This is an unabridged preview of a feature article in an upcoming issue of The Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living.
The ocean will heal you. The ocean will cure you. Nutrition from the sea is a key to your great health and longevity. From omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish like sockeye salmon to regular consumption of sea vegetables and an exciting newly discovered nutrient from the sea, marine amino acids—scientific studies tell us that incorporating these valuable treasures into your daily nutrition program will pay some of the best health dividends you’ve ever experienced.
Indeed, we can learn much about the value of ocean nutrition from several cultures. Take Iceland as our first example.
In the icy North Atlantic waters lives an island nation of people who have endured the challenges of harsh weather, rugged terrain and long seasons of darkness for over one thousand years. These are the people of Iceland.
Today, Icelanders are a medical marvel. They have less heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke than any other nationality in the world. In fact, they are 20 times more likely to live longer than Americans! Moreover, studies show they live these extra years in fine health, experiencing the greatest measures of happiness and contentment.
Furthermore, Iceland has the lowest rate of infant mortality. Icelandic women give birth to the healthiest infants having possibly the most advanced immune and nervous systems, with optimum brain and eye development. What is it about the remarkable longevity of Icelanders that the rest of the world can learn from? What is their secret to living longer, healthier lives than anyone else?
Major scientific research conducted in the 1970s first identified certain fatty acids in fish found near Iceland that had remarkable healthful benefits. In 1982, a landmark study, conducted by a team of Scandinavian scientists, earned them the Nobel Prize for their discoveries of the workings of these substances.
The essence of what they discovered is something that you and all of your loved ones can take advantage of every day to help live longer and healthier lives.
That discovery was the omega-3 fatty acids, especially those from wild pristine sources such as sockeye salmon. These highly coveted but relatively rare (in the Western diet) fatty acids are essential to your overall health because they are incorporated into almost every cell membrane in the body. Scientific evidence is mounting that omega-3s prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, even depression—and that’s just the start.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of 49 known “essential” nutrients. Such nutrients must be ingested directly in the diet in the form of food or nutritional supplementation. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to health and longevity. They serve to facilitate cellular communication, keep the blood flowing smoothly throughout the body, protect the body from cancer, and regulate blood sugar to aid in prevention of diabetes.
Ideally, each and every one of our 100 trillion cells should be partially constructed of an optimal amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Within the cell wall, omega-3 fatty acids serve to secure structural integrity, as well as initiate cellular respiration.
In the absence of omega-3 fatty acids, the body must use less desirable fatty acids as surrogates, leading to compromised cellular and, therefore, overall health.
The body’s inflammatory response is intimately regulated by omega-3 fatty acids. The inflammatory response was created or evolved to protect us against acute injury or microbial attack. However, if the inflammatory response is needlessly provoked, damage to tissues and organs of the body will occur. The reduction of omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of people among the industrialized nations has created a situation of chronic inflammation among many persons. In this case, symptoms of inflammation precede the disease. However, as inflammation leads to disease a vicious circle of inflammation and disease is formed.
The “essentiality” of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be denied. In fact, a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can be considered as a reliable indicator of disease. Given the research that indicates that most individuals are deficient in omega-3s, it can accurately be stated that the majority of these individuals will suffer compromised health or premature death as a result.
Making matters worse, as mentioned, is mass consumption of a more prevalent and nutritionally dangerous family of omega-6 fatty acids, found in high concentrations in common vegetable oils. The ingestion of omega-6 fatty acids, out of proportion to omega-3 fatty acids, wreaks havoc on the body’s metabolism and inherent protection against deadly diseases.
Virtually every expert including medical doctors and nutritionists is spreading the word that we need to increase our intake of omega-3s from pristine sources such as wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. Insure a high optimal intake of these essential nutrients (and most Americans are highly deficient) and cancer cells will be held at bay; blood will flow smoothly; brain power and memory will stay strong and sharp; mood will be much improved. And this is just the beginning: omega-3s are also invaluable for promoting healthy joint movement and fighting off common autoimmune conditions.
But as good as omega-3s are, they are not the only treasure from the sea.
Sea vegetables might not be quite as well-known as omega-3 fatty acids, at least not yet, but their ability to protect and promote your health and longevity is incredibly well documented. Sea vegetables are absolutely essential to health and longevity.
