Health and Nutrition Articles

Fish Oil

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Essential Fatty Acids for Good Health

Fish Oil contains the essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The body requires these omega-3 fatty acids to function properly but is unable to produce them, meaning they must be obtained through diet or supplements.

Studies suggest that recommended amounts of DHA and EPA obtained through fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fish Oil supplements may also help reduce disease risk by decreasing inflammation in the body.

Health Benefits of Fish Oil:

  • Increased HDL, or good, cholesterol
  • Reduced triglycerides
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lower risk of death from heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmias
  • Reduced joint pain and morning stiffness in those with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia
  • Dry eyes relief
  • Reduced inflammation

How Much Fish Oil Do You Need?:

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 3g a day unless directed by a physician.

Possible Side Effects of Fish Oil:

  • Fishy taste in mouth
  • Fishy breath
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting

Fish Oil Deficiency:

  • Poor memory
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Heart problems
  • Poor circulation

Drug Interactions:

  • Blood thinning medications such as warfarin and aspirin

How to Pick a Brand:

  • Highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Concentrations can range from 30%-90%.
  • Source of fish oil: cold-water, small oily fish contain the most omega-3 fatty acids with the least amount of contaminants
  • Presence of tocopherols (vitamin E) in the capsule. Small amounts of vitamin E can help maintain the freshness of the product.
  • Check out the International Fish Oil Standards Program (IFOS), a third-party testing program for omega-3 fish oil products that looks at the concentration of omega-3s, purity, stability, and level of contaminants in the supplement.

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References

Quick Facts

  • Your body requires the essential fatty acids available in fish oil but is unable to make them
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for brain function, growth and development
  • Consuming fish oil may also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, including heart diseases, cancer and arthritis
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce your risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol levels and lowering triglycerides, or fats in your blood
  • The American Heart Association recommends no more than 3g of fish oil a day unless directed by a physician
  • Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, omega-3 essential fatty acids with anti-inflammatory effects
  • Fish oil supplements are a less expensive way getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet compared to eating fresh fish several times a week
  • Cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna, are potent sources of omega 3 fatty acids