Fish oil is a hot topic in the world of nutrition. A lot of people are now understanding the importance of consuming fish oil and how it can help them overcome certain diseases and live a healthy life. I first came across fish oil a few years ago when I had not so great skin and pretty rough hair and so I was recommended by my therapist to start using fish oil and observe its positive effects. Needless to say, a year down the line, my skin actually showed off a glow and I could feel the softness! My hair was definitely growing stronger and had a soft shine to it. So, if you're like me wanting to try out fish oil, there's no reason why you shouldn't. Here's to giving you some very basic information on what exactly is fish oil and how is it beneficial for you.
What is Fish Oil?
Long explanations cut short, here's a quick definition from wiki,
“Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and have other health benefits.”
Along with vitamins, minerals, iron, calcium and other important substances, the body largely needs Omega-3 fats as it forms an important part of our cell membranes. Being an essential fatty acid or, “good acid”, Omega-3 is necessary for the body to remain strong and healthy. According to studies, research suggests that a 1-2 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 should be maintained in the body as it not only helps in keeping it healthy, but also assists in overcoming diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. With numerous benefits to it's name, omega-3 is a compulsory supplement that your body should not be devoid of.
Fish Oil Capsules – Knowing the Basics
Now, fish oil has been gaining a poor reputation as people are quite intimidated with the pungent smell of it and millions actually dislike sea-food (oh yes, I'm not the lone weirdo here). So in cases like this, where you cannot bear consuming a spoon of real fish oil – the supplement capsule is your best option. In fact, people worldwide prefer taking capsules to actual fish oil because it's easy and convenient enough to find. And also because you get to obtain omega-3 benefits without having to bear the dreadful smell of real fish oil.
Like every other supplement capsules, the problem is getting the right brand of capsule. Because there are literally thousands of brands selling fish oil, it is quite difficult for the average consumer to identify which brand is most effective and also safe.
The emphasis on “safety”, is because most of the fish we consume are pretty much loaded with toxic materials such as mercury and metal; therefore, when the oil is extracted, the toxins remain unless molecular distillation is used to separate the toxins from the oil. Whether taken in the form of capsules or in actual oil form, it is important to find out if the oil has undergone molecular distillation. The second thing to understand is the type of fish oil that should be consumed. Not all fish contain Omega 3 or DHA/EPA (types of omega-3) and the levels of these substances may vary in various fish types. Generally, the Hoki-Fish (found primarily in New Zealand and adjoining coastal areas) has the highest levels of DHA/EPA and is the most popular type of fish oil to be consumed.
P.S – Good news! If you're a fan of eating fish, then mackerel, tuna, or salmon are the ideal types of fish to get a good amount of Omega-3. And don't forget the humble sardine! These have the added benefit of being naturally low in contaminants and one of the most environmentally sustainable sources of fish we have.
Omega 3 and Fish Oil – Understanding the Difference
It is a common misconception that all fish oil has omega-3 and therefore should be consumed. Wrong theory. Not all fish oil contains omega-3 and without this main component, that fish oil does not offer us any benefit whatsoever. The fish oil is merely a carrier of the omega-3 fats and once taken, the omega is absorbed and not the oil itself – therefore any fish oil with low values of omega-3 is not useful for us. So when buying a fish oil supplement, it is important for you to note if the omega-3 is at least 50% in ratio to the fish oil – which essentially means that the fish oil extraction should be one that has a high level of omega-3 in it. That's the third sign you should look for when buying a fish oil supplement – the amount of omega-3 should always be above 50%.
In my next series, I'll be giving you a comprehensive list of benefits you can obtain from omega-3 and, oh my, the list is endless! From skin treatments to attention deficit disorder treatment, arthritis to memory improvement – all these problems have known to be successfully treated by the consumption of omega-3. So hold on there, while I go get my next capsule and start telling you how good it is!