Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Truth About America's Survival | Demographics and the 2016 Election









WARNING: 



"Stefan Molyneux breaks down the raw data on the foreign-born population
in the United States, immigration pattern changes since the 1965
Immigration Act, cultural differences in economic freedom and
corruption, national IQ, attitudes on larger vs. smaller government,
political party preferences, immigrant voting patterns, the truth about
libertarianism, welfare consumption rates among different demographics
and the shocking truth about crime and diversity."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

EPA Report: Agriculture and livestock only minor sources of greenhouse gases.

According to an U.S. EPA report released this year – "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014" – claims that livestock (specifically, cattle) are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and putative global warming are bunk.



The EPA states that 84% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.A. were produced by the energy sector, and 76% by fossil fuel combustion.

According to Table 2-3 and figure 2-10, only 8.3% of GHG emissions came from agriculture activities, and only 2.4% by enteric fermentation or “cow burps.”  The total energy sector contribution was 10 times that of all agriculture. 

The GHG contribution of livestock was about the same as the emissions from waste disposal and processing including landfills, wastewater treatment, and composting.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Study: Honey has broad-spectrum antimicrobial and wound healing properties.

Honey comb.  By GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=882484

A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology reports that honey is returning to rival antibiotics as a treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and wound healing: 


Honey has "a broad spectrum of action that is unlike any known antimicrobial" and so far no one has been able to generate a honey-resistant strain of bacteria.


Some, perhaps all vegans would reject the use of honey because it exploits the labor of bees.  Is saving humans from potentially disfiguring or deadly MDR microbial infections less important than avoiding bee exploitation?


Friday, October 21, 2016

Study: European Monogamy The Basis of a Free Society

 
The Peasant Wedding.  By Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) - Google Art Project: Home – pic Maximum resolution., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20361036


We have evidence that exogamous monogamy with a nuclear family was practiced in Germanic Europe 4,600 years ago, well before the introduction of Christianity.  

Henrich et al. note that

"While the roots of the package of norms and institutions that constitute modern marriage can be traced back to classical Greece and Rome [6,7], the global spread of this peculiar marriage system [6] has occurred only in recent centuries, as other societies sought to emulate the West, with laws prohibiting polygyny arriving in 1880 in Japan, 1953 in China, 1955 in India and 1963 in Nepal."
I think few people realize the social and biological benefits of monogamy.  In fact, so-called "progressives" even believe that monogamy is "over-rated" and want to legalize polygamy, claiming that:

"Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families."

These people aren't aware that polygamy has been practiced in Asia and the Middle East for a long time, and it didn't produce the "sex-positive, child-friendly" utopia they imagine. Moreover, evolutionary psychology refutes the polygamist progressives.   

In contrast to polygamy, the standard for 85 per cent of societies in the anthropological record – including the Hebrews of the Old Testament –  Henrich et al. have shown that monogamy, the standard of European civilization, has enormous social benefits:

"In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (i) the spousal age gap, (ii) fertility, and (iii) gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide." 
In history, polygamous cultures always resulted in a large population of unmarried males and dramatically increases the competition between males for female mates.

"Faced with high levels of intra-sexual competition and little chance of obtaining even one long-term mate, unmarried, low-status men will heavily discount the future and more readily engage in risky status-elevating and sex-seeking behaviours. This will result in higher rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of females), sexual slavery and prostitution. As a by-product, these men will probably engage in more substance abuse."
 Polygamy also increases intra-household conflict that results in injury to both women and children:

"Co-wife conflict is ubiquitous in polygynous households. From anthropology, a review of ethnographic data from 69 non-sororal polygynous societies from around the globe [66] reveals no case where co-wife relations could be described as harmonious, and no hint that women's access to the means of production had any mitigating impact on conflict. Consistent with this, an in-depth study of a fundamentalist Mormon community in the US [67] found substantial conflict among co-wives. "
The conflict occurs because the co-wives compete for the husband's attention, and because each wife is motivated to promote the interests of her children, but to undermine the interests of the children of other wives since she has no genetic investment in those children of co-wives.  Hence, any individual wife has a biological motivation to injure the children of other co-wives:

"Living in the same household with genetically unrelated adults is the single biggest risk factor for abuse, neglect and homicide of children. Stepmothers are 2.4 times more likely to kill their stepchildren [71] than birth mothers, and children living with an unrelated parent are between 15 and 77 times more likely to die ‘accidentally’ [72].

"Converging with these ideas is long-term research in the Caribbean, which shows how different household compositions impact cortisol levels (a stress hormone) in children. Children in nuclear families with only genetic parents showed the lowest cortisol levels. By contrast, children in households with distant relatives, stepfathers and half-siblings showed the highest cortisol levels of any household composite in the sample [73]. This suggests that the children of polygynous households will run higher cortisol levels owing to the presence of unrelated mothers and half-siblings."
 Monogamy also increases the father's investment in children.  Rather than competing with other males and seeking more wives, male energy is directed into increasing the success rate of the children he has with one wife.  Since more males are invested in children in a monogamous culture than in a polygamous culture, they are motivated to keep a crime-free, peaceful society that protects the children they have.  In a society that allows polygamy, the unmarried males do not have investment in peace or prosperity, but have a perverse motivation toward rape, crime and war because they have nothing to lose. 

Most importantly, monogamy is the probable foundation of free societies:

"In closing, it is worth speculating that the spread of normative monogamy, which represents a form of egalitarianism, may have helped create the conditions for the emergence of democracy and political equality at all levels of government [7,91]. Within the anthropological record, there is a statistical linkage between democratic institutions and normative monogamy [92]. Pushing this point, these authors argue that dissipating the pool of unmarried males weakens despots, as it reduces their ability to find soldiers or henchman. Reduced crime would also weaken despots' claims to be all that stands between ordinary citizens and chaos. Historically, we know that universal monogamous marriage preceded the emergence of democratic institutions in Europe, and the rise of notions of equality between the sexes (see our historical sketch in the electronic supplementary material). In Ancient Greece, we do not know which came first but we do know that Athens, for example, had both elements of monogamous marriage and of democracy. In the modern world, analyses of cross-national data reveal positive statistical relationships between the strength of normative monogamy with both democratic rights and civil liberties [65]. In this sense, the peculiar institutions of monogamous marriage may help explain why democratic ideals and notions of equality and human rights first emerged in the West [6]."
 So "progressive" proponents of polygamy want to destroy monogamy, likely the very essential basis of a free society.  They want to turn the West into a society that favors the chaotic despotism that characterizes all non-Western cultures.

They don't have a clue what they are asking for.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What is Virtue? Part 2

In Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (PPNF, 11th Printing, 1982, p. 419), Weston Price wrote:

"Ernest Thompson Seton has beautifully expressed the spirit of the Indian in the opening paragraph of his little book 'The Gospel of the Red Man':  
  The culture and civilization of the White man are essentially material; his measure of success is, 'How much property have I acquired for myself?'  The culture of the Red man is fundamentally spiritual; his measure of success is 'How much service have I rendered to my people?'"
 I disagree with the idea that the culture and civilization of the White man is essentially material.

The culture of materialism is not the native culture of the White man.   It is a culture imposed upon White man.

Neanderthals, the ancestors of Europeans, were practicing burial rituals as long as 300,000 years ago, and may have been the first humans to do so. These burial rituals indicated that traditional Europeans had a concept of reincarnation.

Anyone who knows pagan Greek and Roman culture and civilization would know that the civilization of the White man is not essentially material.  Socrates was not a materialist; Pythagorus was not a materialist; Plato was not a materialist; Aristotle was not a materialist; pagan European religion (Nordic, Germanic, Greek, etc.) did not promote materialism; the pagan Stoics were not materialists.

A search of pagan White philosophy and religion finds little support for the idea that the culture of White man is essentially materialistic. 