The powers of ocean vegetables have been sought for thousands of years for their ability to prolong life, prevent disease and enhance life.
Ocean vegetables contain ten to twenty times the minerals of land plants, as well as an abundance of vitamins and other elements necessary for proper metabolism. Each ocean vegetable exhibits a distinct nutrient profile and a selective nature for its medicinal use. Therein ocean vegetables may be one of our most important allies in a changing world.
The country that has really pioneered sea vegetable consumption is Japan. There is an island off the coast of Okinawa called Hachi Jo, known as the Island of Longevity. This island has a reputation of producing a disproportional number of centenarians—people who live over 100 years of age. In fact, the residents are rarely infected with modern diseases such as cancer, irregular blood pressure, strokes, cardiac infarction, or Alzheimer’s disease. Curious health-minded researchers questioned their superior longevity, vigor, disease resistance and overall body strength and stature. The relative longevity and health was attributed, in part, to their consumption of sea vegetables such as limu or brown kelp. Recent studies credit continuous consumption of seaweed in providing the people of Hachi Jo with a distinct advantage over the rest of the world’s population.
An Asian staple unfamiliar to many Westerners, sea vegetables are widely eaten in the traditional Japanese diet. Sea vegetables are exceptionally important for detoxification and immune health. Brown kelp (also known as limu, kombu or Laminaria japonica) helps to fight against radiation poisoning. It also appears to be a key constituent in the diets of Japanese women who are at very low risk for breast cancer.
“Based on epidemiological and biological data, Laminaria, a brown kelp seaweed, is proposed as an important factor contributing to the relatively low breast cancer rates reported in Japan. . . . Some form of seaweed is used with almost every meal—as garnish, in soup, as a vegetables, in sweet cakes and jellies, in sauces, as a tea, and in salads . . . Seaweed is also incorporated into flour which is then used to make noodles, another common dietary item in Japan. Laminaria is most often used to make stock for miso soup, normally eaten as a part of at least two meals each day. The ubiquitousness of Laminaria in the Japanese diet makes actual seaweed consumption difficult to measure.”[vii]
Once absorbed, radioactive contaminants such as strontium, that cause cancer, are absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood stream and deposited in the bone. However, the brown seaweeds contain a natural polymer called alginate. As early as 1967, it was known that alginates found in kelp inhibited absorption of radioactive strontium. The radioactive strontium instead is bound to the algin to form an insoluble gel in the digestive tract which can then be excreted. It has also been demonstrated in experimental animals that radioactive strontium already deposited in the bone is released slowly, re-scecreted into the intestine, and then bound by alginate. Thus, alginate is capable of reducing body burdens of radioactive strontium.[viii]
Sea Veggies that Promote Weight Loss
Fucoxanthin is another amazing compound that is found in several different types of seaweed, especially brown kelp but also in green sea lettuce and red marine algae.
Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid (similar to beta-carotene [vitamin A], lutein and lycopene) and a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free-radical damage. It is the pigment that gives brown seaweed its characteristic color and also participates in photosynthesis (the conversion of light into energy). While all of that makes fucoxanthin interesting, when fucoxanthin was studied in the laboratory, it revealed a quality that makes it unique.
Most fat-burning products work by creating a thermogenic effect in the body. This is almost always done by stimulating the central nervous system. Creating a thermogenic effect is good. Thermogenesis is the process by which the body generates heat (energy) by increasing the metabolism above normal. Yet, as those of us who’ve used ephedrine-based dietary supplements know, creating this effect by boosting the central nervous system can be very problematic for most people.
Fucoxanthin is unique because it creates a thermogenic effect without stimulating the central nervous system. Fucoxanthin actually boosts your metabolism, specifically metabolizing visceral fat, the kind found around the belly, without giving you the jitters or causing you to lose sleep. Instead of the shotgun approach of boosting your metabolism by stimulating the central nervous system fucoxanthin breaks down visceral fat within the abdominal region, without the increased heart rate.
In the summer of 2006, news came of a study coming out of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, where Japanese researchers studied the effects of fucoxanthin on more than two hundred laboratory animals. The Japanese study found fucoxanthin supplementation resulted in a five to ten percent reduction in weight. The Japanese researchers said that since the abdominal area contains abundant white adipose tissue, the compound might be particularly effective at shrinking oversized midsections.
