Fish oil that supplements contain come from cold-water fish, such as anchovies, salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout and tuna. They contain compounds known as omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have many health benefits. The typical person in the U.S. eats a diet that is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, but you can take fish oil pills which help in boosting your intake of this beneficial fatty acid.
A lot of people focus on the dosage of fish oil that they should take, like 1000 mg or 1200 mg, but in reality, it is the omega-3s that matter. There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that you should focus on – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are found naturally in oily fish like those mentioned above.
What Does EPA and DHA Do?
Taking EPA and DHA on a regular basis has a positive effect on your health. When these essential fatty acids are made available to the body, they are incorporated into cell membranes, such as heart cells, and help in supporting cells membranes. Scientists all over the world continue to add to the extensive amount of research on EPA and DHA to find out how they can benefit our bodies and health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also commonly known essential fatty acids because they are essential to good health. But your body does not have the ability to produce them. EPA and DHA are necessary for the development of the brain and healthy cognitive function. They also improve blood circulation, keep your skin healthy and reduce triglyceride levels and inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help in reducing the risk of conditions like stroke, heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer such as prostate and breast.
How much EPA and DHA Does a Person Need?
When you are taking fish oil capsules, you can take 500 mg of a combination of EPA and DHA for general well-being and disease prevention, in case you do not already consume fatty fish at least 2 times a week. According to the American Heart Association, you should take 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA combined daily for treating coronary heart disease. To prevent heart disease and lower triglycerides, you should take a combination of 2,000 to 4,000 mg of EPA and DHA.
A number of renowned health care organizations propose oily fish intake recommendations of 2 servings per week for healthy adults, which equates roughly to a daily total of 500 mg of EPA and DHA. Most fish oil capsules are available in 300, 500 or 600 mg of both these fatty acids combined. However, they can also be found in doses up to 1,200 mg. The number of fish oil capsules you take depends on the amount of omega-3 fats that each pill contains. For example, if you are taking a capsule of 500 mg, you will need one pill a day for general health and 2 pills a day to treat coronary heart disease. To lower high levels of triglycerides, you will require between 4 and 8 capsules a day in divided doses. However, make it a point to check with your doctor before you start a new supplement regimen.
You should not take over 3,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil capsules without consulting your doctor first. Taking fish oil in excessive amounts, increases the risk of bleeding. In some cases, bloating, belching, gas and diarrhea can occur due to high levels of fish oil. If you have a bleeding disorder, are taking blood-thinning medication or have other medical conditions, you should make sure that you talk to your healthcare provider before you take any fish supplements. This could greatly interfere with your treatment plan or medications.
A specific recommended and justified daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids is not available to date. However, most health organizations and doctors opine that 250 mg to 500 mg of a combination of DHA and EPAs should be adequate for adults for the maintenance of overall health. With so many health benefits to offer, these essential fatty acids are a must in every person’s daily diet and you should make sure that you consult your doctor to get the highest quality fish oil supplements to take.