Category Archives: anti-vegetarianism

Neanderthals were mainly carnivores.

Neanderthal diet at Vindija and Neanderthal predation: The evidence from stable isotopes

Archeological analysis of faunal remains and of lithic and bone tools has suggested that hunting of medium to large mammals was a major element of Neanderthal subsistence. Plant foods are almost invisible in the archeological record, and it is impossible to estimate accurately their dietary importance. However, stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) analysis of mammal bone collagen provides a direct measure of diet and has been applied to two Neanderthals and various faunal species from Vindija Cave, Croatia. The isotope evidence overwhelmingly points to the Neanderthals behaving as top-level carnivores, obtaining almost all of their dietary protein from animal sources. Earlier Neanderthals in France and Belgium have yielded similar results, and a pattern of European Neanderthal adaptation as carnivores is emerging. These data reinforce current taphonomic assessments of associated faunal elements and make it unlikely that the Neanderthals were acquiring animal protein principally through scavenging. Instead, these findings portray them as effective predators.

Summary and Conclusions
Isotope analyses of two Neanderthals and associated fauna from Vindija Cave, Croatia, have indicated that the bulk of their dietary protein came from animal sources. Comparison with faunal remains from this and other sites of similar age indicates that the Vindija Neanderthal isotope values were similar to those of other carnivores. These results are very close to the results for earlier Late Pleistocene Neanderthals from France and Belgium.

Therefore, the emerging picture of the European Neanderthal diet indicates that although physiologically they were presumably omnivores, they behaved as carnivores, with animal protein being the main source of dietary protein. This finding is in agreement with the indirect archeological evidence and strongly points to the Neanderthals having been active predators.

This doesn’t mention that modern humans at that time also ate something like 70% flesh calorie diets, as do modern hunter gatherers, so this doesn’t make the Neanderthals (at about 90%) vastly different to ancient humans. However, this carnivorous life would have had some effects on the Neanderthal metabolism. This diet of nearly solid red meat would have been very gout inducing, so Neanderthals may have had a more efficient method of removing excess uric acid from their blood. Interestingly, in many carnivores uric acid is the antioxidant of choice. In modern humans low uric acid levels have been implicated in neuro-degenerative illnesses like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

This would also have meant Neanderthals would probably have a very poor tolerance to sugar, and a carbohydrate based diet (such as was adopted in the Neolithic) would have caused serious health problem as well as infertility. Even swapping over to the early modern human diet of about 30% carbs could have caused serious health problems to a mainly carnivorous human (diabetes, infertility, obesity).

I’m guessing Neanderthal teeth weren’t particularly well designed to cope with grinding tough plant fibres if all they ate was meat, and the tooth enamel probably wouldn’t be as resistant to fruit acids and sugars.


It’s amazing how some vegetarians believe the myth that humans aren’t adapted to eat meat. A little research on line has uncovered quite a few research articles that comment on how the pre Homo hominids like Australopithecus ate meat, judging by their teeth and the isotopes in their bones. This means hominids were eating meat 4.5 million years ago, plus. And before that they were insectivorous. Kind of blows the ‘unnatural aberration’ concept of meat eating out of the water. They really shouldn’t accept what some vegan Guru says in their veggie ‘bible’. Even a couple of minutes research shows most veggie claims to be baloney. Yumm, baloney.

And they still keep insisting that other primates are herbivores, even in the face of that footage of the Gombe chimps hunting down that colobus monkey, and ripping it apart, just before they all ate it. The only large primate that hasn’t been observed eating some kind of animal protein is the orangutan.

The only part of their argument (other than ethics) that holds water is the claim that meat is contaminated by BSE, steroids, antibiotics and so on. which is fair enough. Also, grain fed meat is low in omega three oils and high in omega six oils, which is not good. Wild and grass fed meat, however, has the correct ratio of O3 to O6, a lot like fish. Maybe I should take up bunny hunting. The fields over the back are swarming with the damn things.

Something about vegetarians really pushes my ‘troll’ button.

