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Brian Peskin and Essential Fatty Acids PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary G. Enig, PhD   
Thursday, 14 February 2008 20:38

We have received numerous inquiries about a recent article published in Nexus Magazine (January-February 2007) entitled "EFAs, Oxygenation and Cancer Prevention" by Brian Peskin. His message is summed up at the beginning of the article as follows: Cancer as well as heart disease can be prevented by taking a ratio of at least 1:1 up to 2.5:1 unadulterated parent omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids plus specific vitamins and minerals.

Who Is Brian Peskin?

We learn from his website, www.brian-peskin.com, that Professor Brian Scott Peskin, BSEE (MIT) is the "World's Most Trusted Authority on Health and Nutrition" and that "The professor thrives on feedback from his legions of supporters." Peskin has a degree in Electrical Engineering and he claims an appointment as "adjunct professor at Texas Southern University in the Department of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 1998-1999." This professorship apparently qualifies him as the "world's most trusted authority on health and nutrition." He has just published a book called The Hidden Story of Cancer, with Amid Habib, MD, FAAP, FACE.

We also learn from the website that Peskin is a consultant to four companies: 2-B Slim Corporation, Glu-Pro Corporation, Healthy for Life Corporation and Your Essential Supplements, Inc. (Y.E.S.). The first three on this list do not come up in a Google search. However, Y.E.S. has a website selling three products: an herbal blend of burdock, sheep sorrel, cat's claw bark, slippery elm and Chinese rhubarb; a mineral blend of iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and boron; and an organic EFA blend of evening primrose oil, high-linoleic safflower oil, flax oil, pumpkin oil and extra virgin coconut oil. The oil blend label does not provide amounts or ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

In April, 2002, the state of Texas charged Peskin with "making a long list of unsubstantiated claims about their Radiant Health Products and Peskin's credentials." The products listed in the complaint include an herbal blend containing the same herbs listed in the Y.E.S. product, a mineral blend and an oil blend. Peskin is accused of falsely representing himself as "a doctor, scientist and professor" and failing "to disclose that he has a degree in electrical engineering."

A move to Iowa, renaming of the supplement company, removal of the three products from the website making claims for them, a more accurate description of his credentials and a new book seems to have allowed Peskin to reinvent himself.

What's It All About?

Portions of the Nexus article are in line with WAPF principles, indeed seem to be taken from our own website (although WAPF is never mentioned or referenced), but then fluffed up with a high-bravado writing style. The article contains a baffling mixture of strange errors and obvious truths.

Peskin warns about the dangers of soy and trans fats while promoting eggs, meats, nuts including walnuts, seafood and seeds because they are good sources of essential fatty acids. He recommends raw milk cheeses but claims that pasteurized milk is deficient in EFAs. (Pasteurization destroys a lot of good things in milk, and may make the EFAs become rancid, but it doesn't get rid of them.) He claims, without reference, that humans cannot extract EFAs out of fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals but doesn't elaborate on whether we should eat these foods for other reasons.

Much of the article Peskin devotes to debunking various popular solutions to cancer—fruits and vegetables, fiber, mammography and fish oils. He then describes the research of Dr. Otto Warburg, who showed that cancer develops when cells are not sufficiently oxygenated. "In the 1920s, Dr. Warburg carried on the research on respiratory enzymes, certain vitamins and minerals that the body requires for the utilization of oxygen in the cells, which eventually earned him the Nobel Price in 1931."

The key to cell oxygenation, according to Peskin, is what he refers to as "parent" essential fatty acids, the 18-carbon omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which he calls "oxygen magnets," as they play a role in attracting oxygen from the bloodstream and transferring it into the cell. He is critical of those who claim we are ingesting too much omega-6—"We are told that we are ingesting upwards of 20 times too much omega-6. This is wrong . . ." Yet his solution—one he claims will prevent all cancer—is an oil blend with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2.5 to 1, definitely lower than the 20-to-one ratio he seems to think is okay.

Over-Simplification

While the mixture of fact and fantasy in Peskin's message results in much confusion on the part of the reader, what emerges is over-simplification in two major areas.

First, our bodies can obviously handle a range of omega-6 to omega-3 ratios—if our body chemistry could only function at a precise ratio, the human race would have died out long ago. What we have learned from research on EFAs is that it is not good to have an extreme imbalance. The modern diet, in which omega-6 fatty acids predominate at a ratio of 20 to 1—with most of these omega-6 fatty acids rendered rancid by processing—creates serious imbalances on the cellular level; likewise, overdosing on flax oil or fish oil creates an imbalance in which omega-3s predominate, leading to lowered immunity—a finding of long standing which Peskin announces as though it were his own discovery.

