Omega 3 on Healthy Plant-Based Diets

Collection of Quotes & Links about Healthy Sources of Omega 3 from Plant Foods; exploring ALA/DHA, SDA/EPA & the Dangers of Fish Oils.

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Dr Michael Greger video clip titled “Should We Take EPA & DHA Omega-3 For Our Heart?” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYAjD6gDS4g
Excerpts: “According to two of perhaps the most credible nutrition authorities, the World Health Organization and the European Food Safety Authority, we should get at least a half a percent of our calories from the essential short-chain omega-3 ALA; which is easy—just like a tablespoon a day of chia seeds or ground flax seeds, and you’re all set.
Our body can then take the short-chain ALA from our diet, and elongate it into the long chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA…
on one hand, fish has the preformed DHA and EPA. But, on the other hand, our oceans have become so polluted that fish may contain various pollutants, including dioxins, PCBs, pesticides like DDT, flame retardant chemicals and heavy metals—including mercury, lead, and cadmium—that can negatively affect human health.
This was an editorial comment on a recent study of women that found that dietary exposure to PCBs was associated with increased risk of stroke, and an almost three times higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Unless you live next to a toxic waste dump, the main source of exposure to PCBs is fish consumption—of which perhaps salmon is the worst, though PCBs can also be found in lesser quantities in other meat sources…”
Text transcript is at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-we-take-epa-and-dha-omega-3-for-our-heart/

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A 2017 report in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases (an Italian science journal) states: “Vegetarians can ensure good n-3 [omega 3] fatty acid status by habitually consuming good sources of a-linolenic acid (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and their oils) and limiting linoleic acid intake (corn and sunflower oils).”
Reference: “Position paper on vegetarian diets from the working group of the Italian Society of Human Nutrition”, Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2017 Dec;27(12):1037-1052; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29174030

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Dustin Rudolph (PharmD) reports on: “The Story of Vegans and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake.”

Excerpts: “You may have heard that vegans (people who exclude all animal products from their diets, including fish) cannot convert enough ALA into EPA and DHA to meet the body’s needs and, therefore, it is important that they include fish in their diet or supplement with fish oil. This is not necessarily true, as pointed out in a 2006 article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“Several case studies involving n−3-deficient patients reported that intervention with ALA results in marked increases in plasma concentrations of both EPA and DHA. In addition, vegans who consume ALA but not EPA and DHA in their diets have low but stable concentrations of DHA in plasma. Together, these findings suggest that humans can convert meaningful quantities of ALA to EPA and DHA, particularly in the presence of a deficiency or a background of low n−6 fatty acids.” [1]

In other words, if you are a vegan, eating a healthy diet with a low omega-6 fatty acid content then you likely have sufficient quantities of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids available. Low omega-6 fatty acid content is the key here, as this statement is effectively saying a diet devoid of not just animal foods, but also junk foods (including vegan and vegetarian versions) is important for humans to effectively convert enough ALA to EPA and DHA. High omega-6 fatty acid intake in the diet results in a lower conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA by up to 40%.[1] …
Hence, the importance of eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, free of both animal foods and processed foods, to prevent this from happening … ”

Regards “Dietary Requirements for Omega-3 Fatty Acids” he states:
Minimum dietary requirements for ALA—set by the Institute of Medicine—equal 1.1 gm/day for women and 1.6 gm/day for men aged 19-50 years old, 10% of which can come from EPA or DHA.[2] In addition, dietary recommendations of 0.5-1 gm/day of EPA and DHA have been suggested for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. Cardiovascular protective effects are also seen with dietary ALA consumption. These protective effects were seen in potentially increasing amounts as you go from 0.58 gm/day to 2.81 gm/day.
With this in mind, take a look at the table below which summarizes the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, saturated fats, and cholesterol in different types of food.[3][4] A 100-gram serving of fish is equivalent to a 3.5 ounce portion size …”

