Buyer beware — Many fish oils are synthetic

As you probably know, fish oil has long been touted as an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two marine-based omega-3 fats that are important for brain and heart health.

What may come as a surprise is that many (if not most) fish oil supplements on the market these days contain synthetic fish oil.

This little-known fact has been brought to the fore by a recent U.S. Supreme Court petition filed by Amarin Pharma Inc., the maker of a proprietary prescription formulation of fish oil called Vascepa (a highly-processed and concentrated form of EPA).

Amarin’s complaint

Amarin initially filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2017, charging certain fish oil manufacturers with unfair trade practices. According to Amarin:1

“… [C]ertain companies have violated the Lanham Act and other statutory provisions by importing synthetically produced omega-3 products that are falsely labeled, unlawfully marketed, and deceptively advertised as ‘dietary supplements’ when in fact the products are ‘drugs’ that have not been approved for sale in the United States.”

ITC declined, ruling Amarin’s claims were “not cognizable as a matter of law” because they’re based solely on U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) violations.2 An appeals court affirmed the ITC’s decision, concluding that Amarin could not seek relief under the Tariff Act “unless and until FDA exercises its discretion to take action to enforce the FDCA.”3

As reported by Natural Products Insider,4 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration claims it has not yet determined whether fish oils are dietary supplements or new drugs, thus it cannot determine whether FDCA violations have occurred.

Amarin has now filed a “petition5 for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court,” Natural Product Insider reports,6 in an effort to clarify the ITC’s authority to address complaints about products regulated by the FDA. As noted in the petition:7

“The Tariff Act of 1930 grants manufacturers the right to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission alleging Lanham Act violations when an importer engages in unfair trade practices … The Tariff Act mandates that the Commission must investigate a complaint and determine whether a violation has occurred …

This Court has held that ‘Congress did not intend the’ Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to preclude Lanham Act claims alleging false and misleading advertising for products subject to regulation by the Food & Drug Administration …

The question presented is: When a manufacturer files a Lanham Act claim under the Tariff Act for competitive injuries caused by unfair trade practices, is the claim barred as a matter of law when the International Trade Commission would need to consider the meaning of terms used in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in order to determine whether the claim has merit?”

Many fish oils are synthetic ‘drugs,’ Amarin says

In a nutshell, Amarin has taken issue with the fact that many fish oil supplements contain synthetic fish oil and not all-natural substances, and as such should fall under the category of “drugs,” just like Vascepa. According to Amarin, since fish oils are marketed and sold as dietary supplements, they pose an unfair competition, and are mislabeled and mismarketed. As explained in Amarin’s petition:8

“It is well established and understood that ‘synthetic’ substances derived from natural substances that qualify as ‘dietary ingredients’ under subsections 201(ff)(1)(C), (E), and (F) of the FDCA, or synthetic copies of such natural substances, are not themselves ‘dietary ingredients’ unless they were commonly or customarily used in the conventional food supply and in compliance with law.”

According to Amarin, the FDA has failed to take action against supplement manufacturers that market fish oils that don’t actually qualify as dietary ingredients, and asserts that the FDA’s oversight was never meant to be the sole authority for ensuring proper labeling — which is why Amarin brought its complaint to the ITC. In its current petition to the Supreme Court, Amarin explains the cause for its complaint:9

“Amarin markets Vascepa®, a prescription drug that is synthetically derived from fish oil, with the active ingredient consisting of 1 gram of eicosapentaenoic acid …

Amarin has invested more than $500 million to develop this innovative product, including undertaking extensive clinical trials to support FDA-approved and planned uses of Vascepa® in the United States. Vascepa® has been hailed as a rare medical breakthrough.

Studies10,11 have demonstrated that the drug decreases triglyceride blood levels without raising bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of cardiovascular events, like cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke.

Unfortunately, there are large quantities of similar synthetic products derived from fish oil that meet the definition of ‘new drug’ that are not of the same manufacturing quality and have not been studied through clinical trials or approved by FDA as safe and effective.

