MEDIA RELEASE – 24 SEPTEMBER 2010
International nutrition experts promote seafood and health in latest Seafood Services Australia videos
WHAT might four North American nutrition researchers involved with institutions like the US National Institutes of Health, the Universities of Michigan and Illinois, Cornell University in New York and Canada’s Sherbrooke University have in common?
Well, first, they all believe people should be eating more seafood to derive the benefits of its excellent nutrients, particularly fish oil, and, second, they are all interviewed in the latest series of videos about the health benefits of seafood compiled by Seafood Services Australia (SSA). To view these videos, go to the SSA website — www.seafood.net.au — and click on “Health” and then “Videos”.
The latest four world experts presented in SSA videos are: Professor Bill Lands, an eminent nutritional biochemist and one of the world’s foremost authorities on essential fatty acids; Prof. Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Dr Joseph R. Hibbeln, US Government National Institutes of Health; and Prof. Stephen Cunnane, Departments of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Sherbrooke and the Research Center on Aging in Canada.
Prof. Lands tells viewers that “I see nothing harmful in having seafood with every meal … I can’t imagine the situation where a person would eat too much Omega-3” (the oil found most abundantly in seafood) and that “Literally trillions of dollars of health-related financial loss in the USA every year could be prevented by shifting the balance back towards having more Omega-3 than Omega-6.”
He also says: “If you pay attention to what you put in your mouth, you could pick foods to make sure the vitamins you eat are balanced so that the hormones you make will also be balanced, and you could prevent many diseases that are caused by excessive Omega-6 action (compared with Omega-3).”
Prof. Brenna says “Quite a few studies … indicate fish consumption during pregnancy — and, by implication, before and after pregnancy as well — has almost nothing but positive benefits for offspring, and more fish seems to be much better. There are some cultures that consume many times more fish (than recommended by the US Food & Drug Administration) and there is no evidence of harm; in fact, quite the opposite: the kids are bright, happy, live long lives, and so on.”
Dr Hibbeln has advice for parents too: “The food you eat becomes your brain. Make a decision about whether you want your children’s brains to be made of pure and healthy natural oils from marine sources or whether you want your children’s brains to be made of the junk oils from junk foods.”
In relation to Omega-3 and depression, he says: “An overwhelming accumulation of data support the hypothesis that deficiencies in Omega-3 and other long-chain fatty acids impair brain composition and therefore increase the risk of depression, schizophrenia, violence and suicide.
“Omega-3s are at least as effective as anti-depressants, and may be more effective than anti-depressants, but of course the side effects profile is completely beneficial to other aspects of health.”
Prof. Cunnane believes Omega-3 is vital for responding to several “modern day” diseases: “Most of us should be getting more Omega-3. The issues are the same health issues that have dogged us for half a century. It’s a question of heart health. It’s a question of cancer protection. It’s a question of brain health. The development of the baby’s brain has been under intense scrutiny since the 1970s. The evidence has gradually but persistently shown us that DHA, and some other Omega-3s, but particularly DHA, is obviously key to successful brain development.
“It is recommended for all aspects of healthy development and adult life. Fish and shellfish are rich in the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA and they’re rich in a cluster of nutrients that we call ‘brain selective’ nutrients which are all beneficial and work in concert to help the brain develop, and, we think, to help protect the brain as we get older.”
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