A hunters metabolism

Reading some of my research just hammers it home how recent an addition to the diet grains are, specifically for people who are not from the middle East, or from populations that have been hunter gatherers until Europeans turned up. Yet still, you see them pushed as the base of the food pyramid, in spite of all the evidence that that bulk carbs cause real health problems. I continually see ‘saturated fat and meat causes heart attacks’, which is a terrible half truth. The real truth is that partially hydrogenated fats (the got lumped in with saturated in the early studies) cause heart attacks, but saturated fats don’t, unless they are from corn fed meat.This is an important distinction, because corn fed meat contains a lot of omega six oils, and an imbalance in the O6 an O3 oils has been shown to cause heart problems. The O6 inhibits the metabolism of O3 oils (as does high blood insulin levels), and leads to problems like inflammation of the blood vessels, a major cause of cholesterol deposition in arteries. Incidentally, the same problem applies to vegetarian sources of O3 oils, and they also don’t contain the must crucial form of O3 oils, the kind the find in fish and hunted meat. Hunted meat has a very healthy fat content, and should never be equated to corn fed meat in dietary studies, it’s lipid profile isn’t unlike fish.There’s a bunch of studies that show low carb diets improve your cholesterol levels, but they never get much publicity, some very heavy hitters (medically) have come down supporting low carb diets as good for the health of a lot of people.…

You know, I’ve never seen a study claim that fish or shellfish are unhealthy, barring mercury contamination. Yet Vegetarians still insist they live longer for not eating it. This is a lie, as several lifestyle adjusted studies show people who eat a lot of fish live longest of all. No studies ever show hunter gatherers as having a high rate of cancer or heart disease, and several groups eat non stop meat

I’m sure vegetarians have some bizarre image of humans throughout our evolution eating only nuts, grains, fruits and starchy roots. We ate no grain for a large part of our evolution, as grains require a lot of processing before we can eat them, and I don’t think homo erectus was known for owning querns. There’s a lot of evidence we ate… a lot of meat, fish, nuts, seeds, small fruits like berries, green vegetables, and some starchy roots. The meat/fish consumption of UK hunter gatherers was as much as 70% of their calories in the stone age. (Trent woman). Sugar and grain were not in evidence, and most hunter gatherer groups known in modern times ate naff all in the way of grains. Bulk carbs and big sugary fruits are a product of our very recent foray into agriculture, and a lot of us don’t handle a farmers diet well. About 40% of us, in the UK. My own metabolic quirks, like a ruthlessly high requirement for animal purines, and insulin resistance, are markers for a hunting ancestry not farming, very Mesolithic. Anyone who’s ever done a survival course in the woods will tell you, carbs are a rarity. There’s plenty of bunnies and green veg though.

This might be a more practical move by politicians, as the planet is over populated right now, and you couldn’t feed everyone the optimum diet if you wanted to. I also suspect the medical authorities that advise the American population would get sued blind if they reversed their guidelines. they’ve also built their reputations on ‘fat is bad’. PETA was have a fit, as would all those other vegetarian groups. All those companies that make low-fat food and the diet industry would go bankrupt, and the pharmaceutical companies make billions off diseases caused by our diet. I’m never really one for conspiracy theories, but this one has probably got some truth to it.

Trent woman.

Stone age diet.

Grain and agricultural implements have, of course, been found at Neolithic sites in Britain. The isotope results do not rule out some limited grain production and consumption; but they suggest it did not form a significant portion of the diet. The sites where grain has been found generally seem to have been used mainly for ritual purposes, and it is possible (as archaeologists such as Richard Bradley and Julian Thomas have argued) that in Britain, on the edge of Europe, grain was grown, or even imported from the continent, only for ritual purposes. Agricultural implements may also have assumed a largely ritual significance.

Mike Richards is a PhD student at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology in Oxford.

There are, however, potential difficulties with stable isotope analysis. The main concern is whether the animal stable isotope data used as a benchmark are accurate for the specific British Neolithic sites tested. In the study, we took `average animal values’ from a large database, held at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, covering all Europe over the past 10,000 years. It may be that there are regional variations in plant and animal isotope values of which we are, as yet, unaware. Research, however, continues – and if our preliminary results are confirmed, we may be able to scrap the notion of Neolithic agriculturalists in Britain once and for all.

So what, then, was the Neolithic economy based on? Animal remains from Neolithic sites are generally of domestic species (eg, cattle and pig) rather than wild, and cattle from Neolithic sites such as Hambledon Hill in Dorset are actually larger than the cattle typically found in the Iron Age. This evidence may suggest an animal-dependent economy – indeed, one in which animals were well treated and kept for a long time – and, as the Neolithic specialist Andrew Sherratt has suggested, the British Neolithic may have been characterised by a `secondary products revolution’, with animal husbandry and an emphasis on animal milk and cheese, instead of by an `agricultural revolution’ and the growing of crops.

