|Your Guide To OMEGA - 3s
Get up to speed on the many benefits of omega-3s, the latest research and expert advice
Omega-3s can work wonders for brain, heart and joints, and taking a fish oil supplement is a highly efficient way to get all the omega-3s we need. But what do they actually do, and how much do we need? Do we choose a fish oil tablet or liquid that's super, advanced, smart, natural, wild, or with added glucosamine or vitamin D? Let's delve into the world of omega-3s and find more about it.
What's So Special About Omega-3s?
There are two types of essential fatty acids our bodies need but can't produce: omega-3s and omega-6s. Our diets already provide sufficient omega-6 from meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and such plant-based oils as canola, sunflower and safflower. Long-chain omega-3s containing eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids, known to be vital to heart health, brain and eye development, and overall good health maintenance. The prime source of EPA and DHA is oily fish.
How Do We Know It's Good For Us?
Studies have revealed that omega-3s can benefit a multitude of conditions: they can protect against heart attack and stroke; reduce inflammation and relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and autoimmune disease; prevent the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration; boost brain function; elevate mood; lower blood pressure; reduce triglycerides; and improve blood circulation – and these findings are championed by both the medical and naturopathic communities as well as government health agencies around the world.
Research into the role of omega-3s in treating obesity, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease is ongoing, with positive evidence gathering steam all the time.
What Do Omega-3s Actually Do?
Basically, they keep everything flowing. Omega-3s help to keep the fatty layer of your cells pliable in order to allow nutrients, electrolytes and neurotransmitters to transfer across the cell wall.
How Much Omega-3s Do I Need?
Opinions vary. 500mg of EPA/DHA a day is enough for optimum cardiovascular health, and this dose is considered standard for general health maintenance. Two servings of oily fish per week equates to 500mg per day. It is recommended to have seafood in your diet five times a week.
What Should I Look For In A Fish Oil Supplement?
There are two vital elements to consider: the amount of combined EPA/DHA in each capsule, and the quality and source of the fish oil.
It pays to scrutinise the label because the number on the front can be misleading. For instance, many cheaper brands will claim a potency of 1000mg but if you look closely at the breakdown of ingredients, you'll see that only a small component is EPA/DHA usually only 180/120. The lower the EPA/DHA content, the more capsules you'll have to take each day, which means you'll end up spending more money in the long run.
Find a fish oil that's got 300mg EPA and 200mg DHA per capsule. However, if you see the words 'ultraclean', 'pharmaceutical grade' or 'practitioner only' on the label, you can be assured that the fish oil will be free of any detectable level of toxins.
Are There Other Precautions?
Fish oil is a natural anticoagulant and blood thinner, so if you're taking blood pressure medications, or blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, you should consult a doctor before taking it. Because of its blood-thinning actions, it is also advised to stop taking fish oil five to seven days before surgery.
|HEALTH AND FITNESS