The number one over-the-counter supplement to take for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is fish oil. Fish oil has been shown to improve skin complexion, enhance good-mood levels, increase bone strength, decrease allergy symptoms, and help the body burn fat more efficiently. Scientists initially called fish oil “vitamin F,” (for fat) an old term that shouldn’t be lost.
If you stopped reading studies on fish oil past 1980, you’d have enough information to know fish oil is totally necessary for life. Fish oil is essential, meaning it must be supplied by your diet. Cold water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, halibut, and herring are the best food sources of fish oil. Most people need to take a fish oil supplement because eating fish four to five times per week may not be practical or affordable for most. Even if you did eat high amounts of fish, you would run the risk of overloading on toxins that come from the sea. Fish quality is very questionable these days.
Fish oil is available in liquid and capsule form. Most people begin taking fish oil and suddenly stop because of the foul aftertaste. Luckily, highly purified forms of fish oil are now available that are virtually tasteless and free from environmental pollutants. Physicians use fish oil to help combat a multitude of chronic conditions – type II diabetes, heart disease, depression, and arthritis –to name just a few.
A more powerful form of fish oil is now showing up on vitamin store shelves called krill oil. Krill, a type of marine shrimp abundant in the oceans, also has the two active ingredients found in fish oil –eicopentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In a landmark study krill oil was proven to work faster and more effectively compared to fish oil when treating menstrual discomforts associated with PMS.
Always remember to seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist before taking any nutritional supplements, especially if you have a medical condition. For example, fish oil should not be taken before surgery or if you are taking blood thinners.
Benefits Of Fish Oil
Omega 3 fats are needed to produce regulatory chemicals in the skin. These chemicals support the generation of new skin, regulate oil production and increase blood flow to the skins surface.
Anti-depressant drugs make people feel better because they raise serotonin. Studies show that fish oil can raise mood pleasuring chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Fish oil potentates the action of dopamine by causing an increase in a specific subset of dopamine receptors. High doses of fish oil are also used to treat mood disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. The higher your DHA levels in your blood, the higher the serotonin in your brain.
Studies have shown fish oil can raise acetylcholine, our “memory molecule.”
IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION
DHA, a component within fish oil is concentrated where it needs it the most; the brain’s cerebral cortex, which is also known as our “thinking center.” This is the area of our brain that separates us from animals. Chimpanzees have trouble paying attention and have a sloped back forehead because their frontal cortex is less developed than in humans.
Fish oil will increase the production of melatonin, a hormone involved with obtaining a deep sleep. Some people report experiencing more vivid dreams at night when they begin taking fish oil. Dreaming is beneficial since it helps filter out our daily issues and the body anti-ages while in deep sleep.
INCREASES BONE STRENGTH
The bone buildup (osteoblast) and bone breakdown (osteoclast) activity is regulated by the EPA found in fish oil.
HELPS PREVENT OR CONTROL DIABETES II
Fish oil, especially when coupled with a balanced diet has been shown to increase the action of insulin and improve the complications associated with type II diabetes. Fish oil increases the fluidity of the cell membrane and allows the hormone/receptor complex to function efficiently.
RAISES HDL OR “GOOD CHOLESTEROL”
Fish oil has been shown to naturally raise levels of HDL. HDL’s are beneficial because they carry cholesterol away from body cells, and then to the liver for recycling or disposal.
HELPS PREVENT OR CONTROL HEART DISEASE
The EPA in fish oil will help relax the cells that line your blood vessels. This will decrease the inflammation that initially causes heart disease. Fish oil will literally loosen up your inner pipelines. Fish consumption has also been related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
DECREASES INFLAMMATION/JOINT PAIN
Since the 1800’s, fish oil has been used to treat arthritis. EPA, a chemical within fish oil, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent by relieving pressure within the joints. It accomplishes this by blocking your body’s production of a harmful chemical called arachidonic acid. It is the overproduction of arachidonic acid that causes the initial inflammation.