The 7,700-year-old woman who ate like a wolf
The thighbone of a woman who died about 7,700 years ago, found in a dried-up channel of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, has undermined some of the cherished clichés of the Mesolithic era. The poor lady, it seems, never saw the sea, and never ate a shellfish or perhaps even a hazelnut in her life.It is sometimes argued that Mesolithic people in Britain generally stuck to the coastlines, while the ubiquitous hazelnuts and shellfish shells found at campsites have produced a standard view of Mesolithic diet. The Lady of the Trent, by contrast, ate almost nothing but meat – and none of it came from the sea.Stable isotope analysis – a laboratory technique for measuring the source of protein in bone – conducted by Mike Richards of Bradford University found that the woman’s diet was virtually as meat-rich as that of a carnivorous wild animal. Nitrogen levels were measured as 9.3, on a scale running from herbivore cattle at 6 to carnivore wolves at about 10. Carbon levels showed that her diet had been purely terrestrial, involving no marine food.

A number of human bones from the Iron Age and from Romano-British sites were also tested, and their isotope values were a little higher than those of herbivores. This is as we might expect, as there is little doubt that in these periods people practised relatively intense cereal agriculture, and only supplemented their diet with meat. The Neolithic results, however, were surprisingly different. They were as high, and sometimes even higher, than stable isotope values of carnivores. This suggests the Neolithic people had relatively little plant food in their diet and instead were consuming large amounts of meat. It could also mean they were eating a lot of animal by-products, like milk and cheese, as these are indistinguishable from meat itself using stable isotopes.

Close to the thigh bone, archaeologists found a group of butchered Mesolithic animal bones, including aurochs, roe deer and otter. Elsewhere, in a river channel dating to the Bronze Age, a cut-marked deer antler was found which had been used as raw material for tools.

The bone, radiocarbon dated to between about 5735-5630 BC, was excavated from a gravel quarry at Staythorpe near Newark by Glyn Davies of the Sheffield University-based unit, ARCUS. Mesolithic human bones are exceptionally rare in Britain, and its discovery in a former channel of the Trent may lend support to the theory that bodies were disposed of in ‘sacred’ rivers – either floated on rafts or thrown directly into the water. A collection of Neolithic skulls was found in the Trent a few years ago.

by Mike Richards

British Archaeology, No. 12, March 1996: Features

`First farmers’ with no taste for grain The Neolithic period is traditionally associated with the beginning of farming, yet in Britain – by contrast with much of the rest of Europe – the evidence has always been thin on the ground. Where are the first farmers’ settlements? Where are the fields?

The almost complete absence of this kind of evidence has led some archaeologists, over recent years, to question the view that people in Britain actually grew most of their food in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC. Now, a scientific study of Neolithic human bone seems to point in the same revisionist direction.

The small-scale study – the first of its kind – of the bones of about 23 Neolithic people from ten sites in central and southern England, suggests that these `first farmers’ relied heavily on animal meat for food, or on animal by-products such as milk and cheese, and that plant foods in fact formed little importance in their diet. The bones date from throughout the Neolithic, c 4100BC – c 2000BC.

The study was based on the idea that our bodies are made up of organic and inorganic components derived from the foods we have eaten. There are a number of ways of tracing the original food source of some of our tissues, and one way is to look at the relative ratios of certain elements, known as `stable isotopes’, in bone protein.

These stable isotopes can tell us a number of things about what a person’s diet has been for most of their life. One particular isotope can tell us whether humans were getting most of their food from plant or animal sources. Generally speaking, this is done by comparing human isotope values to animal isotope values. If the human values are more like that of a herbivore (eg, horses or cattle) they are eating a great deal of plant food, and if they are more like carnivores (eg, wolves or foxes), they are eating more meat.

This guy has missed a trick somewhat. It’s very likely they were using the grain to brew ale.

The healthiest carnivores around.

One of those things vegetarians don’t like you to mention is the Saami, Laplanders who traditionally herded reindeer and ate almost nothing but meat. They have bog standard rates of heart attacks and strokes, and a much lower rate of cancer overall than their neighbours. In spite of being exposed to a lot of radiation from Chernobyl. So much for meat being generally carcinogenic. It has to be pointed out none of they meat the eat is farmed, it’s all natural. They do have a higher incidence of bowel cancer, due to the way the preserve the meat (smoking it). But overall, they come out on top. They have a very low incidence of obesity too. They are only getting fat when they swap to ‘modern’ diets.I’ve read another study in the dim and distant past that found men that ate meat slightly more likely to have heart attacks, but a lot less likely to have cancer. This one agrees with it. The nurses study came to the same conclusion too.”Recent studies have not found a lower risk of heart disease, but have consistently shown an overall reduced cancer risk.”
Also, I found an article that calculates the proportion calories from animal flesh in a hunter gatherers diet. It’s not, as veggies claim, negligible at 10%, it over 65%.  

