Chat Transcript: Barry Sears, Ph.D. Author The Zone

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Celebrity Guest Speaker Barry Sears, Ph.D.
June 6, 2002 1:00 PM ET

INCIID Nancy: Please welcome Barry Sears, Ph.D. author of the best selling diet book "The Zone"

I Host Songdancer: We've heard a lot about diet and infertility, any tips for us?

Barry Sears PhD: The key to diet is the ability to control your hormones, in particular insulin and eicosanoids.  These two hormones, if maintained in appropriate zones, can be have a significant impact on infertility.

INCIID Sherry: What are eicosanoids?

Barry Sears PhD: Eicosanoids can be considered to master hormones that control virtually every aspect of your physiology. They are derived from essential fats in the diet and therefore they can be manipulated with relative ease using fish oil.

INCIID Sherry: How do they help?

Barry Sears PhD: Eicosanoids are a group of hundreds of different hormones that operate at the cellular level to control cell function. Although fish oils are an important aspect of eicosanoid control, you also have to control insuiln levels by balancing protein and carbohydrate the best you can at every meal. What this means practically is to eat adequate levels of low-fat protein coupled with lots of fruits and vegetables, and limiting the amount of starches such as bread, bagels, rice, and potatoes.

INCIID Sherry: what does this do for fetility?

Barry Sears PhD: The primary cause of infertility is overproduction of insulin which leads to an overproduction of androgens. The most striking example is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that is characterized by elevated levels of insulin.

INCIID Sherry: Does this diet limit insulin?

INCIID Sherry: And does it work like metformin or glucophage

Barry Sears PhD: Once the insulin levels are reduced, fertility almost magically reappears. Glucophage is a relatively ineffective way of controlling insulin compared to following the Zone diet.

INCIID Linda: Does your diet affect endometriosis and can it prevent adhesions from forming

Barry Sears PhD: Endometriosis is more of a consequence of an imbalance of eicosanoids. Since the underlying cause appears to come from pro-inflammatory actions that can be dampened down by adequate levels of fish oil.

INCIID Sherry: how much fish oil ?

Barry Sears PhD: The amount of fish oil to treating an existing infertily condition is usually about 5 grams per day.

INCIID Sherry: Can following the zone and taking fish oil reduce or eliminate endometrious?

Barry Sears PhD: The combination of the Zone diet coupled with high-dose pharmaceutical grade fish oil can possibily

e susan: Can the Zone diet or fish oil lower FSH

Barry Sears PhD: It can have a significant impact on both conditions.

WagginTails: I won't do fish oil because I'm a vegitarian...is there anything else you can take in place of it ?

Barry Sears PhD: There are now versions of algae oil that contain one of the two key fatty acids found in fish oils. This will be a superior choice for vegetarians compared to taking flax seed oil.

Lucinda: I've had 2 losses and seem to produce a lot of eggs but they just can't seem to develop into full pregnancies. What diet advice would you suggest for me? And what kind of fish oil? Where can we get this pharmeceutical grade fish oil?

Barry Sears PhD: The egg quality as with all cells will be closely linked to the hormonal environment that maintains cellular communication.

INCIID Sherry: Will this improve the quality of eggs like any cell ? 42:28 e susan: sorry Barry Sears PhD: it can't improve chrmoosomally damaged eggs. "the fatty acids found in fish oil are agents that can turn on and turn off genetic functions

wannabemamma: Do you think the diet can eliminate PCOS? What about acne? I find the diet a little hard to follow. Any suggestions for simplification?

Lucinda: I still don't understand -- where can we purchase the fish oil you're discussing?

Barry Sears PhD: also can be affected the way platelets are.. since the fish oil and the diet prevents aggregation or stickiness

Barry Sears PhD: The pharmaceutical grade fish oil is a concentrate of fish oils, the higher the concentration of the omega three fatty acids the more purified the oil. In a healthfood store. you can probably find concentrates which are maybe 30 0r 40 percent omega 3. A pharmaceutical grade oil contains 65% or 75% omega 3.

Barry Sears PhD:Tthere are only 2 places in the US that they are available. at One is a so called omega brite and the other is http://www.DrSears.com

e susan: Can a diet or fish oil lower FSH?

Barry Sears PhD: We just don't have neough data yet to understand the effect of diet and fish oil on FSH . The Zone diet coupled with fish oil is in my opinion provides the best approach.

Wannabemama: I find the diet hard to follow - any suggestions and what about acne and PCOS?

Barry Sears PhD: Acne is an inflammatory condition. The fish oil will have a very powerful benefit for reducing that inflammation. PCOS is the primary cause of inferility. It is strongly associated with excess insulin levels. Clinical studies have demonstrated that once you lower excessive insulin levels, fertility returns.