Source: https://nutritionstudies.org/fish-part-healthy-diet/
Reference [1]: “Distribution, interconversion, and dose response of n-3 fatty acids in humans”, Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jun;83(6 Suppl):1467S-1476S. Review; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16841856

Comparison Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids ALA EPA DHA best food dietary sources comparing different plant foods nuts seeds beans to animal meat fish salmon tuna vegan vegetarian plant-based diets with omnivore meat seafood diets saturated fat cholesterol debunked refuted

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Dr Michael Greger MD, 2016 article titled “Should Vegans Take DHA to Preserve Brain Function?” Excerpts: “This is why I recommend 250mg a day of a pollutant-free source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids… So, having sufficient long-chain omega-3s – EPA and DHA – may be important for preserving brain function and structure. So, the next question becomes what’s sufficient, and how do you get there? The Framingham study found what appears to be a threshold value around an omega-3 index of 4.4, which is a measure of our EPA and DHA levels… All we need now is a study that gives those with such low levels some pollutant-free EPA and DHA… They took those eating vegan with levels under 4, gave them algae-derived EPA and DHA, and about 250mg a day took them from an average of 3.1 over the line to 4.8 within four months.
And so, that’s why I recommend everyone eat a plant-based diet, along with contaminant-free EPA and DHA, to get the best of both worlds—omega-3 levels associated with brain preservation, while minimizing exposure to toxic pollutants.”
Reference: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-vegans-take-dha-to-preserve-brain-function/ The video clip is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4LvCZ0KnKc

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For quotes & links to many reports on the health dangers of eating fish/seafood & fish oil supplements – being what many people take for omega 3 – see:  https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/eating-meat-raises-risks-of-cancer-heart-disease-early-death-shorter-life/studies-on-health-disease-risks-of-eating-fish-seafood/

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Plant-Based Omega-3 Supplements” is a short clip by Dr Michael Greger at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crVbnU_tHOA
Summary: “By choosing algae-based sources of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, one may be able to get the benefits of fish consumption without the risks.”
The text: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-omega-3-supplements-2/

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From a page titled “Foods highest in Total Omega-3 fatty acids (based on levels per 200-Calorie serving)” here are some of the plant foods listed:
01. Flaxseed oil = 12059mg
02. Seeds, flaxseed = 8543mg
04. Seeds, chia seeds, dried = 7164mg
13. Radish seeds, sprouted, raw = 3358mg
17. Nuts, butternuts, dried = 2850mg
20. Cereals ready-to-eat, ‘Uncle Sam Cereal’ = 2784mg
21. Nuts, walnuts, english [Includes USDA commodity food A259, A257] = 2776mg
23. Basil, fresh = 2747mg
24. Spices, oregano, dried = 2732mg
26. Spices, cloves, ground = 2649mg
32. Grape leaves, canned = 2443mg
36. Spices, marjoram, dried = 2384mg
37. Oil, vegetable, walnut = 2353mg
38. Broccoli, chinese, cooked = 2346mg
43. Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt = 2183mg
47. Oil, vegetable, canola [low erucic acid rapeseed oil] = 2067mg
54. Spices, tarragon, dried = 2004mg
57. Spearmint, dried [mint] = 1959mg
68. Grape leaves, raw = 1841mg
78. Oil, vegetable, industrial, canola for salads, woks and light frying = 1728mg
84. Margarine, 80% fat, tub, ‘Canola Harvest’ Soft Spread (canola, palm & palm kernel oils) = 1694mg
92. Capers, canned = 1600mg
100. Oil, vegetable, industrial, soy, refined, for woks & light frying = 1564mg

Reference : http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000140000000000000000.html

