There is always a debate going on about whether fish oil and fish oil supplement is good or bad for health. Some studies claim that fish oil has no benefits while other researches have shown proof that fish oil and supplements are indeed beneficial to health. Controversy will always exist as long as there is market for it. Read further to discover how you can benefit from consuming fish, fish oil and fish oil supplements.
Everyone needs to understand that anything that we consume in excess is always harmful to our well-being. Limit yourself – that is the way to go and this applies to fish and fish oil as well.
Look at the people living in and around coastal areas. They consume lot of fish; in fact fish is the staple diet in these regions. Do you see any obese person in those regions? I have not come across any. They are fit as a fiddle with no heart problems, no skin conditions, no mental health problems and no psychological issues – physically and mentally they are doing great. They don’t age quickly and their life span is usually 80 years or more. What is their secret to healthy long life?
There is nothing fishy about it, it is just plain fish. I once travelled to India along the coastal shores of Kerala and discovered that fish and coconut oil is their staple diet. People were healthy, had beautiful luscious thick hair, healthy glowing skin, better vision and lot of them had grandmothers who were healthy. I did not come across any one over- weight or obese. I noticed that very few people had glasses on which confirmed that their eyesight was great. Instances of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases were almost nil. It is the same with Japanese too. It is easy to conclude that fish and fish oil is the major contributor to their great health.
Ingredients of Fish Oil
Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids which is an advantage to us. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have 2 main fatty acids called EPA (Eicosa Pentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosa Hexaenoic Acid). DHA is good for brain development and general growth while EPA helps physical and mental health issues, protects genes and cell cycle, prevents chronic illnesses and promotes a sense of well-being. It is important to note that lower concentration of EPA and DHA lead to risk of sudden or premature death and higher doses of EPA and DHA increases the risk of certain types of cancer. So the rule of the thumb is to stick to the correct limit and reap its benefits.
Omega-6 fatty acids come from processed foods and refined cooking oils and increase inflammation, blood clot and cell proliferation while Omega-3 fatty acid decreases these. Fish oil contains Omega-3 and not Omega-6 hence fish oil is gaining popularity.
In recent times due to over hauling of sea food and abusing environment to the brink of extinction coupled with radiation and toxins has contaminated and polluted our seas. Our sea food is no longer healthy to consume and chances of getting really good fish is minimal. Most of the fish contain toxins like mercury and hence consuming them is potentially harmful. I would suggest wild caught salmon as the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Others would include sardines, anchovies, trout, herring and mackerel.
How much fish should you consume per week?
Like I mentioned before, limit your intake and reap the benefits.
- A healthy adult can take up to 4 portions of fish per week; each portion is about 140 grams when cooked.
- For breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women limiting the intake to just 2 portions per week is good for the baby’s development. Do not take more than 2 portions.
How is fish oil made?
Raw oily fish is first cooked by steam and it is separated into 2 parts, the solid mass and the liquid. The liquid contains water and oil, this is then processed to oil. The impurities are removed by a process called polishing; this is how maximum amounts of toxins are removed. The oil is packaged and sold either as capsules or in liquid form.
Since in most cases, getting good seafood is not possible, it is ideal to take fish oil supplements.
Look for supplements that are pure, fresh, not rancid, have good concentration of EPA and DHA levels, very minimal acceptable quantities of toxins and minimal additives used. For more details on how to choose the right supplement you can read our post here.
How much fish oil supplement should you take?
Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. recommends fish oil supplements providing
- 700 mg to 1000 mg of EPA – per day
- 200 mg to 500 mg of DHA – per day
Just stick to this for a healthy life. Do not take more than the recommended dosage; doing so will have negative consequences. Choosing the right supplement of fish oil and having the right dosage will prove to be beneficial to you in the long run. Take fish oil supplement daily and it will complement your health.