The supplement industry is huge bringing in billions of dollars a year but are these supplements good for us? I have turned my sights on a fish oil. There have been recent studies that have shown that fish oil may lead to cancer and doesn’t improve heart health. If you do an internet search about fish oil you will find all sorts of information telling you that fish oil is good or that fish oil is bad. What is the truth about fish oil?
What do we know about fish oil? Fish contains two important omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cold water fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines are full of these fatty acids.
These fatty acids are important because they help with inflammation, brain function and heart disease. Some research has shown that omega-3s are linked to improvement in mood disorders as well. Do fish oil supplements give us the same benefits as eating food with omega-3s? Probably not.
There have been studies done on fish oil and none of them showed benefits of taking the supplement vs placebo when it comes to heart health. The age of focusing on one part of a food is over and the trends are moving towards whole foods rather than supplements.
Eating fish is a better way to get the benefits of omega-3s and if you don’t like fish you can eat nuts. Nuts and seeds are full of alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Your body can convert ALA into the same omega-3s found in fish. Adding a walnuts, flax seeds and other seeds will cover all your omega-3 needs.
Is fish oil bad for you
The jury is out if fish oil is harmful to your health. Fish oil has blood thinning effects which can interact with other medications which is not ideal. Eating fish doesn’t interact with drugs the same way the supplement does. Some doctors recommend using fish oil for certain things and the FDA has approved some fish oil pills to lower triglycerides. My take on if fish oil is bad for you is probably not. Is fish oil the best way to get omega-3s no.
The best way to get Omega-3s
I stated before that fish oil is not the best way to get omega-3s in the diet. Eating cold water fish like salmon is a better bet to get this fatty acid. As stated before eating a diet rich in nuts and seeds can also help with boosting fatty acids. Having a serving of fish 2-3 times a week should be plenty to get the amount of omega-3s that you need. Try adding one serving of nuts daily to your diet too. Whole foods are always a better choice than using a supplement.
Does fish oil help with weight loss?
Can fish oil help you lose weight? The answer is maybe. First I want to make something clear about weight loss. You need to make sure to have your energy balance in check otherwise supplements won’t help you lose weight.
The fat in fish oil may help reduce feelings of hunger. The reduced feeling of hunger will help you control calorie intake during the day. But a better idea is to eat a diet rich in fatty acids like fish and nuts because a diet high in these foods have also shown to reduce weight. Eating the whole food option adds other nutrients along with the omega-3s that provide other health benefits.
Some studies have shown that taking fish oil may increase metabolism. Eating foods high in good fats have been shown to do the same thing. If you can’t fit these healthy foods into your diet taking the pill might be the next best thing.
Does fish oil reduce joint pain?
The jury is still out on this one but the fatty acids found in fish oil may push the body to produce chemicals that help fight inflammation. Taking fish oil may improve flexibility by reducing stiffness caused by inflammation in the body. More research needs to be done before we can say this is a fact. As of now adding fish oil doesn’t hurt but as stated before building your diet around whole foods with omega-3s will offer the same benefit.
Does fish oil reduce triglyceride levels?
Yes, fish oil has been shown to reduce triglycerides. It works so well that drug companies have started to use to lower triglyceride levels. This is one supplement that the FDA does approve of. Talk to your doctor before taking fish oil for this reason. If you want to take it to prevent your triglycerides levels from going up, go ahead. It won’t hurt you.
We have listed a few different truths about fish oil. The bottom line is that it may be helpful in some cases but you can get the same benefits from a healthy diet. Eating fish a few times a week and adding nuts/seeds to your diet will yield the same results. Many experts are saying that fish oil might not be as good and once thought. We will have to keep an eye on future studies to see what they come up with.
Check out our blog on weight loss myths