Here you will find recent questions asked and answered by Doctor Sears.

Q:

How much DHA from microalgae oils should I take per day? I am a strict vegetarian. Do you have a recommended source of microalgae oil DHA, as it is difficult for me to find, or it’s quite expensive?

A:

There is a new algae form that contains both EPA and DHA. It is about 25% the potency of OmegaRx and is a lot more expensive. However, it is a better choice for vegetarians than the cheaper flaxseed oil. It is very difficult to make EPA and almost impossible to make DHA from flax oil.

Q:

May coconut oil be used in the Zone?

A:

The good news is that coconut oil has virtually no omega-6 fatty acids. The bad news is that it is virtually 100% saturated fat that can accelerate the burning of stored glycogen in the liver and increase inflammation by binding to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4). Coconut oil that is rich in MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) goes directly to the liver via the portal vein and rapidly consumes stores of liver glycogen. Without adequate levels of liver glycogen, it’s difficult to replenish blood-sugar levels for optimal brain function and satiety. There are a lot better oils to use for cooking that are also low in omega-6 fatty acids. One of the best is high-oleic sunflower or safflower oils. These are genetically altered oils that are low in omega-6 and saturated fatty acids and also have a high resistance to heat.

Bottom line: Coconut oil does have some advantages over other oils, but you are better off sticking to high-oleic varieties for cooking and then adding extra-virgin olive oil for taste and polyphenols.

Q:

I suffer from migraines. Will the Zone help?

A:

The majority of migraines result from a vasoconstriction of the cerebral arteries. You may find that supplementation with high-purity omega-3 fatty acids (like OmegaRx) offers some improvement for your condition. It has been shown clinically that the simultaneous reduction of omega-6 fatty acids while you increase omega-3 fatty acids will give even better benefits. As always, if you are taking any medications, work with your physician to make any adjustments in the medication since many medications work synergistically with omega-3 fatty acids.

Q:

Is krill oil good to take?

A:

Krill oil is more hype than reality. First, krill oil is much less concentrated in EPA and DHA than OmegaRx so you will need more of it to reach an optimal AA/EPA ratio. More ominous is that we have done a very careful analysis of the purity of krill oil and have found significant contaminants in the oil that are totally absent in OmegaRx. Part of the reason lies in the fact that krill oil is not an oil but extracted phospholipids that are extracted first with hexane (i.e., gasoline) and then precipitated with acetone (i.e., nail polish remover) so the final product can’t be purified to the extent that OmegaRx can. That’s why OmegaRx is the highest-purity fish oil available with or without a prescription.

Q:

How should the Zone Diet be adapted for women who are pregnant or nursing?

A:

Pregnant women should increase protein intake by 10 grams at every meal with a corresponding increase of carbohydrate and fat.

Nursing mothers should add an extra five grams of protein and a corresponding increase of carbohydrate and fat to every meal. Pregnant women should have 2.5 grams of extremely high-purity (less than 5 ppb of PCBs) omega-3 fatty acids per day. After the baby is born, nursing mothers should increase the dosage to restore her levels but also provide adequate levels for the breast milk for the child per day.

Q:

May I take flax seed oil instead of fish oil?

A:

Only about 5-10 percent of the omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid or ALA) in flaxseed oil can be converted to EPA and less than 1 percent of alpha linolenic acid can be converted to DHA. Stick with highly purified EPA and DHA for maximum anti-inflammatory benefits.

Q:

How much fish oil should I give my child?

A:

When infants can take solid food I would suggest 300 mg of omega-3s per day as the brain is the most rapidly growing part of the child’s body. For infants over the age of 1, I recommend one gram omega-3s per day. For children over 2, then increase the intake to about two grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. However, in every case, the omega-3 fatty acids should be highly purified (less than 5 ppb of PCBs).

Q:

How do I get started on the Zone Diet?

A:

On this Website click why Zone for the Zone Diet Overview. You will get guidelines on how to enter the Zone. Also there is a body-fat calculator to let you know how many blocks per day you need.

The typical woman needs 11 blocks a day. That means 3 blocks of protein, 3 blocks of carbohydrates (minus the fiber) and 3 blocks of fat. The typical man needs 4 of each. There are lots of tips and hundreds of proven Zone recipes on our Website.