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From a 2017 report in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology:Polyunsaturated fatty acids—namely omega-3 and omega-6—are the only essential fats in the diet. Omega-3 fats are found in their shorter chain form as alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and are used as energy and also converted by the body to the longer chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and then docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA can be found in flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, leafy green vegetables (both terrestrial and marine), soybeans and soy products, walnuts, and wheat germ, as well as in their respective oils. A direct plant source of EPA and DHA is microalgal oil, through which fish acquire them.
Plant sources are superior because they do not contain the contaminants that fish contain, including heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, industrial pollutants like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxin, and possibly even radioactive isotopes.
The AI for ALA is 1.1 g per day for adult females and 1.6 g per day for men. Conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is limited in humans. Serum and adipose levels of EPA and DHA have been found to be significantly lower in vegetarians and vegans when compared to omnivores, although there is no evidence of any adverse health or cognitive effects.
Vegetarians, vegans, and those with reduced conversion ability, such as the elderly, may benefit from doubling the recommended dose of ALA (2.2 g for females and 3.2 g for males per day) and adding a microalgal supplement.
As omega-6 fats (linoleic acid), are available ubiquitously in the food supply in the seeds of most plants, they are not a nutrient of concern. In fact, Western diets tend to be excessive in omega-6 fats due to their prevalence in processed foods, which are also low in omega-3 fats.
The resultant elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio has been associated with inflammation and increased chronic disease risk.  This adverse ratio can be attenuated by ensuring adequate omega-3 intake and minimizing the consumption of highly processed foods.”
Reference: “Plant-based nutrition for healthcare professionals: implementing diet as a primary modality in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease”, J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017 May; 14(5): 355–368; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466942/

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Dr Michael Greger MD, 2015 article titled “Omega 3s, Prostate Cancer, and Atrial Fibrillation” excerpt: “Fish and fish oil consumption do not appear to protect against heart disease, arrhythmias, or sudden death, but why would they increase cancer risk?… a subsequent compilation of all such studies suggested EPA, the other major long chain omega-3 in fish and fish oil, may be more closely associated with increased cancer risk…
in more recent studies, fish and fish oil consumption have not only failed to reduce sudden cardiac death with omega-3s, but actually increased mortality in cardiac patients. For example, men with heart disease, advised to eat more oily fish, or supplied with fish oil capsules, were found to have a higher risk of cardiac death—maybe because of the contaminants in fish, such as mercury?
In either case, given the inconsistent benefits and the potential adverse effects, omega-3s must be prescribed with caution, and generalized recommendations to increase fish intake or to take fish oil capsules need to be reconsidered.”
Reference: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/omega-3s-prostate-cancer-and-atrial-fibrillation/ with the video presentation also at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC2iwQcfZwA

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Medical Journal of Australia: “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Given that vegetarian diets exclude fish as a source of n-3 PUFAs, it is important to include adequate amounts of short-chain n-3 PUFAs such as ALA (found predominantly in chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts). Small amounts of these seeds were included in the meal plans and provided significant amounts of ALA. ALA is endogenously converted to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, but conversion depends on age, sex and dietary composition. The meal plans used minimal amounts of omega-6 fatty acids (oils and margarines) to optimise conversion.”
Reference: “Meeting the nutrient reference values on a vegetarian diet”, Med J Aust 2013; 199 (4 Suppl): S33-S40; https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/199/4/meeting-nutrient-reference-values-vegetarian-diet

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Dr Greger MD clip “Flax Seeds vs. Chia Seeds – Flax and chia seeds can both be considered superfoods, but which one has the edge?”
clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hSBkaZ-aUA
text: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-vs-chia-seeds/

