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Brenda Watson, Omega-3 and Vitamin D

by Vin Kutty, MS on December 9, 2012

Brenda Watson Omega-3 Vitamin D on PBSI recently got five calls within a few hours, all with the same questions:

I knew something was up.

That something was Brenda Watson’s TV show, Heart of Perfect Health airing PBS during fund-raising drive.

Ms. Watson gives very specific advice on how to use Omega-3, enzymes, detoxes and probiotics to cool down ‘silent inflammation.’

I’ll get to the Vitamin D part in a second…

4 Things to Look for in a Fish Oil Supplement

In the segment on Omega-3, she gives 4 key things to look for in a good Omega-3 product. Explains the phone calls.

I don’t know Brenda personally, but I’ve seen her every year at trade shows. She’s an excellent educator and has done a great job of focusing the viewer’s attention on gut health.

A possible eye-opener is how clearly and simply she connects inflammation and heart health to the gut. Gut health is a lot more than just being regular!

Having an opinion on all things nutrition and health, here’s my take on the 4 fish oil requirements mentioned in her show:

1. ‘Fish Oil Supplements Must Have at Least 1000 mg Omega-3 Per Pill’

Not 1000 mg of fish oil! That’s very different from 1000 mg of Omega-3. Difference explained here by Kathy Mankofsky.

Brenda Watson is absolutely right. If you’re serious about your health, you need a serious Omega-3 product, preferably one with a high EPA level for reducing inflammation.

Her suggested daily dosage is 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day. With a pill that contains at least 1000 mg Omega-3, that’d be just 3 pills.

Or as she puts it, ’10 of the regular fish oils or 30 of the red stuff,‘ referring to krill oil.

‘Krill Oil Shocker’

Most of the callers whom I spoke to were ex-krill oil users and expressed disbelief that krill oil had so little Omega-3.

I am not surprised. Marketers have spent countless millions advertising krill oil.

Before that kinda money is spent, you need ‘rationale.’ Enter focus groups.

I can almost hear fat cats in meetings saying, ‘Let’s focus group what people hate about fish oil and address those issues with a product.’

People hate fish oil because:

  • the pills are big
  • you need to take more than one
  • they sometimes smell

How do I know? I used to run these focus groups on fish oil. I’ve literally talked to thousands of people about fish oil.

Now look at the Krill oil marketing message:

Coincidence? You tell me.

Krill oil marketers found out what people hated about fish oil and turned it on its head.

Krill oil is marketed as the anti-fish-oil. Heck, the TV ads almost makes me want to switch to krill oil!

Almost.

So when Brenda Watson told her PBS audience that it takes ’30 of the red stuff,’ I wanted to stand up and clap. Frankly, you probably only need 15 or 20 of the red stuff because the krill oil is better absorbed than fish oil.

Only 15 pills a day? Yes. Only.

Still, 20 krill oil pills costs about $15 per day. And people have no problem paying up. May be that’s why the largest krill oil player was just sold for $1.4 billion.

2. ‘Fish Oil Supplements Must be Enteric Coated’

This was Brenda Watson’s second Omega-3 requirement.

I agree. That’s why OmegaVia is enteric coated.

But I think the 1000 mg Omega-3 per pill requirement is way more important.

Enteric coating prevents odor and burping after you swallow the pill.

And there is some evidence that shows enteric coated fish oil pills provide benefits, especially to those suffering from digestive issues.

3. ‘Fish Oil Supplements Must be IFOS Tested’

Again, I agree.

IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) is a third-party testing lab in Canada. They test fish oils and publish results for everyone to see.

Unlike ConsumerLab.com, you don’t have to pay to access IFOS test results. All products tested by IFOS are posted publicly for you to see.

OmegaVia is IFOS tested and you can see the results here.

Virtually none of the products on store shelves are tested by IFOS. There are some exceptions like Nordic Naturals and Brenda Watson’s own RenewLife brand. That’s why you’ll find me regularly recommending these two brands on this blog.

