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Dr. Sears' Blog

Keep Up with the Latest Nutrition Science
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Dr. Barry Sears
on February 23, 2018

You have questions, Dr. Sears has answers. We know it's hard to stay current with everything in the news and what exactly to believe. Leave that to Dr. Sears! Whether its a question about a study in the news, health trend, or something that pertains to your own personal health, this section is devoted to answering these questions. Most likely if you have questions, someone else has them too!

 

The New York Times Recently Published an article that fish oil doesn’t protect against heart disease. What are your thoughts on this?

This article was based upon a meta-analysis looking at various studies using fish oil and markers of heart disease. The highest dose of fish oil used in any of these trials was 1,800 mg of EPA and DHA per day, with the majority using around 400 mg of EPA and DHA per day. What this study showed is that when you don't give therapeutic levels of fish oil, you won't see the benefits.  You will see no effects on the resolution of inflammation, a driver of heart disease, until you reach about 5,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that has a long tradition of being used in many cultures because of its nutritional benefits and is gaining popularity in the marketplace. It’s thought that its fermentation process results in the production of a large number of healthy bacteria? Do you feel it’s a good aid for gut health?

The benefits of Kombucha are believed to come from their levels of probiotics.  Probiotics are live bacteria. 99.99% of probiotics are destroyed in the stomach due to its high acidity.  The few that survive only pass through the gut acting as target practice for the immune cells that line the gut to improve their recognition of more pathogenic bacteria.  Probiotics do not colonize the gut.  They have benefits, but those benefits are mild compared to fermentable fiber and polyphenols for gut health.

What exactly are the differences between Prebiotics and Probiotics. Is it important to have both in the diet?

Probiotics are live bacteria that are unable to colonize the interior of the gut. This means they lack the ability to change the microbial composition of the gut.  Prebiotics are fermentable fiber that serve as the food source for the microbes in the gut.  Fermentable fiber can significantly change the microbial composition within the gut, thus they are far more important for gut health.  Non-starchy vegetables are an excellent source of fermentable fiber.

What is bone broth and what are your thoughts on it as a protein supplement?

Bone broth is essentially cooking stock. It is made by taking the bones from either chicken or beef, adding vegetables and spices for flavor, and then covering with water and simmering for anywhere from 24-48 hours. Using bone, beef, or chicken broth for cooking is better than using water, but the true nutrition for a meal will come from the protein, carbohydrates, and fermentable fiber that you are adding the broth to.

When it comes to bone broth as a protein supplement, there are others that are vastly superior. Bone broth contains primarily collagen which is a poor source of quality protein as well as minerals. When choosing a protein supplement one with milk or whey protein isolates would be more ideal as they richer in essential amino acids whereas collagen is not.

What have you been doing to protect yourself against the flu this season.  Do you have tips for how to keep your immunity high the rest of the season?

Whether you’ve had the chance to get vaccinated for the flu or not, there are things you can do to bump up your immunity. The first would be good hygiene with regards to keeping up on good handwashing, making sure you are getting plenty of rest, and ensuring a healthy diet that doesn't make your immune system have to work even harder.  A diet balanced in lean proteins, good fats and colorful carbohydrates primarily from vegetables, is most ideal to avoid overloading your immune system. This is why I think it’s important to follow a strict Zone Diet, coupled with OmegaRx 2 to increase the resolution of existing inflammation and to provide your immune system further capacity to defend you again the flu virus.

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