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Archive for the ‘Environmental’ Category

Concerns over the First Genetically Modified Omega 3 Crops

The Camelina crops being grown out in the open

The Camelina crops being grown out in the open

In a few short weeks the first Omega-3 enriched crops will be harvested in Rothamsted Research, in England. This ground-breaking trial is the first of its kind as the crops are being grown outdoors, rather than in greenhouses, and have been genetically modified.

The plant, which is a crop of Camelina – or False Flax – has been implanted with genes which produce Omega-3 in order that the seeds will be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, something usually found in fish. Should the trial be a success, there is talk of feeding the crops to fish to boost their Omega-3 content, turning it into a supplement, or adding it to products such as oils and yoghurts.

Head of this GM project is Professor Jonathan Napier, who explains why this trial is so important: “Fish get omega 3 from their diet when they swim in the sea but when you put them in a cage they can’t do that and you have to feed them smaller fish, otherwise fish would have no more Omega-3 in them than chicken.”

As the Professor said, it is difficult for farmed fish to get sufficient Omega-3 in their diet, as they do not have access to the necessary algae meaning that even more fish have to be captured in order for the bigger fish to eat them and absorb their Omega-3. As the Camelina has genes that have been duplicated from this algae, when fed to bigger farm fish it cuts out the needs for smaller fish to be taken from the ocean.

“The problem is that there aren’t plenty of fish in the sea. One million tons of fish for oil is removed from the seas every year and most of that goes into fish farming through fishmeal. It’s simply unsustainable.”

On the face of it, this trial seem good, however there are concerns that Omega-3 produced by GM crops is not necessarily safe for human consumption. Liz O’Neill, the director of GM Freeze stated: “The hazards are enormous.”

This complex trial involves adjusting seven different genes in the plant in order to produce Omega-3, making it the “most sophisticated GM experiment anywhere in the world,” according to Professor Napier.

At the end of this month, the crop will be harvested and the seeds removed from the pods. They will then undergo oil extraction and testing to check both that Omega-3 has been produced and that the quantity is good enough to warrant continuing. The results of which should be available by the time the year draws to a close.

Professor Napier reiterates, “This a taxpayer funded study so it is important that the taxpayers know what we are up to.”

Next year, a second trail of twice the size is expected to arise, the last trail before the plants will be grown on a commercial scale. That is, if enough Omega-3 is produced, of course.

While these crops are the first of their kind and will help tackle overfishing, they are genetically engineered with associated concerns.  “We are what we eat”

Nuique Omega 3 however is 100% natural and fully stustainable, as it is taken straight from a natures natural source –  Algae.

Algae derived Omega-3  is both sustainable and environmentally-friendly. It is vegan approved as it is pure and unaltered. The algae used in the manufacture of Nuique grows naturally, is pollution free and is certainly not genetically modified.

Should GM produce be added to our everyday food … added to items such as cooking oil, yoghurts … even baby food?  Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

Algae Supplements can Stop Overfishing

Algae Supplements can stop overfishing

Overfishing is the result of huge demand for fish and unsustainable fishing methods used around the world. The knock-on effects of this are wide-reaching and complex.

Countless species of fish such as bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod and many other sea and freshwater species have been fished to the brink of extinction. The damage is done not only to the species itself but to the entire eco-system in which they exist.

As well as the environmental consequences, overfishing has led to the collapse of whole economies, thousands of job losses and financial disaster for towns and cities around the world.

To address the problem of our over reliance on fish it is important that we act now. Simple decisions made in the supermarket can help change the fate of our oceans and send a message to product producers that things need to improve.

A Simple Step to Reduce our Demands on Fish Stocks

Consuming less fish is the best way to do your bit and there’s no need to miss out on the essential vitamins and oils.
We’re not suggesting you eat less fish, we’re advocating a different approach: an environmentally friendly alternative to fish oil supplements.

Nuique source our Omega 3 supplements – chemically identical to the oils in fish – directly from algae and under laboratory conditions.

This means the oil in our capsules is free from any toxins and contaminants as well as being sustainable and vegan.
Leaving you to enjoy the many benefits of the nutrient rich oil without causing any damage to our oceans.

And when you realise that fish actually get their Omega 3 from eating algae you can see that all Nuique’s supplements do is cut out the middle man, or is that the middle fish?

