Authors: Joseph C. Maroon, M.D., and Jeffrey Bost, P.A.C.
Chronic inflammation, in its many expressions, is one of the main causes of physical suffering in our modern society. In their book ....Nature's Safest Most Effective Anti-Inflammatory: FISH OIL, the authors, Maroon and Bost, thoroughly explain how certain deficiencies in our diet may be at the root of our emerging epidemic of inflammation. The title of this book points to what just may be one of the best preventatives and remedies for this increasing problem.
The authors explain that in many instances inflammation is normal and provides a protective function. However, I would like to include a quote, from page 1, which expresses the down side of inflammation. "But the news on inflammation is not all good. Although it helps the body protect and heal itself, over the long term inflammation can produce chronic pain, breakdown of cartilage and muscle, and increased blood clotting, and it may cause genetic changes leading to various cancers. In fact, recent medical research now confirms that the root cause of many chronic diseases, ranging from arthritis, heart disease, and cancer to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, eczema, and depression, is inflammation."
This book goes into depth concerning the different types of fatty acids and how we must try and achieve the proper balance between them. Increasing the amount of fish oil in our diet helps us to gain this balance. The authors discuss studies which show that omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils being the most reliable source) are very effective in blunting or preventing the inflammatory response. When the inflammatory response is lessened or eliminated, this can prevent progression into degenerative disease.
Maroon and Bost share information with us involving the role of inflammation in numerous diseases and explain how fish oil can help in the following conditions. Some of the medical problems included are: Heart disease, Diabetes, Autoimmune illnesses, ADD, Alzheimer's, Autism, and Cancer.
Another important subject discussed, was the dangers of anti-inflammatory drugs compared to the safety of fish oils. It is so important for us to try to regain balance through using natural substances rather than to add a drug to an already struggling system. Our bodies can become inflamed due to different imbalances; lack of omega 3 oils being one of them. Adding drugs will certainly promote this imbalance while only covering up the symptoms. We need to find the different causes of inflammation and treat those causes. It would also be very important to determine if there are any latent viruses or bacteria at the root of the inflammatory problems.
The authors mention normal fish oil dosages and the amounts recommended for specific conditions, such as pregnancy. They tell us to be sure our oils are fresh and that we don't want them to smell fishy. This is an indication that the oil has become rancid. When we consume rancid oils, this can do more harm than good.
Because vitamin D is an oil soluble vitamin, this means that it can accumulate to toxic levels in the body. One of our main sources of vitamin D is the sun. For this reason it is suggested that cod liver oil ( also a good source of vitamin D) be consumed in the winter months when our exposure to the sun is minimal. In the warmer months, when we are saturated with sunshine, it is suggested that we consume other fish oils which are not rich in vitamin D, but which still contain plenty of the omega 3 oils which we require.
In our modern polluted society, fish have accumulated many toxic heavy metals. It is for this reason the authors suggest that we consume a minimal amount of fresh fish. It is thought that a better alternative is purified fish oil. When fish oil is purified the heavy metals are removed. When we do eat fish we need to be aware of what types contain the most omega 3 oils....and how to prepare these fish. A quote from page 51 helps us out concerning this issue.
" Herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout and blue fin and albacore (white) tuna contain the highest amounts of omega 3 EFA's. The method of preparation is also important. If these fish are cooked under high heat, the amount of EFAs they contain is seriously affected; deep fried fish, for example, usually only has tiny amounts of Omega-3EFAs, because the frying process transforms the polyunsaturated fatty acids into trans or saturated fatty acids."
While this book may be a bit "scientific" for some folks, it is certainly understandable and is packed with very valuable information, which is scientifically backed. We have come a long way from a natural balanced diet and our nation's poor health is a reflection of this imbalance. We desperately need to understand the basic causes of our ill health and the authors of this book have made a valuable contribution towards this end.