FISH OIL HELPS YOU BURN FAT MORE EFFICIENTLY
The liver produces bundles of fat called triglycerides, then ships them to parts of the body. Triglycerides are the fats floating in your bloodstream. Since fish oil lowers triglycerides, this proves fish oil helps you burn fat more efficiently. It does so by increasing cell membrane fluidity and receptor function. In addition, fish oil blunts insulin release by the pancreas by effecting eicosanoids in a positive way..
FISH OIL HELPS PREVENT OR CONTROL ASTHMA
Fish oil will help relax your bronchial tubes and therefore opens up the airways leading to the lungs.
FISH OIL INCREASES HORMONE-RECEPTOR FUNCTION
Many hormonal substances stimulate the cell by activating a receptor located in the bi-layer of the cell membrane. Omega-3 fats keep your cell membranes soft and flexible. If a cell membrane is deficient in fish oil, the chemical signals will not have the proper effect.
FISH OIL CAN LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Fish oil prevents and reduces blood clots and may lower blood pressure, especially in people with high blood pressure and heart disease.
FISH OIL CAN SHARPEN YOUR VISION
Visual problems can result from the lack of omega-3’s because the retina needs omega-3 fats to function properly. Visual and behavioral problems can result from the need for omega-3’s because the retina and brain need omega-3.
Human Awareness & Fish Oil Forthought
Science magazine reported over one thousand researchers from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists met in Buffalo N.Y. for their annual meeting April, 2002. They suggested our brain developed because of a shore based diet containing omega 3 oils. 60% of our brain is made of this fat and a large percentage of this fat is called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This fat is essential, meaning it must come from the diet. However, modern food industrialization and processing has stripped these essential fats out of America’s food. 90% of the fish available to us is farm raised, they contain even more contaminants than ocean fish and the amounts of EPA and DHA are much lower.
WHY DO PEOPLE TAKE OMEGA-3 FOR AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASE?
Omega-3 help calms down the immune system. When pregnant women take omega-3, the risk of the child having type I diabetes are much lower.
Fish Oil And Disease
The need for essential fats is usually ignored by the traditional medical establishment. In September 2002, ALA was declared “essential” by the government and only the recommended dosage was only 1.7 grams per day. In every instance of the major diseases (bone health, arthritis, cancer, type II diabetes) fish oil should have been there.
There is no question omega-3 helps prevent heart disease. If omega-3 was a drug, it would be on the cover of times magazine as the number 1 heart drug. With that said, it’s important to note, fish oil should not be seen as the cure for everything because there are many other factors to consider when dealing with illness, such as diet, exercise, vitamin and mineral levels, heavy metal exposure, behavior modification and sleep. However, fish oil supplementation makes sense and is a large piece to the puzzle.
Heart arrhythmia; Omega-3’s have an anti arrhythmic effect by calming down the cells of the heart.
Fish oil decreases calcium influx into heart cells and therefore stabilizes heart rhythms.
Fish oil decreases blood-fat levels by assisting the body in burning fat (triglycerides). Many people fear omega-3 fats because it is “fat.” It is important to note that omega-3 fat are “active,” burnable fats rather and not “storage” fats.
Used to be called “vitamin-F,” an old term that shouldn’t be lost.
Omega-3’s become part of the cell membranes of your heart, retina, brain, muscle cells, bone cells and liver.
People with ADHD find it very helpful when they take omega-3.
GRADES OF FISH OIL
There are 2 main types of fish oil:
1. Basic Fish Oil
Basic fish oil is not recommended because it may be contaminated with sea pollutants,does not smell or taste good and you would have to take too many capsules to get the right amount of EPA and DHA, the active ingredients in fish oil.
2. Molecular distilled/pharmaceutical grade Fish Oil
The best type of fish oil to get is molecularly distilled/ pharmaceutical grade, highly concentrated and 3rd party tested. The recommended dosage is 2500 mgs of EPA+ DHA per day.
HOW MUCH FISH OIL CAPSULES SHOULD I TAKE?