White man was forced to give up his original pagan culture by traitors who had embraced Christianity, which is in fact a sect of messianic Judaism, native to the Middle East, not to the native land of the White man: Europe.

The Christians persecuted and waged war on the indigenous people of Europe, forcing them to abandon their own native religion, their native soul, and slaughtering resisters, and as many as 4500 at a time.  After that came the fires, burning "heretics" and "witches" at the stake, and burning books that would have preserved European pagan knowledge and would have proved that Christians lied over and over about pagan customs and beliefs.

Even under threat of death, Europeans refused to stop celebrating their high holidays such as Celtic Samhain (Halloween or All Saints Day), Germanic Yule (Christmas), and the Teutonic spring equinox festival of Eostre (Easter). These rituals are not materialistic; they arose from a deep spiritual understanding of reincarnation.

The Christians followed up their military and cultural "crusades" with 2 millennia of continual propaganda, derision and defamation of pre-Christian Europeans, programming European children to believe the complete LIE that before being "saved" by the Middle Eastern monotheist religions, Europeans were the most vile, disgusting, immoral, stupid and superstitious people on the planet.  What psychological projection.

And Christians are still busy culturally conquering Asians and Africans and destroying their indigenous (non-Christian) culture. If the locals resist the advance of the Christian invaders, they are labelled terrorists or "intolerant" for wanting to protect their own indigenous culture. But its not the pagan polytheists who are intolerant; they only fight those who would destroy their own culture, in justified self-defense.  Its among the monotheists, the Christians and Islamists that arise those who can not and will not tolerate any other culture anywhere on the planet, and want everyone to have one faith, one culture, even if they have to use the sword to get "conversions." 

The Christian crusades against indigenous European paganism left the European soul in the spiritual desert for thousands of years, thirsting for the Truth.  Hebrew desert religions just do not fit the European.  This is why, once it is no longer forced on them, Europeans eventually give up on Christianity. If they don't become materialistic nihilistic atheists, they look for nourishment in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sufism, and a myriad other other foreign religions. But none of these non-European religions really fit the European spirit.  Their own traditions have been co-opted, corrupted, and concealed from their rightful heirs by the self-proclaimed "tolerant and loving" Christians. 

Christianity is of desert origin, not the indigenous religion of the forest-born people of Europe, and it "fits" Europeans only insofar as it incorporates pagan religion and morality (e.g. Catholic or Orthodox ritualism).  Just as computer hardware can malfunction when loaded with incompatible software, the European person will malfunction when loaded with incompatible belief systems. European paganism is the original compatible software.

The Renaissance was a revival of European paganism after the dark ages during which the European spirituality was oppressed and suppressed by Christianity. 

In spite of being infected with a foreign ideological virus, White people have produced an enormous body of literature and music that celebrates non-material values; this is because White people have an inborn sense of spirituality, manifested in European folktales, music, and architecture.  White people invented protection of wild places and appear far more concerned with protection of endangered species than non-White people. 

Yet, for millennia and still today, White people, and especially White men, have been told that White ancestors were disgusting savages before adopting the foreign Christian ideology, and still disgusting afterwards.


Seton praised the Red man for organizing his life around service to his people – his ethnic tribe, his ethnic nation, i.e. Red people; but if a modern White man were to organize his life around the principle that all his actions should be service to his own people – his ethnic nation, i.e. White people – he would be called a racist or Nazi.

Because White people are told that White people and White culture are evil.  So White people are not allowed to be "spiritual" via service to their people.

White people are on the contrary told that they must serve non-White people and adopt non-White culture and stop having White children in order to atone for all the sins of their ancestors.

This, White people are told, is "virtue": to hate, demean, and sacrifice White people, and destroy evil White culture and civilization, and hand the native lands of White people (especially Europe) over to non-Whites. 

Is it any surprise then that, severed from their spiritual roots, told that they are evil incarnate, and dominated by a foreign desert ideology, White people turn to materialism?

If you don't believe that your people are worthy of existing, and you are punished if you want to serve and preserve your people, then why would you do anything to serve them?

This is the virus responsible for so-called "White materialism."

It is time for White men and women to ask:  "How much service have I rendered to my people?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Should Danes Eat Like Greeks?, or, Is Dietary Universalism Rational?

There exists in modern thought a strong tide of universalism, an attitude that there is or should be one way of life that is best for all people everywhere on Earth.  I believe this belief in universalism has its roots in Christianity, a religion that maintains that everyone should have one universal faith.

In recent years, the Mediterranean diet has been the favored nutritional regime.  Everyone should eat like a person who lives around the Mediterranean ocean.

Vegans also tend to promote the idea that everyone, everywhere, can and should eat a diet free of animal flesh, eggs, and milk.  

Is this logical or realistic?  Can we really expect people in Nordic nations to eat like Greeks?

Macrobiotic principles include eating locally produced foods in proportions determined by their natural availability.  Locally produced foods are adapted to the local climate, and impart their qualities to the people who consume them.  Bananas may be good for people in the tropics, but not for people in Canada.  Northern people need more warming (yang) foods, while southern people need more cooling (yin) foods.  Nature meets the needs because only more yang plants (e.g. oats, cranberries, cabbage, blueberries, hazelnuts) and animals (e.g. salmon, cod, reindeer) can thrive in northern regions, while more yin plants (e.g. coconuts, mangos, spinach, corn) and animals (e.g. catfish) abound in hot tropical regions. Moreover, northern regions produce more edible fauna than edible flora. 

People in Nordic nations can't locally produce many of the components of a Mediterranean diet, and Nature puts a limit on their production of plant foods. In addition, Nordic people very likely are genetically adapted in some way to the diet naturally produced in the north, since they have descended from people who lived in the north for as long as 300,000 years (Neanderthals).

Bere and Brug note:

So, to eat a Mediterranean or vegan diet, Norwegians would have to largely or completely abandon foods they can produce locally–wild game, pasture-fed animal products, and wild and farmed fish–and rely on foods they can't produce themselves.

 Bere and Brug suggest some guidelines for developing healthy and environmentally-friendly regional diets (you can substitute any other region for "Nordic countries"):
Using these criteria, they identify the following components of a healthy Nordic diet:

1. Native Berries
2.  Cabbage (in all its forms, e.g. cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, radish, rutabaga, turnip, mustard, etc.)
3.  Native fish and seafoods
4.  Wild game and pasture-fed animals
5.  Rapeseed oil
6.  Oats, barley, and rye

Other groups defining a healthy, locally producible Nordic diet also include carrots, apples and pears among the foods easily grown in Nordic nations.  I would also add honey which Nordic people can use to replace all the sugar they import.

Regarding native berries, Norway already produces enough berries to give every Norwegian two servings daily:
They also already produce 76% of the cabbage they consume:
They apparently could grow more cabbage.

Native fish and seafood is abundant enough that they export 95% of their catch:
By exporting less of their fish, they would reduce their dependence on imported foods.

The Nordic countries have large tracts of land that are not suitable for agriculture but serve well as pastures for both wild and domesticated animals:
Like other cabbage-family plants, rapeseed grows well and production is increasing in Nordic nations:

Currently, Nordic nations consume more wheat than rye, barley or oats, all of which grow better than wheat in the Nordic regions.  Most of the latter three are being fed to animals:

By consuming less grain-fed animal products, Nordic people can increase the amount of land available for growing berries, cabbages, rapeseed, oats, barley, and rye, thus shifting from dependence on imported grains, fruits and vegetables to a more local, sustainable diet:


It is a simple biological reality that it would be impossible for Nordic nations to produce a locally grown Mediterranean or vegan diet.  To subsist on local foods, they must consume animal products.

