods such as spreads, margarines, chocolates, cosmetics, etc. Nutritionally, it contained PC, so there was also an effort to introduce it as a supplement. The concentrated lecithin was combined with oil, encapsulated in bulk and sold to the vitamin companies who repacked it under their own label. Somehow, in the ensuing effort, someone in charge had the bright idea to call it – Phosphatidylcholine, instead of Lecithin, which is what it really was. The ruling established was this: if the PC content in the lecithin was at least 30% – it could be called Phosphatidylcholine. That turned out to be the ultimate monkey wrench for our wonder nutrient. Soybean lecithin is a complex mix containing ~65-75% phospholipids together with triglycerides and smaller amounts of sterols and carbohydrates. The major phospholipid is phosphatidylcholine, including phosphatidylethanolamine and inositol-containing phosphatides. That singular decision, to name lecithin PC, was clearly a gross biochemical error. It’s just not done in the realms of science because it’s not scientifically accurate. The confusion that followed has been with us to this day with products being marketed and sold as PC regardless of the fact that they are not PC.

Even though it is a component in the lecithin mix, PC and its membrane partner phospholipids, P-ethanolamine, P-inositoI, and Phosphatidic Acid, because of digestion, cannot make it through the gut intact. The lipase enzymes in the gut disassemble all oils which include phospholipids and triglycerides. Gut enzymes, such as proteases and amylases digest proteins and carbohydrates in the same manner as lipases do to the oils, they cut them apart. Only the basic components are allowed through, not the whole PC molecule.

article1-PC-moleculeTo obtain PC along with the other PLs, which every cell membrane needs, those parts must be created from scratch or reconstituted from the digested components, which young and healthy cells can easily do. For aging or diseased cells, it’s another story. For PC, and the other PLs in lecithin to become valuable nutrients, they must first be separated from the raw lecithin, an expensive complex process, which only a small group of nutrition companies have succeeded in doing. Once separated, PC and its associate phospholipids become miscible in water – repeat – they dissolve in water, enabling them to make the trip through the gut – intact. Only then can PC perform its membrane enhancing wonders as we will see in the following Israeli studies.

Presently, as far as we know, the only companies that have succeeded to separate the phosphatides from lecithin are BodyBio, American Lecithin, and Essentiale Forte®, sold in pharmacies in Europe. All other vitamin companies continue to market the misnamed capsules under their own label, which, will not succeed in providing any PC, and which recently, has been shown to be a possible cause of atherosclerosis (Wang 2011). Imagine – how many people have heard about the wonder nutrient PC, searched on Google, and bought the misnamed lecithin capsules in shops, or on line? How many of those funny capsules with zero value have been consumed worldwide in over a half a century as a result of that labeling loophole? And it’s still going on, unfortunately, to the detriment of all those who, as yet, don’t know the difference. Talk about selling snake oil…

article3-supplementsSo, why is PC such a wonder nutrient and why is it important in maintaining health and longevity? Are we destined to succumb to illness as we age and lose PC? Our cell membranes naturally contain PC and SM (sphingomyelin), both are phospholipids and both have a choline head group. However, there is a shift that occurs in the composition of the membrane with the growth of SM and a fall in PC levels. SM is a combination of ceramide and PC, wherein ceramide combines with PC and absconds with PC’s choline head, enabling the formation of SM. The relationship between those two choline phospholipids in mammalian plasma membranes is critical and directly affects cell function. This was demonstrated most clearly by Professor Yechezkel Barenholz and his colleagues in 1985.

article3-barenholzIn a dramatic study, Dr. Barenholz, head of biochemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, reported on the changes of PC and SM in the lipid composition of rat myocytes (heart cells). They were able to extract rat hearts and separate the myocytes, the heart cells, and keep the cells alive in Petri dishes in their lab with a nourishing culture. After a day or two, by themselves, the myocytes would congregate together and begin to beat in unison. They did what heart cells are designed to do. They beat – and they did it at ~160 beats/minute. The scientists measured the beats as well as the PC and SM content in the cells and watched the decline of the PC/ SM ratio in the first three days from 20% SM to ~33% SM — then, over the next 14 days, from 33% to about 50% SM. What occurred in the culture was a steady loss of PC, replaced by Sphingomyelin, from 20% to 50% in 14 days, accompanied by a steady decrease in heart beats. Between days 7 and 12 in culture, the beats/minute fell from a vibrant 160, down to a near lifeless 20 beats/minute. On day 16, they added PC into their Petri dishes, and in one day, the myocytes reverted back to their healthy rate of 160 beats per/minute. In just 24 hours, they went from near death back to vibrant heart cells. This was also accompanied by a normalization of seven vital enzymes (Yechiel 1985a, 1985b). Simply changing their diet by adding PC into their cultures, reversed the rise in SM and brought life back to the near dead myocytes, a dramatic example of the wonders of PC.

