Updated: Jan 30, 2019
If I could choose the three most important nutrients that everyone should be taking everyday, it would have to be FISH OIL, MAGNESIUM, and ZINC. In this first article I will discuss the benefits of fish oil supplementation. Keep an eye out for my subsequent articles on magnesium and zinc.
OMEGA-3 FISH OIL
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are an integral part of every cell membrane in our body. They are termed essential because we cannot make them in the body and must get them from our diet.
The best sources of omega-3s in the diet are oily fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut and herring), and almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and their oils. Unfortunately, most people do not consume enough to meet the daily requirement.
The typical Western diet has an imbalance between omega-3 EFAs and omega-6 EFAs. This is due to the increased consumption of processed food, fried foods, and take-away that is high in trans fats. Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean) and many nuts and seeds.
In the body, omega-6 EFAs are classified as pro-inflammatory, which is necessary in times of injury or infection. However, consuming a high quantity of omega-6s relative to omega-3s puts the body in a constant state of low-grade inflammation. This type of systemic inflammation has been linked to many chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and more.
Conversely, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, and, in the right balance, complement the inflammatory effects of omega-6s. The functions and benefits of omega-3s include:
• Treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases • Essential for growth and development • Lowering of triglycerides and cholesterol • Reduction of blood pressure • Prevention of cardiovascular disease • Cancer prevention • Prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety • Diabetes prevention • Treatment of skin condition including acne, dermatitis and eczema
For everyday health and prevention of chronic disease, you should aim to consume between 1-3g of omega-3s from a high quality, pure, non-oxidised fish oil supplement. The treatment of various conditions may require higher doses and you should consult a naturopath or clinical nutritionist to determine the most appropriate dose for you.