The following dosage are from traditional 40/30/30 Nutritional science and many new age nutritionists across the spectrum recommend similar amounts.
Fish oil dosage is based on the amount of EPA and DHA contained in each fish oil capsule and varies depending on what type of fish oil you take. The recommended intake is 2500 mgs of EPA and DHA per day. This is equal to 4 pharmaceutical grade capsules each day.
The back of the label will tell you how much EPA and DHA are in each capsule. Add the two numbers up and divide that into 2500. The answer is how many pills you need per day.
Since this dosages are not divided by gender, I recommend 3 for women and 4 for men. The only true way to find out how much fish oil you need is to get a fatty acid profile test performed by a doctor.
FISH OIL DOSAGE (LIQUID FORM)
1 tsp fish oil in liquid form will give you the recommended 2500 mgs of long chain omega fish oils per day.
Fish Oil Q & A
Is GLA (gamma linolenic acid) the same as fish oil?
GLA is an omega-6 fat found in borage oil, evening primrose oil, and small amounts are contained in oatmeal (1-2 mg). GLA is beneficial in small amounts. Because of the “spillover effect,” evening primrose oil is preferred over borage oil because it is less concentrated with GLA. The spillover effect occurs when too much of a good thing turns bad. Fish oil can be accompanied with small amounts of GLA supplementation and long term fish oil users should begin to take GLA at some point to support optimal hormonal control.
What are common signs of omega-3 deficiency? Fatigue, reproductive problems (men and women), immune system malfunction, poor blood circulation, poor memory, dry skin, mood swings, hair loss and depression.
Does fish oil help with weight loss? Yes, fish oil slows insulin production and therefore helps with fat loss. Fish oil decreases blood-fat levels by assisting the body to burn fat (triglycerides). Many people fear omega-3 fats because it is a type of fat. It is important to note that omega-3 fats are active fats that will be utilized instead of stored. Fish oils are readily burned when someone begins a fat loss diet and the levels of fish oil need to be constantly replenished.
Is it possible to take too many fish oil capsules?
Not at the recommended doses. Much higher doses are given to treat conditions like bipolar disorder, diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune disease and any inflammatory condition. In some cases, 10,000 mgs per day are used, this is the equivalent to 16 fish oil capsules per day.
Does it matter what time of the day I take the fish oil? Fish oil can be taken all at once or at different times throughout the day. However your gall bladder accumulates bile throughout the night and is in the ready position to digest fats in the morning.
Can fish oil interfere with medications? Yes, since fish oil acts like a drug, it can interfere with other drugs. For example, taking blood thinners and fish oil at the same time can cause too much of an effect in the same direction. Make sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor to see if fish oil will interfere with your medication. Most other pharmaceutical drugs will work in concert with fish oil since they both effect the same biological pathways. Caution with high doses of aspirin, blood thinners or when anticipating surgery.
Will one serving of fish per day satisfy my daily requirement for EPA and DHA? Most of the fish available to the public is farmed and the amount of EPA and DHA they contain is questionable, as well as the overall nutritional quality of the fish. Farmed fish are raised like cows and fed grains instead of their natural food source, limiting the production of EPA and DHA in their own bodies. Farm raised fish may also acquire more toxins from the tank compared to line caught fish and the package may fool you by saying “Atlantic” salmon. Atlantic salmon refers to the species, not the fish’s origin.
How do I tell the difference between farm raised salmon and line caught salmon? Wild salmon are usually pinker than farm raised salmon because wild salmon get their pinkish color from eating crustaceans like shrimp. Farm raised salmon are fed beta carotene and other colorings to make them look normal, otherwise farmed salmon would be gray.
Does flax seed oil count as fish oil? No, flaxseed contains ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) which is a short chain omega-3 fatty acid. As long chain fats, EPA and DHA are unique fatty acids. The human body has the ability to change the short chain ALA into longer chain fatty acids like EPA and DHA, but the process is slow and inefficient for most people.
Should I take fish oil with meals? Yes, it is better to take fish oil with food to enhance absorption.