However, Professor Barenholz delved even deeper. In 1989, he was awarded a US patent #4,812,314, on the use of PC for increasing male longevity and fertility. Dr. Barenholz, a recognized world leader in lipid technology, together with colleagues, focused on the changes that occur with cell aging, principally on the loss of PC as with the myocyte example, which showed a rise in the levels of SM, and a concomitant rise in cholesterol (CH) (Barenholz 1982, 1984). The scenario of lowered PC and raised SM is especially pronounced in senescent or diseased tissues. For example, plasma membranes associated with the aorta and arterial wall show a 6-fold decrease in PC/SM ratio with aging. SM is also increased in several diseases, such as the hereditary Niemann-Pick Disease, and in toxic exposures. In atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death and morbidity worldwide, the SM content can be as high as 70-80% of the total phospholipids in advanced aortic lesion (Barenholz 1982, 1984). To put this in context, Kummerow et al, article3-labratUniversity of Illinois, Urbana, analyzed the SM content in umbilical cord, and discovered that it was ~10% (Kummerow 2001). In essence, we start life with ~10% SM and 90% PC, and thereafter SM increases, and as recorded, with disturbing cellular outcomes. Kummerow further has shown that arteriole obstructions are directly related to the change of PC and SM reaching above 45-48% SM, resulting in a rise of arteriole sclerosis and death, similar to the findings of Barenholz fifteen years prior. Type in ‘sphingomyelin atherosclerosis’ on Medline, and you will get 228 studies from around the world, corroborating Barenholz and Kummerow on SM and cardiac disease. Clearly, a loss of PC is an unhealthy event. Thus, maintaining the level of PC in the cell membrane as we age is vital to cellular health and longevity. It may even be the sought after fountain of youth we are looking for.

The 1989 invention involves administering PC liposomes as an intravenous injection (parenterally, not orally as used earlier), to an individual (animal or human) to reverse age-related changes in the lipid composition of organs and tissues, such as heart muscle cells and red blood cells, by an infusion of egg PC as a lipid exchange (egg PC is molecularly similar to soy PC, the fatty acids may alter, but not the molecule). Since the aging process in heart muscle is characterized by a decrease in PC, with a coinciding increase in SM and cholesterol, the PC liposomes have the ability to promote an exchange of PC for SM and CH within the membrane. Adding PC liposomes into the blood induces an exchange of PC within the heart cell membranes and reverses the membrane concentration of SM and CH. This would also occur in membranes throughout the body, including the brain.

article3-petridishAn important therapeutic application of the invention is increasing an individual’s ability to withstand cardiac stress. The utility of the treatment was shown in laboratory animals following congestive heart failure or serious damage to the heart, the red cells showed about a two-fold decline in PC/SM between ages 3 and 18 months. This was reversed by three PC liposome treatments within nine days with PC SUVs administered to 18 month aged rats, whereby there was an increase in the ratio nearly sevenfold. The treated 18 month old male rats were able to maintain blood pressure under stress about 50% longer than untreated rats. There were several additional studies, however, the most impressive were the next two on longevity and sex.

Effect of Treatment on Longevity with PC SUVs
(SUVs are small spherical membrane enclosures, cellular look-a-likes)

This study examines the effect of PC treatment on animal longevity. The rats tested were 30 month old male Sprague-Dawley rats. Since Sprague-Dawley rats normally die between the ages of about 24-30 months, the rats tested showed a dramatic increase in longevity. A test group of six rats were each given PC-SUVs, prepared as an IV, at a dose of between 0.5 and 1 g PC liposome lipid through the tail vein, and similarly dosed after one week, and then every two months thereafter. A second control group of same-age male rats was similarly injected with saline water on the same dose schedule, 2 doses a week apart, then one dose every 2 months, until the animal died of natural causes. The 6 animals in the control group had an average age at death of ~34 months. Of the PC treated animals, 2 were sacrificed at 44 months, 1 at 45 months, and 3 at 48 months, giving an average age at death of about 46 months, however all of the treated animals were sacrificed (killed), so, the actual length of survival remains unknown. Even so, this equates to a substantial life extension, approximately 33% in the animals treated.

article3-cellEffect of PC-SUV Treatment on Sexual Competence/ Virility
It is known that sexual function in male rats declines with age. If males 30 months of age or older are housed with younger, fertile females, many have fewer litters, and the actual litter count is lower than would be born if the same females had been with young males. To test the effect of PC liposome treatment on sexual function, a group of 10 rats, each 34-36 months old (close to or near death), were treated with egg PC-SUVs every three days for six days (a total of three doses) with 0.5 to 1 gm lipid per animal through the tail vein with the untreated animals received just sterile saline over the same period. Nine days after the first injection, the animals were each placed in a cage with 3 female Sprague-Dawley rats 5 to 6 months old. The single male and 3 females stayed together for l to 3 weeks, or even more, ~7 weeks, after which the males were removed. Only 1 of the 3 females in contact with untreated males for the single week produced litters, and this increased to about 2 of the 3 females that were able to stay together for 7 weeks. In all cases, litter sizes were less than 10. With treated males, about 2 of the 3 females produced litters with 1 week of contact, and virtually all of the females littered with 3 weeks of contact. Litter sizes were the normal 10-14 animals. Thus, sexual performance and virility was substantially greater in the animals who received PC. Something to consider if conception has been difficult – PC.