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Dr Michael Greger MD, 2016 article titled “Omega-3’s and the Eskimo Fish Tale” excerpts: “The concept that heart disease was rare among the Eskimos appears to be a myth… The revelation that fish oil appears useless in preventing heart disease, as I reviewed before, in either heart patients or for those trying to prevent heart disease in the first place, leads one to wonder how this whole fish tale began.
Well, the common mythology is that in response to anecdotal reports of a low prevalence of coronary heart disease among the Eskimos, Danish researchers Bang and Dyerberg… The fact is they never examined the cardiovascular status of the Eskimos; they just accepted at face value this notion that coronary atherosclerosis is almost unknown among the Eskimo, a concept that has been disproven over and over starting in the 30s. In fact, going back over a thousand years, we have frozen Eskimo mummies with atherosclerosis. Another from 500 years ago, a woman in her early 40s – atherosclerosis in her aorta and coronary arteries. And these aren’t just isolated cases. The totality of evidence from actual clinical investigations, autopsies, and imaging techniques is that they have the same plague of coronary artery disease that non Eskimo populations have, and actually have twice the fatal stroke rate and don’t live particularly long.
Considering the dismal health status of Eskimos, it is remarkable that instead of labeling their diet as dangerous to health, they just accepted and echoed the myth and tried to come up with a reason to explain the false premise…
And so, literally thousands of articles on the alleged benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, we’ve got a billion dollar industry selling fish oil capsules, millions of Americans taking the stuff, all based on a hypothesis that was questionable from the beginning.”
Reference: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/Omega-3s-and-the-eskimo-fish-tale/ with the video presentation also at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LvGiiZyn-M

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An article by Registered Dietitian Jack Norris “Omega-3s in Vegetarian Diets” is at http://jacknorrisrd.com/omega-3s-in-vegetarian-diets/ with a more detailed article titled “Omega-3 Fatty Acid Recommendations for Vegetarians” at http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3

 

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This site contains pages with hundreds of science reports on the higher rates of disease & death associated with eating red meat, dairy, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish/seafood & of the lower rates associated with eating healthy plant-based diets high in fruits & vegetables & nuts.

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About Ahiflower – Introducing the richest effective combined omega 3+6 source from a single plant” – http://ahiflower.com/about-ahiflower/

“AHIFLOWER Oil is one of the richest natural plant-based sources of omega-3 SDA known… Unlike the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in most plants, AHIFLOWER Oil contains the omega-3 stearidonic acid (SDA) which converts more readily to EPA. The body converts SDA to EPA at a rate of up to 30%, compared to a typical conversion rate of ALA of 3-6%. Thus much larger quantities of ALA oils (such as flaxseed shown below) are required to achieve the same benefit…” – http://ahiflower.com/about-sda/

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2015 study titled “Consumption of Ahiflower Oil Is Safe and Increases Tissue EPA Levels Compared to Flaxseed Oil…” Excerpts: “Ahiflower oil is a dietary oil rich in stearidonic acid (SDA, 18:4 omega-3)… We report herein a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled Phase I Clinical Trial… Notably, EPA accrual in plasma and cells was greater in the Ahiflower group… and the change in plasma EPA at day 28 was 2.5-times greater in the Ahiflower group. In conclusion, Ahiflower oil is a safe and sustainable seed oil for enrichment of tissues with omega-3 PUFA and is more effective than flaxseed oil.”
Reference: April 2015, The FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology), vol. 29 no. 1 Supplement 401.7 – http://www.fasebj.org/content/29/1_Supplement/401.7.short

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2013 study: “A recent study tested the effect of dietary Ahiflower™ oil… EPA and DPA compositions of liver and intestinal tissue increased following the Ahiflower™ diet. The DHA composition of liver tissue also increased…”
Reference: “Alternative Sources of Omega-3 Fats: Can We Find a Sustainable Substitute for Fish?”, Nutrients 2013, 5(4), 1301-1315; doi:10.3390/nu5041301; http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/4/1301/htm

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To order “Ahiflower vegan supplements” at
https://www.iherb.com/search?kw=ahiflower+vegan

One product’s description states: “Ahiflower is a proprietary form of Buglossoides arvensis seed oil which is the richest and most effective combined Omega-3 (SDA and ALA) and Omega-6 (GLA and LA) fatty acid source from a single non-GM plant. Further, Ahiflower oil has the highest naturally-occurring levels of stearidonic acid (SDA) and has been proven through human clinical research to metabolize to EPA, in circulating cells up to 4 times better than flaxseed oil.”