Thyroid Support from the Sea
As if cancer and radiation protection and weight loss weren’t enough, sea veggies offer another huge benefit. More than 25 million people, primarily women (8 out of 10 thyroid patients are female), have thyroid disease—and more than half of these cases are actually undiagnosed and unknown to the sufferer.
Ranging from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters and nodules, you can experience a myriad of health problems when your thyroid is dysfunctional—which can result from genetics, diet, environment, and stress, as well other lifestyle factors and health habits—and especially iodine deficiency.
Researchers report in a 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that hypothyroidism—a sluggish thyroid—contributes to 60 percent increased risk for heart attacks in women. It’s a more important risk factor for heart and circulatory problems than smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), or even diabetes.
Some six percent of miscarriages are linked with an underactive thyroid, and children born to mothers with sluggish thyroids have lower IQs (by around 7 points) and are more likely to experience learning disabilities. We mention underactive thyroid because people are five times more likely to have an underactive condition (hypothyroidism) than hyperthyroidism.
Yet, making the condition even more troubling is how often thyroid conditions are overlooked by doctors. The symptoms can be confused with other conditions, and testing often isn’t sensitive enough to pick up when someone has an underactive thyroid (one of the most common forms of thyroid malfunction). For example, doctors often first order thyroid-stimulating hormone tests. In this test, the higher the score the more likely you are to have a sluggish thyroid. Yet, while many doctors consider normal TSH levels to range from 0.5 to 5 mIU/L, other expert bodies such as the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists say this range doesn’t account for subclinical conditions. Some experts say levels should be between 0.3 and 3 mIU/L. Many complementary medical practitioners say a score over 2 mIU/L indicates hypothyroid conditions.
Help for Underactive Thyroid
While your doctor might prescribe a drug such as Levoxyl, Synthroid or Levothroid, many alternative practitioners believe that there is a lot you can do for yourself. And iodine from sea veggies is critically important. Even though manufacturers began iodizing salt in the 1920s to prevent goiters, experts such as Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a member of the Healthy Living advisory board, say that all of us should be supplementing with 150 to 250 micrograms of iodine daily for general support—but up to 12,500 mcg can be taken daily for more serious thyroid health issues (see our recommended supplement below).
Iodine is the necessary mineral to support thyroid function. In Japan, where the average person consumes five to nearly eight grams of iodine-rich kelp per day, hypothyroidism is virtually unknown. Once Japanese immigrate to the United States, their incidence of hypothyroidism becomes equivalent to that of the general population within 20 years. This shows us so clearly there’s something here affecting us differently, so it must be our diets or environment or lifestyles.
Almost all treatment of sluggish thyroid requires iodine. After all, the thyroid is the only gland in the body capable of absorbing iodine. Thyroid hormones are made from iodine and the amino acid tyrosine; that’s why sea veggies, which are rich in iodine, are so important. Three iodine molecules (as well as tyrosine) are used to make T3 (triiodothyronine), and T4 (thyroxine), the thyroid’s master hormones.
Fighting Off Viruses
Current research has now established a link between nutrient-rich red marine algae and the body’s immune system response. Our ability to survive in a hostile environment that may seem out of control demands that we take steps to recover our health and maintain our immunity. Sulfated polyanions (also known polysaccharides) are complex three-dimensional sugar chains with sugar or carbon backbones found in highest concentrations in various types of sea vegetables—and they are critical to fighting off infectious conditions. They are considered to act principally by inhibiting the entry of lipid-coated viruses such as herpes into host cells and could therefore be thought of as protectors against a wide range of infectious agents.
Especially of interest in this context are the sulfated polyanions produced by some species of red marine algae; these compounds have shown promising activity against a variety of animal viruses (including herpes and HIV), say researchers in a recent report from Cancer Cell International.[ix]
A series of scientific studies has confirmed that red marine algae has potent antiviral applications and that, when used as a medicinal food, could play an important complementary role for people who are susceptible to herpes conditions, including genital herpes and shingles, as well as other viral conditions.
In a general overview on red marine algae, provided by researchers at the Naval Biosciences Laboratory, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, it was noted that administration of red marine algae polysaccharides prevented death in 70 percent of mice receiving lethal amounts of murine pneumonia virus and that aqueous extracts of four members of the red marine algae family “protected infant mice against herpes simplex-induced encephalitis.” Meanwhile, a report from the Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, shows that an extract from red marine algae “selectively inhibited the reproduction of herpes virus type 1 and type 2 in cell cultures.”[x] In higher concentrations, “the extract exhibited strong extracellular virus inactivating activity.”