Earlier, I indicated the three oral PC products with acceptable quality, which requires additional explanation. PC from BodyBio, American Lecithin and Essentiale are all miscible (water dissolving) and efficacious. However, there is recent research on mitochondria energy that is noteworthy. In 2012-13 there were a number of studies on mitochondria and ETC (electron transport chain). Production of ATP, which initiates on the inner membrane of mitochondria, is newly recognized to be dependent on PE (phosphatidylethanolamine) – not on PC (Böttinger, Joshi, 2012, Tasseva 2013). PE is generally ~half the concentration of PC in cell membranes; however, the dynamics responsible for the separation of protons that drive the production of ATP, sit on the inner membrane of the mitochondria, and are enshrouded with a predominance of PE for the ETC chemistry to play out. BodyBio PC contains both PC and PE, whereas Phos Chol® (and/or Nutrasal®) from American Lecithin, and Forte® contain
only PC.

The results of Professor Barenholz and his colleagues in demonstrating the overwhelming, and mostly hidden results of PC, were performed over a quarter of a century ago, and are nothing short of ‘remarkable’. Dr. Barenholz used IV egg PC, which, to our knowledge, has not been commercially duplicated. However, he used oral PC liposomes as a food in the myocyte petri dishes and witnessed the myocytes recovery, which was admirable, even shocking. If PC is produced correctly, which BodyBio PC is, there is every reason to expect it to be the Super Star nutritional supplement. Maintaining sexual activity and disease-free life as we age has been a universal dream. Having experienced the life-saving, life-promoting qualities of PC with thousands of doctors and their patients has been a fascinating healing journey for all of us at BodyBio. We invite you to join us at and begin your BodyBio PC journey towards better health. Also, take a look at the video on PC and cancer – “An Amazing Story”.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Phosphatidylcholine: Life’s Designer Molecule

article1-LipidMembraneOf the tens of thousands of molecules that make up the life of a cell, Phosphatidylcholine (PC) stands apart. PC is a phospholipid, one of four that link together to form the membrane. The largest is Choline (PC), 2nd, Ethanolamine (PE), 3rd, Serine (PS), and 4th, Inositol (PI), with each having the same prefix “phosphatidyl”. However, Phosphatidylcholine at ~50% is the largest concentration in the membrane and reigns supreme of all cell components. If there is the possibility of such an exalted position, PC deserves that titled role as the pinnacle of the marvelous membrane and all metabolism.

The membrane is the structural skin that surrounds the cell as well as the tiny organelles within it. But it is far more than an outside protective layer — it is literally the essence of life. You may damage other parts of the cell, even remove the center of the nucleus, the DNA (enucleate), and the cell will still carry on for several months. But damage the membrane and the cell is no more (Lipton 2005). “By spontaneously closing off to form an underwater bubble, the lipid bilayer membrane acts as Nature’s Test Tube, which packs the other biochemical families into a confined interior, so that biochemical evolution can proceed. In brief, lipids provide biological packaging and, in this capacity, they are the molecules which actually create the biological cell (Rudin 1985).

The membrane is a lipid envelope that encases and protects the internal working of cell. It’s the beginning of life itself, for without the benefits of an enclosure there is only momentary bits of chemistry that form in the primordial sea and as quickly swoosh away. There are ~100 trillion cells in the body, all with the same basic membrane structure, even for the neurons of our brain. The chemistry of neurons is only partially understood, however, the membrane is responsible for the propagation (carries) of all our messages, both sending and receiving. The dry weight of the brain is 60% fat, with the balance protein. Since the membrane manages all our thoughts and is basically fat, the term fathead should be deemed a compliment. The membrane manages the production of energy in the mitochondria, for without the double membrane structure there is no storage space for the separation of electrical charge — no Krebs cycle, and subsequently no energy. The sheer volume of membrane in the body is mind-bending. The liver alone has ~300,000 square feet of membrane. That’s more than 4 football fields; 4.63 to be exact.

article1-PC-moleculeIt manages all of our senses, and particularly the miracle of sight. The retina of the eye contains 100 million photo-receptor cells, rods and cones. Within each one of those cells are 140 million receivers (peptides) called rhodopsin, sitting in a stack of membrane flattened sacks in each photo-receptor cell waiting patiently for a portion of light, a photon which, after capturing one or two, sends a signal back to the brain, again on the membrane of the optic nerve, giving us the ability to see (Rodieck 1998). This and much more assemble miraculously together to make up the mental and physical structure of each of us, with the lipid membrane literally the center of it all.

article1-polypeptide-subunitThe membrane is composed of phospholipids (PLs) lined up soldier fashion in a double layer of opposing PLs, with the head groups looking out into the surrounding water on either side of the membrane. The membrane is an extremely tiny spark of life’s chemistry. Even “tiny” pales in being able to convey the smallness. The membrane is only 5 nanometers thick (Owen 1981, Lee 1983, Shinitsky 1984) If you were to stack sheets of them one upon the other — it would take 10,000 membranes to make up the thickness of a piece of paper. It’s physically not possible to envision a world that small. They automatically organize themselves into a bilipid sphere to provide the protecting outer garment of every cell and every organelle within the cell. The phospholipid structure is a marvel. Its two lipid tails (the oil) are hydrophobic, hate water, while the head groups, PC, PE etc, are hydrophilic and love water. The term is amphipathic, meaning that the molecule (the PL) has both hydrophobic and hydrophilic ends, one end comfortable in water, and one that is not. That combination provides an automatic ability to self-assemble with both oily tails protected in the middle of the membrane. All life on the planet is water based. The cellular trick is to have a protective outer skin that shields and acts as an insulator since the chemistry inside must be able to maintain a different composition from the watery world it is now floating in.