Barry Sears PhD: The Zone diet is very easy to follow. All you have to do is to divide your plate into three equal sections. On one third of the plate, place some low-fat protein that is no larger or thicker than your palm. That will be approximately 3 oz. of protein. Then fill the other two thirds of the plate with fruits and vegetables. Then you add a dash of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. That could be olive oil, slivered almonds, or even avocado.The only secret is trying to do it best you can at every meal. Then take a daily supplement of fishoil and you have a complete hormonal control program.

Smch: I am ivf 7dp3dt is it too late to start taking fish oil or this diet? 53:28 Barry Sears PhD: It is never too late to take fish oil as it can improve the success of the IVF.

Lambie: do you have a recommendation for babies starting to eat food and the Zone since the recommendations are for cereal alone and then veggies and fruit alone

Barry Sears PhD: Once a child begins taking solid food, you can begin using Zone diet prinicples.

Lambie: what do you feed them at the beginning to balance?

Barry Sears PhD: Simply add a small amount of protein powder, ideally whey, to the high-carbohydrate baby food to get a more appropriate balance of protein to carbohyrate. At the same, this is ideal time to also add more fish oil, since the child's brain is growing at a rapid rate and requires the omega-3 fats to optimize nerve cell growth.

Lambie: is whey not going to make them allergy prone to milk? And how much oil for mom nursing?

Barry Sears PhD: Whey is an appropriate choice for most children, since milk contains two proteins; casein and whey. Casein gives much of the allergy problems associated with milk, whereas whey has demonstrated immunological stimulating properties. I am not a big proponet of soy protein for infants since it can bind to the thyroid receptor possibly inducing hypothyroidism in the child.

Barry Sears PhD: The amount of fish oil I would recommend for a child is about one third of a teaspoon which is about 1 gram of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids per day. In Norway, it is a government mandate that all children have to take a teaspoon of cod liver oil after the first week of birth.

meg2: I've been diagnosed with PCOS and am on 1000 mg metformin. I am a total vegetarian with a limited choice of low carb foods. I never ever get a period on my own. Can you suggest something to increase fertility. I've tried soy products and hate them. Are there any other alternatives for a vegetarian with PCOS?

Barry Sears PhD: The secret is getting enough protein to balance the carbohydrates to reduce insulin secretion. If you don't like soy protein, consider rice protein or whey or egg protein if you are a lacto-vegetarian.

meg2: what is rice protien..white rice is a no..no right

INCIID Sherry: yes rice is a nono

Barry Sears PhD: The fish oil will be a key component in normalizing your hormonal environment .

INCIID Sherry: there is a processed product called rice protein

Barry Sears PhD: The more you control insulin, the less fish oil you will need. On the other hand, the less you control insuiln, the more fish oil you will need. The Omega Rx Zone, I give very specific blood tests that will tell you the precise amount of fish oil you need.

peggy jo: I'm on cd30...10 days on lupron..s.till no period...is this normal? I will be doing my 1st ivf as soon as period comes. What are success rates for 34 yrs old i am on metformin but do not need to diet since i am 5'8" and 120 lbs. I find it hard to keep weight on actually, will this fish oil benefit me? I also have blood clotting factors that have caused 2 miscarriages DOES THE OIL HELP IMMUNE ISSUES TOO? I

Barry Sears PhD: You can be thin and still be hormonally out of sync. The Zone diet is not diet but a dietary approach to maintain your hormones in zones that maximize health.

peggy jo: I get extremely depressed before my period shows as well as anger and anxiety and as soon as its over I am fine

INCIID Sherry: eating this way may help eliminates pms

INCIID Sherry: if you are afraid of losing weight, you can do the zone and raise your fat intake but balance carbs and proteins.

peggy jo: does it help with clotting issues

Barry Sears PhD: The fish oil will definitely help reduce your clotting issues which is why it so effective in reducing heart diease mortality due to the clotting of platelets

peggy jo: and its okay to take while also taking children's aspirin and heparin

Barry Sears PhD: If you are taking aspirin and other anti-coagulates, I would recommend discussing that with your physician.

PaulaGN: Is Flax oil as effective as fish oil?

peggy jo: I am sort of confused on how much to take a day.

maries: Should fish oil be consumed with food? Do any foods affect the absorption ?

Barry Sears PhD: It is always best to take fish oil with food to maximize its absorption.

INCIID Linda: What is a reasonable rate of weight loss to expect on your diet if I am also doing 30 min of weight lifting and 40 min aerobics 3x a week.

Barry Sears PhD: A reasonable amount of weight loss is one pound per week. However, you really want to be losing fat not simply weight. On the Zone diet, you can expect to lose that amount of excess fat on weekly basis.

INCIID Nancy: Thank you so much for joining us -- We appreciate your time and hope you will return in August to Chat again.

Dr. Sears will be back sometine in August to chat with us agai. Please check the chat schedule for details.

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