If you research fish oils, you’ll find out that they are one of the most popular supplements. Fish oils provide many health benefits, but it’s the omega-3 fatty acids fish oils contain that make them such a powerhouse. Eating fatty fish is one of the best ways to get plenty of omega-3s. But what if you don’t like fatty fish? Or what if you don’t eat it very often? You may want to consider taking omega-3 fish oils as a supplement just for the potential health benefits.
What are omega-3 fish oils?
The three types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- ALA (Alpha-linolenic Acid) – ALA is present in plant-based sources like soybean, canola oils, and flaxseed.
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) – EPA is only present in oily fish like tuna and salmon.
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) – DHA is only found in oily fish like tuna and salmon.
The body does not make ALA which is what makes it classified as an essential omega-3 fatty acid. This means it must be obtained through your diet or supplements. EPA and DHA are not “essential” since they are produced from ALA. However, the process of making EPA and DHA from ALA is not an efficient one. It is not a reliable way to get adequate amounts of DHA and EPA.
EPA and DHA help regulate different biological processes in the body including the inflammatory response, brain function, and different metabolic signaling pathways. DPA and DHA are omega-3 fats found in fish, phytoplankton, and some animal products.
How Omega-3 Fish Oils Benefit the Body
Fish oils re extracted from fatty tissue in fish. The World Health Organization recommends eating one to two portions of fish each week. Fish oil provides the body with many health benefits and can offer some protection from several diseases. Fish oils are comprised of 30% omega-3s and 70% other fats. Plants can offer some types of omega-3s, but those found in fish oil have great health benefits in general. Some of the possible health benefits of omega-3 fish oils include:
- Support a healthy cardiovascular system
- Helps manage blood pressure
- Helpful for normal brain function
- Supports eye health
- Helps with weight management efforts
- Helps to reduce inflammation and improve joint health
- Supports healthy skin
- May help reduce liver fat
- May help improve mood disorders like depression
- Helps support healthy bones
- May help lower “bad” cholesterol levels
How much omega-3 fish oil do I need?
According to the American Heart Association, two servings of fish each week is recommended for those who do not have a history of heart disease. Cold water wild fish like salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, and sardines contain the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for you. For those who have already received a diagnosis of heart disease, talk to your healthcare provider about how much omega-3 fish oil you should consume. Most recommend one gram of EPA +DHA daily. If you don’t care for fish, or have a difficult time getting enough, a fish oil supplement is a great option.
Individuals who are being treated for high triglycerides need a lot more omega-3 fatty acids. Usually, a doctor will recommend an omega-3 fish oil supplement. If your healthcare provider recommends a fish oil supplement, they usually want you to take in two to four grams of EPA+DHA daily. Some researchers suggest that this amount of fish oil can help lower triglyceride levels as much as 35% in some people.
Are omega-3 fatty acids only found in fish?
Fish remain the absolute best natural source for omega-3 fatty acids. But there are some plants that contain ALA too. ALA is not as rich of a source for omega-3 fatty acids, but it does offer some health benefits. Plant sources for ALA include flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, soy food products, and canola oil. Algae and algae oil contain ALA too. Most foods that claim to be fortified with omega-3s use algae oil. This is a good alternative for those with fish allergies or vegans.
How to Take Omega-3s Fish Oil Supplements
The specific dosage of fish oil can vary based on an individual’s gender, size, and other factors. The minimum dosage is usually 250mg. It can be taken at any point during the day and should be taken with foods.
Are there any side effects to taking fish oils?
Omega-3 fish oils are generally safe when taken as recommended. For some people, they may produce mild side effects including:
- A fishy aftertaste
- Bad breath
- A rash
Taking fish oil with a meal or with foods can help reduce the mild side effects. Taking too much fish oil can cause an increase in the risk of bleeding or an increase in the risk of having a stroke.
Who is omega-3 fish oils good for?
Taking fish oil daily is a good idea for many people. They are great for those who:
- Want to help support their body’s inflammatory response
- Do not care for eating seafood or fish
- Want to support healthy immune function and thyroid
- Desire to reduce or alleviate occasional joint pain
- Need extra support for cognitive function and brain health
- Want to lose weight
- Want to support optimal hormonal balance
Does fish oil contain mercury?
There has been much concern expressed over the last few years about the world’s supply of fresh fish containing mercury. Generally, this is more of a concern for small children and pregnant women. Fish that are known to be low in mercury include canned light tuna, salmon, catfish, pollock, and shrimp. Fish oil supplements are typically low in mercury and other pollutants too.
Reaping the Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils
Much research is available to demonstrate and substantiate the health benefits of omega-3 fish oils. Omega-3s are essential to maintain proper brain health and development, something that we at Envura prioritize. Whether you eat fish as part of a regular diet or not, taking supplemental omega-3 fish oils can ensure you get adequate amounts to support brain function. At Envura Health, we are sure to include high doses of EPA & DHA in the fish oil capsules so that our customers can live longer and healthier lives.