The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic
L Cordain1, S B Eaton2, J Brand Miller3, N Mann4 and K Hill5
1Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA2Departments of Radiology and Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA3Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
4Department of Food Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
5Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Correspondence to: L Cordain, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 80523, USA. E-mail:
Objective: Field studies of twentieth century hunter-gathers (HG) showed them to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Consequently, the characterization of HG diets may have important implications in designing therapeutic diets that reduce the risk for CVD in Westernized societies. Based upon limited ethnographic data (n=58 HG societies) and a single quantitative dietary study, it has been commonly inferred that gathered plant foods provided the dominant energy source in HG diets.Method and Results: In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). This data is consistent with a more recent, comprehensive review of the entire ethnographic data (n=229 HG societies) that showed the mean subsistence dependence upon gathered plant foods was 32%, whereas it was 68% for animal foods. Other evidence, including isotopic analyses of Paleolithic hominid collagen tissue, reductions in hominid gut size, low activity levels of certain enzymes, and optimal foraging data all point toward a long history of meat-based diets in our species. Because increasing meat consumption in Western diets is frequently associated with increased risk for CVD mortality, it is seemingly paradoxical that HG societies, who consume the majority of their energy from animal food, have been shown to be relatively free of the signs and symptoms of CVD.Conclusion: The high reliance upon animal-based foods would not have necessarily elicited unfavorable blood lipid profiles because of the hypolipidemic effects of high dietary protein (19-35% energy) and the relatively low level of dietary carbohydrate (22-40% energy). Although fat intake (28-58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in Western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower -6/-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) 56, Suppl 1, S42-S52. DOI: 10.1038/sj/ejcn/1601353

Fish is good for you.

. Fatty fish reduces risk of kidney cancer in women

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN. It is estimated that in the U.S. about 40,000 individuals will be diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2006 and about 13,000 will die from the disease. A recent study from Sweden provides evidence for a simple risk reduction strategy—eat fatty fish. This study was initiated in the late 1980s and involved 90,000 Swedish women who were questioned about their dietary habits and then followed for more than a decade. Women who consumed at least one portion of fatty fish each week during the study period ending in 2004 had a reduced risk of kidney cancer of 74% when compared to those who ate no fatty fish. However, eating lean non-fatty fish produced no protection. This result is based on a subgroup of 36,664 women who provided fish consumption information at baseline and again in 1997. There were 40 incident kidney cancer cases during the 1998-2004 follow-up. In this study, fatty fish included salmon, raw (pickled) herring, sardines and mackerel. Non-fatty fish included cod, tuna, fresh-water fish, shrimp and lobster.
The authors comment that these results support the hypothesis that the lower risk of kidney cancer is possibly due to the increased intake of fish oil rich in the two marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as well as vitamin D. They discuss the evidence for the biological plausibility of this hypothesis. The authors also point out that an explanation for the null results from earlier studies of the influence of fish consumption of cancer may have been the failure to distinguish fatty from not-fatty fish intake. As regards vitamin D, they discuss studies that found a connection between kidney cancer and vitamin D deficiency as measured by serum marker levels. This epidemiologic study, according to the authors, is the first to address this dietary association.
Wolk, A et al. Long-term Fatty Fish Consumption and Renal Cell Carcinoma Incidence in Women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006, Vol. 296, No. 11, pp. 1371-6 Fish oils in cancer prevention
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN. Several test tube (in vitro) and animal experiments have clearly shown that the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main components of fish oil, help inhibit the promotion and progression of cancer. Their beneficial effect is particularly pronounced in hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. Some, but not all, epidemiologic studies have also found a beneficial effect.

