Fish oils have been in the news a lot lately because of their many health benefits. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists from the University of Reading in the UK reported that fish-derived Omega-3s were shown to help protect the blood vessels surrounding the heart and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.‡
While the American Heart Association and other experts recommend eating oily fish at least twice weekly (mainly those low in mercury such as salmon, sardines, and herring) some people find this difficult, either because they don’t cook fish regularly or because they don’t like the taste. Purified may provide a convenient and healthful alternative.‡ When choosing a fish oil supplement, be sure to pay attention to the following key features:
- High potency: Look at how much Omega-3 is in each softgel—not how much fish oil. Choose a supplement that contains at least 1,000 mg Omega-3 per softgel.
- Purity: Look for the IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards™) seal to ensure your fish oil exceeds published international standards for the lowest levels of toxins.
- Freshness: Opt for a supplement packaged in a dark-colored glass bottle designed to protect the oils from light and moisture.
- Enteric coating: Enteric coated softgels help deliver the healthy Omega-3s directly to the intestines where they are absorbed. Lipase (an enzyme) may also be added to help with digestion of the oils.
In addition to their extensively studied heart health benefits*, Omega-3 essential fatty acids from fish—including EPA and DHA—have been shown to support brain, eye, and joint health as well as promote healthy immune function and mood.‡
Curious about how much fish oil you should take and when? Click here for answers!
*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA & DHA Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
We know from past research that fish-derived Omega-3 fatty acids provide a multitude of health benefits for the whole body—from supporting the heart, brain and nervous system to protecting our eyes and joints. Now, three new studies spotlight the role of Omega-3 fish oil in a healthy diet and why we should consume more of these healthy fats and fewer saturated and trans fats.
Fish Oil May Protect Against Diabetes
Past evidence has shown that fatty fish consumption can help protect against diabetes by having a positive effect on glucose metabolism. In a recent study conducted by scientists in Sweden, similar results were seen in the case of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), which shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes including weight gain and insulin resistance. They found that one or more servings of fatty fish per week consumption was indeed associated with a reduced risk of LADA.
Omega-3 Fats Linked to Increased Brain Volume
Scientists no longer believe that age-related brain shrinkage and nerve cell death is irreversible. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that older adults who consume high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids showed signs of new tissue development and an increase in gray matter—the areas of the brain involved in memory, emotions, muscle control, sensory perception and decision making.
Americans Still Eating Too Many Unhealthy Fats
Results of a new long-term study published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association show that although consumption of saturated fats and trans fats have declined in the last three decades, Americans are still consuming far more unhealthy fats than experts recommend. The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fats to one percent (or less) of total calories consumed and saturated fats to between five and six percent of total calories, while at the same time increasing the amount of healthy Omega-3 fats consumed from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring.