This is the second in a series of 5 on what we, at Damron Chiropractic & Wellness, consider to be the “Vital & Integral Players” – VIPs – of the supplements necessary for healthy aging.
The idea of fish may be very unappetizing to some people, especially if you have a food aversion to seafood. The term fish oil actually doesn’t connote good images either if we are completely honest with ourselves. Sometimes, though, we find it’s those things that look and sound the most unappealing that are the most beneficial and tastiest of all. Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? Fish oil is one of those wonderful surprises that goes to prove we shouldn’t “judge a book by it’s cover.”
So what is fish oil exactly? All fish contain oils, but fish that are considered fatty such as mackerel, trout, tuna, herring, sardines, and salmon, have the highest concentration of oil which is can be up to 30%. This is much different that white fish, which contains significantly less oil which is found only in the liver versus the entire fish fillet.
There are two ingredients in fish oil that make it such a powerful supplement, or Vital & Integral Player (VIP), when it comes to maintaining optimal health: docosahexaeonic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both are Omega-3 fatty acids, however, EPA is not produced by the fish itself but from the algae it consumes. DHA on the other hand is produced by the fish. DHA is found throughout the body, yet it’s highest concentration is in the brain and retina (97% and 93% respectively), plus it’s a key component of the heart. EPA is a necessary building block of DHA and our diet can provide it as well. EPA on the other hand is obtained solely from our diet. Unfortunately, American diets are substantially lacking in Omega-3s – too much meat, too few fish, and an overabundance of preservative-laden food contributes to this deficiency. The great news is that this trend can be reversed, and that is why fish oil makes the top five list of our VIP supplements.
Fish oil has been shown to:
- help improve behavioral problems in children such as ADHD.
- benefit memory recall.
- reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- protect against vision loss as we age.
- positively impact sensory, cognitive, and motor development of the fetus.
- improve blood flow.
- reduce joint inflammation.
- aid in bone health.
- help decrease symptoms of postpartum depression.
- lower bad cholesterol and increases the good.
- improve the effectiveness of exercise to lose weight.
- boost the immune system.
- promote mood stabilization.
- improve dry skin, acne, and hair.
Common sources of foods with beneficial levels of fish oil or Omega-3s are:
- hemp seed
- chia seeds
- oily fish – salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, trout, and mackerel
- grass-fed beef
The ideal ratio of bad fat to good is 2:1, but the reality for the American diet today is 20:1. Obtaining the benefits from Omega-3s means bringing balance back to our diets. Increasing your intake of foods that have high levels of Omega-3 and reducing your consumption of fried, fast, and boxed foods will help to restore that balance. And, most importantly, don’t forget that you can also add a high quality fish oil supplement to your diet as well. There’s no need to leave any gaps on your journey to wellness.