Although the law is clear that these products are unapproved ‘new drugs’ that may not be marketed and sold as dietary supplements, FDA has failed to take uniform enforcement action under the FDCA.

Whatever the risks to public health might be, the domestic industry faces a serious threat of substantial competitive injury as these mislabeled and deceptively advertised products flood the market.”

What makes most fish oils synthetic?

As structural elements, DHA and EPA are particularly important for proper cell division and function of cell receptors. They also play an important role in anti-inflammatory reactions. These fats are ideally obtained from the consumption of small fatty fish that are free of toxins.

Unfortunately, most people opt for fish oil supplements over eating fatty fish like sardines, anchovies and herring. While this has long been thought to be a perfectly viable option, it has now become clear that the processing of fish oil is deeply problematic, rendering the final product into something far from the natural oils you get from the whole fish.

As described in a 2018 paper12 in the Transformation and Agro-Industry journal, there are many different ways to extract, refine and concentrate the omega-3s in fish oil, and as noted in the 2017 white paper,13 “From Fish Waste to Omega-3 Concentrates in Biorefinery Concept,” there are even methods by which omega-3 oils can be extracted from fish waste.

Former CEO of Twinlab, Naomi Whittel, described the crux of the problem with fish oils in my 2018 interview with her (see “processing of fish” link above):

“Even if you think the fish oil is coming from Norway or Europe, [the fish] is caught in Central and South America … The fish are then brought onto and thrown into the bottom of the boat …

By the time they get to Europe, the guts are so rancid that in order to get the omega-3s out, they have to go through a process of extracting these poisons and this rancidity. [In the end], you’re left with something that has none of the cofactors [and] it’s been heavily contaminated to clean out the rancidity …”

Whittel estimates about 98% of the omega-3 products on the market are inferior (and perhaps even toxic) due to the way the fish are caught and processed — a summary of which is provided in the graphic below.

In short, in order to render the rancid fish safe for human consumption, it must be cleaned, and what’s left at the end of this process is a synthetic ethyl ester omega-3 oil. The reason why some brands are able to provide you with higher concentrations of DHA, for example, is also because of this deconstruction and reconstruction process, and this appears to be part and parcel of Amarin’s complaint.

fish oil molecular distillation process preview

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Triglyceride versus ethyl ester fish oils

The processing most fish oils undergo transforms the omega-3 fats from their triglyceride form into an ethyl ester form. In fish, the DHA and EPA occur in the form of triglycerides,14 which are the most bioavailable. In most commercial fish oil supplements, however, the DHA and EPA are delivered in the form of ethyl esters.15,16

As explained by Douglas MacKay17 N.D., senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, in his paper18 “A Comparison of Synthetic Ethyl Ester Form Fish Oil vs. Natural Triglyceride Form,” a triglyceride consists of a three-carbon molecule that forms a “backbone” for the fatty acids to latch onto.

Each carbon molecule is linked to a fatty acid, so in total, a triglyceride is composed of three carbons bonded to three fatty acids. Ethyl ester fish oil is most prevalent simply because it’s far less expensive to produce than the triglyceride form.

Ethyl esters are also easier to work with during processing, as they have a higher boiling point. This becomes important during the molecular distillation phase (see above), during which the oils are heated and purified of harmful environmental pollutants.

The molecular distillation phase also concentrates the EPA and DHA. You can tell the concentration of these two fats in any given supplement by looking at the label. In fish, the oil consists of 20% to 30% EPA and DHA, whereas purified fish oil concentrate typically contains between 60% and 85% EPA and DHA.19

Ethyl esters are essentially a synthetic substrate, created through the micro distillation process of crude fish oil, in which ethanol and/or industrial alcohol is added. This mix is heat distilled in a vacuum chamber, resulting in a concentrated omega-3 ethyl ester condensate.