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For products “microalgae vegan dha epa” see https://www.iherb.com/search?kw=microalgae+vegan+dha+epa

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Omega-3s On A Vegan Diet And The Truth About Fish Oil” 12 minute clip by Erin Janus at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdGLYBhfMT0

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Regards Fatty Acids and Type 2 Diabetes:

From a 2018 report in the British Medical Journal: “diets rich in marine omega 3 fatty acids have not been shown in humans to reduce insulin resistance or the incidence of type 2 diabetes. However, biomarker studies point to an inverse association between blood omega 3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid) derived from plants and type 2 diabetes.” [41, 43]
Reference: “Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance”, BMJ 2018; 361; https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2139

Reference 41: “CONCLUSIONS: These large-scale findings suggest an important inverse association of circulating plant-origin n-3 PUFA (ALA) but no convincing association of marine-derived n3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA) with T2D. Moreover, they highlight that the most abundant n6-PUFA (LA) is inversely associated with T2D. The detection of associations with previously less well-investigated PUFAs points to the importance of considering individual fatty acids rather than focusing on fatty acid class.”
Source: “Association of plasma phospholipid n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids with type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-InterAct Case-Cohort Study. PLoS Med 2016;13:e1002094; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27434045

Reference 43: “The overall pooled findings do not support either major harms or benefits of fish/seafood or EPA+DHA on development of DM, and suggest that ALA may be associated with modestly lower risk.”
Source: “Omega-3 fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis” British Journal of Nutrition 2012;107(Suppl 2):S214-27; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22591895

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For quotes & links to many reports on the health dangers of eating fish/seafood & fish oil supplements – being what many people take for omega 3 – see:  https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/eating-meat-raises-risks-of-cancer-heart-disease-early-death-shorter-life/studies-on-health-disease-risks-of-eating-fish-seafood/

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This set of articles were compiled for

www.EatingOurFuture.com

Pages on this Site:

Eating Meat & Dairy Increases Climate Change, Pollution & Damage to Our Environment

Quotes from news reports & science journals on how the Western omnivore diet with meat and dairy products accelerates climate-change through: i) increasing our carbon footprint of greenhouse gases; ii) deforesting & destroying wilderness that absorbs carbon and protects biodiversity; iii) creating massive pollution; and iv) wasting resources like grains, water, fuels and agricultural lands.

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Eating Meat linked to Higher Rates & Risk of Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease & Early Death

Excerpts & links to medical studies, articles & reports on the links between meat consumption and increased incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early mortality (a shorter lifespan); also to reports on how cancers are increasing in young people.

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Scientific Studies on Health Advantages of Vegans & Vegetarians

Quotes & links to articles in science, medical & health journals that report great benefits vegetarians and vegans generally have including longer lives with less of the chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, cardiovascular heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity as well as lower blood pressure, hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.

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Mass Extinction Loss of Biodiversity caused by Humans

Excerpts & links to articles in news media  science journals about the current ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ known also as the ‘Holocene Extinction’ or ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ as it is largely caused by human activities.

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Dairy Milk Health Problems – Issues & Risks for Related Disease & Illness

This page contains quotes & links for studies & articles in science journals, news media & by medical doctors; on the association of drinking milk to higher rates of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

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Risk of Infectious Disease Epidemics from Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria due to Animal Agriculture

This page features quotes & links to articles in news media and science journals about the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics; posing a grave threat to all of us; from 50% to 80% of antibiotics are (mis-)used in animal agriculture industries.

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How the Meat & Dairy Industry Influences Politics, Government, Education, News & Media

This page features quotes & links to reports that expose how the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy, poultry) influence government, politics, the education schooling system and news media in order to promote their interests.

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Eating Seafood & Overfishing is Destroying Oceans, Rivers & Wildlife

Excerpts from articles about the marine ecosystem collapse that is happening now in oceans, seas & rivers due to over-fishing and the toxic pollution in waterways from land-based animal agriculture meat-farming; worsening climate change; threatening the entire food chain.

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Studies Find Eating Fish Seafood Not So Healthy With Raised Risks of Disease

Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.

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Are Soy Foods Healthy or Not? Doctors & Nutrition Experts Refute Some Myths

A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”

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