Modern research has also indicated that it is not healthy to consume too much of either of the EFAs, even though they may be in the "right" balance, and that the body uses EFAs to best advantage when the diet contains adequate saturated fat, an important fact which Peskin does not mention.

Secondly, while the cells indeed need oxygen and EFAs in the cell membrane play a role in transporting oxygen into the cell, this is not a simple process, but one that depends on numerous co-factors, as Warburg rightly observed. These include the myriad components of the cell membrane, such as cholesterol, proteins and a variety of fatty acids, and minerals such as magnesium and manganese.

As far as cancer prevention is concerned, EFAs represent a two-edged sword. Small numbers in the cell membrane do allow oxygen to enter the cell, but if the cell membrane contains too many unsaturated fatty acids, the cell becomes "leaky," with all sorts of compounds going into and out of the cell when they are not supposed to. EFAs can easily become rancid, meaning that free radicals develop during processing, cooking and exposure to air, causing uncontrolled reactions in the body. And finally, as mentioned earlier, a surfeit of EFAs lowers immunity. For these reasons, EFAs can contribute to cancer, even though they also play a role in preventing cancer.

The upshot is that oil blends with magical EFA ratios are no panacea and claims that these products will definitively prevent cancer represent huckstering, however well disguised. Small amounts of essential fatty acids are available to us in all whole foods; the body uses these best in the context of a nutrient-dense diet containing adequate amounts of saturated fat. Foods rich in certain fatty acids—such as coconut oil, flax oil, evening primrose oil and cod liver oil—can play a role in the treatment and prevention of disease, but only when used with care along with a diet of real food.

 

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2007.

About the Author

[authorbio:enig-mary]

Comments (23)Add Comment
30 years studying and practicing natural healing -
written by ken hartless, Jan 22 2014
Different triggers (environmental etc.) or other mechanisms seems to get malignant cells growing. But, there is only one prime cause of cancer - Cellular respiratory deficiency, and this is not to be compared to blood saturation of oxygen. When the cellular respiration reaches 35% deficiency - cancer automatically begins. The only way to get oxygen into the cellular structure is by daily consumption of parent essential oils. This creates the pathway for oxygen to flow. These are the essential fatty acids (omega 3's and omega 6's). Parent means in the non derivative form (dha -epa). The bodies of almost all people can make their own derivatives. Now the Budwig program is specific for the omega 3's because, nobody gets the omega w3 (flax) oil in their diet unless a conscious effort is put forth. This is why the Budwig program is so successful. Not only do you need the omega 3's (flax is predominantly omega 3) but, you need the omega 6's as well, because, all food sources of w6's are adulterated , damaged, hydrogenated and ruined. So no one is getting w6's either. After the goals of the Budwig program have been met, it would be wise to incorporate the w6's (safflower oil) into one's diet also. Just taking one teaspoon of flax oil and 2 teaspoons of safflower oil (high linoleic) after the Budwig program has accomplished it's goal is great for maintenance.There is no w3's in the skin which is 4% of body weight. The brain has a ratio of 1:1. Most organs contain a 4:1 ratio of omega 6's to omega 3's in favor of the w6's. The brain, nervous system, and organs comprise only 12% of body weight. The muscles comprise at least 50% of body weight and are the prime factor in determining the required ideal parent w6 to w3 ratio. The muscles contain 5.5 to 7.5 to 1 ratio in favor of the w6's. The ideal ratio for maintenance purposes is 2:1 in favor of the w6's. Most people are very deficient in the w3 (flax). Cancer not only responds to w3 (flax) but also to the w6 (safflower oil high linoleic). Otto Warburg proved this in the 1920's.
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written by ron, Dec 06 2013
The reason i am writing is that i knew of a reference to a new publication from peskin due to be released fall of 2013, since his book 24 hour diet is not available i am interested in any updates from his work. thanks
Dr. Enigs emotinal coments on Brian Peskin
written by Joe Peixoto, Nov 30 2013
Dr. Enig
Instead of bashing a brilliant scientist I urge you to join forces.
You both have strong enemies Dept of Agriculture, and Big Pharma.
They too sell their products with blessings of FDA and lobby on Medical Universities.
The more you fight the more thousands of innocent people will die in their (doctors) hands. It well know that a medical practitioner has very little education on nutrition. They ignorant in nutrition. The curriculum on medicine focus in how to prescribe a medicine that to study the cause of disease.
You belong to a respected foundation. You should bring what's positive to the table.
You went to university to become a scientist the same way Brain Pesking did. Both of you were trained on the scientific method.
Brian Peskin has a brilliant mind. Thank god Dr Peskin had a training in engineering since this gave him the critical analytical thought process. Throughout history great inventions came from people out of he field. Please check history and you'll find several examples. Form a team with Brian.
Peskin in his own words
written by mmc, Aug 13 2013
[In response to Texas government closing down his operation.

