DHA, EPA & Fish Oil Supplements - the Benefits & Lowdown
8 July 2024

DHA, EPA & Fish Oil Supplements - the Benefits & Lowdown

Frequently, I tune into wellness podcasts and scour social media for trustworthy natural health news and advice. One thing that stands out to me is the common narrative that inflammation is portrayed as the ultimate enemy that must be eradicated at all costs. The term itself is frequently used to describe a range of bodily responses, from redness and swelling to break-outs, itchiness, and general pain. I decided to delve deeper into this subject, and it became clear to me that inflammation should not be demonised. Rather, it serves a crucial purpose as a natural mechanism signifying the proper function of my immune system. Contrary to popular belief, inflammation is not inherently harmful, but rather an essential response that plays a vital role in protecting our bodies from potential threats. Inflammation only becomes problematic when it becomes chronic, signaling that the body's protective and healing response has gone into overdrive. This prolonged inflammation can contribute to a host of serious health issues, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and asthma. By understanding the role of inflammation in the body and taking steps to address chronic inflammation, we can better protect our overall health and well-being.

In the ongoing battle against (chronic) inflammation, achieving the right balance is key. By supporting your body's natural inflammatory response, you can harness its healing power to work in your favour. Fortunately, there are numerous natural remedies that have been scientifically proven to assist in this process. Turmeric, Olive Oil, and Cannabis are well-known contenders in the fight against inflammation, but one often underestimated powerhouse is Fish Oil. Fish Oil, derived from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These essential fatty acids have been shown to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Research has demonstrated that Fish Oil can benefit conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and even mental health disorders. In Thailand, where I reside, the abundance of fresh fish never fails to delight the locals. People just love to eat fish over here. They cook, steam, fry, deep-fry and barbecue it. However, I never liked fish, so fortunately I still can get my load of omega-3 fatty acids by taking a high quality Fish Oil supplement.

Fish Oil

Despite its impressive health benefits, Fish Oil is frequently overlooked in discussions about inflammation. However, incorporating this powerful supplement into your daily routine could have a significant impact on your overall well-being. Whether taken in capsule form or added to your diet through fish consumption, Fish Oil is a simple yet effective way to support your body in the fight against inflammation. In summary, when it comes to managing inflammation, finding the right balance is crucial. Fish Oil is a natural remedy that should not be overlooked, as its anti-inflammatory properties have the potential to significantly improve your health and well-being. So, I highly recommend adding a dose of Fish Oil to your daily routine and let it work its magic in supporting your body's natural inflammatory response.

The Goodness of Fish Oil

Fish Oil is a powerhouse of essential omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are crucial for overall health and well-being. These nutrients are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, making them a valuable tool in maintaining optimal health. Dr. Reuben Chen, a respected sports medicine physician and holistic pain management expert, highlights the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in Fish Oil. In addition to their role in reducing inflammation, these fatty acids have been shown to support brain function, alleviate joint pain, promote better eye health, and even enhance the appearance of skin. With regular intake of Fish Oil, people can harness the power of omega-3 fatty acids to not only combat inflammation but also to improve various aspects of their health. Incorporating Fish Oil into your daily routine may just be the boost your body needs to function at its best.

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. Consuming foods rich in omega-3s, such as fish and seafood, can help promote heart health and potentially lower the risk of coronary heart disease. According to Christine Randazzo Kirschner, a registered dietitian and founder of Amenta Nutrition in New York City, larger doses of long-chain omega-3 supplements, like Fish Oil, have been shown to effectively reduce triglyceride levels, particularly in individuals with existing heart conditions. By adding omega-3s to your diet, you can support your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial component of a healthy diet, but here's the catch: our bodies are unable to produce them naturally. Despite the numerous benefits associated with these essential fatty acids, research indicates that most people do not consume enough of them. In fact, there has been an alarming 80% decrease in omega-3 intake among adults over the past 80 years.

The Goodness of Fish Oil

With the growing body of evidence supporting the importance of omega-3 fatty acids, it has become more vital than ever to make a conscious effort to incorporate them into our diets, whether through food sources or supplementation. According to Randazzo Kirschner, Omega-3s play a critical role in maintaining the structure of cell membranes and have a wide range of functions within the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, and endocrine systems. Furthermore, they have been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Given their essential role in promoting overall health and well-being, it is clear that omega-3 fatty acids should not be overlooked in our daily nutrition. By making a deliberate effort to increase our intake of these vital nutrients, we can support our bodies in functioning optimally and potentially reduce the risk of developing various health conditions.

Good Fat is Your Buddy

Research has consistently shown that consuming fish is the most effective way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These essential nutrients, commonly found in Fish Oil, are crucial for maintaining optimal health. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, oysters, herring, sardines, mackerel, tuna, and sea bass are particularly rich sources of omega-3s. For those who prefer a plant-based diet or have dietary restrictions, there is another type of omega-3 fatty acid called ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) that can be found in certain plant foods. Foods such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil are good sources of ALA. However, it is important to note that the body only partially converts ALA into EPA and DHA, the active forms of omega-3s, in very small amounts. While these plant-based sources may not provide as much EPA and DHA as fish, they can still be beneficial in meeting your omega-3 needs. Including a variety of these foods in your diet can help ensure you are getting an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Ultimately, consuming a combination of fatty fish and plant-based sources of omega-3s can help you maintain a well-rounded and nutritious diet.

To that end, both she and Dr. Chen recommend amping up the DHA and EPA with algal oil supplements. “Algal is derived from algae, which is the primary source of EPA and DHA for fish, so consuming it directly is a great source for EPA and DHA without the need to consume fish,” Dr. Chen explains. In other words, algal oil is entirely plant-based, so vegans and vegetarians, take note. For everyone else, Randazzo Kirschner says that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can be achieved through diet—as long as you’re thoughtful about what you consume. “For breakfast, dress up your fruit-filled oatmeal with chia or sprinkle flax or hemp seeds on your nut butter toast,” she recommends. “Then, lunch can be a salad topped with a piece of salmon and walnuts or a smoked salmon sandwich with a side of walnuts and fruit.” For dinner, she suggests a piece of fatty fish like mackerel or trout with quinoa, flaxseeds, and your favourite veggies.

A Decent Catch

A Decent Catch

If the idea of eating fish every day seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. But here’s the good news: research shows that just one or two servings of fish per week can provide all the heart-healthy benefits of Fish Oil. If you prefer to play it safe with a supplement, Dr. Chen suggests a daily dose of 250-500 mg of combined EPA and DHA for overall health maintenance. For specific health issues like high triglyceride levels, cardiovascular disease, or inflammatory conditions, higher doses of Fish Oil may be necessary. In these cases, doses ranging from 1000-4000 mg per day may be recommended. However, Dr. Chen stresses the importance of consulting a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. Your physician or registered dietitian can provide personalised guidance to ensure you’re getting the right amount of Fish Oil for your individual needs.

When taking food supplements, it is crucial to prioritise research and thorough investigation. This sentiment is echoed by experts in the field, who emphasise the importance of due diligence, especially in the absence of regulation by the Federal Food and Drug Administration for these products. Randazzo Kirschner highlights the discrepancy that sometimes exists between the label on a supplement bottle and its actual contents, urging consumers to exercise caution. She also warns about potential undisclosed additives that may be present. To ensure safety and efficacy, it is advisable to opt for brands with a solid reputation and supplements that have undergone third-party testing. Ultimately, whenever feasible, obtaining essential nutrients directly from food is considered the ideal route. By being vigilant and discerning, people can make informed decisions about supplement usage and prioritise their overall health and well-being.

Ancient Purity Krill Oil

Is It Possible Consuming Too Much Fish Oil?

It's important to prioritise safety when it comes to taking Fish Oil supplements. While they are generally considered safe, it's crucial to be mindful of the potential risks associated with overdoing it. Nutritionist Randazzo Kirschner cautions that excessive intake of Fish Oil can lead to an increased risk of bleeding and may impact your immune response. To avoid any adverse effects, it is advisable to stick to the recommended daily dose of 200 to 500 mg, unless otherwise advised by your physician. Additionally, it's essential to be aware of any possible interactions between Fish Oil and certain medications, particularly anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. Combining these medications with Fish Oil could potentially heighten the risk of bleeding, making it imperative to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a heart condition or are at high risk for heart disease. For those women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, extra caution is advised when considering Fish Oil supplements. Due to the potential for unintentional mercury consumption, it may be best to avoid them altogether during this time. Prioritising safety and consulting with a healthcare provider can help ensure that you are taking fish oil supplements responsibly and minimising any potential risks to your health.

Some people may experience mild side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, or a fishy aftertaste when taking Fish Oil supplements. It is important to note that those with a fish or seafood allergy should avoid these supplements entirely. However, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in Fish Oil are unparalleled when it comes to managing inflammation, improving eye, brain, joint, and heart health. Personally, I think Antarctic Krill Oil is one of the most potent. Recent research has even suggested potential benefits for mental health, with omega-3s showing a small to moderate effect on depression. As more studies are conducted, the full extent of the advantages of Fish Oil supplements may continue to evolve. It is clear that the power of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be ignored when it comes to enhancing overall health and well-being.

“Fish oil is known for its protective properties to human health.” - Steven Magee, Pandemic Supplements