Published on May 23rd, 2020 📆 | 5738 Views ⚑0
Fish FAQs 101: Our Most Often Asked Questions About Fish
Eating fish, taking fish oil supplements and finding other sources of omega-3 fatty acids raise many questions. Here in this short FAQ about fish we have tried to answer the most common questions we are asked repeatedly.
What is the difference between eating fish, taking fish oil supplements, or other sources of the essential fatty acids?
The main difference in the three different ways of getting EFAs lies in the net nutritional value of the source. Farm raised fish have an almost standard nutritional value and seldom have any type of heavy metal contamination. Wild caught fish have a wide variance in nutritional value due to the environment from which they are caught. Fish from warmer waters tend to have lower omega-3 value than those from colder water. Fish oil supplements also vary widely in nutritional value based on manufacturer and cost. A higher price tag does not automatically mean a better product. Scrutiny of the labels is required to make sure you are getting a quality supplement.
What are essential fatty acids?
Essential Fatty Acids sometimes referred to as EFAs and omega-3 fatty acids are fats our bodies actually need to function properly. The body does not make these nutrients, so we are responsible for making sure there are proper amounts in our diet through the foods we eat or by taking supplements. There are three basic fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These EFAs are most prevalent in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, anchovies, and tuna or in vegetable sources like flax seed, walnuts, soybean oil, olive oil, and canola oil. In order to get enough of these nutrients many people rely on fish oil supplements.
How much fish should I eat in order to get the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids?
People without coronary heart disease should eat at least two 6 – 8 ounce servings of a cold water, oily fish such as salmon, lake trout, tuna, mackerel, cod, herring, anchovies, or sardines according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Are there any guidelines about the proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids I should consider?
Eating two servings of cold-water fish should be sufficient for a healthy adult. If you are supplementing with fish oil the proper dosage is between 1 and 4 grams per day of EPA and DHA. However, you must seek professional assistance before attempting to treat a medical condition or take a high dosage, as there are side effects, such as prolonged bleeding times, associated with high doses of fish oil supplements. The AHA has a set of guidelines to follow at the AHA website.
Should I take a fish oil supplement?
The answer really depends on your diet and your health. Many people who have an adequate intake of fish still require supplementation because of medical conditions that are present in their lives. If a supplement is required, Dr. Oz and the AHA suggest a minimum of 1 gram of EPA and DHA per day to combat the effects of a normal American diet. A physician should monitor dosages above 4 grams per day.
How safe is the fish supply and related products?
There has been much hype about heavy metal contamination in open water fish and the by products of those fish such as fish oil capsules. A reputable manufacturer will offer pharmaceutical grade products that you can depend on for freshness and safety. Also many of fisheries operated by large companies have standards and follow the fishing advisories of the EPA and WHO.
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