It is also important to note that this purifying molecular distillation process removes vital resolvins and protectins present in the raw material that are important in reducing inflammation.

The problem with ethyl esters

Ethyl esters, unfortunately, are the least bioavailable form of omega-3, and while manufacturers could convert them back into triglyceride form by detaching the ethyl alcohol molecule and reattaching a glycerol molecule in a process known as re-esterification,20 this process is a costly one.

The difference between triglyceride and ethyl ester forms become an issue when your body goes to metabolize them. Since the glycerol backbone is missing in the ethyl ester form, the EPA and DHA will scavenge for available triglycerides or steal a glycerol molecule from somewhere.

One way or another, the fatty acids need to be converted back into triglyceride form, or else your gut epithelium will not be able to process them. When the ethyl ester form of EPA/DHA ends up stealing glycerol molecules, the molecule that lost its glycerol will now go searching for a replacement, creating a negative domino effect. What’s more, the fatty acids also cannot be transported through your blood unless they’re in triglyceride form.

Now, when you consume omega-3s in triglyceride form, the fatty acids are first separated from the glycerol backbone. All of the individual parts are then absorbed by gut epithelial cells, where they’re reattached to form triglyceride.

When you consume ethyl esters, they must be processed in your liver. There, the ethanol backbone is separated from the free fatty acids, and your body must then reattach the free fatty acids to glycerol to form triglyceride.

Your liver must also process the ethyl alcohol, which may release free radicals and cause oxidative stress — the complete opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

In fact, as suggested in an article21 by Short Hills Ophthalmology on this topic, many of the side effects of prescription strength fish oil such as Lovaza — a highly-concentrated ethyl ester form of fish oil — such as unpleasant body odor, vomiting, gastrointestinal dysfunction, pancreatitis and cardiac effects,22 may be due to the toxicity of ethanol, which must be separated out in your liver.

Ethyl esters more prone to rancidity and poorly absorbed

In summary, while triglycerides are the natural, more stable form, identical to human fatty acids and easily digestible and absorbed, ethyl esters lack molecular stability, your body cannot recognize them and because they take longer to digest, they may cause unpleasant reflux.

Molecular stability is important, as unstable molecules are more prone to oxidative damage and thus rancidity. As noted by MacKay:23

“The therapeutic action and safety of fish oil is in part related to its molecular stability and resistance to oxidative damage. Fish oil that has been subject to oxidative damage may do more harm to the body than good. EPA and DHA are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which means they contain several double bonds within their carbon-hydrogen chain.

In each location of a double bond, there is vulnerability for free radical attack, which results in an oxidized and rancid oil. The potential negative health effects of consuming rancid fish oils have not been fully elucidated. However, it has been shown that oxidized by-products of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including DHA, are elevated in patients with neurodegenerative conditions.”

Poor absorption is also an issue with ethyl esters, as this will impair the effectiveness of the fish oil. Research24 has shown the free acids of fish oil have an absorption rate of at least 95%. In this study, ethyl ester EPA and DHA absorbed only 20% and 21% as well as the free acids respectively.

Taking them with a high-fat meal increased absorption to about 60%.25,26 Meanwhile, EPA in its natural triglyceride form had a 69% absorption rate from the start, and when taken with additional dietary fat, absorption increased to 90%.27

The take-home message here is that to really reap the benefits associated with omega-3 fats, you need to either eat omega-3-rich fish, or make sure the supplement you’re taking contains DHA and EPA in their triglyceride form. Unfortunately, cold pressed, minimally processed fish oil with triglyceride DHA and EPA can be very hard to find, as it far costlier to produce.

A viable alternative would be to use krill oil, which research28 has shown to have greater bioavailability than triglyceride-based fish oil, allowing you to take lower doses while still reaping similar results.

Your best options for animal-based omega-3

Based on the evidence, it seems clear that to reap maximum health benefits, you really want a majority of your omega-3 to come from your diet. That means eating small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is another good source.

