What’s the deal with fish oil?

fish oil in salmon salad great for your health

Yesterday, whilst looking for something mindless to watch, I came across the series Trust Me I’m a Doctor. This particular episode had a section on fish oil, and it had some really eye-opening stuff in it. For instance, did you know that fish oil can go rancid? I never really thought of it. In fact, some tests the crew ran on fish oil showed that some oil was rancid before its use-by date. Eurgh!

They also did some analysis of the price of fish oil and found that several oils with the same ingredients were radically different prices. For one, you could get your entire year’s worth for only £13, whilst another was over £300.

But what is fish oil? And what’s it good for?

Fish oil is a concentrated form of omega-3 – and that’s where most of its benefits come from. Those perks include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, plus helping with the symptoms of ADHD, depression, joint pain, arthritis and eczema. It may also assist weight loss, help you with pregnancy (or getting pregnant) and also give you more energy. What a multi-tasker!

Getting the right dose of fish oil

Most people will take a fish oil supplement to get their dose of omega-3, but you can get it from a diet rich in fatty fish like salmon and sardines.

As for how much you should take, the recommended dose lies between 500-1000 milligrams a day. Oh, and that rancid-ness I spoke about earlier?  If you buy a fish oil supplement in triglyceride form, it should help prevent that.

Should you take it?

Most people don’t eat enough oily fish over here to be getting their recommended intake of omega-3. So, a supplement can help with this without you having to clear the shelves at your local fishmongers. There are huge health benefits to having a regular intake of omega-3, so it’s worth incorporating into your diet.

As with most things, getting it straight from the source (from wild-caught fish) is probably best (not farmed, as this can have high levels of mercury apparently). However, if you really cannot stomach eating a portion of oily fish every week, then your best bet is a supplement. If you’re a fish-fanatic, then you probably don’t need to supplement.

Of all the supplements out there, fish oil is one of the ones I don’t negotiate on. A short while into my fitness journey I noticed my knees starting to creak under the pressure. Taking daily fish oil supplements have really helped with this. When I run out of fish oil and stop taking it for a while, I do notice a difference in how my joints feel in particular. I really think fish oils have made a huge difference in my overall fitness and wellbeing.

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