Researchers at Sweden’s famous Karolinska Institutet have just published a comprehensive review of the current knowledge regarding the role of PUFAs in carcinogenesis. They conclude that omega-3 PUFAs are protective against cancer progression, while omega-6 PUFAs, notably arachidonic acid and its derivatives, help promote the growth of cancer. They believe the n-3 PUFAs exert their beneficial effects in several different ways:


  • They suppress the synthesis of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids from arachidonic acid and thus produce an overall anti-inflammatory effect.
  • They positively affect gene expression or the activities of signal transduction molecules involved in the control of cell growth, differentiation apoptosis, angiogenesis and metastasis.
  • They suppress excessive production of nitrogen oxide (NO) during chronic inflammation and thereby help prevent DNA damage and impaired DNA repair.
  • They decrease estrogen production and thus reduce the estrogen-stimulated growth of hormone- dependent cancer cells.
  • Fish oils improve insulin sensitivity and cell membrane fluidity and may help prevent metastasis through these effects.

Free radicals and reactive oxygen species produced in cells may attack PUFAs resulting in the formation of more free radicals, specifically hydroperoxides. The hydroperoxides, in turn, may damage DNA ultimately leading to cancer. These effects have indeed been observed in some in vitro experiments, but not in actual human beings. Many studies have shown that fish oils actually retard aging and suppress so- called free radical diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Other studies have shown that a daily EPA + DHA intake in excess of 2.3 grams decreases the production of superoxide, a potent cancer promoter. At least one in vitro and one animal experiment have observed that EPA + DHA kill human breast cancer cells via the formation of hydroperoxides, but that this effect is strongly inhibited by vitamin E. Thus, at this point, it is not entirely clear whether EPA + DHA exert part of their beneficial effect through an increase or a decrease in the production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. The researchers recommend more work in this area, but emphasize that the major benefits of fish oils probably are associated with their ability to inhibit the synthesis of arachidonic acid-derived, pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. The Swedish researchers also confirm that fatty, cold-water fish are the best sources of EPA and DHA and that the conversion rate of alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed oil) to EPA is very low, even in healthy humans – probably in the order of 2-5%.
Larsson, SC, et al. Dietary long-chain n-3 fatty acids for the prevention of cancer: a review of potential mechanisms. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, June 2004, pp. 935-45

Fish consumption reduces lung cancer risk
NAGOYA, JAPAN. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Japan even though the incidence and mortality is still less than two-thirds of that found in the USA and the UK. Japanese researchers have just completed a study aimed at determining the association between lung cancer and diet. Their study involved 748 men and 297 women aged 40 to 79 years who had been diagnosed with lung cancer and 2964 male and 1189 female cancer-free controls.
The researchers found that both men and women who ate cooked or raw fish five times a week or more had half the incidence of lung adenocarcinoma when compared to participants who ate cooked or raw fish less than once a week. Women who consumed tofu (soybean curds) five times a week or more were found to have half the risk of adenocarcinomas, as compared to women who consumed tofu less than once a week. Frequent consumption of carrots was found to be beneficial for women, but detrimental for men especially smokers. Green vegetables were found to be highly beneficial for men, but not statistically so for women. There was also some evidence that increased coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell and small cell lung carcinomas in men. Increased consumption of dried or salted fish was not beneficial for men or women. The researchers speculate that this is because the processing destroys the healthy omega-3 oils (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) present in raw and cooked fish.
Takezaki, T., et al. Dietary factors and lung cancer risk in Japanese with special reference to fish consumption and adenocarcinomas. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 84, No. 9, May 4, 2001, pp. 1199- 1206

Fish oils and the immune system
OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM. Animal studies have shown that an increase in fat intake can decrease the number of natural killer (NK) cells found in the blood and spleen. NK cells are an integral part of the natural immune response to virus infections and certain types of cancer. Researchers at Oxford University now report that fish oil significantly decreases NK cell activity in healthy human subjects.

Docosahexaenoic acid halts melanoma
VALHALLA, NEW YORK. The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma is growing rapidly among persons with fair skin. It is estimated that one in 75 Americans will develop melanoma within their lifetime. Melanoma has a pronounced tendency to spread to other organs (metastasis) and the 5-year survival rate for metastatic melanoma is less than 10%. There is growing evidence that diet can influence the risk of developing melanoma. It is now believed that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids stimulates the growth of melanoma and other cancers whereas omega-3 fatty acids suppress the growth of cancer cells.

