Fish Oil Supplements
Fish Oil? Why this web page?
Someone asked me about fish oil, whether they should take it. I decided to take a stab at the question. But standard disclaimer: Go see a doctor, get one on one advice. The advice here was distilled from old knowledge from medical school and what was available on the internet about Fish Oil.
Why take Fish Oil
Fish oil benefits are mainly due to Omega 3 fatty acids. It is thought that Omega 3 fatty acids lowers cholesterol and is recommended for those with cardiovascular disease. So if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or even family history of such, it may be beneficial to take supplements.
What to watch out for in fish oil supplements
When taking fish oil supplements, make sure they donít have heavy metals in them.
Whatís the mechanism for protection from Omega 3 fatty acids:
I believe it is mainly an anti-inflammatory effect. The research is still pending.
What if I can't eat fish. Due to sea food allergies or I'm a vegan?
Try Flax seed and itís oils. The flax is many times richer than most fish oils in omega 3. You can get flax seed (get the ones that are crushed so that the oils are utilized by our bodies much much better than the whole seeds) from Trader Joes or most super markets, and sprinkle it in yogurt or on your cereal. Or perhaps you can get bottled flax seed oil (liquid semisoft capsules). From what I know, you have to refridgerate flax/flax oil. In your particular diet, you can get Omega 3 from walnuts, Kiwifruit, and Acai. So you donít need to go out and buy fish or fish oil.
Flax Oil vs. Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil's Omega 3 is DHA and EPA
Flax oil's Omega 3 is ALA.
ALA in the body will be converted to DHA and EPA.
Taking Fish oil will make sure that the body gets enough DHA and EPA.
Taking Flax oil will allow you to make all the different types of Omega 3's from ALA ; however the body isn't very efficient at converting ALA to DHA and EPA. The best converters are young women. Women are better than men at converting. Younger folks are better than older folks at converting.
To answer the question, is flax better than fish oil?
It would be that way for a young woman. But as we get older we will want to get about 400 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined (from Fish oil) and 800 mg per day of ALA (from Flax oil)
T. Tammy Wu, MD - Plastic Surgeon
Calvin Lee, MD - General Surgeon, Acupuncturist
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