If you opt for an omega-3 supplement, your choices become more complex. Many commercial fish oil supplements may not give you the benefits you’re looking for, as they contain EPA and DHA in the form of synthetic ethyl esters rather than triglycerides.

If you are taking a fish oil supplement, find out if the fish oil is a synthetic ethyl ester. If this information is not on the label, contact the manufacturer and find out. ONLY use fish oil that is in the natural triglyceride formulation. Choosing otherwise could turn out to be problematic for your long-term health.

My preference, when it comes to omega-3 supplements, is krill oil, in part because of its superior absorbability, as mentioned above, but also because it’s a vastly more sustainable source than fish. 

Last but not least, don’t rely on a set dosage. As with vitamin D, it’s your serum (blood) level that counts. Your omega-3 level can easily be measured using an omega-3 index test. You’ll want your index to be above 8% for optimal health and disease prevention.

Why you should mix coffee into your cream

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Statistics show that more than half the population in the U.S. drink coffee on a daily basis. Further, those individuals drink 3.1 cups of joe every single day.1

In the last several years, coffee has been identified — as has that other popular drink, tea — as a healthy beverage if consumed in optimal amounts. Coffee drinking is associated with reduced risk of an early death and heart-related illnesses, cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Tea has been linked to reduced risks of stroke, diabetes and depression, as well as improved blood pressure, lower rates of obesity and moderated glucose levels.

Adding cream to coffee — and for some, to tea — changes everything, and for more than just taste. It has to do with the temperatures, but it’s become a great debate over decades and even centuries. Scientists were reportedly fascinated with a slow-motion video (recorded at 2,000 frames per second) of a drop of milk being dropped into a cup of hot coffee, because for a few nanoseconds, the cream floated.

The featured video notes that when you mix two blendable liquids, they usually combine immediately. But when there’s that brief delay before it sinks, the base of the milk heats a tiny amount, but enough for the surface area of coffee directly under it to cool.

“Molecules in both the milk and coffee begin moving in a circular direction, which guides the airflow around the bottom of the drop, creating enough pressure to ‘levitate’ the drop. Researchers say you could theoretically levitate a drop of milk forever, as long as the coffee stays hot, and the milk stays cold.”2

John Bush, a professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT, says if it were possible to maintain the temperature difference, the cream could be “levitated” indefinitely, and that while it might be easier to put a hot drop on a cold bath, it would work if you could add some sort of heating element to the inside of the drop.

The important part of the discussion, the video explains, is that the discovery goes far beyond coffee or tea and milk, because keeping liquids separate is crucial in other arenas, such as inkjet printing and DNA testing. In fact, scientists say it could influence the way technology is advanced, and improve scientists’ understanding of how droplets behave in nature.

Is it semantics whether the milk or tea goes first?

Writer and editor Steve Rousseau at Digg agrees that people should put their cream in their coffee before their milk, but for simpler reasons. “If you pour the cream in first and then add the coffee, everything stirs itself.”3 Adding the cream first might make it hard to put in the right amount, he adds, but only at first. With practice, you should be able to nail it.

In England, where the beverage preference is tea over coffee, The Guardian, a newspaper founded in 1821,4 published a piece in 2014 stating there was scientific proof that to make the perfect British cup of tea — “The most important discovery in the history of mankind. Fire is a close second, as you need it to boil water.”5 — the milk should go into the cup first.

Who knew it would be such a point of contention? The article noted a Dr. Stapley of Loughborough University who tested the theory and concluded that putting the milk into the cup after the boiling water was “incorrect.” It caused the milk to heat unevenly, as the proteins in the milk would “clump,” which changed both the texture and taste. But besides the water and the milk, there’s also the teabag to consider, and the order it’s added to the cup, as well.

