Many health professionals and health organizations, including the American Heart Association, agree that there are many nutritional health benefits of Omega-3 fats. One of the best, safest and most convenient ways to add omega 3 fats to your diet is to take fish oil as a dietary supplement.
What are omega 3 fats?
Omega 3 fats are polyunsaturated fats that are considered essential nutrients. Our bodies need them but can't produce them. Therefore, we need to consume omega 3 fats in our food. There are many kinds of omega 3 fats, but the most important ones for dietary health are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Flax seed and walnuts are excellent sources of ALA, while fish oils are an excellent and widely available source of EPA and DHA.
What are the health benefits of taking omega 3 fish oil?
Omega 3 fats, such as the ones in fish oil, have a lengthy list of health benefits. Among other things, they have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease, provide some relief from mental health and behavioral disorders, such as depression or hyperactivity, and decrease the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Who should take fish oil supplements?
According to the American Heart Association, almost everyone should consume fish oil, either by eating fish (in the case of individuals with no detectable heart disease) or by taking fish oil supplements (if the patient is trying to control or reverse heart disease).
What kind of fish oil supplement should you buy?
When buying fish oil in capsule form, you should make sure to get a pure, high-quality product. During the manufacturing process, it should be monitored for purity, the presence of active ingredients and the lack of toxins, such as heavy metals and PCBs. The oil in the capsules should not smell rancid and should be relatively clear, not dark or cloudy. Good quality fish oil capsules are lab-tested for uniformity and potency and meet certification standards, such the International Fish Oils Standard (IFOS) or the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) standard.
How much omega 3 fish oil do I have to eat in order to get the health benefits?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking a daily dose of anywhere between one and four grams of fish oil in capsule form, depending on what symptoms the patient is attempting to treat. For example, people using fish oil to lower their triglycerides should take between two and four grams of fish oil per day, and those trying to slow or reverse coronary heart disease should take about one gram a day. The AHA also recommends that patients who want to take more than three grams of fish oil capsules per day should get their doctor's approval before doing so.
Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids, which mean that it cannot be synthesized by the body and must result from the diet. The best source for this fatty acid is found in fish especially sardines, salmon and herring.