By: Lucho Crisalle, RD
Amazing indeed! This powerhouse of a supplement really packs an overall health and nutritional power punch. Scientists were first alerted to the many benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the early 1970′s when Danish physicians observed that Greenland Eskimos had an exceptionally low incidence of heart disease and arthritis, despite the fact that they consumed a high-fat diet. Intensive research soon discovered that two of the fats (oils) they consumed in large quantities, EPA and DHA came from their high fish diet, and were the primary cause for their low incidence of heart disease and arthritis.
More recent research has established the following 7 Amazing Benefits of EPA/DHA (Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fish Oils):
- Fish oils are one of the few substances known to lower concentrations of triglycerides (fatty substances) in the blood. Considered the “heart’s best friend,” an enormous amount of medical literature supports the fact that fish oils prevent atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, and may reverse many of these conditions. Fish oils actually help maintain the elasticity of artery walls, prevent blood clotting, reduce blood pressure and stabilize heart rhythm.
- Increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids has direct effects on serotonin levels. Good for the brain!Low DHA levels have been linked to low brain serotonin levels which again are connected to an increased tendency to depression, suicide, and violence. A high intake of fish oil has been linked to a significant decrease in age-related memory loss and cognitive function impairment and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, researchers at Harvard Medical School have successfully used fish oil supplementation to treat bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and British researchers report encouraging results in the treatment of schizophrenia.
- Fish oils are particularly effective in reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy joint function. Fish oils act in part by maintaining healthy prostaglandin, cytokine and leukotriene production, supporting connective tissue and cartilage integrity. The results of numerous small double blind trials indicate that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, promote joint motility and joint comfort. Daily supplementation can markedly reduce the number of tender joints and increase the time before fatigue sets in.
- Considerable new evidence shows that fish oil consumption can delay or reduce tumor development in breast cancer, and reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.Studies have shown that a high blood level of omega-3 fatty acids combined with a low level of omega-6 acids reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Daily supplementation with as little as 2.5 grams of fish oils has been found effective in preventing the progression from benign polyps to colon cancer and Korean researchers recently reported that prostate cancer patients have low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
In a recent clinical study, 60 patients with advanced metastatic cancer were split into two groups. One group received a placebo, another a high dose fish oil. The results were spectacular. With the placebo 38% survived for 6 mos., 10% one year, and none for a year and a half. With the fish oil, 93% survived for 6 months, 70% for one year and about 20% for 18 months.
- Omega-3 for weight control – Yes, weight control!Ironically, the key to stopping new fat storage and losing existing fat is to eat the right kind of fat: namely, the long-chain “marine” omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) found at high levels only in algae, fish, and fish oil. Marine-source omega-3 fatty acids help us burn off those calories before they get a chance to “sit around in storage,” which means we end up carrying less excess weight.
What is really amazing about the long-chain omega 3′s found in cold water fish and fish oil supplements is that they turn off the gene that controls fat storage! For the first time, science has proven beyond a doubt that nutritional components of our diet can directly control and influence key metabolic genes in our cells. This means the EFA’s we consume can significantly affect the way we store and burn fat.
The recommended dosage on most fish oil supplement bottles is usually the minimum required, and does not yield many of the benefits listed above (especially the fat burning benefit). I have seen best results with my clients and patients when they use three grams (three soft gels) with breakfast, lunch, and dinner totaling nine grams per day.