PLs perform their self-organization with aplomb. They jump together, or flee together, for self protection since oil and water do not mix. You could say that the lipids are hiding–actually, they are. Each layer of the bilipid arrangement is completely independent of the other; there is no connection between the inner leaflet of the membrane and the outer leaflet. The two float separately but stay together because they must. The water on either side sets the rules. However, this importance of PL self-organization and the relation to our watery environment is not readily apparent.

With the head groups looking out on either side of the cell, comfortably sticking their heads into water, the cell has an ingeniously designed protective outer garment. That, however, is only the beginning, for within the membrane sits a huge selection of ion channels and receptors from our genetic library that literally run the entire cellular system, all from the comfort and protection of that oily center. It is proposed that ~30% of all the genetic output of our DNA library is embedded in the membrane as peptides, ion channels or receptors, with another ~30% attached to the membrane (60% total) (Mouritsen 2005).

Phospholipids (PL) are composed of a glycerol backbone, a head group, and 2 fatty acid lipid tails,16 to 24 carbons long. The tails are like a flexible goose neck lamp. They comprise ~70 % of the total PL molecule ~800 Daltons (Fox 1972) and are critical to its function. A large percentage of those lipid tails are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), meaning that they must be part of our diet, we cannot make them. Each of the four parts of the phospholipid membrane is critical, but it is the makeup of those lipid tails, part saturated and part unsaturated, that gives the cell the essence of life.

article1-PC-capsLecithin: Lecithin is a residue from soybean oil production and contains a relatively high concentration of PC, along with PE, PI and other phosphatides. Most vitamin manufacturers market a lecithin product and call it phosphatidylcholine. The majority of lecithin is used in the food and cosmetic industries. However, a portion is pre-encapsulated by the oil producers, ADM, Central Soya, etc., and sold to supplement packers, who market it as PC. Somehow, over the years, the terms lecithin and PC have been used interchangeably, even by medical researchers. However, they are not one and the same, nor should they be. PC, PE, PI etc, are just chemical components of lecithin.

The PC in Lecithin is oil based. The PC molecule is a phospholipid, which is ~70% oil because of its two lipid tails. It is partially hydrophobic (the oily tails), amphipathic, while its head group is hydrophilic. In brief, it’s two-faced. To become a structural PL, It must be exposed or introduced along with many other PLs into a watery environment to form a membrane. Oil does not run away from oil, there’s no need. The oily tails automatically run away from water (hydrophobic), which becomes the driving force for the formation of the membrane. Take that hydrophobic force away, which oily lecithin does, and the molecule cannot perform as intended. It will not become an important cellular structural component. Once lecithin is ingested, the lipases of the digestive tract cleave apart the PLs, removing the lipid tails and the head groups such as choline, and are recycled as cellular raw material. That’s basic fatty acid digestion. Taking lecithin as a food or supplement can raise choline levels. Adding additional choline has recently been shown to be potentially harmful. (see below.)

Yehuda: Each of our cells can produce non-essential FAs, such as the saturated palmitic and stearic acids and the monounsaturated oleic and nervonic acids, but not the essential FAs (EFAs), the omega 6 or the omega 3s. Those two lipid families are the EFAs. However, it is the ratio of those vital n6s and n3s that is critical. For that we are indebted to the research of Yehuda, Mostofsky, Rabinowitz and Carrasso from Bar Ilan University, Haifa, Israel (1993,94,95,962,972,983,992,20002,02,03,04,052,07,08). They have unlocked the most important missing piece of dietary science — the balance of the essential fatty acids. It is difficult to describe the value this discovery represents. We are only in the infancy of understanding fatty acid biochemistry. EFAs provide the highly fluid character of the membrane, which is the essence of life in both plants and animals. The studies of Yehuda et al solved a long debated question — what fats should we be eating? What is the optimum dietary ratio of n6 to n3. Yehuda et al have unequivocally shown this to be 4:1, 80% n6 to 20% n3*, and from our brief dozen years of employing the 4:1 ratio, our clinical success has been extremely positive.

Finding a research basis for dietary EFAs was a milestone. We could now, with reasonable confidence, adjust the diet to elevate the base EFAs* using sunflower oil for linoleic (LA), and flaxseed oil for linolenic (ALA). Raising the EFA levels in the body using the 4:1 ratio has not only provided positive clinical results but has unlocked a hidden secret for nutritional health. As FA researchers, we had strongly felt that raising fluidity alone was the underlying need, but without Yehuda we were just guessing. Adding in excessive amounts of fish oil was rapidly proving unhealthy, as was the excess of omega 6 oils that were part of our newly-processed food world. Balancing the EFAs was the answer, and not only was it a relief clinically for our patients, but also it’s inexpensive as well – a clearly elegant solution. The value of Yehuda’s research to the future health of society is so significant it warrants a Nobel Award.