It also refuted any suggestion that coffee might be more popular in Great Britain than tea, especially with the checkered history of the tea leaf, which was the subject of what one author called “greatest single act of corporate espionage in history.”6

Then there’s the debate about the temperature of the water used to make the perfect cup of tea, which supposedly needs to be kept at the boiling point even as it’s being poured. Another argument is that water shouldn’t be boiled more than once because it might make the tea taste “flat.”7 One claim of Yorkshire Tea maintains that certain protocols must take place in order to “turn a humble tea bag into a cracking cup of tea.”8

It’s not about coffee or cream; it’s the chemistry

An interesting experiment took place in the early 1920s. Mathematician Ronald Fisher, knowing an algae biologist named Muriel Bristol liked milk in her tea, took her a cup, but made the mistake of pouring the milk in first. Bristol was indignant, insisting that milk should be added to the tea, not the other way around.

Provoked by her pettiness, Fisher’s argument was that thermodynamically, what possible difference would it make which went into the cup first? Bristol countered that it made a difference to her, and that she could taste the difference. It must have been an interesting discussion to onlookers who ambled over to see if the altercation might devolve into fisticuffs.

Then William Roach — Bristol’s fiancé, it turned out — suggested an impromptu experiment. Eight cups of tea were randomly lined up before Bristol. Only Fisher and Roach knew which four cups had milk poured into them before the tea and which had tea in them first. Imagine Fisher’s chagrin and bewilderment when Bristol declared each cup correctly. Science History Institute explains:

“It turns out adding tea to milk is not the same as adding milk to tea, for chemical reasons. No one knew it at the time, but the fats and proteins in milk — which are hydrophobic, or water hating — can curl up and form little globules when milk mixes with water. In particular, when you pour milk into boiling hot tea, the first drops of milk that splash down get divided and isolated.

Surrounded by hot liquid, these isolated globules get scalded, and the whey proteins inside them — which unravel at around 160ºF — change shape and acquire a burnt-caramel flavor. … In contrast, pouring tea into milk prevents the isolation of globules, which minimizes scalding and the production of off-flavors.”9

In the early part of the 1920s, scientific standards and controls were rare and the methods used were crude. The interesting turn of events at the tea party became downright pivotal for Fisher because he couldn’t help mulling over the implications of statistical analysis. As his job was essentially to figure out more accurate testing methods for clinical trials (then simply called experiments), the door of opportunity was open and he walked through it.

Fisher used Bristol’s tea trials and broadened its adaptations for scientific assertions conducted over subsequent months. He wrote about this work in his book, “The Design of Experiments,” as well as his first work, “Statistical Methods for Research Workers.”10 He laid out concepts for statistical analysis, many of which are still used today, mostly because the tempest in a teapot, as it were, became the basis of predictability and counting sequences. Fisher himself noted:

“Our experiment consists in mixing eight cups of tea, four in one way and four in the other, and presenting them to the subject in a random order.

The subject has been told in advance of what the test will consist, namely that these shall be four of each kind, and that they shall be presented to her in a random order, that is an order not determined arbitrarily by human choice, but by the actual manipulation of the physical apparatus used in games of chance.”11

Health advantages from coffee, but creamers, not so much

It’s beside the point that drinking coffee is associated with a number of health advantages, such as better brain function, enhanced long-term memory, healthier hearts and a whole gamut of other benefits, according to a 2017 study.12

But a substance known as acrylamide, a known carcinogen and potential neurotoxin, has been identified as a potential problem when coffee is brewed, or more precisely, depending on the way it’s brewed. It’s a chemical created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, but it’s also found in both drinking water and waste water, as well as charred foods. A judge in California ruled that coffee should come with a cancer warning for that reason.13

Further, some contend that the caffeine (one reason coffee, tea and chocolate are so popular) can disturb your sleep, which becomes a health hazard of its own. Dark chocolate, more so than milk chocolate, has been found to be healthy in moderation. But adding fake creamers to coffee and tea, or what too often passes for cream, can be more of a problem.

Ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, dipotassium phosphate and an array of other chemically derived substances make your “creamer” more of a synthetic, chemically-based hazard that happens to taste good.

Research suggests there’s a better way to mix cream into your coffee. The upshot is there’s a scientific reason why gourmet chefs, before adding cream to a recipe, sometimes mix small amounts of the dish with it separately first and stirring it together before pouring it into the finished product.

Dietary intake of vitamin A may prevent skin malignancy

Your diet has a significant impact on the health of your skin. When it comes to wellness, beauty is more than skin deep. As a general rule, diets that include lots of fresh vegetables and plenty of omega-3 lay the groundwork for a youthful complexion.1,2

However, just as with protecting your overall health, loading up on specific foods to boost your youthful appearance, while still eating some of the most damaging foods, will likely not make a significant impact. For example, those who become resistant to insulin and leptin also realize the effects this has on the aging process.3 These conditions increase skin changes4 and your risk of metabolic disease.5

The most effective way to protect against insulin resistance is by reducing or eliminating processed foods and those that are high in refined sugar, processed fructose, trans fats and other harmful ingredients.

Specific nutrients have the opposite effect, or a protective benefit by helping ward off the damage caused by exposure to the elements. A recent study by researchers from Brown University found foods rich in vitamin A had a specific beneficial effect.6

Vitamin A-rich foods may protect against skin cancer

The researchers’ goal was to determine if there is an association between dietary intake of vitamin A and a reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma.7 They analyzed data from two studies and found that those eating a diet high in vitamin A had a 17% reduced risk of getting cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

The scientists also analyzed results from 48,400 men and 75,170 women over 26 years.8 The original studies prospectively examined the participants’ intake of vitamin A and carotenoids using diet assessments from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The researchers’ end point measurement was the incidence of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.9

During the study period, 3,978 cases of squamous cell carcinoma were found. The researchers believe the results suggest that those with a higher dietary intake of vitamin A have a lower risk of being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.10 The data supported the following conclusions by the researchers, who wrote:11

“In this large prospective study of U.S. women and men, we found that higher intake of total vitamin A, retinol, and several individual carotenoids, including beta cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein and zeaxanthin, was associated with lower risk of SCC.

The results were generally consistent between men and women. The inverse associations appeared to be more prominent among those with moles and those with burn or blistering sunburn reaction as children or adolescents.”

While the researchers found a lower risk of squamous cell skin cancer with higher levels of dietary intake of vitamin A, Eunyoung Cho, study author and associate professor at Brown University, said taking too much vitamin A from supplementation could lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures.12 Cho commented:13

“These findings just add another reason to have a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A from plant sources is safe.”

More than one type of skin cancer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology,14 there are four major types of skin cancer. Actinic keratoses are dry scaly patches that form on the skin. They are considered precancerous and may progress to squamous cell carcinoma, so early treatment is important.

Basal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of skin cancer. These cancers may form anywhere on the body and often are flesh-colored or pinkish patches of skin. Early diagnosis and treatment help reduce the potential it will invade surrounding tissue and cause significant disfigurement.15

Once diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, 50% go on to experience a recurrence within five years of the first diagnosis. This type typically grows slowly and metastasis is rare. Recurrence is more likely in those with a history of eczema, those who have used tanning beds and those whose original cancer was larger than 2 centimeters or was several layers deep in the skin.16

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type and it may develop anywhere on your body. It presents as a firm red bump or scaly patch. It may appear to be a sore that doesn’t heal.17 This cancer develops from the epidermal layer of the skin, or outermost layer.

