Should I Take Fish Oil?

By | October 1, 2015 at 12:14 am | No comments | Ask The Doctor, Columns

By Dr Peter Kadile

If you would like to improve your health, you may need to take nutritional supplements depending upon your diet and activity. It is easy to get confused with the multitude of nutritional supplements available. Of the thousands of products out there, I highly recommend omega 3 fish oil as a supplement that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet.

Cardiac benefits

The Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in fish oil have repeatedly and consistently been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk in multiple types of scientific studies. If you do not regularly eat 2-3 servings of fish a week, daily supplementation of omega-3 fish oil capsules is a good way to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Brain Health

Research suggests fish oil may help slow down age related changes to the brain. The literature also shows fish oil may even heal and restore brain function after a traumatic brain injury.

Skin Health

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil can help reduce acne and avoid wrinkles. Dry skin, eczema and psoriasis are skin conditions that can also respond to fish oil.

What’s a good dose?

Most of the over the counter available omega-3 fish oil will state “1,000mg” or “1,200mg” on the label, but you should turn the bottle around to look at the rest of the label to determine how much EPA and DHA are in the capsule. Fish oil is rich source of two essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA is good for the heart and DHA is good for the brain, so the more EPA and DHA contained per fish oil capsule, the better. Not all fish oil brands are the same so it is very important to look at the label and make sure you pay attention to the serving size. What may seem like a good dose of EPA/DHA could be a serving size of 6 capsules! I generally recommend taking a product that provides at least 700-1,000mg of EPA and 200-500mg DHA daily in the smallest amount of pills. Higher dosages are available in liquid form. Molecularly distilled fish oils are naturally high in EPA and DHA and low in contaminants.

Side Effects

Common adverse side effects are varying degrees of stomach upset, gas or burping fish breath. I have found that higher quality fish oil supplements have lesser side effects. Fish oil supplements may cause easy bruising and can affect blood clotting, so check with your doctor if you are on any anticoagulant or “blood thinning” medications.

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