As Olsen et al. note:


Nordic people who adhere more closely to a healthy Nordic food diet consisting of locally sourced wild fish, cabbages, rye bread, oatmeal, apples and pears, local berries, and root vegetables have a lower annual rate of deaths from all causes compared to those who eat less plant foods and more grain-fed land animal products and saturated fats.[1, 2]

Should Nordic nations exchange food independence for adherence to a foreign Mediterranean diet or vegan morality/ideology? 

I don't think so.  If a people is dependent on foreign imports for food, it is extremely vulnerable to food catastrophe and political manipulations.  Why should any people put themselves at risk of starvation due to naturally or politically-caused crop failures in other nations far, far away?

One size does not fit all, and in my view, human independence and liberty have much higher value than animal interests.  Yes, I am biased in favor of my own species.  Its entirely natural; if our ancestors hadn't favored humanity over other animals, we wouldn't be here today.

It is important to note that favoring one's own kind is not the same as wanting to wantonly exterminate all other kinds.  

According to Confucian scholar Chén Huan-Chang, in the Canon of History there exists the “Announcement About Drunkenness,” in which Chang Shih (1133-1180 A.D.) states:

“For instance, in the use of meats and drinks, there is such a thing as wildly abusing and destroying the creatures of Heaven.  The Buddhists, disliking this, confine themselves to a vegetable diet, while our Confucians only keep away from wild abuse and destruction.”[3]


Let our empathy for animals keep us from wild abuse and destruction of them, without devolving into Pathological Altruism.


Notes

1.  Olsen A, Egeberg R, Halkjær J, et al.. Healthy aspects of the Nordic diet are related to lower total mortality. J Nutr. 2011 Apr 1;141(4):639-44. 
2.  Roswall N, Sandin S, Löf M, et al..  Adherence to the healthy Nordic food index and total and cause-specific mortality among Swedish women. Eur J Epidemiol. 2015 Jun;30(6):509-17.
3.  Huang-Chang C.  The Economic Principles of Confucius and His School. Columbia University, Longmans, Green & Company, Agents, 1911. 191.




Thursday, October 13, 2016

What is Virtue? Part 1

Herakles, Divine Protector of Mankind.  By Paul Stevenson - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pss/3637104088/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9924526

Like it or not, the word "virtue" comes from the Latin
"...virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage (in war); excellence, worth," which in turn comes from the root vir "man."
"Virtue" is thus related to virile which has cognates in several European languages:
"characteristic of a man; marked by manly force," from Middle French viril (14c.) and directly from Latin virilis "of a man, manly, worthy of a man," from vir "a man, a hero," from PIE *wi-ro- "man, freeman" (source also of Sanskrit virah, Avestan vira-, Lithuanian vyras, Old Irish fer, Welsh gwr, Gothic wair, Old English wer "man"). 
Thus, virtue originally refers to manliness and in particular, strength and courage.

In antiquity, an exemplary or heroic woman was respectfully called a virago.

"A woman, however, if exceptional enough could earn the title virago. In doing so, she surpassed the expectations for what was believed possible for her gender, and embodied masculine-like aggression and/or excellence. Virago, then, was a title of respect and admiration."
But it is important to note that in European antiquity, women (femina) were not held to the military standard of virtue expected of men.  Make no mistake, both men and women were encouraged to live noble and virtuous lives, to be noblemen and noblewomen, but traditionally women were not expected to live up to the same standards of strength, bravery and courage in combat as men.

The Greek word for virtue is aretê.  The goddess, or more correctly, personified spirit (daimona) Arete "was depicted as a fair woman of high bearing, dressed in white."

Her opposite was the daimona Kakia (Cacia), lady of vice.  

Xenophon (5th-4th century BCE) wrote that the Sophist Prodikos gave an account of these opposing spirits in an essay entitled On Herakles.  In this story, Herakles, coming upon the age of manhood, goes to a quiet place to contemplate whether he will, as a man, take the path of virtue, or the path of vice.

As Herakles meditates on his question, he sees two women "of great stature" approach him.  One "was fair to see and of high bearing; and her limbs were adorned with purity, her eyes with modesty; sober was her figure, and her robe was white."  The other:
 "...was plump and soft, with high feeding. Her face was made up to heighten its natural white and pink, her figure to exaggerate her height. Open-eyed was she; and dressed so as to disclose all her charms. Now she eyed herself; anon looked whether any noticed her; and often stole a glance at her own shadow."
Source: Greek mythology Wikia

 The dignified one was Arete; the conceited whore was Kakia.

"When they drew nigh to Herakles, the first pursued the even tenor of her way: but the other, all eager to outdo her, ran to meet him, crying : ‘Herakles, I see that you are in doubt which path to take towards life. Make me your friend; follow me, and I will lead you along the pleasantest and easiest road. You shall taste all the sweets of life; and hardship you shall never know. First, of wars and worries you shall not think, but shall ever be considering what choice food or drink you can find, what sight or sound will delight you, what touch or perfume; what tender love can give you most joy, what bed the softest slumbers; and how to come by all these pleasures with least trouble. And should there arise misgiving that lack of means may stint your enjoyments, never fear that I may lead you into winning them by toil and anguish of body and soul. Nay; you shall have the fruits of others' toil, and refrain from nothing that can bring you gain. For to my companions I give authority to pluck advantage where they will.’"


When Kakia finishes her attempted seduction, Arete addresses Herakles thus:
"‘I, too, am come to you, Herakles: I know your parents and I have taken note of your character during the time of your education. Therefore I hope that, if you take the road that leads to me, you will turn out a right good doer of high and noble deeds, and I shall be yet more highly honoured and more illustrious for the blessings I bestow. But I will not deceive you by a pleasant prelude: I will rather tell you truly the things that are, as the gods have ordained them. For of all things good\par and fair, the gods give nothing to man without toil and effort. If you want the favour of the gods, you must worship the gods: if you desire the love of friends, you must do good to your friends: if you covet honour from a city, you must aid that city: if you are fain to win the admiration of all Hellas [Greece] for virtue, you must strive to do good to Hellas: if you want land to yield you fruits in abundance, you must cultivate that land: if you are resolved to get wealth from flocks, you must care for those flocks: if you essay to grow great through war and want power to liberate your friends and subdue your foes, you must learn the arts of war from those who know them and must practice their right use: and if you want your body to be strong, you must accustom your body to be the servant of your mind, and train it with toil and sweat.’"
In response, Kakia makes another attempt at seduction:
 "‘Herakles, mark you how hard and long is that road to joy, of which this woman tells? but I will lead you by a short and easy road to happiness.’"
And before Herakles takes the bait, Arete puts Kakia in perspective:
 "‘What good thing is thine, poor wretch, or what pleasant thing dost thou know, if thou wilt do nought to win them? Thou dost not even tarry for the desire of pleasant things, but fillest thyself with all things before thou desirest them, eating before thou art hungry, drinking before thou art thirsty, getting thee cooks, to give zest to eating, buying thee costly wines and running to and fro in search of snow in summer, to give zest to drinking; to soothe thy slumbers it is not enough for thee to buy soft coverlets, but thou must have frames for thy beds. For not toil, but the tedium of having nothing to do, makes thee long for sleep. Thou dost rouse lust by many a trick, when there is no need, using men as women: thus thou trainest thy friends, waxing wanton by night, consuming in sleep the best hours of day. Immortal art thou, yet the outcast of the gods, the scorn of good men. Praise, sweetest of all things to hear, thou hearest not: the sweetest of all sights thou beholdest not, for never yet hast thou beheld a good work wrought by thyself. Who will believe what thou dost say? who will grant what thou dost ask? Or what sane man will dare join thy throng? While thy votaries are young their bodies are weak, when they wax old, their souls are without sense; idle and sleek they thrive in youth, withered and weary they journey through old age, and their past deeds bring them shame, their present deeds distress. Pleasure they ran through in their youth: hardship they laid up for their old age. But I company with gods and good men, and no fair deed of god or man is done without my aid. I am first in honour among the gods and among men that are akin to me: to craftsmen a beloved fellow-worker, to masters a faithful guardian of the house, to servants a kindly protector: good helpmate in the toils of peace, staunch ally in the deeds of war, best partner in friendship. To my friends meat and drink bring sweet and simple enjoyment: for they wait till they crave them. And a sweeter sleep falls on them than on idle folk: they are not vexed at awaking from it, nor for its sake do they neglect to do their duties. The young rejoice to win the praise of the old; the elders are glad to be honoured by the young; with joy they recall their deeds past, and their present well-doing is joy to them, for through me they are dear to the gods, lovely to friends, precious to their native land. And when comes the appointed end, they lie not forgotten and dishonoured, but live on, sung and remembered for all time. O Herakles, thou son of goodly parents, if thou wilt labour earnestly on this wise, thou mayest have for thine own the most blessed happiness.’"

