Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rebecca's Omega 3 journal

We're (slurp) halfway through a bottle of lemon flavored Barleans flaxseed oil. I'm still mixing it with Nancy's lowfat yoghurt, but with the lemon oil I don't bother so much with the berries anymore. I think that the cinnamon is still my favorite but by a relatively small margin. I plan to alternate for the foreseeable future. (By the way, there are plenty of free samples of both cinnamon and lemon available in The Shop with any purchase. I've also modified it so you can get one of each if you want!)

I've not had much time for 'light reading' lately but I have been just barely starting to make an effort to learn about the flaxseed oil/prostate cancer "thing".

It's very difficult to approach medical literature without some kind of bias, be you medical professional or layperson. Increasingly, my bias is that irrepressible feeling of disgust I get when I read things like "Thus-and-such supplement has been linked to thus-and-such type cancer, therefore it should be avoided at all costs" especially since it's almost always written by someone who, to coin a phrase, "has been linked" to a competing company's product.

First of all, I roll my eyes because it seems inevitable that practicaly every natural, unnatural and man-made substance on this planet will eventually be "linked" to some kind of cancer in some way. Second, I get just plain pissed off at the constant abuse by commercial interests of any reference, however obscure, to cancer.
I want to know about real cancer risks, of course, but I could care less if thus-and-such supplement - whose quality, production and packaging methods are unknown to me - has been linked to brain cancer in six month old rats that have been enjoying quite a different diet than I have in my thirty-nine years on this earth. And the cancer issues are, of course, but one of the many capitalized upon by the myriads of commercial voices determined to outshout each other.


Here's a very apt quote from Udo Erasmus after a lengthy summary of studies on prostate cancer and flaxseed oil. It pretty well sums up how I feel:

Science has become so technical that we’re nearing the Tower of Babble, where everyone talks and no one understands. We get lost in a sea of details, lose our common sense, and only drug manufacturers, whose products suppress symptoms without effecting cure, benefit from the confusion.

It is not difficult to see that these various findings by researchers must leave most people confused. The problem with these studies is the isolation in which they are carried out.

Ah, me. I wish there were just somebody really smart out there somewhere who could tell me what to think of it all. Of course, there is, or are rather, but how will I know them from the crowd.

IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS HARD. It just shouldn't. But it is, and I'll try to hold my spleen for awhile till I start getting my brain around it a little better.

p.s. Sorry for the accidental mixed metaphors there. Re-reading it, on Easter no less when I'm remembering past Easters in Greece with their traditional soup (hint: it's not macaroni floating in there), it made me suddenly think of kokoretsi. It's one of those souvlaki-esque things. There was an outdoor grill not far from where we lived ages ago in the 'old town' part of Thessaloniki by the ancient city wall that used to make it. It's basically pieces of heart, liver and spleen (lamb I think, or is it veal? I forget) on a skewer, wrapped all over in strands of... thoroughly cleansed... intestines and grilled. Sounds appalling, and don't EVER watch them prepare it, but it's actually not that bad, though it doesn't exactly 'taste like chicken'.