I’ve written to you before about the vast health benefits of fish oil, and today I’m going to give you a little more information.
I’m a firm believer in the numerous ways fish oil supplements can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and protect you from disease. I think they are a foundational supplement that everybody, regardless of their age, weight, fitness level or overall health, should take.
They can assist in weight loss, improve your skin and hair, reduce cholesterol, improve heart function, and increase brain function and memory, too.
One study found a possible link between prostate cancer risk and the use of fish oil, but it was a very loose link. I still consume fish oil supplements daily and recommend you do, too.
Researchers recently found more evidence fish oil can improve your brainpower and possibly fight the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A study indicates that people who have higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil (DHA and EPA) have larger brain volumes than people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. Smaller brain volumes are a sign of normal aging, but also Alzheimer’s disease.
The study looked at blood tests and brain scans from more than 11,000 women and the findings were consistent. What’s important, however, is that the hippocampus area of the brain—responsible for memory—increased in volume when higher levels of omega-3 were found. This is notable because the hippocampus begins to shrink long before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s ever appear. If fish oil increases the volume of this area of the brain, it’s possible it can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and delay its onset.
So how much fish oil should you take every day? More than the recommended daily intake and more than the suggested serving listed on the bottle. You can elect to purchase capsules or liquid oil, and the servings vary. I choose the liquid version.
The data indicates an effective therapeutic dose of fish oil is 1,000 mg to 1,500 mg. Depending on the content of your liquid, it’s about two teaspoons. With pills, the serving size is a little more dicey. A typical one gram pill, for example, will only have about 300 mg, or 30%, of an effective daily dose, meaning you’ll have to take five pills to experience the real benefits. Therefore, make sure you read the label to know how much you’re getting, how much you need to take, and the value of the brand you select.
At the end of the day, fish oil has almost too many benefits to list. If you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you do—and that you take an effective dose!
- Haines, C., “Fish Oil and Brain Power,” National Library of Medicine web site, February 5, 2014; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/videos/news/Brain_Power_012314-1.html, last accessed February 5, 2014.
- Brink, W., “Fish Oil Facts,” Brinkzone web site, August 4, 2010; http://www.brinkzone.com/supplement-science/fish-oil-facts/, last accessed February 5, 2014.
- Brink, W., “Are You an Educated Consumer? Lessons in Saving Money by Reading Labels: Fish Oil Supplements,” Brinkzone web site, October 18, 2008; http://www.brinkzone.com/nutritional-science/getting-the-most-bang-for-your-buck-from-supplements/, last accessed February 5, 2013.
Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The Food Doctor newsletter. Dr. Marchione has also served as Principal Investigator in at least a dozen clinical research projects relating to serious ailments such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).