I would like to share with you LPI’s response to a recently published study that has been in the media. This study reported that higher concentrations of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the blood are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. The type of fatty acids in the blood is sometimes used as a marker of intake in the place of dietary assessment. Rich sources of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are marine fish and fish oil supplements.
“Eating a healthful diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding tobacco are of utmost importance to maintain good health. I also think that some dietary supplements are critical for optimum health.”
– Balz Frei, Ph.D.
Which nutritional supplements does the former director of the Linus Pauling Institute, Balz Frei, Ph.D., include in his own regimen?
Several years ago, he listed them in LPI’s Research Newsletter:
- A multivitamin/mineral with 100% of the Daily Value of most vitamins and essential minerals
- 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
- 2,000 International Units (IU) (equaling 50 micrograms) of vitamin D3
- 1,200 mg of fish oil
- 400 mg of lipoic acid
- 1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine
He included insights from the Linus Pauling Institute’s Rx for Health and how he decided to vary its prior recommendation for vitamin E. He also pointed out that he made sure to get 1,000 mg of calcium daily from his diet and the multivitamin/mineral supplement combined.
The column elicited responses from LPI’s scientific colleagues and supporters around the country, which led to further informed discussions about the benefits of various supplements, as well as possible concerns [see the newsletter’s follow-up column]. It also inspired several articles in the popular media, including Vogue.
In 2013, Frei was asked again about his health regimen, and his answers follow below.
Q: What do you now take? Have any new discoveries inspired alterations in your personal regimen? Have other factors in your life influenced your decisions?
A: “I continue to eat a healthful diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy products. I run about 20 miles a week, and participate in an occasional half-marathon or marathon. I drink moderately, about one glass a day of beer or wine. I also stick with my other healthy habits, including avoiding highly processed foods, red meat, and tobacco.
“I have made some adjustments to my supplement regimen. Specifically, I now take two capsules daily of a fish oil supplement, each containing 450 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 90 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). I switched to this supplement with a higher content of DHA, because DHA appears to play a critical role in brain and heart function, yet our body is inefficient in making it from its precursors, including EPA. I also eat fish at least twice weekly and hence should get enough EPA from my diet.
“The other item I have added, in consultation with my physician, is a daily ‘baby’ aspirin, which is 81 mg. While this is not a nutritional supplement, I mention it with this list because I am convinced it is important for my demographic, to maintain heart health and suppress chronic inflammation. Together with aspirin, EPA and DHA also act as anti-inflammatories. Chronic inflammation is an important contributing factor to many age-associated diseases and to the aging process itself.”
You may have seen media reports about a scientific study suggesting that carnitine could be linked to heart disease. Carnitine – found naturally in red meat, poultry, and fish – is an amino acid. Unlike most amino acids, it is not used in the body to make proteins. Instead, it is used to transport fat inside a cell to allow fat burning and energy metabolism.
Should you be concerned about your carnitine intake? Read on.