There haveÂ been manyÂ claims for benefits ofÂ fish oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) in multiple disease conditions. Todate, the strongest evidence of benefit is in the area of cardiovascular health, particularly the two longchain omega-3 fatty acids – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The American Heart Association recently issued guidelines for the intake of omega-3 oils.
What are Good Dietary sources?
EPA and DHA are found almost exclusively in seafood.Fish do not produce EPA and DHA. Rather, these oils are synthesized by single-celled marine organisms that fish eat. These fatty acids are essential for fish as well as for humans.
Generally speaking, the â€œoilierâ€ the fish, the more EPA and DHA are present. Fish that tend to have high concentrations include tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, and herring.
What is the recommended intake of Omega-3 fatty acids?
The American Heart Association recommends about 1 g of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids per day for those with known coronary heart disease. People with no known heart disease should eat oily fish at least twice a week.
As the fish oil capsules dissolve in the stomach and release the oil, many people experience a â€œfishy burp.â€ Although obviously not a â€œside effectâ€ in the usual sense, it can be bothersome. Taking the capsules at bedtime and freezing them can minimize or even eliminate this problem.
Since mercury toxicity is mainly a concern for fetuses and breast-fed infants, the US Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s advice to avoid contaminated fish is directed primarily at pregnant women, those wanting to become pregnant, and nursing mothers.
For More Information:
Harris WS. Fish Oil Supplementation: evidence for health benefirts. Cleveland Clin J Med. 2004; 71:208 (PDF version)http://www.ccjm.org/PDFFILES/Harris304.pdf