While doing some research on omega-3 fatty acids for my recent blog post about how fish oil can prevent childhood asthma, I came across some comical spin from the Monsanto corporation how their genetically modified SDA soybean oil can help to “spare the fish”.
Monsanto is currently seeking approval from the FDA to sell SDA soybeans in the US which are altered to produce 20% stearidonic acid (SDA), a good but incomplete source of omega three fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA and their precursor ALA are necessary for human growth and survival, and fish are an amazing source of fatty acids. If everyone took the naturopathic doctor recommended daily intake of omega 3’s, that would require an unsustainable amount of fish. A plant source makes sense, enter Monsanto.
They are making claims about the superiority of SDA as a source of omega’s and their pre-approval marketing campaign includes the following copy:
The supply of wild fish is decreasing, and the world population increasing. People are already not getting enough omega-3s, so the gap is growing even greater. The best way to relieve the pressure on that gap is a land-based consistent, reliable source of omega-3s, such as soybeans, that takes the pressure off the fishing in our oceans.
This concern is Ironic Since:
- Monsanto Pesticides Kill Fish
- Hemp Seeds Produce more Omega’s 3 with No Pesticides
- SDA is a crappy source of DHA, a key Omega 3
So, lets break it down:
Monsanto Pesticides Kill Fish
This concern for fish health is surprising considering that Monsanto’s top selling pesticide Round Up, aka glyphosate, kills fish in many ways. Advocates of genetically modified organisms (GMO) use a distraction technique to describe GMO foods as being biologically identical to non-modified foods but fail to mention that the goal of modification is to allow more pesticides to be applied to the plants which ultimately finds its way into your body and out nations waterways.
Glyphosate is toxic and carcinogenic to all life forms. The low doses that leach into our rivers, especially the Mississippi, have troubling direct and indirect impacts on all plant and animal life, especially amphibians and fish. See end of story for further reading.
Hemp Seeds Produce more Omega’s 3 with No Pesticides
Hemp seeds are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which your body uses to make DHA and EPA. Breast milk is loaded with DHA and it is essential to the growth of the brain of infants.
A 2010 research paper looking at the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds states bluntly that
“Despite its use in our diet for hundreds of years, hempseed has surprisingly little research published on its physiological effects.”
The oppression stems largely from the flowers that hemp produces: marijuana, yet hemp seeds contain no THC. They are a great vegan source of DHA and EPA and have an ideal omega 3-6-9 fatty acid ratio. Unlike SDA soybeans, hemp requires no pesticides or artificial fertilizers to grow and is surprisingly efficient at producing quality omega 3 essential fatty acids with low input.
Stearidonic Acid is a Crappy Source of DHA
A 2010 study looked at how SDA is used by the body to make omega 3’s and concluded that SDA is not a precursor to DHA production:
“None of the dietary test fatty acids at either dose resulted in a numerical increase in DHA concentrations in the phospholipids of either plasma or erythrocytes”
From: Metabolism of Stearadonic Acid in Humans
Even Monsanto’s own web page touting the fish saving benefits of its Frankensoy seed contains a graphic showing the SDA is not a precursor to DHA. If you want to check out the dark side, here is the link to the incredibly basic text juxtaposed to a PhD level graphic.
There is every reason to expect SDA soybeans to get approved this year in the USA for human consumption. They will find their way into processed food to allow for health claims on packaged food. The savvy consumer will steer clear of these false health claims. Hemp seeds are the better alternative to soy for a vegan source of omega-3’s both from an environmental and personal health standpoint.
Comments and questions are welcome at any time, you can reach us on our Facebook group or on the contact form.
Thanks for reading!
Coleen Murphy ND, LAc
References-Glyphosate link to cancer, fish and amphibian deaths
Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/glyphosate-classified-carcinogenic-by-international-cancer-agency-group-calls-on-us-to-end-herbicides-use-and-advance-alternatives-300053894.html
Glyphosate-based Herbicides can be Highly Toxic to Larval Amphibian www.biology.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/facilities-images/Relyea%20286.pdf
This is the first study to show that parasites and glyphosate can act synergistically on aquatic vertebrates at environmentally relevant concentrations, and that glyphosate might increase the risk of disease in fish. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01791.x/abstract