So, deep in the European pagan soul, self-reliance, industriousness, temperance in food and sex, loyalty, friendliness, honesty, discipline, courage, martial artistry, physical fitness training, service to one's people and honor all are manifestations of manliness, excellence, VIRTUE.

Self-indulgence, laziness, hedonism, weakness, meekness, intemperance in food and sex, living at the expense and taking advantage of others for one's own benefit – basically, all the values promoted by Hollywood, feminism and socialism – all are manifestations of weakness and VICE.

Since, thanks to 2 millennia of lies and propaganda, many people believe that Europeans were vicious, hedonistic barbarians before being yoked by wholly foreign Middle Eastern Abrahamic doctrines, I want to emphasize, this is PAGAN religion and morality, at least 5 centuries before Christianity – a.k.a. Messianic Judaism – emerged and became the state religion of Rome.

European pagans had high morals and never needed so-called "redemption" by Christianity.









 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Study: European light skin may partially be an adaptation to a farmed plant-based diet

In "Direct evidence for positive selection of skin, hair, and eye pigmentation in Europeans during the last 5,000 y" Wilde et al. suggest that, in addition to low sunlight exposure, a transition to farming exerted a selection pressure in favor of less skin melanin in the evolution of Europeans:


This hypothesis may explain why Northern populations that did not transition to farming – such as Mongolians, Eskimos, and the Eurasian tribes that populated North America – have retained darker skin until present times, while Europeans became white.  

This could mean that white Europeans are descendants of ancestors specifically adapted to a more plant-based agricultural diet providing less dietary vitamin D than a hunter-fisher-gatherer diet would provide.



This evidence-based hypothesis suggests that modern white Europeans may be more highly genetically adapted to a farmed, highly plant-based diet than to an animal-based hunter-fisher-gatherer diet.  It casts additional doubt on the paleolithic diet hypothesis that modern people, particularly modern white Europeans, should avoid farmed foods such as whole grains and legumes, and stick to the diet eaten by (dark-skinned) hunter-gatherers 50,000 years ago.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trump Jr.'s Trophy Hunting Feeds African Villagers?

I recently read Hunting as a Moral Good by philosopher Lawrence Cahoone.  In this paper Cahoone argues that hunting is not a sport and is morally good in at least some instances:

Not long after I read Cahoone's persuasive paper, Ashley Feinberg, writing for the Concourse, ripped into Donald Trump Jr. for hunting large game on African safaris.



In the course of her diatribe accusing Trump Jr. of bloodlust and idiocy, she included this screenshot of a Twitter conversation Trump Jr. had with another social justice warrior:


Feinberg either didn't check on Trump Jr.'s claim that the meat was given to the villagers, or, if she did, she didn't report on it.  Perhaps she didn't care.  Given Cahoone's arguments, I was curious to find out if indeed Trump Jr.'s hunting had been a public service.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334497/
Click on photo to visit the article on PubMed.

Yep.  Taking into account all African Game Management Areas, sport hunters like Trump Jr. provide a huge amount of meat to African villagers – 129,771 kgs of meat per year, having a value of US$600,000 – and they do it when villagers are most likely to encounter food shortages.

"Rural communities located within GMAs where sport hunting occurred received on average >6,000 kgs per GMA of fresh game meat annually from hunting operators. To assess hunting industry compliance, we also compared the amount of meat expected as per the lease agreements versus observed amounts of meat provisioned from three GMAs during 2007–2009. In seven of eight annual comparisons of these GMAs, provisioning of meat exceeded what was required in the lease agreements. Provisioning occurred throughout the hunting season and peaked during the end of the dry season (September–October) coincident with when rural Zambians are most likely to encounter food shortages."
Moreover: "Although high-protein cereals are being developed [24], at present recommended daily protein requirements (50 gm/day)[25] are rarely met in Zambia [22],[26]."

Sport hunting appears to have other social and ecological benefits in Africa:



https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3867336/

Reports:


In summary, so-called "sport" hunting in Africa provides Africans with food and income, and provides them incentive to protect and preserve wild lands, wild animals, and biodiversity, which they might otherwise convert to farms and pastures for domestic livestock.   

In this article:




So ironically, Ashley apparently isn't a vegan so she's got blood in her diet too, and in this article she's trying to say that eating plants is morally equivalent to eating animals.  If that's so, then surely eating chickens is equivalent to eating elephants. So, whence her outrage?

But unlike Trump Jr.'s African sport hunting, Ashley Feinberg's social justice writing isn't providing protein or income for African villagers, nor doing a thing for African wildlife conservation or preventing the conversion of African wild lands to agriculture.  

Virtue signalling ≠ virtue.  

Who's the smug one?






Monday, October 10, 2016

Study: Can Carotenoids Meet Everyone's Vitamin A Needs? Completed, Results Not Reported

The National Institutes of Health ClinicalTrials.gov indicates that a team of researchers from the UK has completed a study investigating whether dietary carotenoids can adequately meet the vitamin A (retinol) needs.

"Effect of SNPs in the Beta-carotene 15, 15'-Monooxygenase (BCMO1) Enzyme on Retinol Formation and Beta-carotene Plasma Responses"

Here's the study summary:

 
Since studies show large inter-individual variation–up to 8-fold!–in ability to convert carotenoids to retinol, and 44% of Western (i.e. European ancestry) individuals carry a single nucleotide polymorphism that results in reduced ability to convert carotenoids ot retinol (via the enzyme BCMO1), the authors are concerned that "A high percentage of the Western population may therefore not be able to achieve adequate vitamin A intake if dietary β-carotene is a major source of their vitamin A intake."

Lietz et al. (2012) found that single nucleotide polymorphism can reduce carotenoid conversion by ~50-60%, and these polymorphisms affect ~70% Asians, ~30% of Europeans, and ~20% of Africans:


The distribution of these SNPs is of evolutionary interest as they are more common among those of us with exclusively Neanderthal DNA, descended from lineages that developed in cold northern habitats where plant foods were less available compared to Africa.

Hence the hypothesis of the clinical trial: 

"The investigators hypothesize that the current maximum recommended intake of 7 mg of β-carotene per day cannot overcome the low convertor phenotype in BCMO1 to fulfill vitamin A requirements in these people."

However this has never been tested directly, until this study.   The study has been completed, but no results have been posted.


 I searched PubMed for a published report of the results, and found nothing.

One limit of the study is the authors are testing only one daily dose of ß-carotene, 7 mg.  That's about the amount in one (45 g) carrot.  A single cup of carrot juice contains about 22 mg ß-carotene.  A single sweet potato contains 13 mg.  A cup of cooked kale provides about 11 mg.  Hence, as I noted in Powered By Plants, a plant-based diet can easily provide 30-40 mg ß-carotene daily.

This study showed that subjects absorbed ~65% of ß-carotene provided by cooked, pureed carrots and ~41% from raw, chopped carrots when consumed with 40 g sunflower oil.   Thus we may be able to assume about 50% absorption of ß-carotene from plant foods when consumed with fat in meals.

