The Importance of Fish Oil to Your Health

Over the last two centuries, the American diet has seen a major drop in omega-3 consumption. This has occurred for many reasons, not least of which being the rise in saturated fats used in food processing and the switch from grass-fed to grain-fed beef. The result has led to major health problems for Americans.

Grandma Called Fish "Brain Food" for Good Reason

If you suffer from depression, poor memory or a number of other conditions, there's a good chance that you suffer from omega-3 deficiency and would benefit from adding fish oil to your diet. With most of the brain being made of fatty acids (such as DHA), it's not surprising that consuming fish oil has been shown to reduce existing depression and help with postpartum depression, ADHD, bipolar illness and even schizophrenia. Even in healthy people, supplementing with fish oil decreases anger and anxiety and increases vigor while also improving various types of attention, cognitive and physiological functions — including overall mood.

Especially Helpful in CFS and Fibromyalgia

Fish oil levels are unusually low in people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Although many with these illnesses find fish oil supplementation to be very helpful, many also find it to be a bit tricky to take because of having to take so many fish oil supplements to meet their dosage needs and the "fish burp" digestive issues that sometimes result. It's an unfortunate side effect that occurs in some cases, but is not prevalent enough that CFS and fibro patients should forgo this important dietary need.    


Relieves Pain from Inflammation

If pain is associated with inflammation (and most pains are), it is important to realize that omega-3 fish oil also plays a critical role in suppressing excess inflammation in our bodies. This deficiency is one major reason why people are suffering from pain. Taking fish oil can decrease this excess inflammation — resulting in wonderful relief from pain.

Try a quick test to see whether your body's inflammatory system is on overdrive. When you get a paper cut, it should quickly go away and be forgotten. If it gets red and you still feel the pain an hour later, you might benefit from taking fish oil.

Want to Live a Long But "Youthful" Life?

Fish oils have been shown to significantly decrease heart attack and stroke risk. This is because fish oil helps keep the blood vessels that feed every cell in your body working well, leaving your body healthier overall.

Getting Fish Oil from Foods or Supplements

I've recommended fish oils for many years. The benefits of omega-3s for heart health, mental well-being, pain, and more make fish oil seem like a clear, natural choice. With fish oil being so important, I recommend people get at least 3-4 servings of salmon, tuna, sardines, herring or mackerel weekly.

If you find that getting the fish oil you need through meal planning is difficult to do, adding a supplement is a great alternative. Unfortunately, this can lead to taking a lot of pills (often 10-12 a day,) which is both obnoxious and expensive. In addition, there is some concern over mercury and other contamination that may be present in some fish oil supplements and many (if not most) brands are simply rancid (a major cause of fish burps.)

Fish oil has many benefits to your health, so it's important that you not overlook including it regularly in your diet. Consider the tradeoffs of getting your fish oil from foods versus supplementation, and make an informed choice of which way to go – either way will be a smart decision.


I take fish oil supplements.  Anyone else here take fish oil supplements?  Have you seen improvements in your health? 

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Replies to This Discussion

Pharmaceutical grade fish oil is a new highly purified fish oil is that is more concentrated, free of dangerous toxins, and has been clinically tested. Because of it's higher potency and purity results are achieved that are not possible with cod liver oil or typical health food fish oils. Compared to lower grade oils pharmaceutical fish oil is 2-3 times as potent and 100's of times more pure.

How can you determine if a fish oil is really pharmacetuical grade? Some manufactures claim their product is pharmaceutical grade because it is manufactured in an FDA certified facility. Others base the claim on the purity of the oil, however, in most cases you have to take their word for it. The International Fish Oil Standard (IFOS) is administered by a third party independent laboratory that is not in the fish oil manufacturing or selling business. They have by far the strictest testing and requirements to qualify as pharmaceutical grade fish oil and they publish the 5 star fish oil test results on the internet for everyone to see. The requirements include containing more than 60% total long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA combined, containing less than 45 ppb PCB's, dioxin and furan less than 1 ppt, oxidation less than 19.5 meq/kg, and passing all the requirements of the less strict CRN and World Health Organization (WHO) requirements. This means that the oil is high potency based on the EPA and DHA content, is fresh with very little oxidation and has had impurities such as PCB's and mercury removed. IFOS criteria are strict and can be considered the "gold standard". The refining process necessary to produce pharmaceutical grade fish oil is very extensive and expensive. Typical health food store fish oil's and cod liver oil are not pharmaceutical grade, have a lower potency and may contain impurites.

Additional information about fish oil purity can be found on the web at Nutrasource Diagnostics, Inc. They publish the actual test results for every batch that meets their top 5 star rating right on the website.

I use pharmaceutical grade fish oil daily, excepting on the days I eat salmon.
That's great Ruth! So do I! : )




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