Canola oil has less oleic (omega-9) and more ALA (omega-3) than olive oil and been shown to:
• improve lipid measurements greater than olive oil in human subjects in a randomized, double-blinded trial: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8399091
• improve cardiovascular health more than olive oil in a rat model: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7722678
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Canola oil has less oleic (omega-9) and more ALA (omega-3) than olive oil and been shown to:
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Recent attention given to the effects of various fish oils on polystyrene (Styrofoam®) cups has led to some misunderstanding of how these products work in terms of nutrition and safety. It is unfortunate that the use of these stunts imply may confuse or even scare people away from taking this natural product which provides constituents that are essential to human health. Don’t be fooled by this trick! If someone tries to use it as a means to push one product over another, challenge them to explain exactly what the test is supposed to mean. Here’s what you need to know about the test, how it works, and what it means:
Styrofoam® (polystyrene) cups can be dissolved by pure fish oils. All fish oils will have this same effect on polystyrene, but some will take much longer than others. Various healthy natural substances, like fresh lemon oil, will also dissolve polystyrene. In the Styrofoam® cup test, the esterified ethyl ester form of fish oil works to dissolve Styrofoam® much faster than the triglyceride form simply because the number of chemical bonds in the two forms of oil are different; with ethyl ester fish oil having its number of bonds closer to that of Styrofoam®. This similar chemical polarity is the same reason why pure lemon oil also works quickly to dissolve Styrofoam®. No solvents are used to produce the fish oils, so none are present in the finished products. This magic trick does not translate into any legitimate safety concerns, despite its obvious visual impact. Fortunately, the human body is not composed of polystyrene and is not negatively affected by fish oils in its commonly available forms.
Fish oil naturally comes in a volatile triglyceride (triacylglycerol) form and can be esterified for additional benefits. As soon as a fish is caught the oils begin to degrade and can easily go rancid. Esterification is a process that stabilizes and maintains the freshness of fish oil to prevent rancidity and allows higher concentrations of the essential omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids to be available. During this esterification process, the triglycerides are removed, changing the number of molecular bonds in the fish oil. Both the purified ethyl ester form and the triglyceride form must be digested to a simpler fraction, the free fatty acid, to allow bioavailability from the human gut. Ethyl ester and triglyceride forms are equally well digested by lipase and available for absorption as free fatty acids, and the ethyl ester form is at least as bioavailable as the triglyceride form. (1)
There is some evidence that the ethyl ester form will sustain circulating levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA better than the triglyceride form. The ethyl ester form of EPA and DHA is the form that is used in most successful clinical studies evaluating the potential health benefits of supplemental Omega-3 fats. In fact, clinical trials on the ethyl ester form more consistently generate positive results than those done with the triglyceride form. Also EPA and DHA as ethyl esters inhibit platelet aggregability and control serum triglycerides while leaving other serum lipids essentially unaltered. (2) The ethyl ester forms build up body stores, allowing conversion to free fatty acids more consistently than the triglyceride form. (3) Because of their proven benefits and safety, it would be unfortunate if a misunderstood “test” causes some people to reject the use of solvent-free ethyl ester fish oils as part of their diet.
Chemical Polarity plays a role in how compounds react with one another. Polarity refers to the electro-magnetic charges of a molecule, or the attraction between the positively and negatively charged parts of a molecule. Compounds are considered polar due to the unequal sharing or electrons. For example, water is a polar compound. A compound is non-polar when the electric charge is balanced. Edible oils are typically non-polar.
In Chemistry there is a rule to describe how polar and non-polar solvents react with similar solutes: “like dissolves like”. We all know that oil and water do not mix. The reason why is that water, which is polar, will not react (mix) with oil, which is non-polar. “Like dissolves like.”
Two common compounds, sugar and salt, are both polar and in nature they readily mix with water, another polar compound.
With polarity, compounds of differing polarity do not react/mix, while those with like polarity do mix. So a chemical reaction occurs when a non-polar compound comes into contact with another non-polar compound, and more readily when the number of chemical bonds in one substance more closely matches the other.
Polystyrene, a moisture-resistant foam commonly known as Styrofoam®, is formed from a long chain of polymers. This plastic is used in the manufacture of coffee cups and plates as an insulator and as packaging material, and is non-polar. What makes Styrofoam® ideal for keeping most hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold is that as a non-polar compound it will not react with the polar water used to make coffee, tea, and other beverages. This same material will react with any form of edible oil; this can be olive oil, lemon oil, fish oil, etc. This reaction is naturally occurring and its intensity is based solely upon the chemical properties of both compounds and the polarity of each.
All edible oils, which like Styrofoam® are non-polar, are made up of fatty acids; and these fatty acids are made up of a long chain of hydrocarbon molecules. With Fish Oils, some contain triglycerides and some contain ethyl esters. Both the triglyceride form and the ethyl ester form first need to be digested and broken down to a free fatty acid for absorption from the GI tract. After uptake, the free fatty acid is then converted to a triglyceride form in the liver by the addition of already available triglycerides obtained from circulating lipids (fats).
In the example of fish oils, ALL will react with Styrofoam over time; the length of time is determined by the number of chemical bonds in each type of fish oil relevant to the number of chemical bonds in Styrofoam®. Triglycerides will take longer to react with the cup, while oils bonded to ethyl esters, which have more chemical bonds, will naturally penetrate the cup wall faster.
