Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Pro-Diabetic Effects of Shark Liver Oil - Plus: Can it Be Coincidence that the Omega-6-Laden Nigella Sativa Oil has Just the Opposite Effects on Blood Glucose & Triglycerides

Image 1: Even if you kill him, he will take revenge and increase your blood glucose and triglyceride levels. And if you don't die from the negative side effects of the oil from his liver the neurotoxins from his fins will take care of the rest (cf. Science Daily)
"Healthy fats"... not to long ago even the combination of these two words was an oxymoron (an intrinsic contradiction). "How on earth can fats be healthy?" Was what the blank stares were telling you, when you set out to explain how and why people should not buy the latest and greatest "no fat" products from their local grocery stores. As of late the tides have changed and even mainstream media is jumping on the "healthy fats"-bandwagon - unfortunately, in a similarly single-sided way as before, with the "healthy polyunsaturated fats" on the one side of the divide and the "unhealthy saturated fats" on the other. Now, we all know that this distinction is flawed, but are really all fats made equal? Probably not, after all the overall message in the blogosphere has been changing from "limit omega-6s and get as much fish oil as you can" over "avoid omega-6s alltogether and make sure you get enough fish oil" to "avoid all PUFAs, but make sure that you get a decently low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio from the PUFAs you cannot avoid".

Sharks vs. blackseed - round 1: Fight!

A recently published study from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Science and Technology in the Republic of Yemen does yet provide further evidence that even this may not be the answer to everything. After all, the (formerly ;-) healthy 18 subjects (age: 23-31 years) in Doa’a A. Ibraheem study did not react particularly favorable to 2 weeks on 500mg of omega-3 fatty acids from an American shark liver oil product (Vitex  Pharmaceuticals).
Figure 1: Changes in glucose and lipid metabolism in 18 healthy volunteers in response to 2-weeks on either 500mg of omega-3 rich shark liver oil or 1,200mg of omega-6 rich nigella sativa oil (data calculated based on Ibrahiim. 2011)
As you can see in figure 1, the GMP certified "healthy" fish oil variety from shark livers did exactly what people who pop tons of cod-liver or regular fish oil want to avoid: It increased the fasting blood sugar and triglyceride levels - and if Mr. Ibraheem had had the financial resources to measure their insulin levels, I would bet any money that those were elevated as well.

The "bad" Nigella Sativa Oil of which the "poor" subject ingested even 1,200mg per day for another 2 weeks (in fact this trial was done 4 weeks before the SLO trial with an appropriate wash-out period in-between), with its 13% saturated fat, 25.5% MUFA and 58.5% of the dreaded omega-6s (it has only 1% omega 3) did not only induce a significant drop in fasting blood glucose, it also left the lipid parameters untouched.

And what about fish oil?

Now, despite the fact that shark liver oil is not identical to either fish, or cod liver oil, and that some if not all the health benefits of nigella sativa could be induced by other (micro-)nutrients than , I would hope that results like this will make more people question the "revised" perspective on "healthy fats", according to which all omega-6 acids are like vampires, that must be parried with garlic... ah, pardon omega-3 ;-)