There are so many people who are regularly consuming nutritional supplements, including herbal remedies and homeopathic medicines. One of the most popular types of supplements people frequently ask me about happens to be fish oil.
Most people have heard about the health benefits of eating fish three to four times per week, as is usually the suggestion frequently reported in the media and covered by many news agencies. However, some folks don’t eat fish that often or find they’re not really reaching for that salmon steak in the grocery store. So for many people, the use of fish oil capsules has become quite commonplace in their regular nutritional health arsenal.
From my professional perspective, this is a very good strategy for most people. The reasons are clear at this point: The evidence has been mounting over the least 10 years, indicating that the intake of the omega-3 fats found in fish oil can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, acute coronary syndrome, and subsequent death from a heart attack. The omega-3 fats have also been shown to reduce the progression of cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. People who regularly eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids also have a decreased risk of dying prematurely from any cause and can reduce their risk of stroke and peripheral artery disease.
The most important feature linked to the intake of fish oil is the effect it has upon glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and inflammation. The fatty acids in fish oil—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—have a very special quality: they can improve the way your insulin works by making your cell receptor sites more sensitive to the insulin protein. When the degree of insulin sensitivity increases, your blood sugar will be under much better control. This reduces your risk of developing metabolic syndrome or type-2 diabetes.
The omega-3 fats can also greatly reduce the impact of inflammation on your arteries and liver. These fats can increase blood pressure, reduce the accumulation of plaque and blood clots inside your arteries, and improve endothelial function inside your arteries. In addition, fish oil can reduce the damage from LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the production of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which can remove LDL cholesterol molecules from inside your arteries.
The intake of fish oil has been associated with the reduced risk of developing atherosclerosis, type-2 diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and various skin disorders. Plus, the degree of insulin resistance and inflammation has a tendency to increase as you age, and the type of fats contained within fish oil can help prevent this trend from occurring. In my opinion, there really is no convincing argument as to why you shouldn’t take this supplement. (However, if you are taking blood-thinner medications, it’s best to consult with your physician before taking fish oil supplements.)
Omega-3 capsules can be derived from salmon, krill, halibut, seal, or mackerel oils. The high-potency types, which contain 500–800 milligrams (mg) of DHA and EPA, are recommended. It’s best to aim for a total dosage of fish oil of one to two grams per day, taken with food. If you consume fish three to four times per week, your needs for supplementation are less, of course. Personally, I take four fish oil capsules every day.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Enos, D., “Why Are You Taking Fish Oil Supplements?” livescience web site, April 17, 2014; http://www.livescience.com/44929-fish-oil-supplements-benefits-risks.html.