Next time you’re thinking about your dose of Omega 3, think about making the right choices for our oceans, rivers and you.

Discover more about our products on http://www.nuique.com/pages/faq.aspx”>this page

Algae and Humanity’s Evolution

stream-through-forest-350

Could the introduction of algae into the diet of early animal man have had a dramatic impact in our evolution? The theories below are thought provoking and if you have an opinion why not leave a comment below…

Early Animal Man – Dry or Wetland Creature?

What’s your impression of early humans? Do you picture them making their home on grasslands, hunting down prey with sticks and spears? Some believe humans actually started their evolution somewhere a little less dry…

First proposed back in 1960 by Sir Alister Hardy, the ‘aquatic ape’ theory suggests that our human ancestors lived in aquatic habitats such as creeks and sea shores, rather than the savannah lands as is the current consensus.

To keep our heads above the surface while wading through rivers and sea waters, we developed our bipedal stance, and we lost our fur in favour of a layer of blubber-like fat, which would keep our bodies warm while submerged in water.

It’s argued that human sinuses – particularly large among animal species – provided buoyancy aids to further help us keep our heads from slipping under the water’s edge.

The Reason Early Humans Began Eating Algae

The aquatic ape theory may also explain why humans have much larger brains than our fellow apes. At some point in our evolution, humans developed much larger brains than those of primates, and if the aquatic ape theory is true, Omega 3 may have been pivotal in our rise to become the dominant species.

Dolphins have larger brains than land-dwelling mammals, and it’s believed this is because of their diet. Since they live on seafood, dolphins consume a large amount of DHA, the Omega 3 fatty acid which boosts brain growth.

Similarly, the aquatic ape theorises that early humans also had a DHA-rich diet of seafood, including algae (the source of the DHA in Nuique tablets!). It’s this diet which is responsible for the larger brains of modern man and woman.

As larger brains require more energy than typical muscle, our ancestors would have had to trade muscle mass for brain power. This would have made preying on animals rather difficult – as well as weak strength, our underdeveloped senses would have been unable to compete with other predators.

Instead, early hominids may have dined on the algae present in the wetlands – much easier and far less dangerous than hunting for animals! The algae would have provided humans with a sweet/umami taste which was not present in land-based foods – hence, our sweet tooth would have had us coming back for more!

As our brains and senses developed, humans would have moved on to eating aquatic plants, catching fish and breaking open crustaceans with tools – these would have provided even more DHA, as these aquatic creatures live on the algae themselves!

Is It Just A Theory?

Many critics are sceptical of this theory, arguing that our ‘aquatic’ features – bipedalism, lack of fur etc – actually would have arrived at separate points in our evolution. Additionally, water-habiting humans would have had to face predators such as crocodiles, as well as sidestep the risk of drowning. But it’s nevertheless an interesting theory which may, someday, become the consensus on early human life.

To find out more about Nuique’s algae products, and how they can help you, visit our FAQ and Advice section

Sources for this blog:
Did Algae’s Great Taste Make Us Do It? (i.e. Become Human?)
Big brains, no fur, sinuses … are these clues to our ancestors’ lives as ‘aquatic apes’?

Why You Should Avoid Fish Oil Supplements

Some Good News on Overfishing

The European Parliament has approved a package of major reforms to the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), designed to cut waste and stop overfishing in European waters.

Under the current legislation, fishing crews that haul in more than the agreed quota often throw large quantities of dead fish back into the sea ? as they are not allowed to land the fish. The current system is called Total Allowable Catches (TACs), launched in 1983 is at the heart of the EU policy and is based on the each country?s previous catches.

We all know why changes have to be made – cod for example is has declined by 70% over the last 10 years, European fishing fleets have grown too large and are now too efficient for the dwindling fish stocks and fishery ministers have been reluctant to see their national quotas (TACs) cut. However, without the proper controls, there is a risk that surplus fish landed will simply be sold and incentivise overfishing.

The current system is also not meeting the European market?s needs. Fish imported from non EU countries now accounts for two-thirds of fish sold in the EU.

The Proposed Changes to the EU Common Fisheries Policy

In the approved package, in future fishing crews will have to land their entire catch. This is good news; surely discarding perfectly healthy dead fish back into the sea can?t be right and isn?t going to help. The commission says that fisheries should be managed on an ecosystem basis- with more flexibility in the system and scientific data should be collected on a larger number of fish species.