Researchers at the New York Medical College and the American Health Foundation have just released the results of a laboratory experiment which clearly shows that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a main component of fish oil, is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of human melanoma cells. The researchers treated 12 different human metastatic melanoma cell cultures (in vitro) with DHA and found that more than 50% of them stopped growing. They urge further testing of their findings in full-scale clinical trials involving patients with melanoma. They conclude that “if DHA is capable of suppressing cell and tumor growth and metastatic potential in in vivo models of melanoma, a clinical trial of DHA would be warranted as an adjuvant to current surgical and chemotherapeutic interventions”.
Albino, Anthony P., et al. Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of melanoma cells by docosahexaenoic acid: association with decreased pRb phosphorylation. Cancer Research, Vol. 60, August 1, 2000, pp. 4139- 45

Fish oils combat weight loss in cancer patients
EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM. Cachexia (abnormal weight loss) is a major problem in many types of cancer especially cancer of the pancreas. Preliminary research has shown that supplementing the diet with fish oils, about 2.2 grams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 1.4 grams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily, will stabilize weight in patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Now researchers at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh report that patients with pancreatic cancer can actually gain weight by consuming a nutritional supplement fortified with fish oils. The experiment involved 20 patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer (aged 18 to 80 years). The participants were asked to ingest two cans of fish oil-enriched nutritional supplement per day in addition to their normal food intake. The nutritional supplement provided 310 kcal per can and contained 16.1 g protein, 49.7 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat, 1.09 g EPA, 0.46 g DHA, and 28 essential vitamins and minerals.

After three weeks the patients had gained an average (median) of 1 kg in weight and at seven weeks an average of 2 kg. A significant improvement in performance status and appetite was also noted after three weeks on the supplement. Other research has shown that EPA inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. It is therefore of interest to note that the average survival time among the patients was over eight months. This compares very favourably with the normal survival time of 4.1 months and is at least as good as the survival time that can be obtained with aggressive chemotherapy.

The researchers conclude that a fish oil-enriched nutritional supplement has the potential to be a safe and effective means of preventing weight loss in cancer patients and may even increase survival time in patients with cancer of the pancreas. NOTE: This study was partially funded by Abbott Laboratories, the maker of the nutritional supplement.
Barber, M.D., et al. The effect of an oral nutritional supplement enriched with fish oil on weight-loss in patients with pancreatic cancer. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 81, No. 1, September 1999, pp. 80-86

Fish oils improve survival of cancer patients
PATRAS, GREECE. Chemotherapy and other conventional medical treatments have proven ineffective in improving quality of life and survival of patients with end stage cancer. Now Greek medical researchers report that fish oil supplementation markedly increases the survival time for cancer patients with generalized malignancy. Their study involved 60 patients with generalized solid tumors. The patients were divided into two groups with one group receiving 18 grams/day of fish oil (six capsules of MAXEPA three times daily containing 170 mg eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and 115 mg docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] per capsule) and the other group receiving a placebo. The fish oil group also received 200 mg of vitamin E daily to compensate for the oxidative effect of the fish oil. Each group included 15 well-nourished and 15 malnourished patients. None of the well-nourished patients suffered from cancer cachexia (abnormally low weight and general weakness). The researchers measured the level of T cells, natural killer cells, and the synthesis of interleukin and tumor necrosis factor before the start of the supplementation and on day 40 of the trial. The study followed all patients until they died. Malnourished patients were found to have a considerably impaired immune function and a decreased production of tumor necrosis factor; both parameters were restored through fish oil supplementation. Malnourished patients overall had a much shorter survival time than well-nourished ones (mean of 213 days versus 481 days). Both malnourished and well-nourished patients who received fish oil and vitamin E survived significantly longer than did patients on placebo. The researchers speculate that fish oils exert their beneficial effect by decreasing the body’s production of prostaglandin E2 which is believed to play an important role in the initiation and progression of cancer. They conclude that supplementation with dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically fish oils with an antioxidant such as vitamin E may offer significant palliative support to cancer patients with end stage metastatic disease.
Gogos, Charalambos A., et al. Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids plus vitamin E restore immunodeficiency and prolong survival for severely ill patients with generalized malignancy. Cancer, Vol. 82, January 15, 1998, pp. 395-402

Fat consumption and cancer
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. Several major epidemiologic studies have found a clear association between a high dietary fat intake and the risk of developing breast and colon cancer. The correlation is particularly strong in the case of animal fats. One study found that a high fish or fish oil consumption is protective against later stage colon cancer in men, but has no effect on mortality from breast cancer. British medical researchers now report that fish and fish oils not only protect against colon cancer in men, but also against colon and breast cancer in women. This protective effect, however, is only apparent in countries where the intake of animal fats is high. In other words, a high intake of fish or fish oils counteracts the detrimental effects of a high animal fat consumption.

