What's the deal with fish oil? Well, it's vital. All those fishy burps are gross. I tried it once and was dry heaving all day. Yuck.
Time to tackle the fish oil issue. First of all, the fish burps can be avoided. They are a thing of the past if you get the good stuff. There is a coating which minimizes fish taste and there are even a lemon-lime variety. Problem solved. Now on to dosage? You're not going to be looking for milligrams. You're going to be looking for ingredients instead.
What you need to look for is the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Additional fish oils and omega 6’s are NOT IMPORTANT.
Here's why DHA and EPA are important:
In “Large enough amounts omega-3's reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions.”
- Dr. Joseph Maroon
So, many inflammatory processes like arthritis can potentially be mitigated by getting in some high quality fish oil. Some even use fish oil as a “joint health” supplement. Think about it.. Joints are hurting, most likely inflammation. Take fish oil, decrease inflammation (Click HERE to see HOW), joints feel better. What else? Fish oils are full of HEALTHY fats, which are a major contributor to heart health. So a big potential advantage to fish oil is decreased risk of heart disease.
Here's your buyer beware: FISH OILS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. There was a recent study indicating some fish oil might even be DETRIMENTAL to your health. Yes, you read that correctly. The study found that some fish oil taken was of low quality and potentially contaminated with mercury and other toxins. The solution? You need a fish oil from a supplier who takes the necessary steps to ensure quality, potency, and purity.
Well, the stuff I get from Wal-Mart is good enough, right? NO! At that point, I would say to not even take fish oil. In fact, you are probably BETTER OFF not taking the fish oil. Avoid any potential toxins and save your money, PLEASE!
How much should I take? Minimum for an average person is 1000mg. Well, that means nothing. You just said total fish oil amount isn’t important. You are right, you're not looking for the total amount of fish oil it contains. You're going to look for the total of those two vital ingredients I mentioned; remember what they are? DHA and EPA amounts. When combined you need a total of 1000mg. So 400mg DHA and 600mg EPA does the trick. I recommend Omegagenics EPA-DHA 720.
What about people with joint issues, arthritis, inflammatory responses?
Well a good place to start is finding your minimum effective dose.
1g daily for 2 weeks. No improvement? Up to 6 grams daily is just fine. Want to have an added weight loss or lean mass benefit? Take your fish oil with meals. It can potentially help with weight loss and also will minimize any fear you might have about getting those fish oil burps.
I wish I could say if you eat enough fish, you will get a great dose of fish oil. Unfortunately, it is really impossible. You would have to eat pounds of fish weekly to even get close to that 1000mg dosage recommended above. We no longer survive on fish and wild game, and so we must supplement in a few areas to ensure that our natural bodies continue to function well in our microwave culture.
Thank you for investing in your health.
Joseph Champa, RD, CSCS