So, discards from 2014 should be phased out and the plan to start MSY (maximum sustainable yields) approach will be phased in by 2015. More has to be done, this is only the start.

A good start – but you can help stop overfishing now

It will be two years minimum before these proposed changes begin to phase-in, and doubtless there will be problems with non-compliance and policing the new rules. In the meantime there are concrete actions you can do to hep stop overfishing:

– If you must eat fish, buy a wider range of fish and avoid species that are endangered
– If you take fish oil supplements, opt for an algae omega 3 alternative.
– At your supermarket fish counter, make staff aware that their employer also needs to act responsibly to help create consumer demand for lesser known species. You might be surprised how some staff will acknowledge your concern and demonstrate knowledge about the subject. Their feedback makes it back to supermarket bosses surprisingly often
– Join Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall?s Fish Fight campaign – get involved and show your support.

Join Fish Fight and help stop overfishing

Further Reading:

* After 30 years of waste EU finally moves to end scandal of dumping deadfish – Daily Mail

* MEPs back fishing policy reform – Guardian

A Healthy Brain – The Positive Effects of Omega 3

the brain is my second favourite organ

As Woody Allen once said ?the brain is my second favourite organ.?

We need to look after it.

Already hailed for promoting healthy hearts ? It seems that taking a daily omega 3 capsule also has beneficial effects in the brain.

ADHD

A study this year at the? University in Queensland testing omega 3 on children with ADHD saw improved reading skills, spelling, and a drop in oppositional behaviour and decreases in hyperactivity. The scientists concluded that -?? If DHA supplementation can improve sustained attention and frontal lobe function in healthy children then future research should explore the benefits of omega 3 supplements for children who have development-delayed school performances.?

Pay attention kid!

SCHIZOPHRENIA

?For schizophrenia there is also good news.

Researchers for the Archives of General Psychiatry said –

“The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent, or at least delay, the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotic drugs,”

Antipsychotic drugs often do not sit well with lots of patients and can have side effects. Omega 3 supplements, on the other hand, are generally well tolerated and easy to take.

The international team from Austria, Australia and Switzerland tested people ?at particularly high risk of developing psychosis. Half of the individuals with a family history of the illness took 1.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids for 12 weeks, while the other half took a placebo. ?Dr Paul Amminger and his team followed the group for a year.

Two in the Omega 3 group developed a psychotic disorder compared to 11 in the placebo group.

Based on the results, the investigators estimate that one high-risk adult could be protected from developing psychosis for every four treated over a year. They believe the omega-3 fatty acids found in the supplements may alter brain signalling in the brain with beneficial effects.

Can Omega 3 enhance positive feelings?

Alison Cobb, of the mental health charity Mind, said: “?This is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, whereas omega-3s are actually beneficial to their general state of health.?

DEPRESSION

?For those people suffering from depression there also seems to be value in taking omega 3 supplements -?several scientific studies have highlighted that abnormal cell membrane fatty acid composition is related to depression, and that taking omega-3, appears to help normalise fatty acids in brain.?A recent meta-analysis of 14 studies looking at the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in depressive patients found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels were significantly lower.

As 1 in 4 individuals will suffer from depression at some point in their lives, it is good to know that there is a safe and natural way not only to alleviate the symptoms of depression but also that taking omega 3 could reduce the possibility of developing the condition.

All told the evidence of the benefits of omega 3 in maintaining a healthy brain for yourself and your children seems to be gathering pace.

SOME FASCINATING BRAIN FACTS.

Weight. The weight of the human brain is about 3 lbs.

Grey matter. The brain?s grey matter is made up of neurons, and the glial cells which maintain them? Neurons are made up of axons – which carry the nerve impulse, and? the dendrites ? branched nerve endings -which gather and transmit signals between cells.?

White matter. The white matter is also made up of dendrites and axons, which have a sheath around them and create the network by which neurons send their signals from one part of the brain to another.?

Neurons. Your brain contains about consists of about 100 billion neurons.?Synapses are the connecting areas between neurons. There are anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for each neuron.

No pain. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain, but it interprets what is causing the pain, how bad it is,? and what to do about it.

Fat. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat. About a third of the fat is made up of long chain omega 3 compounds containing DHA and EPA.

So look after your brain with ?our ?naturally ?vegan Omega 3.

?The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.?

?-?Robert Frost -

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