Dr. Gerald H. Smith
In the past thirty years, fats have been linked to heart disease, clogged blood vessels, cancer, obesity and various degenerative diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cataract, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, nephritis, lupus erythematosus and others. As an attempt to combat these dreaded diseases, the medical profession and food industry, in recent years, have been promoting fat free products and avoidance of cholesterol rich foods. Although well meaning, the real emphasis should be on the avoidance of all processed fats (hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, saturated and heated fats and oils), bleaching of flour and consumption of high quality essential fatty acids. In addition, the public should be appraised of the best oils and their role in maintaining health.
The cholesterol scare has caused lay people and physicians alike to view all cholesterol as dangerous while driving some people almost to the point of being neurotic about eating foods high in cholesterol. Although eggs, butter, milk, cheese and fat meats are high in cholesterol they also carry the best antidote for it: phosholipids and lecithins. These phospholipids and associated factors of vitamin E protect the chromosome units in the cell. Without chromosome integrity, degenerative diseases occur.
The mantra of high cholesterol has also drummed up much business for the pharmaceutical industry who has profited enormously by the physician’s compulsion to lower high cholesterol levels by means of drugs. In the wake of misinformation and lack of proper nutrition, many people continue to suffer without resolution of their health problems.
Compounding the problem of a deficiency of ingesting good quality fats is the ubiquitous use of prescribed drugs in our society. The common use of aspirin to “Prevent” heart attacks and non-steroidals to reduce inflammation, presents a major problem in that these drugs themselves block the normal metabolism of fats in the body. The fact remains that if patients are helped by the use of aspirin or non-steroidal drugs, then one can infer that the patient has an underlying essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism problem. Correcting the EFA problem by means of good nutrition will not only improve the patient’s symptoms and decrease their need for the medications, it will also help improve the patient’s overall health.
Fats are essential to bodily function. The EFA’s enable saturated fats to be oxidized and provide heat and energy; they easily combine with protein and oxygen and pump them through the body; fats are also stored for body insulation and future utilization, used in cell membrane repair, secreted in milk and excreted in the feces. Fats are needed to replenish the fatty sheath around nerves, pad joints and organs and provide a vehicle for the fat soluble vitamins (D,E,K,A and F); they are also converted to other lipids which provide the basis for hormones and body fluids.
An integral fraction of fats important to the body are the essential fatty acids (EFA). EFA’s are unsaturated fats; they are unsaturated because they have bounds or linkages within their chemical structure which permit attachment of other essential compounds like protein and oxygen. When high quality, electron-rich fats are combined with proteins, the electrons are protected until needed by the body. The more bonds within the EFA structure the more beneficial the EFA is to the body. As an example, olive oil has only one unsaturated bond compared to flaxseed oil which has three. Another beneficial factor comes from the presence of a field of electrons when two or more bonds are present. These electrical charges are easily released within the body to recharge living substances, especially to the brain and nerves. It is this electrical property which is so vitally needed for enzyme reactions to sustain life. These essential fatty acids have favorable effects upon sex maturation, pregnancy, lactation and protect against the harmful action of x-ray irradiation. When deficient, the EFA’s will increase capillary permeability and lower capillary resistance. They also are necessary in cholesterol metabolism and normal function of every cell and organ of the body. Strictly speaking the essential fatty acids (linolenic, arachidonic and linoleic) cannot be synthesized by the body and unfortunately most people’s diets today are deficient in natural fats.
Natural fats fall into one of three families of fats. Each of these fats are converted into special hormones called prostaglandins (PGs). These prostaglandins act as chemical messengers within all cells and are essential to their normal function. Our bodies need all three types of EFA’s in balanced amounts to provide the three types of prostaglandins (PG-1, PG-2 and PG-3). The PG-1’s and PG-3’s promote health and are considered beneficial to body function. These two groups decrease the clotting of blood, decrease blood pressure, decrease swelling and inflammation, decrease tumor growth and help burn fat. The PG-2 group does exactly the opposite and its functions promote the degenerative process.
The availability of the specific essential fatty acids from each of the families of fats is dependent on the fats not being processed (heated, partially or fully hydrogenated). The first family of fats (this group produces PG-1’s) is comprised of those fats which are derived from food oils: safflower, corn, sunflower, peanut, evening primrose and black currant. The second group of fats (this group produces PG-2’s) come from ingestion of red meats, dairy products, mollusks and shellfish. The last group of fats represent the cold weather oils: flaxseed (linseed), walnut, canola and from cold water fishes.
The biggest nutritional problem in our society today is the over consumption of processed fats. Most people are unaware of the quantity of processed fats consumed on a daily basis. Interestingly, when animals are fed solidified or saturated fats, they ate six times as much fat and six times as much food as compared to animals fed healthy unsaturated fats. When food labels are read, partially hydrogenated fats are in everything: margarine, all commercial peanut butters, most crackers, chips, cookies, cakes and candies, many breads, some mayonnaise and salad dressings as well as many of the commonly consumed foods. By processing natural fats to partially hydrogenated ones, the shelf life of the product is greatly extended. The problem is that these partially hydrogenated fats interfere with the normal conversion of the group 1 and 3 fats to their appropriate prostaglandins. The end result of this faulty metabolism is the over production of PG-2 type which promotes inflammation, pain and degenerative diseases.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF FLAXSEED OIL
Excerpts from Healing Fats…Killing Fats by Udo Erasmus.
Richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids (50-60% Omega-3s); contains almost twice as much of the Omega-3s as fish oil.
