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Put Down the Advil, Pick up the Fish Oil?

As one of the hot health items these days, you can’t miss it on the shelves of the drug and grocery stores. But what is fish oil for and why would one use it?

Like many over the counter pain relievers, omega-3 fish oil is highly effective at combating inflammation. What kind of inflammation? Inflammation from overused muscles, inflammation in the cardiovascular system, inflammation in the neurologic system, inflammation anywhere in our bodies.

It turns out, our western diet is high in essential omega-6 fatty acids. What does an omega-6 fatty acid do? It drives inflammation and this, when chronic, is associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and pain. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, corn and any farm animal that has been raised on the same, most notably, beef.

Inflammation is not all bad as one would think. We need inflammation because without it we would succumb to infection and trauma. It helps our blood clot, it keeps us alive, but it’s all about balance. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids in our diet has a profound influence on our internal inflammatory state. Our ancestors who hunted and gathered their food had an omega-3: omega-6 fatty acid ratio of around 1:1. There was a healthy balance between necessary inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals. That balance has been lost. The typical American has a ratio of 20:1 or worse. It is estimated that 85% or more in the Western world have an unhealthy balance of omega fatty acids and are specifically deficient in omega-3‘s.

Although omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, beware. Regular consumption of fish will increase risk of mercury and heavy metal poisoning. For this reason, the safest way to get a healthy dose of omega-3 essential fatty acid is from taking a quality supplement. A quality supplement will be molecularly distilled to remove heavy metals, and mixed with alpha tocopherol / Vitamin E to inhibit oxidation. It will be high in the bioactive omega-3 subtypes EPA and DHA which give its health benefits.

Clinical trials have found therapeutic dosages are in the 3-7 gram/ day range and maintenance levels have been suggested in the 1- 2 gram / day range or higher. Overall body weight and the inflammatory state of your diet will influence recommended daily amounts. A resource worth taking a look at is the fish oil calculator at: . It will give a suggested amount based on your size and current health challenges. It’s worth noting that the amounts recommended are far more than what most supplements indicate as a serving size.

Studies suggest minimal side effects but fish oil can significantly alter blood coagulation which can be a major concern if taking a blood thinner.The most disdained part of taking the supplement is after taste.However, most high quality supplements do not leave you tasting fishy.Now that you are armed with this information, be healthy and add this vital food supplement to your diet.

Anyone wishing more information may contact Dr. Cummins, whose office is located at 4122 Factoria Blvd. SE, Suite 202, Bellevue, WA (telephone 425-590-9158).