By Tash Weddle
The New York Times recently ran an article; Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research. It’s caused quite a reaction, especially with some of our clients because we recommend fish oil to everyone, unless they are taking a blood thinner or are allergic to shell fish.
We still recommend fish oil.
I want to break this article down and show how the media has blown this out of proportion and explain why we will continue to recommend fish oil.
Research wasn't conducted on healthy adults.
The research studies cited in the article looked at whether one gram of fish oil lowered risk of heart attacks in people who already had heart disease or had strong risk factors for it, like high cholesterol, hypertension or type 2 diabetes. The problem is that the researchers used a low dose for a short period of time in older, already-ill patients who are also being treated with up to five heart medications. One of the studies actually did show a significant reduction in cardiac death associated with fish oil use, however the researchers chose to use a higher P-value (<0.06 instead of <0.05). This changed a positive finding into a negative one and generated a media storm of “fish oils don’t work.” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Omega-3 fats, including fish oil, are good for us.
The bottom line is omega-3 fats, including fish oil, are good for us because they play an important role in rebalancing our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The reason this is so important is because the fat we eat ends up embedded in our cell membranes. When we eat more saturated fat, our membranes get “stiffer” and when we eat more unsaturated fat (including omega-3 fats) the membranes become more “flexible”. Flexible cell membranes allow nutrients into the cell while allowing fatty acids out to be used as fuel. Rebalancing your fats also clears up systemic inflammation that may be present, which explains why fish oil is beneficial for so many reasons including; cardiovascular function, nervous system function, brain development and all around immune health. I have personally witnessed client’s improve insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, decrease joint pain, drop body fat and even get off anti-depressants as a result of rebalancing their fats.
We recommend clients take 3–6 grams a day.
So, don’t let this article scare you off and prevent you from doing something that’s inherently healthy. Get at least 1 gram of EPA and DHA combined each day, which is a few capsules. Conservative estimates suggest you can get up to 6 grams of EPA and DHA a day safely and some research only shows a benefit with 7.5 grams. We recommend that clients take 3–6 grams a day and sometimes more, depending on their body fat percentage and overall health. Four and a half teaspoons of fish oil contains 6 grams of combined EPA + DHA and an eight ounce piece of salmon contains 3.7 grams of EPA+DHA.
Just make sure that you’re buying high grade fish oil and keep it in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Tash's recommendation for fish oil is Exos OMEGA-3 - LEMON BERRY.