The study compared cancer mortality rates in 24 European countries, Canada and the USA with fish consumption and the intake of animal fats. In countries where the animal fat intake was high the researchers found a clear inverse correlation between the ratio of fish fat to animal fat and the risk of developing breast cancer in women and colon cancer in both men and women. A similar correlation was found between cancer risk and the ratio of fish fat to total fat intake.

The researchers conclude that a 15% decrease in animal fat intake combined with a 3-fold increase in fish oil intake could possibly reduce male colon cancer risk by as much as 30% in countries with a high animal fat intake. A 3-fold increase in fish oil intake could be achieved by eating fish three times a week or by taking two standard fish oil capsules daily.
Caygill, C.P.J., et al. Fat, fish, fish oil and cancer. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 74, No. 1, July 1996, pp. 159-64

Colon cancer progression associated with fatty acid status
BADALONA, SPAIN. Several epidemiological studies have shown that high fat diets are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Other studies have shown that diets rich in fish and fish oils are protective against colon cancer. Spanish medical researchers have just released the results of a major study aimed at determining if and how polyunsaturated fatty acids play a role in the progression of adenomas (benign polyps) to full-blown colon cancer. The study involved 27 patients with sporadic benign polyps of the rectum or colon, 22 patients with cancer of the colon or rectum, and 12 subjects with a normal colon. The researchers measured the fatty acid profile of blood plasma and biopsy samples of the lining of the colon from both diseased and normal areas. They found no differences between polyp patients and patients with a normal colon as far as plasma profile and normal colon lining profile was concerned. However, there was a significant difference between the fatty acid profile of normal colon tissue and diseased colon tissue in adenoma patients. Diseased lining tissue was found to have higher levels of linoleic acid, dihomogammalinolenic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and lower levels of alpha-linolenic and arachidonic acids. There was also a very significant stepwise reduction in EPA content of diseased colon lining from the benign polyp stage to the most severe colon cancer stage.

The researchers conclude that there are significant changes in the levels of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids early on in the sequence leading from benign polyps to colon cancer and speculate that these changes might participate in the progression to colon cancer. They recommend further work to investigate the benefits of long-term dietary manipulation in view of the finding that low-dose fish oil supplementation normalizes the cell proliferation pattern in patients with sporadic polyps.
Fernandez-Banares, F., et al. Changes of the mucosal n3 and n6 fatty acid status occur early in the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence. Gut, Vol. 38, 1996, pp. 254-59

Fish oils help patients with pancreatic cancer
EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM. Cachexia (abnormally low weight, weakness, and general bodily decline) is common in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. Cachexia makes patients more prone to infections, can shorten their survival, and reduce their mobility.

Researchers at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh have released the results of a study which clearly shows that fish oil supplementation can halt and even reverse cachexia in patients with pancreatic cancer. The study involved 18 patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer (9 had stage IV tumors). The patients were started out on 2 grams/day of fish oils (containing 360 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 240 mg of docosahexaenoic acid). The dose was subsequently increased by 2 grams/day every week until the patients’ body tolerance was reached. The average final intake was 12 grams/day. Prior to entering the trial the average (mean) weight loss among the patients was 2.9 kg (6.3 lbs) per month. After 3 months of fish oil supplementation an average weight gain of 0.3 kg/month was observed among the patients. Overall, 11 patients (61%) gained weight, 3 became weight-stable, and 4 continued to lose weight, but at a significantly reduced rate. The concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid in plasma phospholipids increased from 0 to 5.3% of total fatty acids after 1 month of supplementation while the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid increased to 6.6% from a base level of 3.5%. The researchers conclude that fish oil supplementation arrests weight loss in cancer patients with cachexia.
Wigmore, Stephen J., et al. The effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on the progress of cachexia in patients with pancreatic cancer. Nutrition (suppl), Vol. 12, No. 1, 1996, pp. S27-S30

