Fish oil is exactly what it sounds like – oil derived from the fatty layers of cold water fish – and contains two types of Omega-3s: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Your body cannot make either of these which is why consuming them is so important! (For more in-depth information, check out Dr. Weil’s Vitamin Library)
Fish oil can be taken in either capsule or liquid form, as well as of course eating fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Personally, I’ve found that I’m more likely to actually consume my fish oil when it is in liquid form – especially when it’s the Barlean’s Fish Oil with Vitamin D in Mango Peach. My husband will even swallow a spoonful and has even described it to me as “melted Hi-Chews.” Aside from the taste, I also prefer the thicker, creamier texture to the oily texture of typical fish oil supplements. One of my favorite holistic health doctors, Dr. Andrew Weil, suggests taking 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily, so I’ll take 2 teaspoons in the morning and two in the evening which provides me with 880mg of EPA and 560mg of DHA.
Okay, so now you know what to take, why is fish oil so important? While there are a million different benefits, here are my top three favorites.
1. Glowing Skin & Shiny Hair. Taking fish oil has a ridiculous amount of benefits – both cosmetic and otherwise – for your skin and hair. Huffington Post consulted with facialist/skincare creator Ildi Pekar as well as consulting dermatologist for L’Oreal Paris Flor Mayoral, M.D. and found the following:
“Taking any kind of fish oil is like putting oil in your engine to run smoothly,” says Pekar. “Fish oil is great for your heart and health but especially your skin,” reducing acne and warding off wrinkles.
Dr. Mayoral agrees, adding that most dermatologic literature points to two properties of fish that help us out. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties while low-glycemic foods like fish benefit people with psorasis, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma.
2. Healthy Cognitive Function. Aside from your outside, fish oil also works to improve your inside. If you have ever suffered from depression or anxiety, listen up! Psychology Today reports that a study of medical school students during exam time found some exciting results:
This study is the first one to show anti-anxiety effects of omega 3 supplementation in a population without baseline anxiety. Depression scores (like the anxiety scores, low at baseline) were not affected—which is in concordance with the large body of evidence showing omega-3 PUFA supplementation can be effective for clinical but not sub-clinical depression… 2.5g daily of EPA/DHA equals 20% less anxiety and 14% less inflammation.
3. Reduce Inflammation. The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies says that “Inflammation is the body’s protective response to injury and infection. When unchecked, out of control inflammation can trigger diseases that range from asthma and eczema to Chrohn’s Disease and Lupus. An article in Life Extension magazine talks about a 2012 study that found fish oil can not only prevent inflammation, but can also heal existing inflammation as well. Here’s what they say you need to know about Omega-3s and inflammation:
- Fish oil’s multiple benefits have long been attributed to its effects on reduced inflammatory signaling by cytokines.
- New discoveries reveal that the omega-3 fats in fish oil directly trigger resolution of inflammation and promote early healing.
- Molecules called lipoxins, resolvins, and protectins are all derived from, or produced in response to, omega-3 fats.
- Deficiencies in pro-resolution molecules have been identified in most of the chronic, inflammation-related diseases of aging.
- Aging itself produces a total-body loss of these health-promoting molecules.
- Multiple studies reveal that supplementing with omega-3-rich fish oil boosts production of pro-resolution molecules and quickly brings your body back to a non-inflamed state.
- Human clinical trials demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil supplementation in metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, lung diseases, neurodegenerative conditions, and cancer, with additional evidence flowing in daily.
- Fish oil can no longer be considered an optional supplement; rather, it is a must-have for the prevention of the inflammatory conditions of aging.
**As always, please talk with your doctor before starting any new health regimen to make sure it is right for YOU!**