• First, it became clear that I was appointed an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. This was confirmed on page (7), #26 (4) of the permanent injunction.

Anyone who has questioned Brian's appointment as a professor has never properly checked his credentials. Brian was never asked to provide any proof before being falsely and unjustly accused of lying about his professorship. The truth is presented here: Click here to see the official letter appointing Brian as a Adjunct Professor of Clinical Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy. Also click here to read the legal letter concerning this appointment and the accolades given to Brian by both the President and Associate Dean of Pharmacy at TSU. Brian never misled anyone.

• Second, I have never claimed to be a "doctor," or a Ph.D. and certainly not a medical doctor. During some lectures people may have referred to me as a doctor but I never referred to myself as one. I have no need to do such a thing. My background is in electrical engineering and I received my degree from MIT. I developed the term and field "Life-Systems Engineering" using my engineering background and years of nutritional and health research. I am honored that universities have followed my lead in this new science.

• Third, I have been verified as a "scientist," by both the former President of Texas Southern University and its Assistant Dean of Pharmacy at the time. The Associate Dean of the College of Pharmacy stated, “We are honored to have a scientist of Professor Peskin’s standing as a member of the faculty….” The former President of the University said: “...His nutritional discoveries and practical applications through Life-Systems Engineering [Science] are unprecedented.”

http://www.brianpeskin.com/02-tx-attorneygen-decree.htm
Peskin deserves a lot of credit.
written by mmc, Aug 13 2013

He is a great writer and thinker and makes things understandable.

His electrical engineering background helps him think systematically and "connect the dots", whereas most in academia lose their audience and themselves, often, in their rabbit holes and leave gaps in their logic.

I do find it questionable that Brian doesn't present a low tech solution, such as mentioned by some, the simply eating raw sunflower seeds and almond, and also sesame seeds. The questions he raises about cod liver oil
Is there such a thing as EFAs, please help with proof?
written by Eddie Ndlovu, Aug 02 2013
Its been a longtime since 2007, no one has come up with proof of the science of EFA(PUFA), is there such a thing. Ray Peat has asked the same question and got no answer, the couple that coined the EFA story back in 1929 with very little solid science to follow,and yet everyone is quoting that old story. Is there anyone who has done research as to how much of these fats we need if there are all that important. Respect to fellow human beings is really great for everyone, I have lots of respect for Mary G. Enig PhD and her work, please put the referrences about the EFAs on this site.I also found that some friends of Mary G. Enig refer to Udo Erasmus PhD as a salesman. Its ok to disagree with other people but let's still show respect for each other. Preffessor Brian Peskin is guilty of calling himself the world authourity on Parent Omega Oils. I don't have a PhD but I can tell you that Udo Erasmus's book "Fats that heal Fats that kill" is written in a very beautiful way compared to Mary G. Enig, Mary G. Enig is the authourity on the subject of fats. Udo Erasmus's book gets a thumbs down on this site. Brian Peskin uses easy language as well, but I don't buy his while story. Give me proof that the EFAs (PUFA) and really needed by the body, who has done the experiments. Why not share the real truth with all these people that you disagree with rather than say this guy is only trained in this subject or that subject. I have very strong suspicion that there is no such thing as Essential Fatty Acids. Don't give papers from medical Journals cause they don't do science there.
Peskin does make some interestng statements
written by Perry Rose, Apr 10 2013
I read up on the charges against Peskin.

It's not really clear what has REALLY gone on some ten years ago, because I know, for a fact, that the FDA and state governments go a bit gung ho at times.

Did you know that Diamond Walnuts had to take their health claims from their website?

And they were all true--that even doctors can back up!

Hell, even a carrot company can't make a claim that carrots help eye health.

I read his explanation in his website, and although I am not saying I believe him, I am also not going to go for the rope to hang him.

One of the reasons why I read some of his stuff, though not believing in everything he says, is that he uses common sense.

Example: We are led to believe that we NEED to eat fish for essential fatty acids; that we NEED essential fatty acids from foods.

