January 27, 2013

Fish Oil: A Wave of Goodness from the Ocean.

*Update via NY Times: Fish oil, the third most widely used dietary supplement, shows no scientific evidence that fish oil does anything to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Read the full article.


So much can be touted with this supplement, and what better time to reveal it’s worthiness than after the holiday cleanses and getting back to a regular healthy nutrition program.

Fish oil is a gem; the recent findings on everything from mental health to bone and joint rehabilitation, to heart health, you might be wondering why you don’t have some in your refrigerator or pantry this very moment. Well, maybe that can change! After all, it’s a new year, a season of change, and time to stay on the track of good dietary practices.

Like any vitamin or supplement, it’s crucial to understand why you are taking a pill or liquid, what the proper dosage amount is, and whether it fits into your current lifestyle plan.

Fish oil comes in many forms, with a few caveats: if you aren’t a fan of smelly fish to begin with (and frankly, who is?), then some forms of this supplement may cause you to gag on yourself just by opening up a bottle of liquid, or even a softgel. The liquid Omega-3 fatty acids are now coming in some very nicely flavored versions and you would never even guess you are eating or drinking something from the ocean, all condensed into a pharmaceutical grade pill or substance.

Fish oil, commonly referred to as Omega-3 EPA/DHA is a vital source of any dietary program. The EPA stands for “eicosapentaenoic acid” and the DHA represents “docosahexaenoic acid” which are the polyunsaturates that make up Omega-3 fatty acids.

So, whether you are on that New Year’s eve post-cleanse, have discovered a supreme exercise program that involves heavy amounts of exertion, or you are simply need to keep your mood on an even keel, chances are you need some fish oil.

If you aren’t eating fish on a regular basis because you might be a vegetarian, vegan, or just not into fish as a food source at all, a supplement is recommended.

Here’s why:

1. Joint mobility and bone density.

Every age group and gender can benefit from fish oil and it’s ability to ease the pressure and pain on our limbs. Aging people find that fish oil gives them enhanced mobility and more quality of movement in bones and joints. Arthritis sufferers and people recovering from any joint pain or rehabilitation can maximize their recovery with an Omega-3 supplement. It soothes and lubricates the joints in a way that helps with increased activity.

2. Mental health, wellness and acuity.

This is a hot topic right now, with the recent focus on mental wellness and how it can cause disruption of lives on a grand scale, if it goes unchecked.

Japan alone has the highest level of fish consumption in the world and also has the lowest level of mental health disorders. They attribute this to the Omega-3’s in the fish, and the fact that it’s a staple in their daily nutrition. They also have rare incidents of ADHD and bipolar disorder, which are alleviated through daily high doses of fish and Omega-3.

This is a glaring distinction because the US has the highest level of bipolar disorder in the world compared to Japan, who has the lowest. The result of consuming so much fish is that the average Japanese person has far higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their brains than the average American.

The brain is largely composed of essential fatty acids and a deficiency in these chemicals may play a significant role in the development of mental illness. This is something to truly consider when making a decision to take an Omega-3 supplement—or eating more fish in general. Because the brain requires these essential fatty acids, it makes sense to include this goodness in your daily fare.

Not only can it help with the ADHD and bipolar disorder, but it’s been also known to be excellent for depression.

3. Skin Health.

Any supplement that creates and inspires luminous skin is vital to a quality nutrition plan.

Inflammation is the cause of most skin disorders. Too much sun, environmental pollutants, poor diet and stress will make or break your skin. The EPA (specifically eicosapentaenoic acid in the Omega-3) protects against oxidative stress which causes aging of the skin. Fish oil has been found to reduce wrinkle formation and thinning of the skin, so it bolsters up the collagen and helps the underlying effects of aging.

It’s not the miracle cure at all, as you have to factor in genetics and all the other inflammatory habits, but it certainly helps to add this essential fatty acid to the diet.

4. Energy and Endurance.

The body thrives on oxygen; fish oil is said to give your body what it needs to perform at a high level for longer periods of time.

Why is this so?

This fishy element from the sea is so beneficial because as it integrates into your heart and other muscle membranes of the body. It can greatly decrease the level of oxygen the body requires in extreme activity. This is good news for the athlete! Your body becomes more efficient with less output because it promotes healthy blood vessel function and reduces lactic acid buildup.

It’s such a win-win.

For the true blue exerciser, it also helps with exercise-induced asthma, optimizes digestive health and helps avoid insulin sensitivity. Fish oil can even accelerate a caloric burn! Not bad, after many months’ worth of holiday eating.

The tremendous capacity of a fish oil supplement will not only boost your brain power and mood, but will add to a greater quality of life and movement. The dosages are different for each person, and a health practitioner would be the best option to consult when shopping at the grocery store or health food store—or whatever health establishment carries this wave of goodness on their shelves.

You might be pleasantly surprised, after weeks of taking a soft gel or liquid, that your skin feels better, you are moving more fluidly in your daily activities and your brain seems to be firing on all cylinders.

Fish oil is a supplement to add to your daily fare and feel good about.

Unless you are living in an ocean-filled environment that produces quality fish on a daily basis, this is a supplement worthy of your time and money.

Ride the wave!



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Ed: Bryonie Wise/emailed author

Photo credit: Stephen Cummings

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