Have you jumped on the fish oils bandwagon yet? Maybe you are on the fence because you need more information about how fish oil impacts your health. Hopefully, the list below will answer that burning question I often hear from my patients which is…
Why Take Fish Oil
The importance of fish oils for optimal health cannot be overstated. The range of health benefits of the EFAs that come from them is expansive:
- Anti-inflammatory – useful for any inflammatory condition, such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, cystitis
- Immune system support – useful in the prevention of allergies, hay fever, asthma
- Heart health – beneficial in hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke prevention
- Supports a healthy lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL)
- Essential for a healthy pregnancy and for the healthy brain development of infants
- Brain wellness support – helpful in improving mental clarity, focus, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and ADHD
- Beneficial in Type 2 Diabetes – reduces oxidative stress
- Supportive of skin health (acne, eczema, psoriasis) and healthy hair
- Shown to reverse eye disorders – like cataracts and macular degeneration
- Instrumental for proper weight loss – helps decrease body fat and control food cravings
The Importance of EFA’s
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesize and must be obtained through diet. EFAs are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids. There are two families of EFAs: Omega-3 and Omega-6. While looking at their properties can get a bit confusing, here’s what I tell my clients to help simplify why without these EFAs, they cannot reach optimal health.
What do EFA’s do?
EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection.
Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. Fetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of EFAs through the mother’s dietary intake.
Unfortunately, EFA deficiency is common in the United States, particularly Omega-3 deficiency. Most people consume more Omega-6 due to the fact that most processed foods include Omega-6 because of its higher shelf life.
Getting the Right Omega-6 to Omega-3 Balance
An ideal intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1, with most Americans only obtaining a ratio between 10:1 and 25:1. The minimum healthy intake for both linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6) acid via diet, per adult per day, is 1.5 grams of each.
But keep in mind that high heat destroys linolenic acid, cooking in linolenic-rich oils or eating cooked linolenic-rich fish is unlikely to provide a sufficient amount.
An Omega 6/3 imbalance is linked with serious health conditions, such as heart attacks, cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, lupus, schizophrenia, depression, postpartum depression, accelerated aging, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s Disease, among others.
Fish Oil Benefits
1. Fish Oils and Weight Loss
When combined with a calorie-counted diet and increased exercise, the effects of fish oil on weight loss could prove substantial. It is believed that Omega-3 oil improves the flow of blood to the muscles during exercise and helps to stimulate enzymes which transport fat to where it can be used up for energy. So, body fat stores, particularly abdominal fat, can be significantly reduced in the fish-oil-plus-exercise.
2. Fish Oils and Inflammation
The omega-3 fatty acids reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and cut the inflammatory process in half. In osteoarthritis, the pain and joint stiffness felt is a result of bones starting to come into contact with each other and the cartilage within the joints progressively being damaged. The synovial fluid that keeps the joints lubricated and cushioned is typically reduced as well. One of the simplest and most powerful steps to stop the progression of joint damage is adding animal-based omega-3 fats through daily supplementation.
3. Fish Oils Boost Brain Power
Researchers have found positive associations between fish oil supplements and cognitive functioning as well as differences in brain structure between users and non-users of fish oil supplements. This could be due to a clear association between fish oil and brain volume in two critical areas utilized in memory and thinking — the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus. Since 60% of the brain is composed of fats, fish oil also benefits brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and depression.
4. Fish Oils Keep Us Young
Maybe the best news, especially for baby boomers looking for “fountain of youth” properties in their foods and supplements – there is growing evidence that suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could affect our telomeres, the DNA at the end of our chromosomes that can reduce the signs of aging. Coupled with helping improve fat burning, particularly abdominal fat, the risks for metabolic syndrome and heart disease are diminished too. And fish oils can also help gain and preserve lean muscle mass as well as improve bone mineral density.
Not All Fish Oils are Created Equally
The vast majority of fish oil concentrate products available on the market today are ethyl esters (EE) primarily because of the cost of the additional step required to convert EEs back into their natural triglyceride (TG) state. This added process assures that your fish oils are delivered in the form found in nature and are of unmatched potency.
Why Triglyceride (TG) Form is Best
- The naturally occurring form in foods and in the body
- Research indicates that it is up to 100% more bioavailable than the ethyl ester (EE) form
- Easier to assimilate for patients with impaired digestion and absorption
- Less prone to oxidation and production of free radicals
- No post digestion production of alcohol in the gut or bloodstream as in the EE form
- Less susceptible to increasing free fatty acids in the blood, which may increase blood glucose
Fish Oil Supplements
I love recommending fish oils to all my patients due to the many health benefits they offer. In keeping with the importance of the TG qualities, there are some unique formulations that I feel work well.
One of my new favorites is a liquid form that is so delicious, even children who can’t swallow soft gels will easily take it. Imagine this — a delicious tasting, high potency fish oil product manufactured using a proprietary emulsification technology that significantly reduces the size of fish oil molecules, resulting in enhanced absorption and easy digestion.
And these Omega-3 rich “smoothies” come in wonderful flavors —OmegAvail™ Smoothie Key Lime, OmegAvail™ Smoothie Mango Peach, and OmegAvail™ Smoothie Citrus Sorbet — each are equally yummy and can be taken alone or easily mixed in water, juice, or blended beverages.
For those who prefer soft gels, OmegAvail™ Ultra is a high potency omega-3 product with the digestive aid lipase added to help prevent any fishy aftertaste, known as ‘repeat,’ that sometimes occurs with fish oil supplements. And for more potency, OmegAvail™ Hi-Po is a great choice.
It is important to know that these fish oil products are molecularly distilled and filtered to ensure purity and to maximize the removal of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, PCBs, and other contaminants and made with non-GMO ingredients.
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Are you ready to know more about fish oils? Contact me today and let’s look at all the benefits together so I can make sure you get exactly what you need in both diet and supplementation.