But here’s the rub: while each of these ingredients is incredibly powerful and important to your health and well-being on their own, you will get the biggest bang for your nutrition dollar when you combine them daily for a synergy that is even more powerful.
Ocean Synergy with PotentSea Formulas
The key to ocean nutrition is synergy—and we recommend that all three PotentSea formulas, described below, be taken daily to capture the interactive powers of nutrients from the sea.
Sockeye Omegas from PotentSea are not only rich in omega-3 fatty acids but because they are cold pressed from wild salmon, they are also rich in astaxanthin, an extremely powerful antioxidant carotenoid from sea algae. Astaxanthin is a well-studied compound that has been shown to be 14 times stronger than vitamin E, 53 times stronger than beta-carotene, and 64 times stronger than vitamin C. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin benefits cardiovascular health, supports the body’s natural response to inflammation, immune system health, eye health and it even supports healthy skin, bones and joints. Most recently, research shows this antioxidant protects brain nerve cells.
There is an undeniable synergy with these ocean-based compounds. One example can be found in how they affect cardiovascular health. Omega-3s stimulate circulation and aid in fibrin breakdown, a compound involved in clot formation. Astaxanthin fights “free radicals” that can wreak havoc on arteries.
The synergy doesn’t stop there, though.
In animal studies, fucoxanthin, found in high amounts in PotentSea Sea Vegetables, was demonstrated to be more effective when it was combined with an omega-3 fatty acid than if it were alone. Wild salmon, one of the healthiest fish or even foods on the planet, contains both omega-3s and astaxanthin. And PotentSea Sea Vegetables are a rich source of the brown carotenoid, fucoxanthin.
The Japanese, one of the healthiest and longest lived cultures, routinely consume omega-3s, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin together in one meal (omega-3 and astaxanthin from fish, fucoxanthin from the seaweed in their miso soup or salad.) It’s as if the omega-3s, fucoxanthin and astaxanthin were made for each other.
Astaxanthin and fucoxanthin are fat-soluble antioxidants. In other words, in order for them to be absorbed by the body they need to be combined with a source of fatty acids. Omega-3s are a world-class source of fats making them a natural complement to astaxanthin and fucoxanthin. Finally, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil need a powerful antioxidant as a sidekick. The next time you look at the ingredients for your omega-3 fish oil supplement, you will no doubt notice that it has vitamin E in it, a powerful antioxidant in its own right. That is because fish oil can spoil pretty quickly without an antioxidant around to protect it. As we’ve already noted both astaxanthin and fucoxanthin are powerful antioxidants. (That makes Sockeye Omegas extremely fresh!)
PotentSea® Organic Sea Vegetables contain red, brown and green marine algae. The five species that are used—kombu, bladderwrack, rockweed, sea lettuce and dulse—are sustainably hand harvested and sun dried. Each April the Gulfstream upwells deep nutrient rich waters to the north Atlantic near Maine, the Bay of Fundy, and Iceland. The clean water then infuses the young sea vegetables with up to 80 trace minerals and amino acids—all of which are known to be important to human health. Indeed, the sea’s waters are almost exactly the same as our blood and bone and tissues in terms of minerals and their proportions.
The PotentSea crew then sets out by shore or on row boats with organic certifiers to hand harvest the sea vegetable fronds. “We only give the young plants haircuts, thus allowing the stem to continue to re-produce,” says company founder Chris Goldblatt.
PotentSea is the only brand to use the five species of raw, certified organic sea vegetables.
So why else should you take sea vegetables?
The rich amount of organic iodine and trace minerals work to promote a healthy thyroid. Three capsules of Sea Vegetables daily will supply all of the readily bioavailable iodine your thyroid requires. They are also rich in iron, magnesium and calcium, among more than 70 other trace minerals critical to human health.
Marine Aminos™ are in a class of their own. They represent a genuine discovery that has recently been registered with the Food and Drug Administration as a new ingredient. Extracted from the meat of sustainable fished marine mollusks such as whelk, conchs and murex, Marine Aminos are among the most condensed and purest form of proteins on earth. They are rich collagen and keratin. For centuries traditional seaside cultures have used the source material of Marine Aminos to: boost libido (sexual function, desire and satisfaction for men and women), increase energy, endurance, improve muscle tone, speed recovery and improve mental focus while promoting youthful hair, skin and nails.
