The problem with supplements is media. Today one thing is good, tomorrow – another, one day everyone must have their vitamins, the following – we are getting everything we need in food, supplements are just a placebo… Right, vitamins and minerals in that sandwich and crisp deal from the local supermarket…
Same with omega-3, it’s very popular, why – we do not quite know, but we buy it anyway, then we forget to take it.
Here’s why we do want to take that omega 3:
Omega-3s are important for:
- cardiovascular function
- nervous system function
- brain development
- immune health
- fluidity of cell membranes, so messages from neurochemicals such as serotonin can be transmitted more easily
- insulin sensitivity
- help fight depression and anxiety
Research shows that low DHA consumption and blood levels is associated with memory loss, difficulty concentrating, Alzheimer’s disease and other mood problems. With lots of omega-3s, muscle cells become more sensitive to insulin, while fat cells decrease. This may mean that the body can divert more nutrients to muscle tissue.
Omega-3s come from food, mainly from marine sources. Honestly, do we eat fish and seaweed regularly (never mind quality fish)?
Why wouldn’t we want to help our cells and our brains and take some omega-3??
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- αlpha-linoliec acid (ALA).
EPA and DHA are the omega-3s that have been shown to be the most beneficial, primarily available in marine animal sources (i.e. fish)
ALA is called a “parent” omega-3 because ALA has to be converted to EPA and DHA first, only then can these critical fats do their work. ALA is found in plant-based sources – flax, walnuts, chia and hemp.
Your body can turn ALA into DHA and EPA, apparently not very efficiently, also plant based ALA is about 10% as effective as marine based DHA and EPA.
Basically, eating fish or taking supplements will give you DHA and EPA directly.
OK, now to the dosage:
There is no official recommended daily allowance of omega-3s, basically no one knows! Most health organizations agree that 250–5000 mg of combined EPA and DHA a day is fine.
Funnily, people with coronary heart disease are prescribed 1000 mg, with high triglycerides 2000 mg, with mood and mental disorders even higher, but generally 200-500 mg a day is OK.
Basically, every little helps!
One thing to remember – omega-3s are not for those on blood thinning medication. And, of course, if you’ve ANY health conditions ALWAYS discuss your supplements with your doctor before taking them!
What you need to know:
If aiming to get omega-3 from fish – check the fish you’re getting has a healthy balance of fats, sometimes farm-raised fish may contain far more omega-6 fats that the omega-3 fats.
We want to limit omega-6. Also watch out for all those environmental pollutants and heavy metals. Personally I got frustrated looking for a safe reliable and affordable fishmongers. If you’ve a good source – please let me know!
If taking supplement, make sure your fish oil is high quality – what fish is used, where from, did they do their testing? Another frustrating search (see the company I was recommended below).
Check the expiration date and use before the oil before that date.
Buy smaller bottles of fish oil (250-300ml) – you’ll finish them sooner which means there’s a lower risk of them going off and going rancid. (Yuk!)
Once opened keep your fish oil in the fridge and use it within 40 days, or keep it in the freezer no more than 120 days.
If it smells/tastes bad not fishy but rancid or weird) – get rid of it.
Wrap your fish oil with aluminum foil to reduce exposure to light, also the bottle won’t feel oily 🙂
Pump out the air using a wine saver pump (available at kitchen supply stores and wine shops) to remove oxygen from an open bottle. Hmm, I’ll see how it goes without the pump.
OK, this is my omega-3 info, any questions or anything you want to share – let me know!
Here is the link to Aliment Nutrition fish oil I was recommended and am currently using, you get 10% off, I get points for referral. Aliment Nutrition also offer great vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics, we are trying them out and if happy will spread the word 🙂
PS. For vegans, fish oil is obviously not an option – luckily, you can get algae oil! Same benefits but a bit more expensive. Luckily, I got you all a discount code.
Visit Nothing Fishy and use the discount code meanfit