Omega-3 fatty acids provide an ever-growing list of health benefits. But what is the best way to get the amounts we need on a daily basis?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to:
• Prevent both primary and secondary cardiovascular disease, and reduce risk of cardiac death
• Reduce risk of colon prostate and breast cancer
• Lower blood pressure and triglycerides
• Reduce risk of stroke and atherosclerosis
• Reduce inflammation
• Boost mood and reduce depressive symptoms
• Boost memory and educe risk of dementia
• Reduce joint stiffness and tenderness
• Protect against obesity
• Improve symptoms of menopausal and dysmenorrhea
• Reduce risk of ulcerative colitis
• Protect against macular degeneration
• Promote healthy pregnancy and infant development
Based on a scientific review, the minimum recommended levels to achieve the cardiovascular health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is 500 mg per day, to And the most beneficial level of omega-3s found to lower triglycerides is at least 2,500 milligrams per day. But the body does not produce these essential nutrients on its own – they must be consumed either through diet or supplements.
Fish oils have been shown to be by far the best source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, although other foods do contain omega-3s in lesser amounts. Fish is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, and is a healthy alternative to red meat. Fish is also high in protein, as well as antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene. There is a reason fish is a popular food item throughout the Bible!
But it might be hard to get 500 mg of omega-3s per day, and almost impossible to get 2,500 mg through fish alone. Whether they simply don't like the taste, are worried about the mercury levels of certain types of fish, or have read about the environmental effects of over harvesting on others, most people don't get even the recommended 2-3 servings of fish per week, much less the 4-5 servings per week required to reach those higher levels of omega-3s.
Fish oil supplements have emerged as a very practical and effective option for getting the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to be most beneficial. In addition, oils are less likely than whole fish to be contaminated with mercury, which is concentrated in muscle tissue rather than in fats or oils. And most fish used in fish oils are from small fish which aren't likely to be farmed or overfished, and are harvested in a way that doesn't impact the environment.
So continue to make fish a consistent part of your healthy Mediterranean diet and reap its many nutritional benefits. But to maintain the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found to provide the most health advantages, you may want to supplement with fish oils on a daily
Our full spectrum Basic Nutrient Support contains 2,000 mg of fish oil in a recommended daily dose.