This means people would need to consume whole foods containing at least ~14 mg ß-carotene to get the 7 mg tested in this study. 

Not everyone eating a plant-based diet consumes that much ß-carotene daily.

This study goes in the direction of testing whether some people may require animal-source retinol vitamin A in their diets, but they will probably have to test larger doses of ß-carotene, depending on how inefficient the "low responders" to ß-carotene are.

I await the publication of the results.  
 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Study: Europeans better adapted to cold climates, Africans better adapted to hot climates


Caucasians are evolutionarily adapted to cold climates, Africans not.  Source: Wikimedia


Daanen and Van Marten Lichtenbelt report that Europeans differ markedly from other populations in heritable adaptations to cold climates, whereas Africans have marked physiological adaptations to hot climates.

People who have black skin such as Africans have more sweat glands than people with white skin who are native to northern climates.
Thus Africans are better adapted to hot climates, as evolutionary theory predicts.

When exposed to cold air temperature of 17 ℃, Caucasians and Eskimos display a rise in metabolism more than double that of Africans:

Compared to Africans, Caucasians and Eskimos have higher basal metabolic rates producing more heat, making Africans better adapted to hot climates and Caucasians and Eskimos to cold climates.
As an aside, the lower average metabolic rate of Africans makes them more susceptible to obesity in an environment full of high energy density foods.  Put otherwise, Caucasians are probably adapted to a diet having a higher energy density than would have been possible in Africa, while Africans are probably adapted to a diet having a lower energy density than would have been possible in Europe.

Africans have better heat loss capacities than Caucasians, while Caucasians and circumpolar peoples have better heat generating and cold tolerance capacities.  


Africans have slower and reduced cold-induced vasodilation compared to Caucasians:

It seems there exist substantial physiological differences between races and these differences arose as specific adaptations to ancestral habitats

Friday, October 7, 2016

Study: Europeans Not Descended From Africans, "Out of Africa" Questioned

In "Re-Examining the “Out of Africa” Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogy," Klyosov and Roshanskii state:

"The finding that Europeoid haplogroups did not descend from "African" haplogroups A or B is supported by the fact that bearers of the Europeoid haplogroups, as well as all non-African haplogoups do not carry either SNPs M91, P97, M31, P82, M23, M114, P262, M32, M59, P289, P291, M13, M171, M118 (haplogroup A and its subclades SNPs) or M60, M181, P90 (haplogroup B), as it was shown recently in "Walk through Y" FTDNA Project (the reference is incorporated therein) on several hundred people from various haplogroups." 
They state that the popular "Out of Africa" hypothesis "was never directly proven":




The "Out of Africa" hypothesis is/was "conjectural, incomplete, and not actually data-driven" and the genetic evidence in combination with the palaeoarchaeological evidence indicates that modern humans emerged in Central Europe, not Africa!



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Genetic and Evolutionary Basis of Salt Sensitivity: Africans vs. Europeans and Asians

 From Science Daily, March 26, 1999:



"Hold The Salt: Gene May Explain African Americans' Extra Sensitivity To Salt, Leading To High Blood Pressure: Having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt, thereby increasing their risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a new report presented at the American Heart Association's epidemiology and prevention meeting."

"Flack says that salt-sensitivity has been documented in all racial
and ethnic groups, and even in people with normal blood pressure levels,
but he adds that heredity is an important influence on whether an
individual is salt-sensitive or not.
"'This study is consistent with findings in Japanese and Spanish
populations,' says Flack. 'We're not quite ready to recommend widespread
screening for the ACE gene, but we may be getting close to the point
where it might be a reasonable thing to do.'
"Currently, mass screening for the gene variant is not recommended.
However, Flack says African Americans who have high blood pressure,
diabetes, kidney disease or who are obese have been found to be most
likely to have the ACE gene variant"
end of quote


Why would Africans be more likely to have salt sensitivity genes?  Perhaps the better question is, why would non-Africans be far less likely to have salt sensitivity genes.

My hypothesis:

Africans evolved in the tropics.  Food was available all year round.  They did not have any need to preserve foods with salt in order to survive. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have no Neanderthal DNA.


Europeans and Asians have 1-4% exclusively Neanderthal DNA.  It is currently believed that Neanderthals (European branch) and Denisovans (Asian branch) inhabited Eurasia for ~200,000 to 300,000 years before H. sapiens (supposedly) left Africa about 60,000 years ago.


Europeans and Asians had to find ways to preserve food for long winters.  They invented salt-preservation of plant and animal foods to meet the need.  Hence, they were exposed to high amounts of dietary salt.  This exerted a selection against salt sensitivity.  Those who could not tolerate amounts of dietary salt typical for people dependent on salt-preserved foods left fewer descendants than those who could.  Tolerance involved greater ability to excrete sodium.  End result:  Salt-tolerant or even salt-dependent Asians and Europeans among whom dietary sodium intakes less than 3 g per day increase the risk of CV mortality and hospitalization for CHF. 


Source:  O'Donnell et al.


Simple fact:  Africans, Europeans, and Asians have enough genetic differences to be medically and nutritionally relevant.  What works for an African, may not work for a European, and vice versa.  What harms an African, may not harm a European, and vice versa. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Study: Cold Showering Reduces Illness Absences

According to a report published in PLOS-One, subjects assigned to take a cold shower for at least 30 seconds at the end of a daily hot shower experienced a 29% reduction in absence from work due to illness.  The sick-day-reducing effect of the brief cold shower was comparable to that of regular physical activity.  Those who combined cold showering with regular physical activity showed a 54% reduction of illness absence.

The average temperature of the shower water was 10-12 ℃ (50-54 ℉).  These results were obtained with just 30 days of cold showering required. 

Ninety-one percent of the participants reported a desire to continue the practice and 64% actually did so.  Many people also reported a sense of increased vitality. 
I started doing cold showers at the end of a hot shower in January of 2016 (this year). The water temperature here in Arizona is probably not as low as 50 ℉ but its cool.  I would stay under the cool water until it no longer felt cold to me.  I never timed it but I would estimate 1 minute facing the shower, and 1 minute on my back.  These showers were always after physical activity.

At the beginning of September 2016 I started taking a straight cold water shower right after getting out of bed.  No hot water at the start; just walk right into the cold water.  I scrub my skin from head to toe with a wash cloth while under the cold water.  I don't know the temperature of the water, but it feels cold when I get in.  After what I would estimate as 45-60 seconds, it doesn't feel cold anymore.  I think it takes me 2-4 minutes to do the full body scrub.  After this I dry myself and start my day.  Then I take another brief shower after my morning physical activity, occasionally starting with warm (not hot) water, but on most days, just cold water again. 

I feel great after these showers.  I have seen and felt an improvement in the moisture of my skin during this time as well. 

Humans certainly did not evolve bathing in hot water. People of European and northeast Asian descent had Neanderthal ancestors who inhabited the cold north for at least 300,000 years.  They certainly had adaptations to cold exposure.

My cold water bathing experiments will definitely continue.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Human Requirement for DHA?

When I published Powered By Plants, I didn't think that we had strong evidence that humans have a dietary requirement for long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.  At that time, and still today, only linoleic acid (LA) and linolenic acid (ALA) were recognized as essential fatty acids by the National Academy of Sciences.

However, just this week, Dr. Michael Greger M.D. of NutritionFacts.org released a video review of research on this topic that provides evidence that humans do require some dietary DHA in order to maintain brain structure and function with aging.