- Heart Disease — Omega-3s lower high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as 25% and 65% respectively. Omega-3s decrease the probability of a clot blocking the artery in the brain (stroke), heart (heart attack), lungs (pulmonary embolism) or the organ (peripheral vascular disease…that is gangrene). Omega-3s will lower high blood pressure.
- Cancers — Omega-3s dissolve tumors. Max Gerson used Flax Oil for this purpose in his clinic. Dr. Budwig in Germany has over 1000 documented cases of successful cancer treatment using Flax Oil along with additional support. She has been using Flax Oil successfully in cancer therapy for over 30 years now. More recent research shows that Omega-3s kill human cancer cells on the same culture. Breast, lung and prostrate cancer cell lines were studied.
- Diabetes — This disease, according to Dr. Budwig, has its origin in deficiency of Omega-3s (as well as Omega-6) fatty acids and is made worse by current lack of vitamins and minerals.
- Arthritis — Omega-3’s have been found to be effective in the successful treatment and prevention of arthritis. Both fish oils and Flax Oil have been used. More recently, research using combinations of the Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids found that 60% of rheumatoid arthritics were able to completely discontinue their non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and another 20% were able to reduce their dosages of NSAID in half.
- Asthma — Flax Oil can relieve asthma noticeably, sometimes within a few days of starting to take the oil.
- Premenstrual Syndrome — Many cases of PMS are completely relieved within one month with fresh flax oil. Vitamins and minerals are also very important.
- Allergies — Omega-3s help to decrease allergic response. Since the body must be rebuilt, a longer time is needed before allergies are alleviated. Total nutritional support is required.
- Inflammatory Tissue Conditions — Included here are the diseases which end in -itis, in which are meningitis, bursitis, tendinitis, tonsillitis, gastritis, ileitis, colitis, arthritis, phlebitis, prostatitus, nephritis, splenitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, otitis, etc. as well as psoriasis and lupus. All of these inflammatory conditions may be helped by the Omega-3s.
- Water Retention — Flax oil helps the kidneys remove sodium and water. Water retention (edema) is involved in swollen ankles, some forms of overweight, PMS, and late stages of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Skin Conditions — Flax Oil is famous for its ability to make the skin smooth, soft and velvety. It will also alleviate those skin conditions whose origin is the lack of the Omega-3s in the diet.
- Vitality — One of the most noticeable signs of improved health from the use of Flax Oil is increased vitality, more energy. Athletes notice that their fatigued muscles recover from exercise more quickly. Omega-3s increase stamina.
- Calmness Under Stress — Many people find this calming effect of fresh Flax Oil to be its most pleasant . Omega-3s fatty acids prevent excess toxic biochemicals which our bodies produce under stress.
- Other Conditions — Flax Oil can also be helpful in multiple sclerosis (in places where essential fatty acid consumption is high, multiple sclerosis is very rare); Omega-3s are necessary for visual function (retina), adrenal function (stress), and sperm formation; cystic fibrosis (Omega-3-containing oils will loosen the viscous mucous secretions and relieve breathing difficulties); some cases of sterility and miscarriage; some glandular malfunctions; some behavioral problems (schizophrenia, depression, manic-depressive disorder, etc.); addictions (to drugs or alcohol); and pathologically deviant behaviors.
Because they are the essential nutrients most commonly lacking in the North American diet, Omega-3s are recommended for everybody. In order for the Omega-3 fatty acids in Flax Oil to unfold their vital functions, the other essential nutrients (proteins, vitamins and minerals) must also be present in adequate amounts.
HOW IS FLAX OIL MADE? — Fresh Flax Oil, even when made with utmost care and kept cool and closed, retains its vital nutrients unspoiled for only 4 months. Light, oxygen (air) and high temperatures destroy the Omega-3s very rapidly. Once opened, Flax Oil should be consumed within 3 to 6 weeks. The container for Flax Oil must allow no light to come in contact with the precious oil. The oil must be pressed at a low temperature. Flax Oil must be completely protected from light and air between the time it is locked in the seed and the time that it is protected in the opaque container. Only oil made with this required care is worth using to enhance health.
HOW MUCH FLAX OIL? — Dr. Budwig uses up to 8 tablespoons of fresh Flax Oil daily in her cancer therapy. The Gerson clinic uses 2 tablespoons daily for the first 4 weeks of therapy, and a maintenance does of 1 tablespoon per day from then on. Dr. Rudin uses 2 to 5 tablespoons per day, depending on the patient’s individual condition and needs.
HOW TO USE FLAX OIL — Flax Oil can be substituted for other, less nutritionally valuable oils in salad dressings, mayonnaise, shakes, etc. It can be mixed with live oil or butter to enhance their nutritional value. It can be mixed with skim milk protein (baking cheese, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, kefir), then sweetened with fruit, maple syrup or honey to provide a delicious, nutritious breakfast or as a dessert. “Me mixture of oil with skim milk protein can also be used in main dishes by adding vegetables, greens and spices. The Flax Oil-protein mixture is a versatile base for any kind of meal. Allergic to dairy? Use tofu with onions/garlic instead of milk protein.
IS FLAX OIL FOR EVERYONE? — Almost. Occasionally, someone will experience an allergic skin rash with the oil. That person must detoxify his immune system or obtain his essential Omega-3s from one of the lesser sources: fresh pumpkin seed, soybean, walnut or fish oil. Second, nausea results from exceeding the liver’s capacity for fats and oils. People with impaired liver function need to build up their capacity gradually, starting with small doses.