Budwig and Rudin: Joanna Budwig, a brilliant German scientist with PhDs in both chemistry and physics, and Donald Rudin, an equally brilliant MD and Harvard professor, both recognized that the n3s, linolenic (ALA), were missing from our diet, due in no small part from the meteoric rise of the large food producers in the last century. Both Budwig and Rudin struggled with flax oil for their patients, since flax contained 55% ALA. They each had success with patients in relieving various symptoms, such as cold sensitivities, dry skin, tanning, eye pressure, diabetes, headache, tinnitus, palpitations, hand eczema, rheumatoid pain, racing thoughts, and even allergies. However, the relief was a brief 3-6 months duration, after which Rudin would stop the flax oil. After ~3-4 months he would try it again, reporting that there was a relief of symptoms each time he repeated the flax oil treatment if he spaced it a few months between. Neither he nor Budwig knew the problem was the ratio. Flax is 2 parts of n6 to 5.5 parts of n3 (2:5.5), which is almost the exact opposite of Yehuda’s 4:1. Imagine how much further we could have progressed if they had known of the correct ratio then.

Yechiel and Barenholtz: In 1985 Yechiel and Barenholtz, from Hebrew University, authored a significant paper highlighting phosphatidylcholine and its relationship to aging and disease (Yechiel 1985a.b, 1986, Muscona-Amir 1986). Using rat myocytes (heart cells) in a 20 day in-vitro study, they demonstrated the ability of PC to completely rejuvenate cells that were all but expired. Myocytes can be separated in a petri dish, and with proper feeding, survive. After ~two days, they congregate together in each dish and begin to beat in unison at a rate of ~160 beats per minute.

article1-beats-chartTo demonstrate the power of PC, the researchers fed group (A) egg yolk PC for the life of the experiment (20 days), but not so to groups B and C. However, they received it in their feed later. Group A is represented with a straight line (Green) at the top of the chart. They were given egg PC after day 6 and for the entire 20 days they maintained a constant beating rate of ~160 beats/ min. Group B cultures (Red) were not as fortunate and were denied PC. After 6 days the Group B cells started to weaken; after day 8 began a precipitous decline in the beating rate, reaching a low point by day 12 with some of Group Bs beating at ~20 beats/min,and some not beating at all. Group C (Blue) was given PC like Group A, after day 6, but only up to day 11, after which PC was removed from their feed. As you can see on the chart, almost immediately the Group C started a similar decline in their beating rate, which mirrored the decline of group B with a 5 day drop to ~20 beats/min. In addition, both B and C groups suffered a variety of cellular distortions in cell size and in production of protein, specifically an elevated Creatinine PhosphoKinase.

On day 16 all cultures were given PC, and within 24 hours, the Bs and Cs recovered their beating rate to ~160 beats/min and continued until the study was concluded at day 20. In addition, they also recovered most of their distorted chemistry, even lowering CPK. This was one of the most remarkable demonstration of the cellular power of phosphatidylcholine, or to put it in more precisely, the absolute necessity of PC and life.

article1-pink-moleculeA Medline search on ‘Phosphatidylcholine’ will reward you, or inundate you, with ~50,000 citations. To review them would easily take a year or two, but it speaks volumes of the importance of PC. In all of our studies, we have yet to uncover a report as powerful as that of Yechiel and Barenholtz. However, there are two that are noteworthy. The review by Cui and Howeling, PC and Cell Death, 2002, that focuses on the ability of PC to reverse a number of biochemical distortions and prevent cellular necrosis and/ or apoptosis. Apoptosis is a controlled, regulated death, while necrosis is a rupture of the membrane with the release of vital components into the surrounding blood stream. Cui et al presented their prior biochemical studies and many others, demonstrating that perturbation of PC leads to cell death, and the replacement of PC re-establishes homeostasis.

The work of K.J. Gundermann, PhD, MD, is also highly noteworthy. In his book (“The Essential Phospholipids as a Membrane Therapeutic” 1993), he thoroughly covers the use of PC in the studies of toxicology and hemorrheology, and in the treatment of lipid peroxidation, alocholic & diabteic fatty liver, malnutrition, kidney, cirrhosis, gastrointestinal, neurological, lung, psoriasis, MS, cerebral circulation, elevated lipids, atherosclerosis and even drug enhancement.

