There is evidence from multiple studies supporting intake of recommended amounts of DHA and EPA in the form of dietary fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques (“hardening of the arteries”), and lowers blood pressure slightly. Like aspirin, they make platelets in the blood less likely to stick together and may reduce inflammatory processes in the blood vessels.
Many people are turning to fish oil supplements for their DHA and EPA as an alternative to eating fish. This is because of the increasing risk of fish being contaminated by mercury, PCBs, dioxins and other environmental toxins. It is also hard to be sure that any fish you eat contains enough DHA and/or EPA to ensure maximum benefits. Higher quality fish oil supplements are purified so that they are free of contaminants. They also contain high concentrations of DHA and EPA.
Many people are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids without realizing it since the symptoms are often attributed to other health conditions or nutrient deficiencies. Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, fatigue, mood swings and depression, poor concentration, frequent colds, joint pain, dry skin, and brittle hair and nails.
Fish oil is the best source for the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are essential to good health. But taking a low quality fish oil supplement that may be contaminated by environmental toxins or contain rancid oil will negate the health benefits that DHA and EPA provide. And unfortunately, there are plenty of low quality fish oil supplements on the market.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are considered essential fatty acids. This means they are essential to human health but cannot be produced by the body and must come from food or supplements. Here are just some of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids:
*They reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack and abnormal heart rhythms.
*They improve blood vessel functioning.
*They reduce blood triglycerides.
*They increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
*They reduce blood pressure.
*They relieve pain and inflammation in joints and other areas of the body.
*They increase fat loss and encourage the use of stored fat as fuel.
There is also strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and may be useful in treating ADHD and depression. By improving brain development and memory functioning, from conception through old age, certain Omega-3 oils also provide the perfect brain food.
Omega-3 oils have been called “the miracle food of the 21st century.” Research shows the right kind can help prevent heart disease, maintain optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels and give almost immediate relief from joint pain, migraines, depression, autoimmune diseases and many other conditions.
You need to know how to determine the best fish oil supplement if you want to get the maximize health benefits from fish oil.
These are the primary factors you need to consider in order to determine the best fish oil supplement:
1. DHA and EPA Amounts. The fish oil supplement must contain high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, with the dominant fatty acid being DHA. DHA is the most beneficial omega-3 fatty acid. Some fish oil supplements contain low amounts of DHA and EPA, while others contain an adequate amount of EPA but very little DHA.
2. Bioavailability. The fish oil supplement must be very bioavailable. The more bioavailable a fish oil supplement is, the more easily it will be absorbed by your body and the more effective it will be in providing health benefits. The bioavailability of different fish oil supplements varies greatly.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties. The fish oil supplement must have strong anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil are what provide many of the health benefits. Some fish oil supplements have minimal anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Purity. The fish oil supplement must be free of contaminants. Some fish oil supplements have been found to contain 70 times more PCBs (an industrial chemical) than other fish oil supplements. Other fish oil supplements have been found to contain toxins such as mercury, dioxins, arsenic and lead.
5. Freshness. The fish oil supplement must contain fish oil that’s as fresh as possible. Some fish oil supplements contain rancid oil, and use additives or flavoring to mask the rancidity. Rancid fish oil not only causes “repeats” or burping, it can also increase damaging free radicals in your body.
Large doses of fish oil supplements have potential side effects that include nausea, diarrhea, belching, and a bad taste in the mouth. Large doses of fish oil can also increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, suppress the immune system, and decrease glucose control in people with diabetes.
CAUTION Large doses of fish oil supplements have potential side effects that include nausea, diarrhea, belching, and a bad taste in the mouth. Large doses of fish oil can also increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, suppress the immune system, and decrease glucose control in people with diabetes. Excessive doses may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding.