Are You Hooked on Fish Oil Yet? The Natural
Wonder Drug Proven To Treat a Range of Conditions
reveal everything you need to know about the supplement that can
fight heart disease, ease arthritis - and even stave off blindness.
GREAT ABOUT IT?
- All fish
oils contain omega-3s, types of polyunsaturated fatty acid which
are essential for health.
- Fish such
as mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, pilchards and fresh tuna,
which are known as oily fish, are the richest sources.
- Dr Carrie
Ruxton, nutritionist for the Health Supplements Information Service,
says: There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids,
but the key health benefits are believed to come from the very
long chain omega-3s, called docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic
- The Food
Standards Agency (FSA) recommends we eat a minimum of two portions
of fish each week, one of which should be an oily fish (one portion
is about 140g). This provides a daily intake of 450mg of EPA and
- Today many
supplements will specify which type they contain and in what concentration.
EPA and DHA have different roles in the body. Dr Ruxton says:
Studies suggest DHA is more important for the brain, retina
and infant development, while EPA is more important for vascular
health [blood vessels].
difficulty we have in the UK is that two-thirds of people dont
eat oily fish, she says. The main source of long chain
omega-3s in the diet is oily fish, and if we cant get them
from that, we need to consider a supplement to top up our diet.
fall into three categories: fish oil, cod liver oil and krill
oil. Which one you choose will depend on how much money you want
to spend and what benefit youre trying to get.
- Shona Wilkinson,
head nutritionist at The Nutri Centre, says: Cod liver oil
comes direct from the liver, whereas fish oil comes from the flesh
of oily fish. Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the
ocean. The oil found in them contains omega-3s similar to those
found in fish oils.
- Dr Ruxton
says: If youre on a budget, cod liver oil or a standard
omega-3 are the ones to go for. You dont need to buy the
most expensive brands to get the basic benefits. If you have a
specific condition and need a high dose or are pregnant and dont
want the Vitamin A, the cost will go up.
- Cod liver
oil generally has lower levels of EPA and DHA but also differs
from fish oil as it naturally provides Vitamin A, which is important
for good eyesight and healthy skin, and Vitamin D for bone and
immune health. Cod liver oil isnt suitable for use during
pregnancy as it provides too much Vitamin A.
- Dr Ruxtons
advice is not to look at the total amount of omega-3s when choosing
a supplement, but at the total amount of EPA and DHA combined
that a supplement provides. This should add up to 450mg per day.
supplements for vegetarians also contain EPA and DHA fish
have EPA and DHA in their flesh in the first place because they
feed on algae, says Dr Ruxton. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
is another omega-3 fatty acid, which is plant-based and found
in dietary sources such as vegetable, rapeseed and flaxseed oils.
Our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA but the process depends
on how much EPA and DHA you take as well.
HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO TREAT...
Supplementation studies in pregnancy show fish oils may reduce the
risk of early birth. As they may provide Vitamin A, its essential
to choose a supplement suitable for pregnancy just twice
the RDA of Vitamin A early in pregnancy can increase the risk of
for eating oily fish changed recently from once a week to two or
three portions a week. Collins says taking omega-3s while pregnant
can have benefits for the expectant mum, too. Its a
boost for your immune system as well as that of your baby.
Dr Ruxton adds:
Evidence from Denmark and Australia suggests the last trimester
of pregnancy is the optimum opportunity for programming IQ and immune
functions. Taking omega-3s at this stage is crucial.
Choose a specific pregnancy supplement.
Equazen Mumomega high in DHA for the development of the babys
eyes, £9.35, 30 capsules, dolphinfitness.co.uk
Studies have shown benefits from fish oils for those suffering from
principal dietician at St Georges Hospital, London, says:
Fish oils have an anti-inflammatory effect which targets the
cause of joint pain and helps the body deal with the pain.
effect is irrelevant if youre eating a diet full of omega-6
unsaturates [including corn and sunflower oils], and saturated fats.
Such foods counteract and lessen the effects of the beneficial oils.
Fish oils work
in synergy with monounsaturated fats, together reducing cell inflammation
that reduces pain and maintains health.
A minimum of 3,000mg of EPA and DHA combined a day for maximum benefits.
doses are more than six times the daily recommendation, so you must
take medical advice, says dietician Helen Bond at the Proprietary
Association of Great Britain, the regulatory body for over-the-counter
medicines and supplements.
acids can interact with other medications.
RxOmega-3, 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA, £18.95, foryourhealth.co.uk
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© 2012 Daily