Fish consumption and colon cancer
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. British researchers have published a major epidemiologic study dealing with the association between fish consumption and the incidence of breast and colon cancer, The researchers gathered data concerning the consumption of fish in 25 European countries for the periods 1961-63, 1974-76 and 1984-86. They also determined the standardized mortality rates for breast and colon cancer for the period 1983-87 for the same 25 countries. A statistical evaluation of the data showed a strong inverse correlation between recent fish consumption and colon cancer in men. The correlation was somewhat weaker for fish consumption 10 years earlier and non-existent for consumption 23 years earlier. A similar pattern was found for women, but the correlations were not statistically significant. The researchers found no correlation between breast cancer mortality and fish consumption at any time. They conclude that the consumption of fish and fish oils helps protect against colon cancer in its later stages, but does not affect the initiation stage. They believe fish oils exert their protective effect by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandin PGE2 which has been associated with the development and progression of colon cancer.
Caygill, C.P.J. and Hill, M.J. Fish, n-3 fatty acids and human colorectal and breast cancer mortality. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 4, 1995, pp. 329-32

Fish oil supplementation helps prevent colon cancer
ROME, ITALY. The presence of benign polyps (adenomas) is a significant risk factor for full-blown colon or rectal cancer. Animal studies have shown that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) inhibit the development of colon cancer and epidemiological studies have shown that fish consumption is inversely proportional with the incidence of colon cancer. Encouraged by these findings, researchers at the Catholic University of Rome set out to determine if fish oil supplementation would inhibit the development of benign polyps, the precursors of colon cancer.

Their study involved 34 men and 26 women who had just undergone surgery to remove benign polyps from their colon. The patients were divided into 4 groups. Group 1 was supplemented with 1.4 grams of EPA and 1.1 grams of DHA per day, group 2 with 2.7 grams of EPA and 2.4 grams of DHA, group 3 with 4.1 grams of EPA and 3.6 grams of DHA while group 4 received placebo capsules containing mainly olive oil. Biopsy samples from the lower part of the colon lining and blood samples were taken and analyzed at the start of the trial and 30 days later at the end of the supplementation period. Overall, patients in the fish oil groups experienced a significant decline in the number of abnormal cells in their colon lining as compared to members of the placebo group. Further analysis showed that the reduction in the number of abnormal cells was limited to patients who had a large number of abnormal cells at the beginning of the trial. The researchers also noted a very significant increase in EPA and DHA levels and a significant drop in arachidonic acid level in the biopsy samples from the fish oil supplemented patients.

I’ve never seen any article that claims fish is bad for you, except in PETA propaganda

A separate 6-month trial involving 15 patients taking 1.4 grams per day of EPA and 1.1 grams per day of DHA also showed a significant drop in the number of abnormal colon lining cells. The researchers conclude that low-dose supplementation with fish oils inhibit the proliferation of abnormal cells (a precursor to polyps) in patients at risk for colon cancer and that this effect can be maintained with long- term treatment. They caution that it may be advisable to increase vitamin E intake during fish oil administration.
Anti, Marcello, et al. Effects of different doses of fish oil on rectal cell proliferation in patients with sporadic colonic adenomas. Gastroenterology, Vol. 107, December 1994, pp. 1709-18

Homo Habilis.

Homo Habilis lived from about 2.4 to 1.5 million years ago, and is the earliest known species to show novel differences from the chimpanzee and australopithid skulls. The face is still primitive and projecting, but the jaw is pulled under the brain, with smaller molars (though still much larger than in modern humans), and the skull is thinner, with a distinctive rounded shape, vertical sides and a small forehead above the brows. The first humans have arrived on the scene. A male habilis may have stood at around 1.3 meters and weighed 37 kilos, and females 1.2 meters and 32 kilos. However, some forms of habilis were apparently smaller, and may have stood little more than a meter tall.

The two signature evolutionary trends in hominids are increasing brain size — in habilis, to an average of about 650cc — and a proportionate reduction in the size of the face. In habilis the brain shape is more humanlike: the bulge of Broca’s area, implicated in human language, is visible in at least one habilis brain cast. Another resemblance to modern humans is the reduced, less apelike or australopithid sexual dimorphism.

There’s evidence they ate meat, probably mostly scavenged or small creatures. They would still have eaten a lot of plant food, judging by the size of the molars. Homo Habilis itself was often on the menu for the large cats around at the time. Shaped stone tool use quite possibly goes back as far as the Australopithecus genus.

There’s been the suggestion that eating meat (nutirent packed) allowed us to eat the starchy roots (nutrient low), expanding our range of foods. Eating just the tubers and veg wouldn’t provide the nutrients required to build a brian. Vegetable sources of O3 oils aren’t that common, and are usually packed in with O6 oils to boot, making flesh consumption pretty crucial in the history of human brain development