If you’re new to the site, or a friend has recommended our products to you, you might not be clear as to why you take fish oils in the first place. Simply put, there is a massive amount of evidence… literally thousands of scientific papers… that show how fish oils have health benefits for the heart, brain, joints, eyes, and many other systems.
Fish oils can help in all these diverse areas of health because they provide Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which are just as vital to the human body as any vitamin or mineral. Deficiencies in Vitamin C or E or D, or minerals like calcium, can lead to a rapid breakdown of health in the body- the same thing can happen with a poor supply of essential fats.
In particular, fish oils provide EFAs that are used to create positive mood hormones, neurological tissue (your brain is almost a quarter DHA by weight), and cellular membranes. With the fats from fish oils being used to create so many structures in your body, including hormones that help regulate how much inflammation occurs, it probably seems crazy to NOT take fish oils!
Balancing Essential Fats
There’s one last wrinkle. EFAs come in two main groups- Omega-3s, provided by fish oils, and Omega-6s, which are common in corn and processed foods. We SHOULD have a 50-50 balance between the two. We don’t. Not even close. The use of corn in about 70% of our groceries, and processing of foods in general, has led to a 20 to 1 imbalance in favor of Omega-6s. The problem being, Omega-6s create inflammatory hormones. So, with a massive overabundance of Omega-6, and a severe lack of anti-inflammatory (and positive mood hormone creating) Omega-3, is it any wonder why we’re all so sore and miserable?
Don’t forget that chronic, all-around inflammation has been linked to just about every major health problem our society faces (cancer, heart disease, obesity, asthma, allergies, etc., etc.). It’s all about that Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that fish oils have such in incredible, far-reaching effect on our health.
Good for the Heart
The volume of scientific literature demonstrating healthy heart benefits from fish oils is so massive, that frankly, it’s overwhelming. The American Heart Association has even made recommendations that those with heart disease take in 1 gram of EPA+DHA daily (important: as noted in the chart above, the dose of fish oils is calculated by the amount of EPA and DHA, not the size of the capsule printed on the label) , and those with high triglycerides should take 2-4 grams per day.
We’ve seen research backing the benefits of fish oils for:
- healthy blood vessel function/circulation
- proper electrical conductivity and rhythm of the heart
- promoting proper triglyceride blood levels
- and so many more, it’s practically dizzying!
Good for the Brain
An interesting and exciting area of study for fish oils and Omega-3s is in the area of mental health and well-being. Recall our earlier statement that nearly a quarter of the dry weight of the brain is DHA, one of the two major EFAs in fish oils. Omega-3s are also, not surprisingly, highly utilized in the structure of the nervous system. Additionally, Omega-3s are used as the building blocks for the “feel-good” hormones responsible for keeping our mood positive and avoiding depression. There is, in fact, some interesting theories about post-partum depression being at least partly caused by a deficiency in Omega-3 (due to the developing newborn drawing on the mother’s reserves in order to build the fetal nervous system).
Therefore, there is scientific evidence suggesting fish oils can help with improving mood, slowing cognitive decline, and supporting general mental ability.
Good For The Joints
Fish oils have been used for centuries by fisherman working in cold, damp environments to keep their joints from aching. The reason for this again lies in how EFAs are used to build various hormones in the body.
Omega-3 EFAs are used to make the natural anti-inflammatory hormones that keep pain and inflammation in check. Omega-6 EFAs, are used to make arachidonic acid and other pro-inflammatory hormones. While some inflammation is necessary for the healing process to occur, recall earlier we mentioned the 20:1 imbalance of Omega-6 over Omega-3 in the modern diet.
With such a massive imbalance, our tissues are all so soaked with pro-inflammatory hormones that our bodies over-react to the slightest insult or injury. In fact, long-term, whole-body inflammation is now being researched as a contributing factor in a number of musculoskeletal conditions such as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) and herniated discs.
By increasing the intake of Omega-3, the proper balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 can be restored, and this constant hair-trigger of inflammation can be reduced or eliminated.