It often grows slowly; it is uncommon for it to metastasize before being found. However, it is more likely to invade the fatty tissue beneath the skin, causing disfigurement with removal.18

Melanoma is the deadliest form of cancer. This is the type that develops from a current mole or appears as a new spot on the skin. Dermatologists19 recommend you use the ABCDEs to spot a melanoma and seek immediate medical attention if you think you have found one. Any spots that are different, or begin to change, itch or bleed should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

  • Asymmetry — One half the dark area is unlike the other half. Most moles are symmetrical.
  • Border — The outer edges of the mole will have an irregular or poorly defined border, seeming to fade into your skin.
  • Color — An abnormal mole will have varied color from one area of the mole to another. You may notice shades of dark or light colors, including red or blue.
  • Diameter — Most malignant melanomas are larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving — Melanomas will look different than the rest of your moles and you may notice changes in shape, size or color over time.

Different types of vitamin A

Vitamin A refers to several different but related nutrients that fall into one of two main categories.20 Retinoids are the bioavailable form of vitamin A that are found in animal-based foods while carotenoids are previtamin A found in plant foods.

As your body acquires carotenoids from plant sources, it must convert it into bioavailable retinol.21,22 This does not pose a major problem if you are healthy. However, there are several factors that may inhibit this conversion including digestive problems, alcohol use23 and certain medications and medical conditions that interfere with the absorption of fat, such as cystic fibrosis and liver disease.24

Your body’s ability to convert carotenoids into bioavailable retinol will also depend on your diet, as both absorption25 and conversion are fat dependent. In one study,26 researchers found a high-fat diet improved enzyme activity and the bioavailability of vitamin A in an animal model.

Carotenoids are the water-soluble provitamins found in plant foods, including beta carotene. Xanthophylls are another form of carotenoids; lutein and zeaxanthin are in this category.27 However, retinoids are the biologically active form and are only found in animal foods, including retinol, retinoic acid and retinyl esters.28

Vitamin A helps more than your skin

The featured study demonstrated that those with the highest amount of dietary vitamin A intake also experienced the lowest risk of squamous cell carcinoma. However, other studies have shown vitamin A may also inhibit other types of cancer.

In a study of a drug blocking the breakdown of retinoic acid, the result was a reduced tumor size in mice implanted with human prostate cancer cells.29 Vitamin A is an antioxidant and helps fight inflammation and damage from reactive oxygen species. Benefits from optimal levels of vitamin A obtained from your diet may support:

Immune system function30,31

Cell differentiation32

Slowing the aging process33

Healthy vision34

Strong bones35

Neurological function36

Healthy skin37

Gene regulation38

Wound healing39

Get vitamin A from your food

Vitamin A supplementation carries risks for many people, so your best bet is to make sure you’re getting it from real food — both animal- and plant-based. Your best sources of retinoids are from:

  • Eggs from organic, pastured chickens;
  • Whole raw milk and cream from organic, grass-fed cows and
  • Raw, organic butter and cheese from grass-fed cows.40

Other foods containing high amounts include:41

Sweet potato


Winter squash

Mustard and collard greens



Weekly health quiz: Sleep, autophagy and privacy

1 For how many years has offered free health information to the public on the internet?

  • 13 years
  • 16 years
  • 22 years

    After starting a website to share the latest natural health developments in 1997, has been sharing information online for 22 years. Learn more.

  • 28 years

2 Which of the following companies was fined $5 billion in July 2019 to settle privacy breaches?

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • MeWe
  • Facebook

    July 24, 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced Facebook will pay a $5 billion fine to settle some of the known privacy breaches, including that of Cambridge Analytica. Learn more.

3 Who owns The Washington Post?

  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

    Amazon is currently censoring products that are critical of vaccines. Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013. Learn more.

  • Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
  • Larry Page, co-founder of Google
  • Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

4 Which of the following emotional states has been scientifically shown to improve sleep, lower your risk for heart disease, reduce materialism and increase happiness?

  • Acceptance
  • Gratitude

    The practice of gratitude has been shown to increase happiness, improve sleep, lower your risk for heart disease, reduce materialism, increase happiness and much more. Learn more.

