Fish oil has many health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of heart disease to reducing inflammation to improving protein synthesis after workouts. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because humans must get them from food or supplementation. Two principal fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and are found in fish and krill. EPA is a precursor for DHA, meaning we make EPA from DHA therefore most fish oil supplements will have a higher ratio of EPA than DHA (there is no set ratio for DHA/EPA). Mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies are the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids; therefore fish oil made from these fish is more desirable.
The Benefits of Fish Oil
Consumption of fish oil or dietary fish can reduce triglycerides levels and raise HDL’s (the good cholesterol). In addition, fish oil may slow hardening of arteries and slightly lower blood pressure.
One of the most valuable benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids is reducing inflammation in the body by preventing production of pro-inflammatory markers. Most serious diseases are associated with inflammation such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s.
Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Diseases
Studies showed that consistent intake of fish oil reduced morning stiffness and joint tenderness. Fish oil is a natural way to reduce the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis; however, it does not act as a painkiller.
Fish oil is extremely important to the overall health of our minds and bodies. Other benefits include healthy brain function, improves protein synthesis after workouts, cancer prevention, anti-aging, depression, mental illness, and macular degeneration.
Quality and Purity
The quality and manufacturing of fish oil is extremely important. Fish oil is manufactured in a processing plant. The fish are cut into pieces and steamed. The cooked fish is then pressed to separate the fat-free solid from the liquid, which consists of oil and water. The fat-free solid is processed into fish meal while the liquid is further processed to separate the water from the oil. Lastly, anti-oxidants are added to the fish oil and the finished product is placed in steel storage containers. Molecular distillation removes heavy metals and other potential contaminants.
When researching fish oil, make sure to check out the purity standards. Companies who supply high quality fish oil will have documentation from a third-party laboratory.
When purchasing a fish oil, make sure the EPA & DHA add up to the total amount of fish oil. For example, if the product list 1,000 mg of fish oil but the EPA is 250 and the DHA is 150 then the remainder is made up of different types of oil.
Making sure your fish oil is not rancid. Bite into the capsule and it should taste fresh and slightly fishy. If it tastes extremely fish or nasty it is rancid. Do not buy the cheapest brand of fish oil; this is one supplement worth the extra dollars. In addition, make sure you research the company and purchase a high quality supplement.
In the USA there is no official recommended intake for EPA or DHA, however other countries recommend 300-500mg a day. I personally take Thorne’s Super EPA (EPA 425mg & DHA 270mg) two capsules for a total of EPA 850mg & DHA 540mg)
Store in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place. If you purchase a liquid fish oil make sure to purchase a bottle you can finish in a couple of weeks because once exposed to air spoilage may begin.
Thorne & Pharmax
Thorne & Pharmax are my favorite companies and are known for their high quality and extra pure ingredients. Because of their high standards, Thorne & Pharmax only sell their products to doctors, licensed health care practitioners, and licensed pharmacies. If interested in purchasing fish oil or other supplements please contact Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org