Benefits From Taking Fish Oil Increasing

Fish oil, particularly the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in it, has long been recognized to help lower triglycerides (a type of blood fat), high blood pressure and the risk of heart attack in people with established heart disease. It has also been found to help ease the pain brought about by arthritis and rheumatism.

It seems the benefits that could be obtained from taking fish oil are increasing. Results of the Vitamins And Lifestyle Cohort study reported in the July 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention have shown that postmenopausal women who took fish oil supplements exhibited lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who did not.

While researchers admitted that it would be too early to make any conclusions, they explained that DHA and EPA fatty acid’s role in affecting breast cancer development is biologically plausible, as DHA and EPA fatty acids have been known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation in the body is thought to play a role in the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Interestingly, the body does not produce its own DHA and EPA fatty acids. And since DHA and EPA fatty acids are considered essential nutrients, health authorities recommend that healthy individuals should consume 500 mg to 1,800 mg daily of Omega 3 fish oil that contains both EPA and DHA, and people with known heart disease or heart failure aim for at least 800 mg to 1,000 mg daily.

While there have been reports of other side effects like diarrhea and skin rashes, the US Food and Drug Administration has given fish oil its GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) classification.

Considering that fish oil rich in Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA could only be found in certain species of fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, as well as anchovies, mackerel and sardines, one of the concerns about eating lots of fish or taking fish oil supplement is the possibility that they will consume amounts of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), methyl mercury, dioxins and other toxic contaminants found in the ocean.

While certain plant sources may claim to contain Omega 3 fatty acids, they are supplemented instead with alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), the type of Omega 3 fatty acids derived in flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts.

Cardiologists believe it does not have the same benefits because the body does a poor job at converting ALA to the much needed EPA and DHA, at least not in quantities that offer any real health benefits.

Remember that fish oil’s benefits are intangible as it cannot be felt or seen. And for one to really enjoy its benefits, one should continuously take them for at least three to six months.
A number of industry testers note that fish oil supplements are generally safe, especially since their manufacturers like the Australian makers of Cenovis fish oil only harvest three species of fish anchovies, mackerel and sardines since they are small in size and short lived and thus have the least chance of having these toxic pollutants in their bodies.

(source: Phil Star)
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