Stop! Why taking that fish oil isn’t the answer to staying healthy

The Good Life Letter 

16th October 2016

One in seven British adults take a fish oil supplement, and they could all be wasting their money.

The popular doctor who developed the 5:2 diet, Michael Mosley, wrote in last week’s Mail on Sunday that he believed fish oil pills were a load of old cod and he was setting out to prove it.

Taking a daily dose of these oils has increased in popularity since the 1960s, when to do so involved taking a teaspoon of vile tasting medicine that made your breath smell all day long.

Recent advances have seen the product encapsulated making it easier and less smelly to take and the growth in usage is still increasing – since 2004 sales have risen by over 40%.

But why? What is it that drives a nation to pop one of the most popular daily supplements?

I’m sure that you have heard about the high levels of an essential fatty acid that is found in fish – it’s called Omega 3.

We need three different types of these fatty acids to stay healthy: Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9.

These important compounds are vital for our cardiovascular system, but also our brains and even help ward off the effects of conditions like diabetes, arthritis and digestive upsets.

Having all three in our diet is therefore really important, the problem comes when we try to keep our intakes in balance.

How you can ensure that you are taking the only safe and natural fish oil supplement – Krill

Here’s why you should take this supplement

Lots of the things we eat, such as plant oils, meat and eggs contain more than enough Omega 6 – in fact we probably eat too much.

Generally, we don’t eat enough oily fish to get sufficient Omega 3, or the levels of nuts and olives to get our share of Omega 9.

So lots of us take supplements to regain the balance – as well as trying to eat as much fish as we can; the problem is that many people don’t like it, or don’t like the smell of it in the house after cooking it.

So it seemed to make sense to seek out a more usable approach – the one a day pill.

Many supplements are classed as fish oils (cod liver oil or just plain old fish oil supplement) which should give us the daily dose of beneficial fatty acid that we need.

But recent information seems to suggest that taking fish oil supplements might actually be doing us harm.

Firstly, the fish used in these comes from over fished and often polluted waters and studies in America have shown that they may contain unacceptably high levels of toxins such as mercury, PCB and heavy metals.

Secondly, the levels of all important Omega 3 may be far too low to make a difference.

Actually, it’s not the amount of Omega 3, it is its composition.

The two major components of Omega 3 are known as DHA and EPA (they have very long names which really upset my spellchecker when I try to include them!).

What is important to know is that EPA & DHA are highly unsaturated fats which play a very important role with the function of our bodies.

They are vital nutrients and maintain healthy function of the following:

  • Joints – These two compounds are efficient anti-inflammatories combining to reduce damage to joint surfaces as well as the pain that accompanies it in the case of rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. A 2010 meta-analysis found that fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in RA patients and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
  • Brain and Retina – DHA is a building block of tissue in the brain and retina of the eye. It helps with forming neural transmitters which are important for brain function.
  • Cardiovascular – EPA and DHA are converted into hormone like substances called prostaglandins, and they regulate cell activity and healthy cardiovascular function.
  • Growth & Intellect – These compounds are important in early and late age to help develop bodies and maintain cognitive function. In fact, these compounds are so important that pregnant mums are advised to take supplements to help their babies’ brains develop and research has shown that it is even more important to maintain function as we age.

So, let me just recap all of that for a moment...

...the correct balance of Omega oils is vital, and the right amounts of DHA and EPA are critical.

But how do you make sure that you are getting the right amount?

The answer is found in this amazing Krill Oil – find out why here

Why a whale’s dinner might hold the key

You might think that eating even more fish is the answer, but actually we should be looking further down the food chain than that.

Some of the smallest creatures in our oceans provide the mainstay diet for the larger – these organisms are known collectively as Krill.

It is these, the simplest of organisms, which actually provide the fatty acids which are concentrated by the larger fish and mammals that feed upon them.

Interestingly this means that the shoals of mackerel, tuna and sardines that I love are feeding on the same food source as the gigantic whales that roam our watery world.

Maybe these majestic creatures know more about eating healthily than we thought!

What is clear is that many of the problems associated with other fish oils such as over fishing, toxin concentration and imbalance in vital nutrients (such as DHA and EPA) just don’t apply to Krill.

By using these tiny crustaceans you will get the real benefit of eating oily fish, but from a sustainable, environmentally friendly and low cost source.

When Dr Mosley conducts his study I hope he includes Krill Oil in it because I think he is going to discover what health researchers have been saying for a long time – heightened levels of Omega 3 are only of limited benefit without the all important DHA and EPA content.

So, how can you get to enjoy the healthy benefits of Krill? Find out much more here

Yours, as always



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