These are the sources Greger cites for this video:

  1. J S O'Brien, E L Sampson. Lipid composition of the normal human brain: gray matter, white matter, and myelin. J Lipid Res. 1965 Oct;6(4):537-44.
  2. Z S Tan, W S Harris, A S Beiser, R Au, J J Himali, S Debette, A Pikula, C Decarli, P A Wolf, R S Vasan, S J Robins, S Seshadri. Red blood cell ω-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging. Neurology. 2012 Feb 28;78(9):658-64.
  3. J V Pottala, K Yaffe, J G Robinson, M A Espeland, R Wallace, W S Harris. Higher RBC EPA + DHA corresponds with larger total brain and hippocampal volumes: WHIMS-MRI study. Neurology. 2014 Feb 4;82(5):435-42.
  4. E Sydenham, A D Dangour, W S Lim. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jun 13;(6):CD005379.
  5. A V Witte, L Kerti, H M Hermannstädter, J B Fiebach, S J Schreiber, J P Schuchardt, A Hahn, A Flöel. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults. Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68.
  6. B Sarter, K S Kelsey, T A Schwartz, W S Harris. Blood docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in vegans: Associations with age and gender and effects of an algal-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr;34(2):212-8.
  7. J Fuhrman. Dietary Protocols to Maximize Disease Reversal and Long Term Safety. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine May 4, 2015.
  8. P Y Lin, C C Chiu, S Y Huang, K P Su. A meta-analytic review of polyunsaturated fatty acid compositions in dementia. J Clin Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;73(9):1245-54.
  9. G L Bowman, H H Dodge, N Mattek, A K Barbey, L C Silbert, L Shinto, D B Howieson, J A Kaye, J F Quinn. Plasma omega-3 PUFA and white matter mediated executive decline in older adults. Front Aging Neurosci. 2013 Dec 16;5:92.
  10. J K Virtanen, D S Siscovick, R N Lemaitre, W T Longstreth, D Spiegelman, E B Rimm, I B King, D Mozaffarian. Circulating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and subclinical brain abnormalities on MRI in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Oct 10;2(5):e000305.
  11. S C Cunnane, J A Schneider, C Tangney, J Tremblay-Mercier, M Fortier, D A Bennett, M C Morris. Plasma and brain fatty acid profiles in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;29(3):691-7.
  12. E Courchesne, H J Chisum, J Townsend, A Cowles, J Covington, B Egaas, M Harwood, S Hinds, G A Press. Normal brain development and aging: quantitative analysis at in vivo MR imaging in healthy volunteers. Radiology. 2000 Sep;216(3):672-82.
  13. F A Muskiet, M R Fokkema, A Schaafsma, E R Boersma, M A Crawford. Is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) essential? Lessons from DHA status regulation, our ancient diet, epidemiology and randomized controlled trials. J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):183-6.
  14. W S Harris, J V Pottala, S A Varvel, J J Borowski, J N Ward, J P McConnell. Erythrocyte omega-3 fatty acids increase and linoleic acid decreases with age: observations from 160,000 patients. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Apr;88(4):257-63.

Reference #1 is basic science on human brain lipid content.

Reference #2 reported on a 2012 study of participants in the Framingham Study that found that people with lower DHA levels and red blood cell (RBC) ω-3 index (red blood cell DHA+EPA as percent of total fats) also had lower scores on tests of visual memory, executive function, and abstract thinking:  "....lower levels of RBC DHA and EPA in late middle age were associated with markers of accelerated structural and cognitive aging. The MRI finding of lower brain volume represents a change equivalent to approximately 2 years of structural brain aging."

Reference #3 reported in 2014 that women who had a higher ω-3 index at baseline had larger brain volumes 8 years later.  Reduced brain volume is an important feature of dementia.

Reference #4 is from the Cochrane Collaboration, which in 2012 reported:  "Direct evidence on the effect of omega-3 PUFA on incident dementia is lacking. The available trials showed no benefit of omega-3 PUFA supplementation on cognitive function in cognitively healthy older people."  This was published before I published Powered By Plants, and was part of the evidence that led me to conclude that humans have no requirement for dietary EPA or DHA.

Reference #5 reports a 2014 double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial that found that supplementing older adults with 2.2 g daily of long-chain omega-3 fats from fish oil improved executive function and "exerted beneficial effects on white matter microstructural integrity and gray matter volume in frontal, temporal, parietal, and limbic areas primarily of the left hemisphere, and on carotid intima media thickness and diastolic blood pressure."  In other words, the oils improved brain structure.

Reference #6 found an average red blood cell omega-3 index of 3.7% in vegans.  The index was higher in females (ave. 3.9%) than males (ave. 3.5%), consistent with the research I cited in Powered By Plants showing that women convert linolenic acid to EPA and DHA much more efficiently than men.   Omega-3 status also improved with age: "The omega-3 index was directly and linearly related with age, with means of 3.5%, 3.6%, 4.0%, and 4.0% for the youngest to the oldest age groups..."

Vegan DHA levels and omega-3 index were non-significantly lower than a group of omnivores, but the vegans were on average 7 years older.  Given the observation of age-related increase in omega-3 index in both these vegans and omnivores (see discussion of reference 14 below), this may indicate that vegans had a reduced tissue-accumulation of omega-3s compared to the omnivores who also did not have optimum omega-3 indices.  It would be expected that had the omnivores been age-matched (i.e. 7 years older than they were on average) they would have had higher accumulation of omega-3s in their RBCs.  Thus, it is possible to interpret this as suggesting that vegans were about 7 years behind the omnivores in tissue accumulation of omega-3s.

Of the vegans, 64% had an RBC omega-3 index below 4%, and 27% were below 3%.  Two vegan subjects had an index of greater than 8%, the putative cardioprotective level.  The authors attributed this to "the marked metabolic variability possible between individuals."  Although the study excluded vegans taking supplements, and included only those vegan for at least one year, the report did not provide data about the range of durations of vegan adherence nor specifics for these two individuals.  Perhaps these two individuals with very high n-3 indices were among those with the least duration of vegan experience, the most intake of linolenic acid (e.g. flax oil, but see discussion of reference #11 below), or simply genetically unique in their ability to convert linolenic acid to long-chain omega-3s and perhaps hence more likely to thrive long-term on the diet.

Since in this study, the omega-3 index was not correlated with dietary linolenic acid (ALA) intake, the authors believe that their data suggests "that post-intake processes (e.g., absorption, synthetic enzyme activities, clearance, etc.) are more determinants of omega-3 index than dietary ALA."  Put otherwise, these authors are suggesting that genetic factors may likely influence omega-3 index more than intake of plant-source linolenic acid (ALA).  In this case, the two individuals with exceptionally high omega-3 indices were just genetically unusual, and the evolved norm was indicated by the 64% who had low indices in the absence of preformed dietary EPA and DHA.

Regarding comparison of the vegans and omnivores, the authors wrote:


Thus the evidence generally indicates that vegans have significantly lower omega-3 levels (50-60% lower) than omnivores.  This again tends to support a conclusion that humans may have a dietary requirement for long-chain omega-3s.

In phase 2 of this study, vegans took 243 mg of algae-sourced EPA+DHA.  The mean absolute increase in omega-3 index was 1.7% over 4 months.  This was comparable to findings from other studies of omega-3 supplementation in omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.


It is interesting to note that in this study, 243 mg/d of algal EPA+DHA only raised the vegans' omega-3 index to ~5.4%, while in the German study cited, 940 mg/d was required to raise the level above the putatively cardioprotective level of 8%.  If an n-3 index of 8% is required for cardioprotection or neuroprotection, this would suggest that the actual requirement for EPA+DHA is more like 1000 mg per day.

The authors suggest that a consistency of epidemiological evidence indicating that low DHA status puts people at higher risk of cognitive decline "suggests that a lifetime DHA insufficiency may put vegans at increased risk for cognitive dysfunction":


They conclude that "a majority of long-term vegans appear to be relatively deficient in DHA and EPA, but whether this leads to adverse health consequences is unclear."

Here I would like to point to data from the Adventist Health Study 2:

Orlich MJ, Singh P, Sabaté J, et al. Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(13):1230-1238. 

