Is fish oil as good as everyone says?

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One of the most commonly known supplements on the market today is fish oil. It comes in many different forms – from liquid cod liver oil like your parents used to give you by the spoonful, to capsules of highly purified extra strength potency omega-3. There are even products manufactured from sea algae (rather than fish) in order to offer a vegan/vegetarian option for omega-3 supplementation.

Regardless of whether the fish oil is highly purified or also includes other active ingredients like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, or other omegas, all fish oil supplements contain omega-3 oil. The two types of omega-3, EPA and DHA, have been shown in research studies to have a variety of health benefits and it remains most beneficial to have them both acting together. This is why the fish oil you buy will list the ratio of EPA:DHA, sometimes with much more of one than the other, but will always have at least a bit of both.

Much of the recent research shows the potential benefit of high dose EPA in particular. EPA is a fatty acid that can help with the treatment of mood disorders, cognitive functioning, and cardiovascular conditions like atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. It can also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory for our joints, skin, and our body in general. It’s this anti-inflammatory action of EPA that can be so effective in treating the brain and mental health concerns – because more and more studies are finding a strong link between inflammatory states and less than ideal brain function.

DHA has also been shown to be effective in brain health, specifically in the development of the brain, nervous system and retina in the fetus and in young infancy. All prenatal and perinatal fish oil supplements make sure to include a good dose of DHA along with EPA.

Considering all of the various body systems than can benefit from EPA, DHA, and the combined anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in general, it’s no wonder that omega-3 fish oil has become such a popular over the counter supplement. Ask your naturopathic doctor to find out if fish oil is suitable for your specific health care needs, and which dose and form would be best for you.