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Dr. Barry Sears
Dr. Barry Sears
President of Zone Labs
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A Fishy Solution to Better Health

Dr. Barry Sears
Zone Living – I am a big proponent of supplementing your diet with Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil. I always use myself, my family, and my staff to test out any new dietary concept before I ever recommend it. Furthermore, I have been testing Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil in a large number of patients over the past years, and in every case the results have been dramatic.

Since the doses of fish oil I recommend are pretty high by conventional standards (though not by historical standards), I only advise taking what I refer to as Ultra Refined Omega 3 DHA and EPA concentrates. This type of fish oil exceeds my rigorous standards for purity, meaning that toxins like PCBs or DDT have been reduced to exceedingly low levels, and it has been refined so that gastrointestinal problems associated with lower grades of fish oil are no longer present.

You aren’t going to find Ultra Refined Omega 3 DHA and EPA concentrates in fish oil from the health food store or supermarket, because the extra refining simply makes it too expensive. But your brain and body deserve nothing less. At the levels of fish oil supplementation that I recommend, less pure fish oil will cause a buildup of toxic impurities like PCBs, which have been shown to disrupt your hormonal system, possibly giving rise to cancerous tumors, not to mention significant gastrointestinal problems like gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The History of Fish Oil

You’ll be taking a lot of fish oil on my dietary program and a little education and history about its manufacturing is in order. The first recorded production of fish oil occurred in 1775 in England. When cod was bought back from America, the livers were slapped on the filthy streets of London, and the oil oozed out. The oil was collected--along with anything else on the streets--and sold as cod liver oil. Disgusting as it was, this crude cod liver oil was considered a miracle cure for arthritis. Obviously, we’ve come a long way from letting cod livers ooze their content in the gutters, but I still consider the cod liver oil sold in today’s drugstores pretty vile.

In the 1980s, fish oil manufacturing took a technological leap. Manufacturers began extracting the oil from the body, instead of the liver of the fish, which solved the problem of Vitamin A toxicity (since the liver contains all the Vitamin A). To extract fish oil, the fish are boiled until the oil rises to the top of the vat, a process known as rendering. Unfortunately, this crude fish oil represents the sewer of the sea, since anything eaten by the fish that is water-insoluble will become part of that rendered oil. This includes toxins like PCBs, DDT, and organic mercury compounds.

In addition, these fish body oils tasted just as bad as cod liver oil, so consumers were loath to try them. Manufacturers solved this problem by encapsulating the oil in soft gelatin capsules, which could be swallowed whole.

But that created another problem. To get the same amount of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids provided by a tablespoon of cod liver oil required eight 1-gram capsules of fish body oil per day. None of us wants to spend our day popping capsules. But the one or two capsules a day that most of us are willing to take acts essentially like a placebo because the amount of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids in this dose is extremely small.

For these reasons, the fish oil mania that swept our nation in the mid-1980s burned out quickly. People did not experience any perceptible health benefits because the amount of fish oil they were taking was too low to have any positive effect. Furthermore, any small benefits that might have occurred would have been canceled out by the changing dietary habits. Remember, we were in the midst of a passionate love affair with carbohydrates during that decade, and these carbs would have caused a surge in our insulin levels, which in turn, increased the formation of arachidonic acid.

The formation of arachidonic acid was exactly the opposite of what fish oil was expected to do. Adding insult to injury, once the capsule dissolved in the stomach, many people were bothered by a fishy taste in their mouths and fishy breath for hours. If that wasn’t enough, other contaminants (usually weird fatty acids made by algae) present in the fish oil often caused bloating and diarrhea.

Although the vitamin A was removed from the fish body oil capsules, there was still the lingering problem of PCBs. To deal with this problem, some manufacturers employed a technology called molecular distillation, which removed some (but not all) of the PCBs.

The next innovation in fish oil development was the removal of some of the saturated fats by distillation to give fractionated fish oils slightly increased levels of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids. However, the purity of these products is still not up to what I define as pharmaceutical standards.

The final breakthrough in fish oils was the development of what I consider to be Ultra Refined EPA and DHA concentrate Omega 3 product. This requires advanced chemical engineering that begins with the removal of most of the saturated fat by fractional distillation and the removal of virtually all the PCBs (measured in parts per billion) by more sophisticated molecular distillation.

With these innovations, a new type of fish oil was created, one that could deliver a concentrated amount of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids without unwanted byproducts like chemical contaminants or harmful fatty acids. It is only with the use of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that you can deliver high enough levels of long-chain Omega-3 fats to your brain and body. Once you do, remarkable things begin to happen within 30 days.

The Benefits of High Dose Fish Oil

What can you expect when you begin taking high-dose fish oil if you’re relatively healthy and have no chronic illnesses like heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease? You will notice that your mental abilities are enhanced and that your emotions are on a more even keel. Taking significant doses of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids increases your body’s production of the two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine spurs you to action, enhancing your brain’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand and allowing you to organize yourself more efficiently. Serotonin is your morality or “feel good” hormone. It gives you a sense of well-being and allows you to handle stress more easily. When you’ve depleted these neurotransmitters, you’re at greater risk of developing attention deficit disorder (low dopamine levels) or depression (low serotonin levels).

Patients with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, attention deficit disorder, depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease (to name a few) appear to require higher levels of these fatty acids – on the order of 10 to 25 grams per day. I’ve seen an apparent improvement in symptoms in patients who take these higher doses; I’ve also found that when they drop their dose to below 10 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids per day, their neurological symptoms invariably re appear.

Patients who take such high doses would find it inconvenient to swallow 10 or more fish oil capsules a day. They need to take fish oil straight from the bottle, delivered by the tablespoon (just as your grandmother did). The purity of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil makes that a realistic possibility, especially if the fish oil is kept in the freezer (remember, it won’t freeze).

Here’s my promise to you. Within thirty days of taking 1 to 2 teaspoons (or 4 to 8 capsules) of Ultra Refined EPA and DHA Concentrate - fish oil* and following the rest of my dietary recommendations for the Zone Diet, you can expect to find yourself thinking more clearly with a greater sense of concentration, owing to increased dopamine production. In addition, your ability to handle stress will be greatly increased, owing to increased serotonin production. Finally, you will see an improvement in your physical capacity for exercise, especially in terms of greater endurance, owing to better blood flow. Most important, however, you are keeping yourself in the Zone, ensuring a longer and better life.

Excerpted from The Omega-Rx Zone. Copyright 2005 by Barry Sears, Ph.D. Used by permission.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any natural product, individual results will vary.

For more information about Dr. Barry Sears, his incredible fish oil supplements, or the popular Zone Diet, please visit

If you purchase any Zone Labs, Inc. products, part of the proceeds support CBN ministries.

Dr. Barry Sears is a leader in the field of dietary control of hormonal response. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his efforts over the past 25 years to the study of lipids and their inflammatory role in the development of chronic disease. He holds 13 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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