Says Jimmy Shole, an accomplished triathlete from San Diego: “I am a disciplined tri-athlete. Nothing I have taken has helped me like PotentSea Marine Aminos. I get at least 50% more from my workouts and my recovery is much faster with less lactic burn. I have tried everything under the sun, but I will never need another exercise aid other than PotentSea Marine Aminos. I would recommend them to runners, cyclists, swimmers, weight lifters and others.”
Marine Aminos are also an eco-friendly replacement for rhino horn. Used for centuries as a powerful libido booster, anti-inflammatory and wellness promoter, rhino horn is sadly the cause of species depletion. Both rhino horn and Marine Aminos are comprised mostly of keratin and other basic elements that have very powerful positive effects on the human body.
Sockeye Omegas, Sea Vegetables and Marine Aminos are available at health food stores as well as Vitamin Shoppe. For more information or a store near you visit www.potentsea.com.
The Next Great Ocean Environmental Project
Nature Conservancy reports that some 75% of the world’s reefs are damaged or in peril. And while we definitely need to stop damaging our ocean reefs with pollution, reckless ocean harvesting practices, and by addressing global warming, we also know that humanmade reef structures are part of the solution.
Founded by PotentSea’s Chris Goldblatt as a non-profit, The Fish Reef Project will turn empty California coastal seafloors into thriving marine ecosystems, which will be home, breeding and feeding grounds to millions of marine mammals, sea birds, turtles, fish, lobster, abalone, scallops, sea vegetables and much more.
PotentSea supports the fish reef project through donations of funding, staff and equipment. “As partners with the sea we are dedicated to giving back more than we take,” says Chris.
A vast kelp forest will spring to life from each fish reef in less than a year. The kelp beds will reduce acid levels while sucking tons of carbon from the air each year, while providing feeding and spawning grounds for lobster, marine mammals, sea birds, and imperiled rock fish, and creating critical habitat for abalone restoration.
The many caves and hiding holes will improve the reproductive success of lobster and fish, ensuring that valuable, local fisheries have a sustainable future.
While more than 500,000 reef balls have been placed in 70 countries, the Fish Reef Project is the first of its type in California. Fisheries PhD Robert Abbot, part of the Fish Reef Project team, has created two intertidal fish reefs near Berkeley that have helped to restore the native oysters, green sturgeon, and salmon. Meanwhile, the 174-acre SONGS reef off San Onofre, recently built by Edison, is an amazing success that has been called “an underwater rain forest” by marine biologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The reefs are supported by volumes of science proving their unique abilities to significantly increase the biomass (net amount of all living things).
To learn more visit www.reefproject.org.
[i]Hirayama, T. “Epidemiology of breast cancer with special reference to the role of diet.” Preventive Medicine, 1978; 7: 173-195.
[ii]Wynder, E.L. “Dietary habits and cancer epidemiology.” Cancer, supplement, 1979; 43(5): 1955-1961.
[iii]Kagawa, T. “Impact of westernization on the Japanese. Changes in physique, cancer longevity and centerians.” Preventive Medicine, 1978; 7: 205-217.
[iv]Fujimoto, I., et al. “Descriptive epidemiology of cancer in Japan: current cancer incidence and survival data.” National Cancer Institute Monographys, 1979; 53: 5-15.
[v]Nomura, A., et al. “Breast cancer and diet among the Japanese in Hawaii.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1978; 31: 2020-2025.
[vi]Teas, J. “The dietary intake of Laminaria, a brown seaweed, and breast cancer prevention.” Nutrition and Cancer, 1983; 4(3): 217-223.
[viii]Tanaka, Y. “Application fo metal-binding properties of marina algae in medicine.” Gastrointestinal Research Institute, McGill University, Montreal.
[ix] Talyshinsky, M.M., et al. “Anti-viral activity of red microalgal polysaccharides against retroviruses.” Cancer Cell International, 2002 2:8.
[x] Serkedjieva, J. “Antiherpes virus effect of the red marine alga Polysiphonia denudata.” Z Naturforsch [C], 2000;55(9-10):830-835.
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