Many studies praise the numerous mental and physical benefits of adding fish oil to our diets, but why?
Fish oil contains a high level of Omega-3s, one of the two essential fatty acids critical for optimum health and wellness. These essential fatty acids aren’t made by our bodies; we only get them through what we eat. If we don’t consume enough in our diets, our bodies simply can’t perform at their peak. Sometimes we need to take a supplement to replace the nutrients our bodies aren’t getting.
We absorb the other essential fatty acid, Omega-6, by eating red meat, fried foods, and vegetable oils. We tend to consume more Omega-6s than Omega-3s, which isn’t necessarily unhealthy. But, eating more than a 2:1 ratio can decrease your body’s ability to absorb and metabolize beneficial Omega-3s. This can lead to joint pain, inflammation, and other health problems that can interfere with your daily life.
Fish Oil and Omega-3 Benefits
Taking a fish oil Omega-3 supplement can:
- Improve brain function— Omega-3 fatty acids can increase brain function and memory. They can also slow cognitive decline and the effects of Alzheimer’s.
- Reduce inflammation—Studies found that long-term fish oil use aids in reducing arthritic pain and joint inflammation.
- Cardiovascular health and wellness—In addition to exercise and following a healthy diet, adding a daily fish oil supplement promotes healthy levels of good cholesterol.
- Cancer—Fish oil is proven as a natural alternative to treat the effects of colon, prostate and breast cancer.
Fish Oil Pills
Cold-water, fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies contain high levels of Omega-3s. But eating these nutrient-rich fish several times a week still doesn’t give us an ideal amount of essential fatty acids (EFAs.) The fish we buy and eat is often farm-raised on a diet of grain, which decreases their level of EFAs.
To combat this deficiency, take a daily supplement of 1,000 mg of fish oil. Fish oil capsules are convenient because they are easily transportable and have minimal flavor.
Omega-3 Side Effects
Consuming the recommended dosage of fish oil has many benefits, but an excess can potentially be harmful. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2013 found that men who consumed high amounts of fish oil (more than 1,000 mg a day) had a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer and a 71% increase in aggressive cancer. However, other studies report that fish oil may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Overall, you should talk to your doctor before adding a daily supplement and maintain the most common and beneficial dosage of 1,000 mg.
More common side effects such as belching or “fishy” breath can be avoided by taking the supplement with food. Buying supplements from reputable sources is important to certify that they are free of contaminants such as mercury.
Overall, Omega-3 fatty acids are important for vital bodily functions. If you aren’t eating the right balance of foods, you might want to supplement with fish oil. But you should do so under a doctor’s supervision to make sure you are consuming the right ratio to avoid creating a future health problem.
If you want to learn more about fish oil and other nutritional supplements, click here to schedule a free consultation today.