With more people searching for alternative health options, the search is on for natural sources of foods and food supplements which can help our physical, and sometimes even emotional health. Omega 3 fish oils fall into the category of a natural health supplement that can really make a difference.
Various studies have been conducted to check the effect that fish oils can have on many health conditions-from depression to IBS- and results have shown to be very positive, to say the least. While some may differ, most medical professionals recommend supplementing your diet with fish or fish oils; one of them being the American Heart association (AHA) which recommends fish / fish oil for cardiovascular benefits. Since we would need to eat large amounts of fish to get the required benefits, it makes sense to look at the omega 3 fish oil supplements.
How do fish oils supplements benefit us? Research studies have found that with our modern lifestyles, there is a strong imbalance between our consumption of foods carrying omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. While both are crucial for our health, the over consumption of omega 6 is creating a severe deficiency of the essential fatty acids of omega 3 in our systems.
The optimal ratio of omega 6 acids to omega 3 acids is 4:1 but today, our average intake of omega 6 fatty acids is anywhere between 10 -20 times higher than normal, leading to many inflammatory and congestive diseases. This is mainly due to the increased consumption of vegetable oils and processed foods. Add to that the dangers of eating fish, a very potent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids and we have on hand all the factors leading to various health problems.
The excess omega 6 needs to be balanced with large amounts of omega 3 acids but with fish, one of our better sources of omega 3 acids, posing a problem of a different kind due to ocean pollution, we need to look elsewhere for these essential fatty acids.
As most experts would agree, the best way would be to add the omega 3 fatty acids by way of ultra refined fish oil supplements. This would ensure high quality supplements delivering maximum benefits.
What are the health benefits of omega 3 essential fatty acids? Some of the significant benefits are given below:
a. The most important effect of fish oils is that it counters inflammation in the body. The increased use of omega 6 fatty acids leads to chronic inflammation which, in turn, is the cause of the many illnesses. In fact many health problems today can be attributed to inflammation, some of which are- autoimmune disorders, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic syndrome.
The omega 3 acids are made of 2 main components- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). While both the omega 3’s are very important to reduce inflammation, reports show that the EPA metabolic process helps decrease inflammation by reducing production of pro-inflammation markers in the body. Studies show positive results on inflammation by adding as little as 1000 mg to your diet.
b. Fish oils help maintain cardiovascular health, affecting the circulation, cholesterol and even blood pressure levels.
One of the main benefits is its role in prevention of atherosclerosis. Research shows that fish oil prevents atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries which is caused due to build up of plaque in the arteries, where the blood cannot reach the heart. Coronary artery disease is the number one killer in USA today, affecting more that 10 million Americans.
Studies also found that cultures following a Mediterranean diet or a diet high in fish showed lower triglyceride levels and an increase in their HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels.
c. Emotional health
Some studies showed that the omega 3 fatty acids helped lower the symptoms for people with depression. They found that countries where fish formed a part of their regular diet had lower levels of depression amongst the people. But the studies were not conclusive and it is therefore recommended that a combination of omega 3 fish oils along with antidepressants and a healthy lifestyle would help.
d. Healthy Skin
One of the positive results that most people are not aware of is how omega 3 oils impact skin health. People taking the supplements for absolutely different reasons find out that they have better skin, glowing with health and reduced acne and wrinkles. As per the Journal of Lipid Research, the fish oils contribute to regulating the oil production of the skin and increase the hydration leading to a healthy complexion.
When you consider the above, we can see why the health benefits of fish oils cannot be ignored. The pluses are too many. But there are some precautions that you need to take in the event you plan to add this super food supplement to your diet. You should check with your physician before you take it, especially if you are on medication of any kind.
Further, not all fish oil supplements are created equal so it is absolutely necessary to ensure the quality of the omega 3 supplement you choose. Ideally, the fish oil should be ultra refined and contain the correct amount of EPA and DHA to deliver complete benefits. All in all, even a dose of 1000 mg of fish oil taken regularly can make a difference to your health so why not give it a try.