Thursday, November 8, 2007


The Continuing Evolution of the Zone

The distinguishing feature that makes us human is our constant search to understand the world around us. In that search, there are two types of questions you can ask. One is how things work the way they do, and the other is why things occur in the first place. The "how" questions are the backbone of science, whereas the "why" questions are usually the foundation of philosophy. In medicine, the "why" questions are rarely asked because there are no obvious answers, and the chances for success are very low. Furthermore, even if you do successfully answer a "why" question, your answer is likely to generate a violent reaction in the medical community if it in any way suggests a significant deviation from the status quo.

In my own case, I have pondered a very basic "why" question for the past twenty years: Why do we develop chronic disease? Although the medical establishment has developed a massive infrastructure to treat the symptoms of chronic disease, we have made very little progress in understanding its underlying cause.

I reasoned many years ago that the best chance I had for success at answering this fundamental "why" question was to understand the world of hormones. Until recently, most people used the word hormones only to describe puberty or an overactive sex drive. Now hormones are the subject of many a cocktail party conversation because they appear to be the magical elixir that will keep you young and vital: hormone replacement therapy for females and testosterone and replacement for males. Hormones are so important because they orchestrate an incredibly complex flow of biological information in the body. I truly believed that hormones were the overriding factor that determined whether we would be chronically sick or well. Controlling these hormones, I theorized, would be the key to preventing chronic disease. I also speculated that hormonal control could be achieved primarily through our diet.

All my Zone books are based on the premise that you have the power to control your hormones through your diet. Hormones are the key to your future, and in particular to longevity, optimal health, and ultimately remaining human. In fact, improved hormonal control is like a philosophers' stone that allows you to enjoy better health, better performance, better relationships, and a longer life.

Once you learn to control your hormones, you have a magical "drug" that can:

* Prevent heart disease

* Reverse cancer

* Reduce pain and inflammation

* Treat neurological disease

But if you can treat those diseases with this "drug," then the same "drug" can also:

* Reverse the aging process

* Make you smarter

* Make you thinner

* Improve your physical performance

* Improve your relationships with others

If controlling your hormones is the way to a longer and better life, is there any drug out there that allows you to do this consistently and with no side effects? Fortunately a "drug" exists that takes you off the path to disease and puts you on the path to wellness. It's not a pill or injection or even a gene transplant; it's the food you eat. But for this "drug" to work you have to take it at the right time and at the right dosage for the rest of your life.


I first introduced the Zone seven years ago. The Zone is not some mystical place; it is a physiological state of your body in which the hormones that can be controlled by the diet are balanced for optimal health. Furthermore, the Zone is defined by very precise clinical parameters in the blood. These blood tests are based on the dynamic balance of two key hormonal systems (insulin and eicosanoids) that can be controlled by my dietary program. My earlier recommendations still remain the best way to control insulin, but only the new emphasis on high-dose fish oil can truly allow you to achieve the full potential of the Omega Rx Zone. This is because the Omega Rx Zone is ultimately about improved eicosanoid control. In essence, you should think of the Omega Rx Zone as a top of a mountain, and my dietary recommendations as the best pathway to it.

As I mentioned in the introduction, there are three components to my dietary plan:

1. Balancing protein and carbohydrate at every meal
This controls insulin levels.

2. Calorie restriction without hunger or deprivation
This is the only proven way to increase longevity.

3. Supplementation with high-dose fish oil
This alters eicosanoids.

The first two components follow my original dietary recommendations to move a person toward the Zone. The third component is completely new and boosts the health benefits obtainable in the Omega Rx Zone to new heights.

People in the medical community may raise their eyebrows when they hear how much fish oil I'm suggesting to reach the full potential of the Omega Rx Zone. My recommendations, however, are backed up by sound science. Equally important, I have had the opportunity to use high-dose fish oil in a number of seemingly hopeless situations, and each time I have been amazed at the results. There are patients with dementia who returned from the living dead. There are cancer patients who can now look forward to a much longer life than they ever expected. There are young children with severe attention deficient disorder who had a complete reversal of behavior within three weeks. There is a patient who was scheduled to have both feet amputated because of nonhealing diabetic ulcers -- yet after four months of using high-dose fish oil, the wounds healed completely and the amputations were never done. There was a housebound woman with chronic pain who was on oxygen twenty-four hours a day because of obstructive pulmonary disease; within four weeks of starting to take high-dose fish oil, she was off oxygen, walking, and pain-free. There was a woman who had such severe fibromyalgia that she rarely got out...

This book is not intended to replace medical advice or to be a substitute for a physician. If you are sick or suspect you are sick, you should see a physician. If you are taking prescription medication, you should never change your diet (for better or worse) without consulting your physician, because any dietary change will affect the metabolism of that prescription drug.

Prevention will always be the best medicine. However, prevention can be undertaken only by the individual, and that includes eating correctly. This is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. You have to eat, so you may as well eat wisely.

Although this book is about food, the author and the publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects arising from following the advice given in this book without appropriate medical supervision.

The Omega Rx Zone
The Miracle of the New High-Dose Fish Oil. Copyright © by Barry Sears. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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