Here's Table 4 from that study:





For both men and women combined, pesco-vegetarians had the lowest all-cause mortality.Pesco-vegetarian men had essentially the same all-cause mortality rate as vegan men.  However, among Adventist women, pesco-vegetarians had the lowest overall mortality, followed by semi-vegetarians, then lacto-ovo vegetarians, and vegan women had the highest all-cause mortality rate of all female vegetarian groups.  Moreover, the pesco-vegetarian women had the lowest ischemic heart disease death rate of all groups, and the vegan women had a higher ischemic heart disease mortality rate than even non-vegetarians.  Vegan women also had higher mortality rates from all cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.  Pesco-vegetarian women fared better than vegans and nonvegetarians in both of those categories of mortality.  

In this video I made in 2015 I thought that this might be due to iodine deficiency in vegan women:





The post-2013 research on omega-3 status of vegans suggests that omega-3 deficiencies also contribute to the higher all-case, IHD, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among female Adventist vegans compared to pesco-vegetarians.

Back to Greger's references, #7 is an article by Joel Fuhrman M.D..  It is behind a paywall of $40 I don't want to expend.  According to the abstract of this clinical report, Fuhrman discusses "clinical observations over the last 25 years treating people with a nutritarian diet, which could be either vegan or flexitarian" and reports on "health concerns observed from an unsupplemented vegan diet, specifically the risk of depression and later life dementia in individuals with enhanced need for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids."

Reference #8 is a meta-analysis of 10 articles including 2,280 subjects investigating the role of EPA and DHA in dementia.  The reviewers concluded that the evidence supports concluding that n-3 PUFAs play an important role in the pathophysiology of dementia, and that low EPA status may be an early detectible risk factor for cognitive impairment.

Reference #9 reports a study of 86 non-demented older adults (mean age 86 y at baseline) followed over 4 years after measurement of plasma omega-3 fatty acids with annual evaluations of cognitive function.  A subset of the subjects also had brain MRI to measure white matter hyperintensity volume.  The researchers reported that every 100 µg/ml increase in plasma omega-3 FA was associated with 4 s less change in executive decline per year of aging.  "The calculated estimate indicates a 1-year delay in age-dependent executive decline per 100 μg/ml increase in plasma O3PUFA at baseline."

Reference #10 comes from the Cardiovascular Health Study, in which 3660 subjects aged 65 years or more had brain MRIs and blood omega-3 levels measured in 1992-94, and 2313 were rescanned 5 years later.  The study found that those in the highest quartile of omega-3 levels had a 40% reduced risk of subclinical brain infarcts.  Higher long-chain omega-3 FA content (EPA+DHA) was associated with a better white matter grade, but linolenic acid was "associated only with modestly better sulcal and ventricular grades."  The results "support the beneficial effects of fish consumption, the major source of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs, on brain health in later life."

Reference #11 reports a study of plasma and brain tissue samples from subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and no cognitive impairment (NCI).  Findings include:

"In plasma total phospholipids, the concentration (mg/dl) of palmitate (16 : 0), eicos-apentaenoic acid (20 : 5n-3) and DHA were 30–50% lower while α-linolenate (18 : 3n-3) was 8-fold higher in AD compared to NCI."

In brain tissue, "The main difference was a statistically significantly lower % composition of DHA in the AD group, specifically in phosphatidylserine of the mid-frontal (−14%) and superior temporal cortex (−12%)."
The alarming finding here is that AD patients had  8 times more plant-source alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in plasma compared to those with no cognitive impairment.  It is unclear whether this is a consequence of the dementia process impairing conversion of ALA to longer-chain omega-3s (disease process causes the accumulation of ALA), or the accumulation of ALA promotes the disease.  Perhaps AD patients are individuals who have a more genetically limited ability to convert ALA to longer-chain omega-3s, in which case high dietary ALA might be neurologically toxic to these individuals?  The answer is unknown to me at this time.

Reference #12 reports an evaluation of the utility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in depicting age-related changes in the brain.  The authors reported that brain gray matter increases up to the 4th decade of life, then declines gradually afterwards.

Reference #13 is the 2004 paper by Muskiet et al which argued that DHA is essential for humans,  based on evidence for weak ability to synthesize it from precursors; epidemiological links to cardiovascular, inflammatory, suboptimal neurodevelopment, and neurological diseases; and randomized trials showing reduced CVD mortality, improved neonatal neurodevelopment, and lower blood pressure with aging.  When I wrote Powered By Plants, I relied on evidence indicating that although human synthesis of DHA is weak, it seemed adequate, and I found evidence for suboptimal neurodevelopment to be relatively weak and contradicted by large populations apparently developing normal brains with diets having little or no preformed DHA.  At the same time, rates of CVD, inflammatory diseases, neurological diseases, and hypertension appeared lowest among vegans and vegetarians who had little or no dietary DHA.  The case for DHA being essential seemed quite weak.

Reference #14 reports a study that sought to establish normal levels of red blood cell omega-3 fats.  The authors found that the median omega-3 index was 4.5%, and "across the decades it increased by about 1.5 percentage points' but stabilized after the age of 70.  This indicates that it is natural for EPA+DHA to accumulate in RBCs with age.

Note then first that in reference #6, the vegans had an omega-3 index below the median, and, as I mentioned above, despite being on average 7 years (almost a decade) older than the omnivores to which they were compared, their omega-3 index was similar to the omnivores.  This suggests the possibility that the vegans were actually depleting EPA+DHA from RBCs after starting their unsupplemented vegan diets, whereas the younger omnivores were still increasing levels.

An Explanation for Vegetarian Adherence and Attrition Rates?

According to Haddad and Tanzman, 65% of self-reported vegetarians actually report eating 38-80 g/d meat, poultry, or fish on dietary recalls, and self-reported vegetarians who do not eat meat of any type probably form only 0.9% of the U.S. population.  The Humane Research Council reports that 84% of people who adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet eventually return to eating meat.  People often make multiple attempts at this.  Why?

According to The Humane Research Council report, only 29% of ex-vegans or vegetarians report experiencing specific health problems on the meat-free diets.  Often ex-vegans or ex-vegetarians write books about their experiences.  While they often experience some health improvements initially, some also describe a gradual onset of a vague general malaise without any specific health problems.  

In Powered By Plants I attributed this attrition to the social conflicts people experience as well as the general tendency for people to believe that meat-eating is essential (part of what Melanie Joy called carnism) so that there exists a tendency for friends, family, physicians, and the vegan/vegetarian him- or her- self to attribute any minor health issue that arises to the absence of meat in the diet.

In other words, I was believing that any perceived need for meat is just a socially constructed ideology, not biology.  This is a common undercurrent in so-called "social justice" movements these days:  they are founded on the Marxist-Leninist idea that all human behavior is "socially constructed" with no biological basis.  I only recently realized that the idea that so-called carnism is a "socially constructed ideology" with no biological basis is also a manifestation of cultural Marxism.  I will have more to say about this elsewhere. 

This research that indicates depletion of omega-3s in vegans suggests to me that the low rate of adherence to vegan and vegetarian diets, and the high rate of turnover among vegetarians, has this biological basis:  slight, gradual depletion of long-chain omega-3 fats from the nervous system leads to a general malaise, just not feeling right and vital, in other words what may be called depression.

This leads me to an evolutionary explanation for the fact that many ex-vegans report a type of euphoria on resuming eating animal products.

If human biology has any evolutionary logic to it, it would make sense that people suffering from depression induced by DHA-deficiency would start craving foods that would provide the missing nutrient:  fats, fish, and meats.  It also makes sense that these people would feel much, much better upon eating those foods.

The effect could even be an immediate euphoria.  Since our ancestors lacked blood tests and intellectual knowledge of nutritional composition of foods, Nature would necessarily have favored the survival of those individuals who could immediately recognize and immensely enjoy a food that supplied a nutrient that they had become deficient in.  Those who had nervous systems that could immediately recognize and enjoy the food most needed would be more successful in meeting nutritional needs, and hence in having successful progeny, than those who could not.