If you buy a fish oil supplement from Walmart or heck, Whole Foods Market, there is virtually no way to know how pure, potent or fresh the pills are. It’s a leap of faith.

I don’t think you need to take that leap of faith. With the internet, it is a piece of cake for companies to post their certificate of analyses on their website for all to see. But it never happens.

Why are third-party test results of purity not easily available?

  • It costs time and money.
  • It makes it easy for consumers to compare.
  • It will raise questions.
  • It may force the company to buy better oil.
  • It exposes the company to risk.

You get the idea. All of these reasons are valid.

But there are several companies, including Brenda’s and ours, who think the openness is worth the effort.

4. ‘Fish Oil Supplements Should Contain Vitamin D’

Here, I disagree.

Not because I don’t think you need Vitamin D. Oh, you need it! Lots of if. Unless you’re a shirtless lifeguard on Miami Beach, you’re not getting enough Vitamin D.

Every shipment of OmegaVia comes with a dosage instruction sheet that tells you to supplement with Vitamin D.

It’s not a matter of cost. Vitamin D is dirt cheap. Adding Vitamin D to fish oil adds less than a fraction of a penny to the cost of each pill.

The problem with adding Vitamin D to fish oil is that you’d either get too little or too much.

Most people need between 3000 IU and 5000 IU per day.

How much Vitamin D you need depends on many variables:

  • Your current Vitamin D status
  • How much sunlight you get
  • The time of the year and the angle of the sun’s rays
  • How much Vitamin D you get from food
  • The color of your skin (dark skin = greater sun requirement)

Blindly supplementing without testing is foolish. Vitamin D tests are cheap. Talk to your doctor and figure out your D level before you supplement.

Example: If we randomly put 2000 IU of Vitamin D into each pill, you won’t get enough if your daily fish oil dosage is 1 pill per day.

And if you’re taking OmegaVia to reduce triglycerides, you’d need 3 or 4 pills a day and then you’d be getting too much in the summer time.

You need to be in charge and in control of how much Vitamin D you are taking. More on Vitamin D here and here.

Bottom-line

Overall, Brenda Watson’s message on Omega-3 (and gut health) is solid. I’d much rather you listen to her than Dr. Oz.

If you have not seen Brenda Watson’s PBS special, I strongly suggest you do. Not because of the Omega-3 bit – watch it because the show will open your eyes about how important gut health is. And your gut’s connection to your heart health.

As I write this, it is still on air. Google it.

DISCLAIMER: This website is for your education and general health information only. The ideas and suggestions contained on this website are not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your doctor for any health condition or problem. Users of this website should not rely on information provided on this website for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician.

Author Vin Kutty is an expert on fish oil About the Author: Vin Kutty, M.S. is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience.
pharmaceutical grade fish oil

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

nate February 4, 2013 at 5:46 am

And here it is again. Constantly I see people like Brenda that have show on PBS and I think, hmm, she probably knows a lot about this and it appears that she does, and then when I think that she is doing that because she really wants to help, I see that she is selling her own supplements. I mean the hard core truth is that we simply don’t know, we have no clue if fish oil is effective at all. All I see people that are very good in sales selling and selling and selling and selling even more. Few days ago they came up with study that fish oil doesn’t help heart at all and no help for mood, only a little bit of help for arthritis. I mean, everybody is a liar and wants to make money but doesn’t see the ethical side, only capitalistic side. My grandfather lived until he was 96. He smoked, and ate 6 eggs a day, never put a pill in his mouth and went to doctor. But he lived in healthy environment. He never ate fish (nobody did). They all ate pork and chicken (lots of bacon). And in this country everybody has this product, that product that will make you smart, that will make you live longer, that will save you, that will…….. Just a bunch of liars and cheats that only want money, money and more money. It is disgusting.

Reply

Donald Curtis August 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Your grandfather ate naturally grown food maybe out of his garden. Food was not as processed then as it is today. He probably did not eat as much sugar as we do today in so many ways. What you think?

Reply

Vin Kutty, MS August 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Hi Donald – agree on all counts.

Reply

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