What’s so special about fish oil?
Fish oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids play important role in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation. Deficiency of Omega -3 fatty acid in the body can lead to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, mood disorders, arthritis, and more. But that doesn’t mean taking high doses translates to better health and disease prevention. Some good sources of omega 3 fatty acid are salmon, mackerel, and sardines etc.
Is It Safe To Take Fish Oil Supplements?
It’s a simple question, but it has become the most controversial question in recent years.
Millions of people in the US take fish oil capsule each day due to its alleged health benefits. According to a 2012 federal survey, approx. 18.8 million adults in the United States take omega-3 fish oil supplements. The supplements contain EPA and DHA, two types of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Many of the brands promise that the fish oil supplements will prevent heart disease.
Controversy has surrounded the heart benefits of fish oil supplements in the 15 years since the AHA first advised people that fish oil could help prevent further heart disease.
Don’t take the lure
However, conflicting research results have fueled the debate. The American Heart Association (AHA) has a recommendation about fish oil supplements and their cardiovascular benefits. According to their statement, Fish oil supplements may slightly lower the risk of dying of heart failure or after a recent heart attack. However, they do not prevent heart disease.
“In 2002, there were studies that indicated the benefits of fish oil supplements for heart disease. But as the years passed, there were a lot of studies that didn’t show benefits. The research got very muddled. Some of the studies didn’t enroll enough people or didn’t last long enough.”
According to the Robert Eckel, M.D., an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Aurora, the fish oil supplements don’t prevent heart diseases. There might be some benefit in taking fish oil supplements for certain patients, but not for everybody.
Omega-3 fish oil supplements do not prevent a second heart attack, but taking about a gram a day could reduce deaths from coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death by about 10 percent.
What Should You Do?
Despite the above study, you must consider eating fish and other seafood as a healthy strategy. Consuming more amount of fish and other seafood will reduce the need for taking fish oil supplements. You need to consider that taking a handful of supplements is no substitute for the wealth of nutrients you get from eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
What Should You Do If You Currently Take Fish Oil?
If your doctor prescribed fish oil supplements for you, make sure to follow your doctor’s recommendation. Take your supplements as recommended by your doctor. If you are taking them on your own because you believe they are good for you, it’s time to rethink that strategy. However, if you’re a vegetarian, you can get omega-3s from ground chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soy oil, and canola oil. One to two servings per day can help you avoid a deficiency of omega-3s.