Dr harold Gunatillake

Good advice by Dr Harold – Is Fish Oil another Snake Oil?

Talk of the town was coconuts sometime back, how bad it was for the humans, and one lady professor claimed it was poison. Now the focus is on fish oil that has been popular and believed to lower the risk of inflammatory diseases, heart disease, stroke, and improve the intelligence of kids, among others.

A recent study on 15,000 people in the UK published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that participants taking a daily capsule of omega-3 fish oil did suffer from heart attack and stroke as much as people not taking any fish oil. The study revealed that 8.9 per cent of the people given the fish oil capsules suffered a heart attack or stroke, compared to 9.2 percent in a placebo group, and the difference is marginal.

This study was done on diabetics, and not on others. The question is will omega-3 fish oil capsules do help to prevent heart disease and stroke among the non-diabetics? 

Another series of studies done by the South Australian researchers at the Medical Research Institute in Adelaide found that fish oil doesn’t make more intelligent and smarter babies.

A group of women were given a daily dose of 800mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish during the second half of their pregnancies. A second group of pregnant women were given a placebo.

 The fish-oil kids – at 18 months old- showed no superior or accelerated cognitive, language, and motor development than the babies whose mothers took a placebo.

But, this does not prove that fish oil given to mothers are not doing some good to the foetus.

The beneficial factor in fish oil is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid
(DHA). These two fatty acids have been considered so far to boost optimum brain function and regulating the serotonin levels in the brain. DHA is highly concentrated in the brain, retina, testicles and semen.

People often lack enough omega-3 fats (polyunsaturated), mainly DHA (antiinflammatory)
which is necessary to balance with the inflammatory omega-6 fat ratio. The ratio is considered 1:1.

What this implies is that taking more inflammatory polysaturated fatty acids as cooking oils, or in food may lead to inflammatory diseases. So, you need to increase your omega-3 fatty acids to neutralize the bad effects of the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega -3 fatty acids are found in vegetables, too. It is an essential fat that our body cannot make. These anti-inflammatory foods can repair damaged cells and restore a healthy balance that can prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. In one study, men took fish oil capsules containing DHA supplements for 12 weeks decreased the concentrations of several inflammatory markers in their blood by about 20%.

These omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from fatty fish, especially tuna, salmon, mackerel. Vegetables containing omega-3 fat are flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, canola oil,

In another study it was found that fish oil higher in EPA than DHA lowered inflammatory cytokines, associated with neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases.

Studies also showed that a dietary supplementation of fish oil lowers the activity of chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches.

It is observed that arthritic patients benefit and respond well on taking 10 capsules of fish oil a day.

The National Heart Foundation in Australia advises some people with high risk factor for heart attack or existing heart disease to take omega-3 supplements.

Despite the above two studies mentioned- population studies have consistently found that omega-3 fatty acids cut down the risk of heart disease by 18 per cent.

Why then eat fish?

Fish is recommended twice a week for people, because of its health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in the body of oily fish, which includes eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids being anti-inflammatory in action prevents chronic inflammatory diseases as mentioned earlier, including heart disease.

The rate of coronary heart disease among Japanese men is less than on third that of the U.S. at 45.8 (per 100,000/year). While American men have a rate of 150.7, though the percentage of men who smoke is 35.4%, more than double the rate of 17.2% in the U.S.

Japanese eat a lot more fish than Americans, and this is important, since omega-3 fatty acids, the type in which fish is abundant, are protective against heart disease

A study done in 2005 found that the more fish the Japanese ate, the higher was their consumption of omega-3 fats, and the lower was their rate of heart disease

Bottomline: Do not get discouraged by the two studies showing that fish oil does not benefit to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and not help in enhancing the I.Q. of  kids.

Population studies and epidemiological observations prove otherwise.

Hope this article will convince you to continue taking fish oil supplements

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Desmond rocked Kandy – Reported by Dr Harold Gunatillake
Desmond desilva

“The great entertainer of all times” performed at the Royal Crown hotel, Ampitiya Kandy, Sri Lanka, on the 2nd September for a crowd of over 1000 young and old merry-makers.

Youthful golden voice has not changed after decades of performing and considered as the “King of Baila”.

The hall was packed with young and old revelers, and there was hardly any space on the dance floor left when Desmond started his renditioned accomplished English and Sinhalese old songs of his top hits followed by his favourite Baila sessions which continued till on midnight.

Kandy mayor Kesara Senanayake was one of the chief guests.

It was a very memorable event for the revelers, and more the hotel service was par excellence.

Desmond desilva


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Update on egg



Good advice by Dr. Harold

Eat eggs for breakfast will prevent a stroke?

We were all deprived of eating eggs by nutritionists and researchers in the past, and awhole generation felt not to eat eggs because they were told that an egg is a ‘ball ofcholesterol’ and would increase your cholesterol numbers in your blood to cause cardiovasculardisease. It was the same story with coconut oil because of the saturated fatcontained in them and the fear that it will cause heart disease.

Today, we know that eating eggs do not   nfluence the serum cholesterol numbers, and you could enjoy two eggs a day with no guilt. Your cholesterol levels are more  influenced by the saturated and trans-fat you eat in such food. Studies show thateggs consistently raise HDL (the good) cholesterol

New research has shown that eating an egg a day may protect against
cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online May 21 by the
journal Heart. Researchers found that people who ate one egg every morning
had an 18% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 28%
lower risk of having a haemorrhagic stroke, compared with people who did
not eat eggs.

This study was on more than 400,000 adults ages between 30 to 79. All participants were from 10 survey sites in China. The participants were given eggs to eat and were traced their health for nearly nine years using registries and other methods.

So, there you are- you can eat at least one egg with breakfast every morning, and your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, heart attacks and related events, haemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke are far more less than those who don’t eat eggs. (ref: Harvard Women’s Health Watch)

Eggs contain good quality protein and are a good source of healthy fats includingomeg-3 fats. You can eat up to six or seven eggs each week. Eating omega-3 enriched eggs can lower your blood triglycerides.

A single medium sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake.

Leave out the bacon and restrict your butter. Always, eat whole meal bread and avoid eating white bread though tastier.

The healthiest way to eat eggs is to boil, poach or scramble them using low fat milk.

A health breakfast would be making a three-egg omelette with capsicum, spinach and mushroom and eat on a slice of whole meal bread.

Fortunately, Sri Lankans can now eat wholemeal grainy bread as they are available in the super-markets, but unfortunately, they are double the price of white bread and much smaller in size.

Can you eat scrambled eggs every day?

Yes, is the answer. You could include three eggs scrambled per day.

Eggs help to make steroid hormone testosterone in men, estrogen in women and cortisol a hormone secreted in your body during times of stress.

Eggs are good for your eyes

Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin helps to reduce your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

Bottom line: If an egg contains the ingredients and nutrients to give a new life, why not enjoy and be lively

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