Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Digg button
Stumbleupon button

Fish Oil & Omega-3

May 15, 2011 –

Fish Oil is the second most popular supplement in the U.S. to multivitamins. However, I just saw one study that said it actually surpassed multivitamins last year. It is derived from the tissues of oily fish and contains Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Ironically, fish does not actually produce Omega-3 fatty acids. Microalgae produce the fatty acid, but fish accumulate them when they consume the algae.

Natural Sources of Omega-3 and Benefits

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in foods including walnuts, canola oil, broccoli, cantaloupe, kidney beans, spinach, grape leaves, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, and coldwater fish such as herring, mackerel, sturgeon, and anchovies. Salmon and halibut also have high concentrations of Omega-3. Not a big fan of fish? Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of Omega-3.

While Omega-3 plays a critical role in the membrane of every cell in our body, it also protects us from a number of key health threats. The benefits of Omega-3s include:

1) Promotes healthy heart function, blood viscosity, and overall cardiovascular health, while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke

2) Promotes healthy blood pressure

3) Promotes healthy brain and nerve function

4) Supports and maintains healthy retina and eye function

5) Reduces symptoms of hypertension, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin ailments.

6) Boosts the immune system and helps protect us from an array of illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, Omega 3 provides a check and balance to another essential fatty acid, Omega-6. They support skin health, lower cholesterol, and help make our blood “sticky” so it is able to clot. However,  the ideal ratio is 4 parts Omega-3 to 1 part Omega-6. Unfortunately, the typical American diet produces a ratio of 20 parts Omega-6 to 1 part Omega-3! When Omega 6 dominates the equation, they promote clot formation which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What is Omega-9?

Omega-9 is not considered an “essential” fatty acid because the body can produce it. Another way to help your heart is by replacing Omega-6 in cooking oils with Omega-9. This is a monounsaturated fat found primarily in olive oil.

How Much and Should I Supplement?

How much Omega-3 you should be taking is not a black and white answer. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends healthy people eat oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout), at least twice a week. People with coronary heart disease should take about a gram of EPA and DHA daily. The best option for getting Omega-3 fatty acids is from natural sources (i.e. whole food). Through diet, the body typically absorbs 90% of the good stuff.

Fish oil supplements can really help if you need to reduce your levels of triglycerides, a dangerous blood fat linked to heart disease. Additionally, according to the AHA, individuals with high cholesterol may need to take 2 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA per day in supplement form with a doctor’s guidance.

However, if you are like me, I do not eat oily fish twice per week. Sometimes I will eat fish once a week, but I probably only have fish 3 times per month. I do include flaxseed in my diet which provides a great natural source of the fatty acid. But I also supplement with  Omega-3 capsules. As I have said before with supplements, you get what you pay for and all are not created equal.

I started using Beachbody’s Core Omega-3 a few months back. There are a few things I like about this brand.

– It comes from the purest wild Atlantic coldwater fish sources, and is absolutely guaranteed to be free of harmful PCBs and heavy metal contaminants typically found in fish available in markets and grocery stores.

– Beachbody’s soft gel capsules use an advanced delivery system that releases in the intestines, not in the stomach. That means no stomach upset, and no unpleasant aftertaste.

– It contains  contains 600 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 400 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) per serving, which is equivalent to a daily dose from an average serving of salmon steak!

If you have any doubts on whether you are getting enough Omega-3 in your diet and whether you should supplement, ask your doctor.

To finish off this segment, listen to the end of this call (around 7:20) where Beahcbody Chief Science Office, Bill Wheeler, discusses some recent research on Core Omega-3.  Click here to download the MP3

Leave a Reply