According to an article in the Washington Post, people spend $1.2b anually on fish oil supplements, unfortunately the jury is still out on whether Omega-3 fish oil supplements help.
Omega-3 fatty acids (also simply known as Omega-3s) are polyunsaturated fats are are important for a number of functions in the body. Some omega-3s can be found in fatty fish and shellfish, and another type can be found in some vegetable oils. Many people get their omega-3s through omega-3 dietary supplements.
What exactly are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
According to the National Center for Coplementary and Integrative Health, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are made up of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The main sources of ALA in the U.S. diet are vegetable oils, particularly canola and soybean oils; flaxseed oil is richer in ALA than soybean and canola oils but is not commonly consumed. ALA can be converted, usually in small amounts, into EPA and DHA in the body. EPA and DHA are found in seafood, including fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (e.g., crab, mussels, and oysters).
Commonly used dietary supplements that contain omega-3s include fish oil (which provides EPA and DHA) and flaxseed oil (which provides ALA). Algae oils are a vegetarian source of DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a number of bodily functions, including muscle activity, blood clotting, digestion, fertility, and cell division and growth. DHA is important for brain development and function. ALA is an “essential” fatty acid, meaning that people must obtain it from food or supplements because the human body cannot manufacture it.
There has been a lot of research done into omega-3 supplements however the findings of the studies have been inconsistent. In 2012 the combined analysis of the results did not find convincing evident that omega-3s protected agaisnt heart disease – it is also important to note that the analysis did not say that there was no help either.
In addition to helping with cardiovascular health, there is some evidence that omega-3s found in seafood and fish oil supplements may be modestly helping in relieving symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis however for all other areas definitive conclusions cannot yet be reached.
Some caveats for those what may consider taking Omega-3 Supplements, they may interact with drugs that affect blood clotting (so speak to your doctor if you intend to take Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements). In addition the science is uncertain whether people that have allergies to fish or shellfish can safely consume fish oil supplements.
Besides these caveats, taking omega-3 supplements usually do not have any negative side effects, when effects do occur they may be minor gastrointestinal such as belching (burping), indigestion, or diarrhea.
Who is taking Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements?
MANY people! In fact according to a NHI survey in 2012 almost 19m people in the US were taking fish oil supplements (or about 7.8% of adults) and even children between the ages of 4 and 17 were taking fish oil supplements – 1.1% or about 664,000 people.
What does the science say?
Moderate evidence has come out about the health benefits of eating sea food, and unfortunately the benefits of high quality omega-3 dietary fish oil supplements are still unclear.
Studies done more than 30-years ago on Inuit populations have noted low death rates due to cardiovascular disease, especially those that had high seafood consumption. Since those early studies additional research has shown that people that eat seafood at least once per week were less likely to die of heart disease than those that rarely or never ate seafood.
What should I do?
Every individual is unique, while you should always strive to get your daily requirements through eating a balanced and nutritious meal it is not always possible given our busy lifestyles. Omega3 Fish Oil Supplements are one source of this essential fatty acid, if you have any concerns you should speak to your doctor first before taking any supplement. If you’ve decided that Omega3 is what you want, here are three top products on Amazon.
Some of these products may qualify for further discounts if you subscribe to the product and the product vendor may offer Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement coupons to further reduce the price.
Pssst… did you know you can even get fish oil supplements for your dog?