The Best Breakdown of Fish Oil Benefits and Supplements
By Judy Couch, FNP-C
Fish oil is one of the most recommended – and important – supplements that we recommend here at Your Wellness Center. When we talk to patients about it, they have usually heard of fish oil or Omega-3s, and sometimes have even read up on them.
For anyone who is unfamiliar or wants to learn more about fish oil benefits, I’m going to discuss why:
- You should eat fish at least twice a week to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids
- Supplements are a good alternative to fish
- You should focus on quality supplements, not the quantity in the bottle
- It’s safe to take fish oil (and the best brands to take)
Eat fish (at least) twice a week
Research from the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish (salmon, herring, lake trout, tuna) at least twice a week for cardiovascular health. This is because fatty fish are rich sources of omega-3, a type of fatty acid that is essential for our health.
Lately, there have been some concerns about eating too much fish, increasing your risk of mercury poisoning (especially for people with Hashimoto’s Disease). The best way to get around this is to simply take fish oil supplements.
The best brands of fish oil supplements
Before you go shopping though, you should research which benefits you want and how much you’re willing to invest in the quality of the oil. This will save you time (and frustration) in the store because you’ll already know the type, brand, and price that you’re going for. You won’t need to read each bottle on the shelf to figure out which one is right for you.
Just remember: it pays to buy a good brand. You can go anywhere to get a jar full of fish oil capsules, but if they aren’t quality capsules, you’ll have to take more at one time in order to get a therapeutic dose. For example, instead of taking 1-2 quality capsules every day, you would have to take 6-8. Less quality and more quantity also increases your risk of side effects from fish oil (burping, gastrointestinal problems).
In addition to better quality, more expensive brands may even have enteric-coated capsules or tablets that can decrease your risk of having any issues with burping.
My favorite brand of fish oil is LifeExtension, which we do carry in our office. It’s a clean supplement, with the main two ingredients being the EPA and DHA fatty acids. This is exactly what you should look for in clean, healthy fish oil.
Fish oil is safe with proper dosing
As with any other medications or supplements you take, proper dosage is important for your health. To get the best fish oil benefits, you should aim to take around 1000mg of both EPA and DHA twice a day. It’s rare finding a supplement with an equal amount of both, so just try to get as close to that as possible – and make sure to follow the recommendations on the back of the bottle.
There are many, many benefits of these essential fatty acids, including:
- Increased protection against developing cardiovascular and coronary heart disease
- Decreased chronic inflammation and risk of diabetes
- Better treatment of depression (they have anti-inflammatory properties for our brain tissue)
- Improved healthy gut function through more probiotics and diverse gut microbiomes
- Better disease resistance
- Decreased joint and chronic pain issues
If you have any questions about changing or introducing supplements to your regimen, please call us at 513-791-9474 to schedule a consultation. We’d be happy to discuss omega-3’s – and other supplements – with you. Together, we’ll create a routine that makes you feel healthier and better!