Fish oil has been recommended as a health supplement for many years. New studies about the benefits are released practically every day.
Nearly as often, we see warnings about the toxic contaminants present in some supplements. The latest news has focused on "where" our supplements come from. If it comes from heavily polluted areas, the risk of mercury contamination is very high.
These conflicting reports may leave you wondering,
"Should I take fish oil or not?"
Yes, you should. But you need to be careful about which brand you buy.
The health benefits are too numerous to ignore. Increasing your intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, systematic inflammation, type II diabetes, depression, age-related eye diseases, joint problems and cancer.
The latest news is about breast cancer. According to a study published in July, women who took fish oil supplements on a daily basis for 10 years were less likely to have breast cancer.
According to the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle Washington, consumption of fish oil reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer by 32%. That is significant.
This is one of the few studies that focused specifically on fish oil supplements. For years, doctors have said the information about supplementation was inconclusive. They suggested that the benefits would only be seen by people who never ate fatty fish.
The new study indicates that supplements are beneficial for women, regardless of their diet.
In other studies, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow prostate tumor growth. So, there are benefits for men, too.
Which Brands to Consider
First, you need to know where the fish oil comes from or the country of origin. Areas that are heavily polluted, such as the waters surrounding China, should be avoided.
The Kansas City Star recently reported that about a fifth of US supplements are actually imported from China. Because the supplements are bottled in the US, the manufacturers are not required to reveal the country of origin.
Until import laws change, I have to suggest that you avoid supplements that appear to be manufactured in the US. There is simply no way to be certain where they come from.
Fish oil supplements are taken every day. If they contain even small amounts of mercury, they can lead to a variety of health problems including memory loss and inability to concentrate.
That runs counter to the health benefits usually ascribed to increased intake of DHA, which include improve ability to concentrate. Benefits have been seen in studies concerning ADHD. When studies return conflicting results, it is likely due to the quality of the supplement that was used.
Consider a Supplement from New Zealand
The waters surrounding New Zealand are some of the cleanest on the planet. Laboratory evaluations of fat from the hoki fish have found no detectable level of mercury, PCBs or other industrial contaminants.
A scientific study conducted at the Wellington School of Medicine showed that fats derived from the hoki fish have more anti-inflammatory activity than other types. They cannot yet explain why that is true. They do know that the benefits are not related exclusively to the omega-3 content, which is the second thing you need to consider.
How Much DHA Does the Supplement Provide?
EPA is another important omega-3 fatty acid, but the body can easily convert DHA to it or any of the other omega-3s, because it is the longest of the long-chained fatty acids.
A typical consumer-grade fish oil supplement contains 180mg of EPA and 120mg of DHA per 1000mg of fish oil. The rest of the fatty acids are omega-6s or omega-9s.
People get enough of omega-6s in their diets, as it is. Most people get too much. The health benefits of omega-9s are still being studied.
The better supplements contain a minimum of 280mg of DHA, 120mg of EPA and 50mg of DPA. DPA is a lesser known omega-3. Researchers believe it may help to explain the healthy hearts of Inuit populations existing on a very high fat diet. Seal was a common component of their diet and seal oils are rich in DPA.
Less than 40mg of omega-6s per 1000mg of fish oil is found in the best capsules. So, taking the supplement does not increase your intake of the inflammatory omega-6s.
Is Freshness Guaranteed?
When you open the bottle, there should be no odor. Some companies add artificial flavorings and fragrances to mask the odor of rotten fish. There should be no smell, good or bad.
If you want to go one step further, you can cut open one of the gel caps. You might notice a slight smell of fish, something like the ocean, but it should not be overwhelming.
It should not smell like lemons or citrus fruit. Those are added fragrances, which are also used to mask the taste and smell of rotten fish.
The better companies post the results of independent laboratory evaluations for freshness. Freshness is measured by looking at the peroxide and anisidine value, as well as total oxidation. Some companies test only for the peroxide value.
The other problem with oils that are not so fresh is burping. When the capsules cause fishy tasting burps, lack of freshness is usually the cause.
The best companies guarantee freshness and offer a full refund for customers who experience fishy tasting burps or repeating.
The country of origin for Xtendlife supplements is New Zealand. Each capsule contains fats from the hoki fish to get the additional anti-inflammatory benefits.
The omega-3 content fits the guidelines mentioned above and freshness is guaranteed. The company provides three omega-3 supplements; standard, premium and ultra.
The standard version provides the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
The premium version provides the omega-3 benefits, along with the benefits of lycopene and astaxanthin. The ultra version also contains the most bioavailable form of coenzyme Q10.
Pick anyone of the Xtendlife supplements and you will be making an excellent choice. Click here to learn more about them.
To your health,