Fish Oil & Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Have you ever wondered why Omega 3 fish oil gets such a good reputation? I’m sure you have heard that Omega 3 is the best fatty acid for every health symptom you may have. Maybe you think that the benefits seem too good to be true. Well, Omega 3 fish oil does, in fact, have unnumbered benefits.
The benefits of fish oil supplements make sense when you realize that every single cell in your body needs Omega 3 fatty acids. Your skin cells, your heart cells, your brain cells---they all use Omega 3 to create a protective coating around each cell. The coating is called the cell membrane and your cell membranes are made of other fats too.
If you don’t eat enough Omega 3 fatty acids (or take a supplement) your body will be forced to use another kind of fat to create a protective membrane. This may seem like a good idea, but other fats can’t protect your cells as Omega 3s can. If your cells have to choose another fat, they will use Omega 6 fats to create the membrane. Omega 6 fatty acids increase inflammation throughout your body.
What does fish oil do?
The benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids are endless. From psoriasis to libido, Omega 3 fatty acids will help. Does fish oil help sexually? Can you eat your way to better libido and a steamy sex life? Absolutely! Low Omega 3 intake is linked to vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men. Omega 3 deficiency is linked to depression, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies.
Omega 3 fish oil has a long history in medical studies. There are over 30,000 medical studies examining fish oil and its health benefits. Omega 3 fish oil supplements are well known for preventing and managing heart disease. Research proves that Omega 3 fatty acids lower blood pressure, control cholesterol levels, and prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
Mood disorders and mental illness are, in part, caused by Omega 3 deficiency. Your brain is primarily made of fat cells. If those fats cells are unhealthy, or lacking in Omega 3, you will experience symptoms. A study performed by the Department of Psychiatry reports that patients with chronic schizophrenia have lower levels of essential fatty acids within their brains. Several studies show that Omega 3 supplements can decrease related symptoms. Similar reports have also shown improvement for bipolar disorder. One study proved that an Omega 3 supplement was just as effective as a common antidepressant.
Omega 3s from fish oil support eye health and improve vision. Similar to your brain, fatty cells make up your eyes and support nerves, cornea, and other structures within your eyes. As you age, the cells in your eyes start to deteriorate causing macular degeneration. Replenishing levels of fatty acids will prevent eye-related diseases.
Which foods are high in Omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are critical to your health. You cannot make Omega 3 fatty acids in your own body, so you must consume them in your diet. Salmon and sardines have the highest amounts of Omega 3. Mackerel, herring, anchovies, oysters, and caviar also have high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are good sources of Omega 3.
I don’t recommend flaxseeds or flaxseed oil as a good source of Omega 3s because they are also high in phytoestrogens. Additionally, flaxseeds contain ALA which has to be converted to Omega 3 before your body can utilize it. On the other hand, fish oil has Omega 3 that can be utilized by every cell in your body. There are other foods that contain small amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.
The American Heart Association and The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend eating 2 servings (3.5 ounces) of fish per week. But that would only amount to about 2000 mg of Omega 3 fish oil per week. Numerous medical studies clearly prove that 1000 mg or more a day is necessary for optimal health. I recommend that you take 1,000 mg of fish oil per day unless you eat fish for dinner every night. If you are among the majority of the population that doesn’t eat fish every day, then I recommend an Omega 3 fish oil supplement.
Most Omega 3 supplements are from fish oil. Although, there are a few vegetarian sources for Omega 3 supplements. Omega 3 fish oil supplements are typically oils that are extracted from krill, cod liver oil, anchovies, sardines or salmon.
Is fish oil dangerous?
Eating fish or taking an Omega 3 fish oil supplement are hardly dangerous. In fact, many people are not getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. Whether you are eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement, there are a few key points to keep in mind. All fish vary in the amount of Omega 3s you will get per serving. So stick with eating the fish that have the highest amounts: salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel.
Taking fish oil while on a blood thinner can cause problems with your medication dose. Omega 3 fish oil is a natural blood thinner, so make sure you are working with your doctor to monitor your labs and medication. Don’t buy a bargain store fish oil supplement. Cheap fish oil has not been tested for PCBs or other toxins---that is dangerous.
I often have clients complain about the taste of fish oil. Many users complain about burping up a fish-oil taste after they take their supplements. Here are my top tips for avoiding fish oil burps:
Take your fish oil with a meal. When you swallow a capsule of fish oil on an empty stomach, you are setting yourself up for failure. Your stomach doesn’t release digestive juices unless you chew something. So you have two choices: The first option: Chew your fish oil capsule (not recommended) Second option: Swallow your fish oil capsule with a meal so that you have plenty of digestive juices in your stomach.
Take a high quality, PCB and mercury tested fish oil supplement. Many fish oil supplements cause fish oil burps because they are rancid and have toxic chemicals in them. I recommend Terry Naturally Vectomega or Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fish oil supplements. Both companies employ rigorous testing to ensure toxin-free supplements.
- Take digestive enzymes with your meal and fish oil. Did you know that reflux is often due to poor digestion? Your modern diet and lifestyle make it difficult for your stomach to make enough stomach acid or for your pancreas to create enough enzymes. If you are burping up fish oil or any other taste from your meal, I recommend taking a digestive aid.
What are the benefits of Omega 3?
There are numerous benefits to Omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, those who eat seafood and have an increased amount of Omega 3s in their diet are less likely to die from heart disease. Large amounts of Omega-3 may also help to reduce the level of triglycerides in your body. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can be found in your blood. It is what gives you energy in between meals.
High levels of triglycerides are often associated with unhealthy levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, or obesity and can lead to future issues with heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. It is important to maintain a healthy level of triglycerides.
Omega 3s support your eyes, brain, and nervous system. Omega 3s can help prevent dry eyes, or degeneration due to age. They help relieve depression symptoms as well as aid with the side effects of Alzheimer's or ADHD.
It has also been found that taking EPA and DHA can be beneficial to both mom and baby during pregnancy. This is because DHA plays an important role in developing brain and eyes. Eating EPA and DHA combined during pregnancy may have the ability to lengthen the gestation time of the baby, potentially preventing premature births.
Should I take an Omega 3 supplement or a fish oil supplement?
I am often asked this question and my answer is always the same: fish oil is an Omega 3 supplement!
Is Omega 3 safe for children and pets?
Yes, Omega 3 supplements have the same benefits for dogs, cats, and other animals. Always consider the weight of your pet when giving her an Omega 3 supplement. Kids need Omega 3 in their diets also. If your child is not eating at least two servings of fish per week, then add a children’s fish oil supplement to their diet.
There are not any foods that are fortified with additional Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil and Omega 3 supplements will always be the highest source of Omega 3. Some eggs advertise Omega 3s, but this is because the chicken feed has been fortified with Omega 3 supplements. Omega 3 eggs are not a good source of fatty acids in your diet. Don’t count on them to obtain adequate Omega 3 levels within your body.
I recommend at least 1000 mg of high quality, toxin-free Omega 3 fish oil per day, on top of at least 2 servings of fish per week. You can order a home test kit to measure Omega 3 levels or talk with your doctor about ordering a lab test through Quest Diagnostics.
For a personalized protocol, purchase a consultation with me!
Carly Neubert BA, NC
For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!