Healthy reasons you should up your fish oil intake

October 2, 2015

Fish oil has all kinds of benefits for the body. Here's four ways to buy and take these golden orbs of good fats:

Healthy reasons you should up your fish oil intake

Keep your omega-3 levels high

  • Fish-oil capsules are among the best way to get the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids quickly and easily.
  • Omega-3s come in two varieties: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  • If you don't have heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends getting 1,000 milligrams of these two kinds.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can cut heart attack risk by 73 percent, when consumed daily as part of a healthy diet.
  • Omega-3s can also cut triglyceride levels up to 40 percent.
  • There's some evidence that omega-3s from fish can reduce the stiffness and joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Omega-3 may also cut the risk of stroke.
  • Keep your intake below 3,000 milligrams a day unless you talk with your doctor. More could cause bleeding.
  • Fish oil's anti-clotting powers could be dangerous for people with bleeding disorders.
  • Omega-3s can also interfere with anticoagulant medications.

Decide on your dose, then find it on the label

  • Most of us could use 500 to 1,000 milligrams of supplemental EPA and DHA per day.
  • Some experts say a great way to up your omega-3 intake every day is to go for 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams.
  • A single 1,000-milligram capsule contains about the amount of these two fats found in a 125-gram (4-ounce) serving of salmon.
  • Since capsules vary in strength, read the label to figure out how many you'll need to reach your desired dose.

Don't confuse fish oil with cod-liver oil

  • Fish oil is actually made from the bodies of fish, unlike cod-liver oil, which is made exclusively from fish livers.
  • Cod-liver oil contains high concentrations of vitamin A. Taking it in the same quantities recommended for fish oil can harm your kidneys.

Don't worry about pharmaceutical-grade capsules

  • Two major tests of fish-oil supplements found no significant amounts of mercury in top-selling brands. That means you don't have to pay extra for pharmaceutical-grade fish oil.
  • The one good reason to pay for pricier pharmaceutical capsules is that you can get all you need from fewer capsules. They're more concentrated.

Fish oil capsules are packed full of important omega-3 fatty acids. These little pills can improve your overall health. Just be sure to check the labels and consult with your physician first.

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