- Krokan HE, Bjerve KS, Mørk E. The enteral bioavailability of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid is as good from ethyl esters as from glyceryl esters in spite of lower hydrolytic rates by pancreatic lipase in vitro. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 May 20;1168(1):59-67. PMID: 8504143
- von Schacky C. A review of omega-3 ethyl esters for cardiovascular prevention and treatment of increased blood triglyceride levels. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2006;2(3):251-62. Review. PMID: 17326331
- Rupp H, et al. Risk stratification by the "EPA+DHA level" and the "EPA/AA ratio" focus on anti-inflammatory and antiarrhythmogenic effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Herz. 2004 Nov;29(7):673-85. Review. Erratum in: Herz. 2004 Dec;29(8):805. PMID: 15580322
Monday, March 25, 2013
The rape plant (Brassica napus) is related to mustard, turnip, cabbage, radish, and horseradish plants. Its oil has been used for centuries as a cooking oil in Europe and Asia (India and the Far East).
Both rapeseed oil and mustard seed oil contain relatively high levels of a fatty acid called erucic acid. As with some other oils, when heated to high temperatures unrefined rapeseed oil can release fumes which have been theorized to be associated with an increased lung cancer risk. These fumes have been blamed on its high erucic acid content; perhaps undeservedly since refined rapeseed oil did not seem to share this characteristic and since mustard seed oil is still a staple cooking oil in South and East Asia.
In any case, rapeseed oil was not sold as a food in the United States for many years, and this is why a low-erucic acid version was developed by traditional cross-breeding of varieties that had lower than usual levels. Originally developed in Canada in 1974, it was dubbed “Canola” oil to distinguish it from traditional rapeseed oil; the name implies its Canadian origin. This oil is often sold in Europe under its more commonly known “rapeseed” rather than the “Canola” name, even if the low erucic acid type is used.
Canola (low erucic acid rapeseed) oil received GRAS status in 1985, allowing it to be sold as a food or food additive in the United States.
These dates are long before the first commercial GMO crops were approved by the U.S. government in the mid-1990s. Since Canola’s breeding history actually goes back decades before that, it clearly was originally developed without the use of genetic engineering (GE, or biotechnology). Today, most of the canola grown in North America is GMO (from GE seeds); though there are still some Identity Preserved (IP) canola crops, from which is produced non-GMO canola oil.
The history of the use of rapeseed oil in food in the US is well summarized in the preamble of the final rule which affirmed the GRAS status of low erucic acid rapeseed (LEAR) oil (Federal Register, 1985: 21 CFR 184.1555 (c)(4)).
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Why do people buy vitamins at health food stores instead of drug stores in the first place? Many people reject some of the pharmaceutical ingredients that are commonly used in products sold in that channel but which are not used in vitamin products sold in the natural channel. These questionable ingredients include petroleum and coal tar derivatives, talc, hydrogenated oil, artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, crospovidone, butylated hydroxytoluene, and hypromellose.
Monday, February 18, 2013
How Dietary Supplements are Regulated
A Timeline of Dietary Supplement Regulation since 1994
1994 The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)
- Continues to define dietary supplements as a special Food category; not as food additives
- Sets new safety standards and FDA authorization to prevent imminent hazards
- Requires manufacturers to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) set by the FDA
- GMPs were fully implemented between June 2008 and June 2010
- Regulates labels
- All claims must be truthful and not misleading; documentation must be maintained
- All ingredients must be declared on product labels
- Approves pre-existing dietary ingredients already on the market as of October 15, 1994
- Common vitamins, minerals, herbs
- “Grandfathering” was twice applied to pharmaceuticals already on the market:
- The 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
- The 1962 Kefauver-Harris Amendment
- This is analogous to pharmaceuticals where all drugs entering the market after 1938 and then after October 10, 1962 require an FDA submission/approval process
- Requires pre-market submission to FDA of all New Dietary Ingredients (NDIs), not products
- The agency questions or rejects the majority of submissions
- Provides for health and nutrient content claims based on an authoritative statement by a scientific body of the U.S. government (i.e. NIH) or the National Academy of Sciences
- Such claims may be used only after review of a health claim notification by FDA
- All food manufacturers, including dietary supplement manufacturers, are required to be registered with the government and give advance notification of raw materials imports
- Provides for qualified health claims where the quality and strength of the scientific evidence falls below that required for FDA to issue an authorizing regulation
- Bans steroid precursors sold as dietary supplements
- The FDA and DEA have authority to take action against adulterated products
- Requires label disclosure of the 8 major allergens that cause 90% of all food allergies
- Requires record-keeping of all adverse events (AERs) and reporting of all serious AERs to FDA; for both dietary supplements and OTC drugs
- Prohibits interstate commerce of any food, including dietary supplements, containing drugs or medical biologic products approved by FDA as such or clinically investigated as drugs/biologics
- Published in the journal Clinical Toxicology
- Reports zero reports of accidental deaths from dietary supplements
- All manufacturers & suppliers are now bound by FDA standards of safety and documentation
- Includes enhanced mandatory recall authority for most foods, including dietary supplements
- Expanded facility registration and HACCP (safety handling) rules
- Requires FDA to issue guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDIs), per DSHEA
- Requires approval of NDIs by the FDA, not just pre-market notification to the agency
- Redefines NDIs as all products containing an NDI ingredient, not just the ingredient itself
- Expands the definition of NDI to include new ingredient processing techniques
- Would encompass tens of thousands of products versus dozens of ingredients earlier projected (1997)
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Nutrition and Seasonal Flu