Fish Oil supplements are one of the most popular dietary supplements with yearly sales having reached $976 million in 2009. As most health conscious people know, fish oil is considered “brain food” and comes from the oil derived from the tissues of oily fish such as salmon and albacore tuna. Fish oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) that scientists agree has positive effects on long term health. Fish oil can be consumed by eating either fish or fish oil supplements and the benefits are the same in both. So, how does fish oil effect one’s health? Let’s examine the facts.
The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of 1 gram of fish oil for patients with coronary heart disease. Fish oil’s omega 3 content aids in preventing hypertriglycerimimia, secondary cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. The contents of fish oil combat inflammation in the body associated with a variety of conditions such as heart disease and asthma. Also, 2 servings of omega-3 rich fatty fish per week is recommended. The FDA says consumption of 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day is safe.
Not only is Fish oil helpful in preventing heart and blood related conditions, studies have suggested the n-3 EPA content may reduce the risk of depression and suicide. A study done by the Orygen Research Center suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids could delay or prevent the onset of Schizophrenia.
Researchers led by the Harvard psychiatrist Andrew Stoll found Omega-3 fatty acids improved the “short term course of illness” of bipolar disorder. There is strong evidence that suggests Fish Oil is in fact “brain food.” A six month study conducted by Plus ONE among 18-25 year olds showed a boost in the participants’ memory by up to 23% and findings published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementia indicated fish oil supplements may conserve brain volume and cognition of normal aging and neurodegeneration.
Another study done by Lori Daiello, a research scientist at the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital found fish oil was associated with better performance and standardized tests of memory and thinking abilities over time compared to those who did not take the supplements, the participants also experienced less brain shrinkage in areas of the brain important for healthy cognitive aging, -the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, the portions of the brain responsible for forming and retaining memories.
Salmon or Tuna steak is the best Food source of Omega-3
It should be noted that while there is evidence of the benefits of taking Fish oil supplements, findings thus far highlight the need for more research due to some inconsistencies in the studies. Also should be considered is a study conducted by a testing company called LabDoor which found what is advertised on the supplements’ labels may not live up to the promise of their labels.
When 30 top selling brands were analyzed, they found 6 products exaggerated the amount of Omega-3 by 30%. Over a dozen products contained DHA levels that were 14% less than advertised. How can this type of false advertising be possible? The FDA considers supplements food and not drugs, so they are not regulated. However you can protect yourself against false advertising and labeling by joining a subscription based website such as Consumerhub.com which regularly tests vitamins and supplements. If you are considering taking Fish Oil supplements, talk to your doctor and find out which supplement is right for you.