The book is a review of 776 research papers published from 1959 to 1993 on the therapeutic value of Essential Phospholipids (EPL), and is the European reference for a concentrated phosphatidylcholine (also made from soy, but water based). This product was developed by Nattermann, a German producer of lecithin products for food and cosmetics. EPL became recognized in general medicine under the names of Essentiale and Lipostabil. Nattermann developed them in both an oral supplement called Forte (not in oil), and an ampoule for intravenous infusions, a PC water/bile mixture similar to the body’s natural bile-oil carrying system.

article1-micelleEPL was accepted throughout Europe as a natural medical i.v. treatment. However it was in Eastern Europe that it achieved a higher degree of popularity. Russia and her satellites were not as close to Big Pharma as we in the West. A natural product like PC (EPL) was a less expensive alternative to Western drug therapy, and is efficacious for a wide variety of disorders. The result was an almost total acceptance of PC by doctors throughout the Communist World. Their experience with PC provided a rich history of therapeutic use, both orally and as an IV for ~50-60 years, with many of these studies detailed in Gundermann’s review.

During the 70’s Nattermann AG was absorbed by Aventis and Rhone Poulanc (later sold off). However, in spite of rave reviews in a wide range of treatments, PC received little attention in the West. Natural products like PC are un-patentable and, even with an excellent medical record, have little sex appeal in the pharmaceutical world. IV-PC is not approved in France–and Rhone Poulanc is a French company. They certainly could have organized its approval if healing had a higher priority.

Aventis marketed their IV-PC under the brand name of Essentiale, which was yellow in color. B-Vitamins were included, with riboflavin (B2) providing the color. Rhone Poulanc marketed their IV-PC as Lipostabil, which was clear, no vitamins added. Both products were produced in the same factory on the same production line. In 2005 Aventis abruptly took Essentiale off the European market and in 2011 Lipostabil ceased production. However, Essentiale is still available in the US, coming from Switzerland.

Lecithin and The Marketplace: The majority of PC currently sold today is lecithin, or triple lecithin. The membrane of a cell is a liposome, and oil based lecithin cannot form a liposome. As noted earlier, even though lecithin or triple lecithin contains PC and PE, when taken orally they are assaulted by lipases, phospho-lipases etc, which remove the fatty acid chains and the head groups. By the time fat absorption occurs in the gut, the components of the phospholipids are indistinguishable from the components of other lipids, such as triglycerides. However, while the job of re-assembling PC from the individual components is questionable, it is possible, but only if you’re young and healthy. But if you’re young and healthy you don’t need a supplement. Simply eat an egg or two.

Some head groups, like choline and inositol, are hard for the body to make, so absorption of these components from food can be important to a healthy diet (Onken 1996). However, as the recent 2011 Nature study showed, the value of raising choline levels is now questionable (Wang Z et al, Nature, 2011, Gut flora metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease). The details of the danger of raising choline are important to learn since there are many people taking supplements under the guise of Phosphatidylcholine (Triple Lecithin). That may very possibly be putting themselves at risk.

Lecithin itself was not the answer; it needed a much higher phospholipid concentration, which Nattermann was developing. The 1940’s German method extracted a “Pure Phospholipid” (EPL), which only recently has been duplicated by BodyBio. While the process is more expensive, the exercise of discarding undesired components from lecithin (basically the oil) leaves a water based product (BodyBio PC) that encourages formation into a Liposome. A micelle/liposome, when exposed to a watery environment, forms exactly like a cell, with a spherical shape, only a thousand times smaller.

The PLs of micelles and liposomes are identical to cellular PLs, however, a liposome is a bilipid layer and appears (looks like) a cell membrane. That tiny sphere can then traverse the gut without being dismembered, and not only deliver itself but also deliver a tiny cargo, such as a drug (Big Pharma employs Liposome technology for a wide range of drugs) or even another supplement. Today, most pharmaceutical companies are engaged in liposome technology. In the manufacturing process, the drug is trapped inside the sphere and, as the cell-like liposome reaches a normal cell, it is absorbed by endocytosis; the tiny sphere becomes one with the cell membrane and delivers the drug or nutrient inside the cell, an efficient method of absorption for either a drug or a vitamin.

The fallacy of using lecithin has been difficult to see. For years there have been conflicting medical reports about the benefits of Lecithin-PC (Wood 1982), which now becomes understandable through liposome research and the Nature study.

BodyBio PC will blend in plain water. It does not dissolve. Rather, it is miscible; it mixes in the watery environment, and naturally forms a liposome, or more precisely, tens of thousands of PLs will. Lecithin or triple lecithin will not blend with water no matter how vigorously it is mixed. We are well aware that oil and water do not mix. This is easily seen in a laboratory or in the kitchen with lecithin or BodyBio PC.

PC Products That Work: BodyBio PC, PhosphaLine®, PhosChol®, Liposome Lab products, Lipoflow Forte, Essentiale Forte N (Europe), PC Injectable by prescription only in 5 ml ampoule for IV therapy as Essentiale from Paracelsus Apotheke.

Wood et al, 1982 comments, because high intakes of lecithin or choline produce acute gastrointestinal distress, sweating, salivation, and anorexia, it is improbable that individuals will incur lasting health benefits from self-administration.

PE acts as a reservoir for PC, since, by the addition of three methyl groups it is converted to PC. Thirty percent of PC is endogenously derived from methylation (Cui 2002). To encourage this conversion of PE to PC, it is advisable to add into the diet folinic acid (an advanced form of folate) and a methylated form of B-12, methylcobalamin. Both nutrients increase methylation and tend to lower homosysteine levels.

