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Should I Take Fish Oil Supplements? | Nutrition

By: Robert J Banach  Robert J Banach on Google+

Fatty Fish and Fish Oil SupplementsShould I Take Fish Oil Supplements?

In the year 2010 Americans alone spent over $4 billion on products fortified with extra Omega-3’s(1), $740 million on Fish Oil supplements alone.

Are all those consumers making the right choice?

In the new report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lead study author Dr. Evangelos Rizos and his colleagues completed an extensive review of existing data. They pooled results from 20 studies that included almost 70,000 adult patients.

Through rigorous statistical analyses, they said, they found no significant risk reduction in those getting increased omega-3 in their diet or through supplements.(2)

Though these results show that though Fish Oil Supplements may not extend our lives, they are important to our health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends…

Eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. Each serving is 3.5 oz. cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish. Enjoy fish baked or grilled, not fried. Choose low-sodium, low-fat seasonings such as spices, herbs, lemon juice and other flavorings in cooking and at the table.

So, what are you getting with that 3.5 oz. of fish?

If you are focusing on the fatty fish, such as sardines, herring, spanish mackerel and salmon, your will be consuming over 1 gram per serving, this amount will help fortify the intake necessary that you need on a regular basis.

Flax Seed | Flax Meal | Flaxseed OilBut, I’m a Vegetarian…

Then you need to make sure you are consuming flax, camelina, chia or hemp(4).

The Mayo Clinic tells us…

The average American consumes approximately 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily, of which about 1.4 grams (~90%) comes from alpha-linolenic acid, and only 0.1-0.2 grams (~10%) comes from EPA and DHA.

In Western diets, people consume roughly 10 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. These large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids come from the common use of vegetable oils containing linoleic acid (for example, corn oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, and wheat germ oil).

Because omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete with each other to be converted to active metabolites in the body, benefits can be reached either by decreasing intake of omega-6 fatty acids or by increasing omega-3 fatty acids(3).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved…

A new prescription fish oil formulation (Vascepa) for the treatment of high levels of triglycerides (TG).  The drug is indicated as an adjunct to diet in adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia (TG > 500 mg/dL) who are at risk for stroke and heart attack.

Who Else May Benefit?

Although the evidence isn’t overwhelming, the supplements may modestly lower high blood pressure, ease menstrual and rheumatoid arthritis pain, and improve the symptoms of ADHD and asthma in children. They might also help with osteoporosis, kidney disease, bipolar disorder, and Raynaud’s syndrome, a disorder that affects the arteries to the fingers and toes.

With A Good Diet, Do I Need Fish Oil Supplements?

Most people can get enough omega-3s by eating fatty fish–such as salmon and sardines, which are also low in mercury–at least twice a week.

People who have coronary heart disease require about a gram a day of those fatty acids, an amount that often requires taking a supplement.

Check with a doctor before taking omega-3 pills because they can interact with some medications. Choose one listed under “met quality standards.” Those cost anywhere from 17 to 64 cents a day for 1 gram of EPA and DHA combined, the amount the American Heart Association recommends for people with coronary heart disease.

References:
(1) http://www.packagedfacts.com/Omega-Global-Product-6385341/
(2) http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357266
(3) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fish-oil/NS_patient-fishoil/DSECTION=dosing
(4) http://veganhealth.org/articles/alasources

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Category: Nutrition
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