It is an oil derived from the fatty layers of cold water fish. This oil is rich in the long chain omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are known to be essential to human health.
In an ideal world, we would get all the omega-3s we need from our diet – but most people today get their daily requirements from supplements in the form of capsules or liquids.
What's so good about long-chain omega-3s?
While all omega-3s are good for our health, the long-chain variety found in fish have been found to be more efficiently converted by our bodies than the shorter-chain varieties, like Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in canola and linseed (or flaxseed) oils, soybeans and green vegetables.
Evidence has shown that populations that consume larger amounts of cold-water fish have a lower incidence of heart disease, cancer and many other chronic diseases.
What are the proven health benefits of fish oil?
The popularity of fish oil is far from fad-driven now. Thousands of studies have been undertaken over the last 50 years which now undeniably show the many benefits of long-chain fatty acids.
Here are some of the known or suggested health benefits of fish oil:
Cholesterol and blood pressure – research has shown that taking fish oil can reduce levels of triglycerides by 20 to 50 per cent. High levels of triglycerides raise the risk of heart disease.
Preventing heart disease – Fish oil has been associated with keeping people with healthy hearts free of heart disease.
Treating heart disease – some research suggests that people who already have heart disease may be able to lower their risk of dying it if they take fish oil.
Rheumatoid arthritis – fish oil has been found to help people with rheumatoid arthritis get over morning stiffness faster. Some arthritis sufferers have been able to reduce their reliance on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by taking fish oil daily.
Are you getting enough omega-3?
The first thing to know is that our bodies cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids so we must get them through food or supplements. The other point to remember is that these are vital for our good health.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggests a dietary target (therapeutic range is higher) of 430 mg of omega-3 fatty acids a day for women and 610 mg a day for men. You need to eat at least two meals featuring oily fish a week to get this much – and research has shown that more than 75 per cent of us are not eating anywhere near that. That's where the supplements come in.
Quality and purity
Fish oil quality can vary dramatically and it's of the utmost importance that the purest and highest quality fish oil is used to ensure therapeutic efficacy and safety.
Fish oils are one of many natural approaches we use to assist people to regain their optimal level of well-being. Please contact the staff at Naturally Dynamic Health on (02) 6021 0557, if you would like to discuss natural therapy options with one of our naturopaths.