The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Inclusion here does not imply any endorsement or recommendation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified medical provider for all medical problems prior to starting any new regiment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Cardiovascular Disease: What’s Choline Got to Do With It?

article2-nature-mastheadOur Answer to the 2011 Study in Nature ‘Gut flora metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease’

Phosphatidyl Choline (PC) is the largest of the phospholipids that comprise the membrane of our cells. PC is also prominent in egg and soy lecithin. While PC may be the largest of the phosphatides in lecithin there are other principle phospholipids, phosphatidyl-ethanolamine (PE), phosphatidyl-inositol (PI), phosphatidyl-serine and phosphatidic acid that together, constitute a higher concentration in lecithin than does PC. Soybeans are the principle source of commercial lecithin, and lecithin is the most important by-product of the soy oil processing industry because of its many applications in foods, cosmetics and industrial products. Lecithin is also available as a dietary supplement in two forms: as granular lecithin which contains ~12% PC (calcium phosphate as a flow agent), and in a concentrated form called triple lecithin at ~35% PC in capsules fluidized with soy oil (Wood and Allison 1981). While lecithin has been on the health food scene for over a half century, somehow, it picked up the perception of being called phosphatidylcholine. Many researchers used the two interchangeably as if they were the same. They are not. Lecithin is not PC, and while PC is the largest phosphatide in lecithin, technically, it is only a chemical component of lecithin. Oddly, no one reverses it by saying PC when referring to lecithin.

In April, 2011 in an article in Nature, Gut flora of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease, Wang et al wrote that “Foods rich in the lipid phosphatidylcholine (PC, also called lecithin)* which predominantly include eggs, milk, liver, red meat, poultry, shell fish and fish, are believed to be the major dietary sources for choline”. Note the age-old error again. However, confusing PC and lecithin pales in comparison to the egregious characterization in the title saying that “phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease”. We must presume the authors to be knowledgeable of the long and voluminous history of PC as the largest phospholipid component of our cellular membranes and especially as a nutrient with its quite exceptional history in alleviating heart health disorders specifically cardiovascular disease. The title ‘Gut flora of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease’ completely disregards the scientific history of PC and casts a disturbing and untrue image of a highly valuable nutrient with a long history of lowering cholesterol and successful treatment of atherosclerosis, (Cho BH 2011, Navab M 2003, Chung BH 2005, Hajj Hassan H 2005, Koizumi J 1988, Ke Y 1996, Ovesen L 1985). The title could be correct if lecithin was used, which if intended, should have been so stated.

article2-calloutThe disturbing title further calls in question the veracity of what appears to be significant scientific information. The implication of PC as potentially dangerous is simply wrong; however, if lecithin was used, the study becomes of significant value for shedding light on the difficulty of using lecithin as a nutrient. While there have been a large number of studies over the last 50 years using lecithin as a source for PC, the effort to achieve medical benefits have been plagued with mixed results, while the reverse of using phosphatidylcholine has consistently maintained positive medical results particularly in international studies. Research and clinical experience has revealed that PC is possibly the most prestigious nutrient of all (Yechiel and Barenholtz 1985, Cui and Howling 2002).

* The authors again make the mistake of referring to PC as Lecithin.

article2-cholinesupplementsRhone Poulanc, in its brochure for Lipostabil, lists 197 references for oral and i.v. administration of PC for hyperlipoproteinemia and atherosclerosis. Gundermann KJ, PhD, MD, in “The Essential Phospholipids as a Membrane Therapeutic” 1993, has 776 referenced studies in his technical manual which covers the use of PC in toxicology, hemorrheology, lipid peroxidation, alcohol and diabetic fatty liver, malnutrition, kidney, cirrhosis, gastrointestinal, neurological, lung, psoriasis, MS, cerebral circulation, elevated lipids, atherosclerosis, even drug enhancement. It is a thorough review of PC research published from 1959 to 1993, which portrays a positive image of PC quite the opposite as in the Nature study.

Using lecithin as a source of PC is a poor scientific approach because the phospholipids within lecithin are oil based. The PC used in the European studies was either egg PC, or, if soy lecithin based, the oil had been purged and the phospholipids were isolated. In the 1940s, Nattermann GMBH, successfully produced a high concentrated PC from lecithin in an oil free form called Phospholipon which was the source for the PC used in all the medical studies previously mentioned. The formation of the membrane occurs in water and cannot occur if the lipid tails of the phospholipids are immersed in oil. Oil and water do not mix, but oil and oil mix very well. All life on the planet is water based and depends on the “hydrophobic effect” to drive the formation of the membrane of all cells. There is little excuse for the continued PC / lecithin confusion or the implication of PC as a troublesome nutrient.

