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The omega-3s in fish oil are some of the most powerful heart support nutrients you can take and many of us simply aren’t getting enough of them. In her new PBS health special, Heart of Perfect Health, Brenda Watson reveals that an estimated that 84,000 people a year die from a lack of omega-3 in their diet.

So where do we get omega-3? It’s found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, in flax seeds, and in certain nuts such as walnuts. Experts recommend 1,000 mg or more of omega-3 each day for optimum heart health support, an amount that can be difficult to get from diet alone.

Many are now turning to a fish oil supplement to help boost their omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in the overall health of the body.ǂ They are integrated into the membranes of almost every type of cell in the body, helping to balance the excessive omega-6 fatty acids that come from the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Scientific research confirms that Omega-3 supplementation supports heart health by helping to maintain healthy cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels already in the normal range.ǂ Omega-3s help maintain these key markers by supporting the body’s normal  inflammatory response, promoting optimal heart, blood vessel, and joint health.ǂ

Your 4 Point Fish Oil Checklist

Not all omega-3 fish oils are created equal. Use this checklist to ensure you are getting the most heart health benefits out of your fish oil:

  • Potency. Make sure each fish oil capsule contains at least 1,000 mg of omega-3, not just 1,000 mg of fish oil. Reaching your recommended 1,000+ mg of daily omega-3 is pretty tough to do if you have to take a whole handful of fish or krill oil capsules with a low omega 3 content.
  • Absorption. You are only what you absorb. Choose a fish oil that is enteric coated to help deliver omega-3s to the intestines where they are absorbed.ǂ Enteric coating also reduces the fishy burping or repeat you can get with fish oil supplements.
  • Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 helps to promote the body’s healthy inflammatory response as well as supports the immune system  and strong bones.ǂ  A fish oil with added vitamin D3 is ideal because this vitamin is best absorbed when taken with healthy fats, such as omega 3s.ǂ
  • Highest Purity. Look for a fish oil with the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) stamp. IFOS is the industry’s most stringent independent certifier of fish oil quality that promises you aren’t getting the mercury, PCBs, and contaminants that show up in certain fish oil sources.

Norwegian Gold EPA 1000 meets all the above criteria plus it contains a pure blend of omega-3 EPA , which has been clinically researched for its specific heart health benefits.ǂ

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Fish Oil for Muscles

When omega-3 fish oil comes to mind, heart health is usually the first benefit attributed to it. Brain health and joint health are a close second and third. Did you know that omega-3s may also be helpful for your muscles?

According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular fish oil consumption, in conjunction with strength training, improved muscle force and function in elderly women. The study involved 45 women about 64-years-old, all assigned to a strength training program. Fifteen women received a standard fish oil supplement containing 400 milligrams EPA and 300 milligrams DHA during the 90 days of strength training, and 15 women received the fish oil for 60 days before strength training as well as throughout the strength training. Fifteen of the women strength trained but did not take fish oil supplements.

All women experienced improvements in muscle force and function, but the women taking omega-3 fish oil saw even greater effects than the women not taking it. The results of this study may be particularly important for aging women. Not only does strength training help build bone, but muscular strength is also important for stability as we age. The researchers stated, “The use of fish oil supplementation in addition to strength training potentiates the neuromuscular system, enhancing the muscle strength and the functional capacity in elderly women. Thus, fish oil may be an attractive supplement for the elderly to maximize their neuromuscular responses to strength training, which is important to life quality.”

If you are not taking fish oil already for its array of health benefits, consider it. Improved muscle function is one small benefit in addition to many others you may gain from this amazing nutrient.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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