The fact of the matter is, very few of us eat fish, so why aren't we collapsing from ill health?

Too many people are jumping on this band wagon, including the medical est., and they aren't even using common sense.

I know a lot of people who are as healthy as a horse and they do not eat fish.

Call Peskin whatever you want, but he does make a lot of common sense statements.
Try reading the book next time !
written by Cool Carl, Dec 08 2012
If i had a rancid egg .....well, Ms. Enig would be wearing egg on her face !
It is sad to criticize someone on there works when it is so obvious Ms. Enig has not read Mr. Peskin's book.
Who ever is responsible or is sportive of Ms. Enig may rethink there involvement in Ms. Enig's "hack work"!

It is a disservice to us all just for a fast buck!

Cool Carl
Nutrition is thy medicine
written by Arun B.Agarwal, Oct 13 2012
Dr.Warburg and Dr.Johanna Budwig have done original work in the field about the role of oxygenation and cancer.In fact,Dr.Budwig was harassed and taken to court.But she was proved correct.I often wonder that the world has not changed since then.We continue to ignore heir work for the benefit of whom.The qualifications of Brian Peskin are questioned.So is the qualifications of a wellbred M.D. who has not been tought about biological/chemical/electrophysical processes happening in the body.
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written by Jon, Sep 23 2012
Thank you for the information Dr. Enig. I could not associate Peskin with anyone or any institution and given the nature of his claims regarding fatty acids thought if he was notable you would know something about him. Since you don't I guess there is no need to look into his claims more closely.



help me
written by legna, Jun 15 2012
@Glenn Johnson, how do u know that only 1/4 cup of raw sunflower oil and 1/4 cup of raw almonds you need to get your daily parental oils? please contact me at moringa82@yahoo.com with your answer, thank you very much
Bravo Peskin
written by Glenn Johnson, May 24 2012
Screw the medical field. They have billions of dollars and can't cure anything. I'll tell you what the real problem is. Big Phara owns the food companies and the AMA. Big Phara is owned by the big bankers who also own the new networks and the newspapers. This was all bought up years ago. Food is designed for shelve live and to addict you. If it makes you sick, it was intended to. Take a pill and make your doctor rich. DOCTORS DON'T TAKE NUTRITION IN SCHOOL. WHAT A CRIME. So STFU Doc.

Peskin has a fresh approach and I've been doing it for years. Peskin will never tell you, but all you have to do is eat 1/4 cup of raw almonds and 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds to get the necessary parent oils.

I stopped taking fish oil years ago.
Read this, Kevin...
written by Lou, May 04 2012
"Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. Almost anything can cause cancer. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen ... in normal body cells by fermentation of sugar." - Otto Warburg

http://healingtools.tripod.com/primecause1.html
Go read the literature
written by Kevin Riley, Apr 22 2012
Having read the literature that Peskin quotes it is alarming that his interpretation bares little resemblance to what is written. As an example Otto Warburg's Nobel prize was not awarded for showing the relationship between oxygenation and cancer.
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written by Samuel, Apr 17 2012
Hello, I am also confused and worried by what Peskin claims. I have been using 1-2grams fish oil per day for years now. I am sceptical of Peskin but he also has a lot of studies which he quotes which also claim that fish oil is unhealthy. What about those studies in this article?