  • Trust
  • Serenity

5 Which of the following is NOT a common benefit of exercise?

  • Improved body composition
  • Improved mood
  • Increased height

    Even when initiated later in life, exercise can provide you with profound physical and mental health benefits, including reduced body fat and increased muscle mass, improved mood and cognition, better skin and slowed aging. Learn more.

  • Slowed cellular aging

6 Which of the following is a foundational aspect of Dr. Mercola’s day-to-day life?

  • Never wearing a hat when outdoors
  • Always wearing shoes
  • Never exposing more than bare arms to sunlight
  • Always going barefoot (unless shoes are required)

    Dr. Mercola spends his days barefoot, unless going somewhere where shoes are required. Learn more.

7 With the implementation of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the U.S. government acknowledged that:

  • Federally licensed and recommended vaccines can and do cause injury and death

    Barbara Loe Fisher, recipient of the 2019 Game Changer award, worked with Congress to develop the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which acknowledges that federally licensed and recommended vaccines mandated by states for children to attend school can and do cause injury and death. Learn more.

  • Vaccine injured Americans have no legal recourse whatsoever
  • Vaccine injured Americans are a hoax
  • Federally licensed and recommended vaccines never cause injury or death

x22Report 8-18-19… “Investigations By OIG Completed, Facts Dominate, [DS] Scrambles”

This x22 hit many points (listed below the video). All sorts of items are coming out about Clinton emails going to China, etc., etc.

Very helpful video, in my view.

Published on August 18, 2019
[Link and notes below are from The first few are from x22Report’s economic video.]

Investigations By OIG Completed, Facts Dominate, [DS] Scrambles

  • The [CB]/[DS] are trying desperately to gain control over the situation in the UK. To push fear about the BREXIT, the establishment decided to push out a leaked document called Operation Yellow Hammer.
  • They know that Boris Johnson is ready to follow through on a no-deal BREXIT, there is nothing that can stop this.
  • The US MSM is doing the same thing as we approach the 2020 elections, push recession, hoping to scare the people.
  • Trump administration controls the economic narrative, no recession.
  • [JB] and other [DS] actors are now worried because they see the writing on the wall,
  • Trump will win the 2020 elections and they have no blocks.
  • More and more facts are pouring out, this is get the people up to speed on what has been going on and allowing them to connect the dots.
  • The OIG investigation is wrapping up and it is almost time for the hammer to fall.
  • New evidence shows that Mifsud was not Russian operative but worked with the C_A.
  • The wall is being built and LG wants the people to see it all.

All source links to the report can be found on the site.

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Lyme Disease Bioweapon? Natural Tonic Treats Disease without the Adverse Effects of Antibiotics

(Will Justice) For decades, many have suspected that the US government may have created Lyme’s disease. Recently, the House of Representatives directed the Pentagon to disclose whether or not it used tics to infect people with Lyme’s between 1950 and 1975. This suggests it could be a bioweapon. As scary as that might sound, you can rest easy knowing there are effective solutions.

The post Lyme Disease Bioweapon? Natural Tonic Treats Disease without the Adverse Effects of Antibiotics appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

The ridiculous corporate media freakout over Senator Bernie Sanders’ entirely legitimate accusations of pro-establishment bias continues today, with shrill, absurd new headlines like “Sanders campaign continues attacks on journalists” and “Bernie Sanders isn’t sorry” featuring hysterical MSM drama queens rending their garments over the suggestion that plutocrat-owned media outlets could be favorable to the plutocrat-owned establishment.

In response to this cartoonish display of billionaire-sponsored performance art, The Hill‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati aired a segment on their online show Rising which is as damning an exposé on the dynamics of mass media empire propaganda as we are ever likely to witness.

With startling frankness and honesty, the pair disclose their experience with the way anyone who is critical of the establishment consensus is excluded from mainstream media platforms, as well as the way access journalism, financial incentives, prestige incentives and peer pressure are used to herd mainstream reporters into toeing the establishment line once they’re in.

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