This would explain why some ex-vegans and ex-vegetarians report feeling euphoric immediately upon ingesting some type of animal food that would be rich in DHA if it was from wild game (that would include fatty fish, bird eggs, and wild game flesh).

I hypothesize that vegans who take DHA supplements would be more likely to adhere to the diet long-term, and less likely to crave animal products. 

Does DHA Deficiency Explain Some Vegan Behavior?

Some individuals may do fine on unsupplemented vegan diets because they have an extraordinary ability to convert plant-source ALA to EPA and DHA.  This is part of genetic variation in the human species.  These people may not be able to understand anyone who does not thrive on the meat-free diet, and will often use their own experience as "proof" that their version of a meat-free diet is adequate and supplements are unnecessary.

Some of these individuals become angry and aggressive toward anyone who reports not thriving on a vegan or vegetarian diet.  Ironically, it is possible that an angry and aggressive attitude is also a sign of essential fatty acid deficiency developing in the brain; speaking from personal experience with individuals suffering from Alzheimer's dementia, delusion, anger and aggression are common symptoms in people who have this disorder.

As indicated above, the depletion of neural n-3 may lead also to declines in cognitive and executive functions in long-term vegans. This could lead to poor judgement, including poor judgement in choosing an alternative to a vegan or vegetarian diet.  One may be easily convinced that all fats are good in unlimited amounts, and go from unsupplemented low-fat vegan (frying pan) to a diet high in saturated fat (fire).

These are just some speculations based on my own experience and observations from both sides of the dietary fence (vegan vs. meat-eater).  

Evolution of a Dietary Requirement for DHA

In any case, based on the research reviewed above, I am barring further evidence inclined to accept that humans do require a direct dietary DHA source, and advise that vegans take a daily supplement of a minimum of 250 mg of algal-source DHA.

Some people have suggested that if vegans eat a diet with a high n-3:n-6 ratio, they would have no problem producing adequate DHA.  I have not seen any controlled studies confirming this hypothesis.  In addition, since few terrestrial plants have a high n-3:n-6 ratio, and the vast majority have a very low ratio, in the light of the data from reference #6 above, I find it very implausible that human DHA requirements reflect an ancestry of specific adaptation to some combination of unusual plant foods that would supply a high n-3:n-6 ratio.

Terrestrial plant foods lack long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.  Seaweeds have very little of these, but very high amounts of iodine, so anyone relying only on seaweeds for a minimum of 250 mg daily of DHA would be exposed to toxic levels of iodine.

Hence, if, as it seems from the evidence discussed above, most humans require a direct dietary source of  at least 250 mg DHA daily, this suggests that humans do have at least one dietary requirement that indicates specific adaptation to consumption of wild animal foods, perhaps particularly seafoods.

If, as mentioned above, the EPA+DHA requirement is more like 1000 mg daily–the amount needed, according to clinical trials, to raise the n-3 index to the putative cardioprotective level of at least 8%–the case is even stronger.

The data on mortality rates from the Adventist Health Study 2 (discussed above) seems also to support this conclusion, particularly suggesting that, probably due to large drains on EPA+DHA stores during pregnancy and lactation, women have the highest need for direct dietary sources of these nutrients, despite their having a significantly greater ability to convert ALA to DHA.

In Powered By Plants, I noted that an organism will evolve means to increase production, conservation, and retention of a nutrient when its habitual diet is a marginal source of that nutrient.  If humans need 250-1000 mg daily of EPA+DHA not only for cardioprotection but also to support the n-3 drain of pregnancy and lactation, it seems likely that women have the ability to synthesize DHA at much higher rates than men, not because this ability in itself is sufficient to meet their DHA needs for pregnancy and lactation, but because ancestral diets did not themselves provide sufficient DHA directly to support women's needs during pregnancy and lactation.

For any non-vegan or macrobiotic dieter reading this blog, Sot et al. have performed a risk-benefit analysis of seafood intake to determine optimal consumption.  They report that the optimal seafood consumption to balance nutrient benefits (omega-3, selenium, iodine) with risks (mercury, arsenic, pollutants, etc.) appears to be about 200 g of fatty fish (specifically, swordfish, herring, halibut, salmon, mackerel, sardines) and 50 g lean fish per week.

The decision as to whether to take supplements or eat fish (or other DHA-rich animal products) is a personal one and I recognize individual genetic variations will determine how well any individual does with any diet. 

The Ethical Question

The Adventist Health Study 2 indicates that presumably unsupplemented vegan women suffer significantly higher mortality rates than pesco-vegetarian women. Hence, it raises the question of conflict between the interests of all humans, and the interests of fish. I specify all humans, because health of women is a concern of all humans who want to see the human species continue.

Some would call anyone who considers human interests more important than the interests of fish specieists.  The implication is that to be a moral person, one must be willing to sacrifice the health or existence of oneself or one's species to "save" members of the other species.

Is that true? Or is anti-speciesist a code word for anti-human, or an ideology that aims at the extermination of the human species because (it is believed) humans are bad ("speciesist"), and all other species are good?

One may argue that there is no ethical question because people can use supplements to obtain the same results as eating fish.  That is possible, although not proven; it is an hypothesis, not a fact.  We don't have any large scale studies showing that vegan Adventist women who take DHA supplements have the same low mortality and disease rates as Adventist pesco-vegetarian women.  

Hence, for some people there will remain what they will consider an ethical dilemma: altruism vs. speciesism.

In The Intelligence Paradox: Why The Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa notes that dedication to vegetarian diet is without doubt evolutionarily novel:

"Humans are naturally omnivorous, and anyone who eschewed animal protein and ate only vegetables in the ancestral environment, in the face of food scarcity and precariousness of its supply, was not likely to have survived long enough and stayed healthy enough to have left many offspring. So such a person is not likely to have become our ancestor. Anyone who preferentially ate animal protein and fat in the ancestral environment would have been much more likely to live longer and stay healthier. They are therefore much more likely to have become our ancestors." [p. 192-193]
In other words, even if (as I argued in Powered By Plants) our ancestors primarily ate and adapted to a plant-based diet, since (as I acknowledged in Powered By Plants) they also hunted animals, those who ate animal products would have had an advantage in survival and reproduction by also eating animal products.  I think this is from a biological standpoint indisputable.

Yet, as Kanazawa proves, more intelligent individuals (higher IQ) are more likely to choose to become dedicated vegetarians than less intelligent (lower IQ) individuals. On average those who eat vegetarian diets have a 10 point higher IQ than non-vegetarians.  In the UK, one standard deviation (15 point) increase in childhood IQ increases the odds of adult vegetarianism by 37% among women and 48% among men.

Why do people with higher IQs have a higher propensity to try to be dedicated vegetarians?  In Kanazawa's view, it is precisely because vegetarianism is evolutionarily novel. People who have high IQs appear to have a fatal attraction to evolutionarily novel behaviors.  In his book he provides evidence that people who have high IQs are also more likely to fail to reproduce. He comments:

"And intelligent people–especially intelligent women–have fewer children and are more likely to remain childless for life than less intelligent people.  Once again, whether or not to have children is a matter of personal choice, at least in western liberal societies, and it is neither better nor worse to have children than not to have children. Strictly from the perspective of your genes, however, not having children, or having fewer children than you can safely raise to sexual maturity, is the worst thing you can possibly do in your life.  You are failing at the most important task in life, the one thing–the most important thing–that you are evolutionarily designed to do...

"Reproductive success is the ultimate goal of all living organisms, including all humans.  That is what humans are evolutionarily designed to do. It is the meaning of life itself.  Voluntary childlessness is therefore the greatest crime against nature, which is why intelligent people do it." [p. 208]
 And this is why the intelligent choice isn't always the smart one