What is all the hype about fish oil?

The words “fish oil” lead many people to visualize a less than pleasant childhood memory of their mother pushing a tablespoon of cod liver oil into their mouth, insisting that it would keep them healthy.

As usual, our mothers were right!! I know, it sounds too slimy and smelly to be good for you. However, fish oil has more to offer than most people realize. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that our bodies are unable to create on their own. Therefore, we must obtain EFAs from food. Most people do not get enough of these polyunsaturated fats from their diet. This is why supplementation with fish oils can be so important to our health. EPA and DHA play a key role in brain development, nervous system function, and eyesight.

They also play a protective role in the body, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, arthritis, cancers, and heart disease. In fact, a large amount of research on omega-3s has focused on their effects on heart disease. EPA and DHA are linked to lower triglyceride levels, decreasing one’s risk for atherosclerosis. These two fatty acids can also decrease inflammation in the body, improve immune function and promote skin, hair and nail health.

Recent clinical research has shown that not only the quantity of fat in the diet, but also the type of fat affects body weight and metabolism. Diets rich in omega-3 oils result in healthier body weight and metabolism as well as the best body composition in terms of fat/muscle ratio. In addition, fish oils act as strong antioxidants throughout the body and improve the oxygen delivery to cells thus improving aerobic performance. If purchasing fish oil, make sure it is from a reliable source, free of environmental contaminants (pesticides and heavy metals), and contains vitamin E to protect and preserve the oil. It is important to store your oil in a cool location, away from direct light.

Feel free to contact Dr. Jones with any questions regarding information in this article.

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