Dr. Vlada Korol: Fish Oil – Get the Best Catch!

Fish oil comes from the tissues of fatty fish.  The main components of fish oils are omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which turn into eicosenoids.  Eicosenoids are beneficial for health and can reduce inflammation in the body.  Fish do not produce fatty acids, rather they consume algae and predatory fish rich in fatty acids.  There are many different types of fish rich in fatty acids, but it’s important to choose the right source.  Do to the fact that some types of fatty fish are full of toxins as well, some examples are albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. (1)

There are two ways to consume fish oil, by eating fish or by taking supplements.  “Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden. They provide about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids in about 3.5 ounces of fish. Fish oil supplements are usually made from mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber. Fish oil supplements often contain small amounts of vitamin E to prevent spoilage. They might also be combined with calcium, iron, or vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, or D.   ” (2)
Research shows , fish oil  promotes  back and joint health, Supports healthy inflammatory levels, Promotes joint mobility and flexibility, Supports internal repair systems that operate in response to inflammation, and Is natural and safe for long-term use (3).  Further, Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. (4).  Fatty acids from fish oil can be beneficial in so many different conditions, since “All these diseases have a common genesis in inflammation,” says Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor and vice chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Co-author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory, Maroon says that if taken in appropriate doses, omega-3 fatty acids can “reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions.” (4)  For these and other reasons, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American Heart Association, and the American Dietetic Association recommend eating two 8-ounce servings of fish each week. Examples of fish and shellfish which contain lower amounts of mercury: canned light tuna, catfish, pollock, salmon, especially wild salmon, shrimp. (4)
What to look for when buying fish oil supplements:
Fish oil supplements  contain various amounts and proportions of DHA and EPA.  Dr. Oz explains, “For example, salmon oil naturally contains more DHA than EPA; a supplement derived from algae may only contain DHA. Krill oil contains significant amounts of both EPA and DHA. Read the labels and remember whatever supplement you buy, it must have at least 600 mg of DHA.”  Keep in mind that fish oil supplements contain other ingredients and stabilizers.  If you choose to buy a fish oil supplement, check the label carefully some fish oils have to be refrigerated to keep from spoiling.
Doctor Oz further explains, ” most brands of fish oil have been proven safe, free of detectable traces of mercury, and do not contain unsafe levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a toxin and pollutant believed to pose various health threats. To avoid contaminants in an unrefined supplement, it’s best to choose a fish oil supplement made from small, oily fish like anchovy, sardines or menhaden.”   (5)
 Fish Oil Dosage recommendations depend on which reason the patient is taking the supplement.  MedlinePlus recommends 25 different dosages, depending on which condition the patient is treating.  For general health, the American Heart Association, recommends  a dose 1 gram of fish oil per day in a supplement Which combines  eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid.  Taking too much fish oil is not safe, “can result in a number of side effects, such as an upset stomach and an increased danger of internal bleeding. ” (6).   As with any supplement, consult  your doctor or pharmacist before taking fish oil supplements.  This way, an optimal dose can be determined for each patient individually and potential problems prevented.
Kedvon Pharmacy offers a great variety of Fish Oils, from the finest companies, with different dosage forms and flavors for adults, children, and pets.  Contact Kedvon Pharmacy at (847) 459-0001 or visit us at 56 S. Milwaukee Ave. Wheeling, Il 60090.
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