Under normal digestion, PC and all lipids ingested are degraded by lipases in the gut. The phospholipids and the triglycerides are reduced by enzymes PLC or PLD which attack the head groups (choline, ethanolamine, etc) with PLA1 or PLA2 doing the same for the lipid tails. The PC research reports referenced above did not use raw lecithin as a source of PC. The majority of the PC was either i.v. Essentiale (Aventis) or Lipostabil (Rhone Poulanc) or, as a PC capsule “Forte” under both labels. Forte is currently available in most European and Eastern European pharmacies, i.v. Essentiale is available in Eastern Europe and the US, all of which used phosphatidylcholine that originated from Nattermann, which, as already indicated, is no longer lecithin.

In the 2011 Nature paper by Wang et al, there are 18 listed authors from the Cleveland Clinic, UCLA, Cleveland State, and USC. It is appalling that such a prestigious journal, Nature, would permit such gross error in basic biochemistry. The article does indeed help to resolve the age-old problem of why lecithin has consistently failed to provide positive results as a phosphatidylcholine nutritional supplement, because it isn’t phosphatidyl choline. The implication of Choline and TMAO in CVD was also corroborated in a number of studies prior to the Nature study such as recent publications from Italy in 2005, UNC in 2007, Emory and Aventis in 2009 and from Germany in 2007 – 2010, to name a few. However, none of these publications mentioned lecithin or even PC as a critical choline source or of PC in promoting cardiovascular disease. In light of the abundant positive research for phosphatidyl choline for over half a century, the choice of the title in the April 2011 Nature paper borders on scientific ignorance and demands a retraction.

In the Nature study it is prudent to bear in mind that the laboratory animals were inbred strains, predisposed to CVD.

article2-tmao-moleculeThere is clear evidence that choline released from the cell membrane by ischemia-related cytolysis may be used as a predictor of cardiac events in the presence of chest pain, despite low levels of troponin. (Danne, 2007) In this regard, choline elevation is a result of tissue damage (vulnerable plaque), and is not a causative agent.

Specific gut bacteria will degrade choline to trimethylamine, which is then oxidized by the liver to TMAO. The liver enzyme, Hepatic Flavin Monooxygenase 3 (FMO3) is responsible for the conversion. (It may be important to note that this is a “flavin” enzyme, dependent upon riboflavin for its activity. Without further attention, it is unseemly to indict this B vitamin as part of the etiology of CVD.) TMAO—and its companion choline metabolite, betaine—promote upregulation of multiple macrophage scavenger receptors as part of the inflammatory cascade, following platelet activation and monocyte adhesion, but preceding the formation of macrophage foam cells from the endocytosis of oxidized LDL and the subsequent smooth muscle cell migration from vascular epithelium that forms protective fibrous caps. Foam cells that accrue from this phagocytosis comprise the fatty streaks of the plaques of atheroma in the vascular intima. Foam cells necrotize and cause the fibrous cap to rupture and form a thrombus which can lead to emboli capable of occluding smaller blood vessels.

Knowing that gut flora may generate a pro-atherosclerotic metabolite has aroused interest in probiotic research. Lactobacillus rhamnosus appears to potentiate the colonic manufacture of TMAO, while L. paracasei has inhibitory properties on the formation of TMAO. Both strains are dose-dependent. If the inflammation induced by TMAO can be eliminated, or at least curtailed, the number of related cardiac events can be limited. Disrupting the inflammatory cascade that provokes foam cell induction may be as simple as preventing the oxidation of LDL in the first place. Several dietary components have demonstrated the capability to prevent LDL oxidation, including capsaicin, curcumin, and several bioflavonoids.

In 1998, Crawford et al noted that “…natural dietary antioxidants inhibit both LDL oxidation and atherogenesis in animals with elevated LDL…”

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1998 Sep;18(9):1506-13. Dietary antioxidants inhibit development of fatty streak lesions in the LDL receptor-deficient mouse. Crawford RS, Kirk EA, Rosenfeld ME, LeBoeuf RC, Chait A.

In 2005, Indian researchers identified the pepper constituent as cardiac friendly, when they announced, “Dietary capsaicin was found to be protective to the LDL oxidation…as indicated by reduction in TBARS by more than 40%.”

Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Jul;275(1-2):7-13. Protective effect of dietary capsaicin on induced oxidation of low-density lipoprotein in rats. Kempaiah RK, Manjunatha H, Srinivasan K.

Quercitin (a constituent of apples and onions) and curcumin (the active ingredient of turmeric) demonstrated the greatest effects in the prevention of LDL oxidation. Both are available as supplements.

Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. Jan 2002; Vol 229, Num 1-2: pp. 19-23 Inhibition of human low density lipoprotein oxidation by active principles from spices K. Akhilender Naidu and N.B. Thippeswamy

Future treatment of CVD symptoms may include testing for TMAO, as well as for the traditional cardiac markers. Preventive measures, especially for individuals with a family history of heart disease, may address limiting choline intake, reducing gut bacterial load via broad spectrum antibiotics, and/or using probiotics designed to modulate intestinal ecology.

The highest sources of Choline are in liver, egg yolk, red meat, fish, milk, chicken, and peanuts while the highest source of Betaine is in dark bread, white bread, spinach, cold breakfast cereals, and pasta. So becoming a vegetarian or avoiding meat will not solve the problem of avoiding the formation of plaque if a gut infection is brewing.

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