http://www.brianpeskin.com/BP.com/reports/CAMB-Fish-Oil-Fallacies-Report.pdf

Enlightens my lanterns
written by lanternes volantes starlantern, Apr 15 2012
Thank you for this objective review. I have read very extensively about Brian Peskin's work, claims and products and yes I can't agree more with his over self-qualification. Ironically, it makes him less credible. As for his claims, there's an obvious conflict of interest since he is involved in commercial activities selling the products that he claims of good benefit. I would probably care more about his points if he recommended to eat nuts readily available anywhere. And the very preservatives that he fights against to make oils have a longer shelf life are used in his own blends of essential fatty acids, also, to increase the shelf like of his products. If the evils of commercial oils are preservatives, then why use preservatives in oils against the evils of preservatives in oils !??!!! It's like curing a hangover by drinking more alcohol. Makes no sense to me, whatsoever. But I acknowledge, he may be right on the need for more unaltered essential fatty oils, his delivery about is just sadly desperate.
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written by Murray Nitchke, Apr 14 2012
To all of the detractors out there, I too was skeptical. But I have read and re-read his book "The Hidden Story of Cancer". I am very impressed by all the scientific support he references in his book. It is not Peskin rather other notable and prestigious institutes that have conducted the studies, etc. that back up Peskin's 'Science not Opinion'. Further to counter your doubt about the N-6 to N-3 Ratio just read the 55 page document published by the Cambridge Institute, listed on his web site. He is not the author. Others are.Yes he does promote the YES company's PEO's but if the products are indeed true to the science (ratio) then why not? I suspect Ms. Enig has not read his book, and probably does not understand that Dr. Otto Warburg,not Brian Peskin discovered the real cause of Cancer. Also it was Dr. Warburg who also discovered that the EFA's are an Oxygen-magnet to help maintain a cell's respiration and not become cancerous and therefore rely on fermentation for their energy and existence. If you want to know more read his book. If you want to buy it as an e-book, go to his website and use the C-Free code to buy it. I did. If you don't educate yourself, then you will never know what caused you or your loved ones to contract Cancer. I have a sister with cancer & will probably succumb to it. The sad news is that she would not add any of these supplements because it wasn't recommended by her Oncologist. Yet other Oncologists are recommending the PEO's and for good reason.
2nd look
written by terlynsky, Mar 21 2012
I researched a little further on Brian Peskin after finding some discrepancies in his report. Please go to www.Quackwatch.org and read findings on Brian Peskin. I think Ms. Enig deserves a lot more respect for this article then some have given to her. Plus her credentials speak for themselves!
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written by lisa truitt, Feb 20 2012
The fact that Mr Peskin is selling products based on his views on essential fatty acids causes me to question his credibility. I have a problem taking nutritional advice from someone who wants to make me a source of recurring revenue.
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written by Laurie , May 05 2011
Mary Enig's article and credentials need no defense. They speak eloquently for themselves. It is Brian Peskin who saunters into the debate with an attitude. He is the one who loudly proclaimed his legend in his own mind superiority, belittling the substantive and life-changing contributions made to the field by dedicated researchers of the caliber of Mary Enig. Mary's work has been characterized by an un-compromised commitment to restoring awareness of the vital necessity of high quality saturated fats - and animal fats which had been vilified for decades, much to the severe detriment of the overall health of each successive generation. Brian Peskin appears to have something worthwhile to contribute to the important dialogue - however the contentious and arrogant way he jumps into the debate as the self-declared authority... appears more calculated to add to the confusion; confusion from which he is setting himself up to personally profit.
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written by goinglite, Jan 15 2011
Glenn Atkisson, Well said. After reading Ms Enig response, it appears as though she never read Prof Brian Peskin's book, "The Hidden Story of Cancer". I was once a big fan of The Weston Price website. Now I have lost all respect for it. This will be my last visit to this site.
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written by Linas, Dec 23 2010
I read Peskin's papers as well and these are interesting. I wrote to Brian via email and asked some questions. One of them was "if I can get these essential fats from food..." and he didn't answer to it. He promoted products from YES company
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written by Glenn Atkisson, Dec 08 2010
If I were Ms. Enig I would immediately consider re-writing this article so as to not appear so defensive and jealous of Mr. Peskin. And I would provide meticulous references to exactly which of his articles you are referring to, and include complete quotes, as well as links to the PDF files he provides, so that readers can judge for themselves how "oversimplified" Peskin's explanations are. Apparently, the author is quoting "Peskin in GENERAL" but can't even specify which of his writings is being critiqued.

I find it very interesting that in the paragraphs following the "Oversimplification" heading, the author basically re-states Peskins position, at least as represented in one of his papers. Its very hard to understand (since I've read all of Peskin's papers that are on line) exactly what the author is claiming is Peskin's position, what the author is claiming is her position, and exactly what is "Oversimplified". This should be cleared up so that the article does not appear to be haphazardly constructed.

Another thing that makes the article look very sloppy is saying that Peskin promotes the intake of EFA's while not mentioning that these EFA's perform better in the presence of saturated fats, while leaving a pseudo-quote of Peskin only 4 paragraphs prior where he is "promoting eggs, meat, ... raw milk cheeses...." which is an obvious assumption that the average reader is NOT a vegan and will be eating a diet with a normal amount of saturated fats in it.

In conclusion, the author has taken a very cavalier attitude regarding Peskin's work in general, and may well be seen as the one who is "huckstering" instead of Peskin, as she claims. All one need do is read several of Peskin's on-line articles and it will be obvious that he does his homework, fully references his work, and displays a knowledge of human physiology far better than does Ms. Enig.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 June 2009 20:28