Post by Dr. Joel Kreisberg, DC, CCH, ACC
I have read many studies out of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and they demonstrated that Vitamin E, Co-Q-10, and Fish Oil could protect the immune system of athletes and prevent disease. -Bill Toomey, Pro Athlete
Fish oils high in Omega 3 fatty acids are among the rock stars of modern day supplements. Most people can benefit from daily consumption. While eating high quality fish several times a week works well, it’s simply not that easy for many of us to do. Therefore, a 1000 mg daily pill of fish oils will likely have a clear benefit for you. I’m going to quickly review many of the benefits of fish oil supplements in this blog, but not cite the specific research, which you can find in the links at the end of the article. Please do keep in mind that fish oils are a food supplement, meaning that the quality of the fish and the processing determines the quality of the supplement—it is worth it to purchase a quality fish oil. I use Nordic Naturals, but there are several good companies making quality products.
My favorite reason for taking fish oils are their anti-inflammatory properties. What inflammation? Medical researchers have become keenly aware that many of our chronic illnesses involve inflammation. Not limited to acute infection, chronic inflammation is one of the underlying features of many modern conditions—from arthritis to gastritis. Omega-3 fish oils reduce cortisol, helping reduce the hormone levels that overstimulate the body. Fish oils also help speed up detoxification of waste products such as what builds up in muscles. Reducing inflammation in the blood stream leads to healthy arteries and veins, supporting the cardiovascular system.
Fish oils help balance the necessary essential fatty acids. Our bodies need omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids for many purposes—daily consumption is essential. Yet, processed food has shifted the balance towards excessive consumption of omega 6 fatty acids, found in most vegetable oils. Fish oils high in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both omega 3 fatty acids, help restore the proper balance of fatty acids in our system. This is key to keeping our cholesterol balanced, lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL), and increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL), again, improving heart health.
Fish oils are widely recommended for mental health. Studies reveal positive effects in relieving depression, sadness, anxiety, restlessness, and mental fatigue. Some evidence suggests that fish oils may be helpful in Alzheimer’s Disease. Considerable evidence exists that fish oils are beneficial for ADD and ADHD in adults and children. Given the stressors of modern life and the proclivity for mental activity, daily intake of fish oils seems useful for keeping our minds clear.
Taken by themselves, fish oils alone are not really a weight-loss panacea. Yet combined with exercise, taking fish oils improved weight loss as compared to exercise alone. Studies show fish oils improving insulin sensitivity which is a key player in how our body manages sugar metabolism. Low insulin sensitivity is found in many people unable to lose weight. Our body fat has its own inflammatory response and fish oils help reduce this inflammation in the storage of fats. Fish oils are becoming a regular player in weight-loss programs.
Specifically recommended for macular degeneration, fish oils are good for vision and the eyes in general. Here too, inflammation has its long-term effects on eye health. Fish oils help improve skin quality and can be useful for skin conditions that are inflammatory in nature, such as excema, psoriasis, and acne. Other illnesses that fish oils have been shown to benefit include cancer, HIV, diabetes, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcers.
Of course, the most common reason fish oils are recommended is for cardiovascular health, specifically to help support good circulation. Again, reducing inflammation in the arteries and veins is a key benefit.
As mentioned above, it’s essential to purchase fish oil products that are made from pure high quality fish, processed with the care necessary to create a healthy supplement. If the source material, the fish, or the process is contaminated with pollutants, obviously the oil will not be good for you.
Many conditions will respond well to higher daily doses than the above-mentioned 1000 mg. Often 4000 mg is used as a dose in research studies. Without a health professional specifying the dose, 1000 mg a day is a good basic recommendation for a supplement that truly impacts your health in many ways. We—my wife, my kids and myself—take this one regularly in our home.
Useful Websites about Fish Oils