Omega-3 fish oil has been shown in many studies to help with a variety of conditions. ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Depression, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease — the list goes on and on. The reason it’s so useful is because omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonic acid) from omega-3 fish oil are precursors to anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body, meaning they reduce inflammation.
Inflammation has been implicated as a major factor in a wide range of chronic diseases (also called silent inflammation). The chemicals in the body that increase inflammation are created from omega-6 fatty acids, which are commonly found in vegetable oils like canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
In order to properly regulate inflammation, your body needs to maintain an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. The ideal ratio for most people is 1:2, meaning for every 2 grams of vegetable oil, you should be taking 1 gram of omega-3 fish oil. The ratio of the typical American diet, however, is 1:20! This is a very unhealthy ratio, so you should generally decrease the amount of vegetable oil in your diet, and increase the amount of fish oil (find out your exact ratio here).
However, olive oil is a vegetable oil that does not contain omega-6 fatty acids. It instead contains omega-9 fatty acids, which are hormonally-neutral and thus don’t affect levels of inflammation in the body. This makes olive oil much more ideal than vegetable oil for cooking with, as you should *never* cook with omega 3 fish oil. High heat will destroy omega-3 fatty acids (which is also why you should choose a cold-pressed fish oil supplement).
Not only is omega-3 fish oil required to reduce inflammation, but it’s also directly involved in creating new neurons in the brain, specifically DHA (docosahexaeonic acid). Did you know that in the third trimester of pregnancy, the brain of the fetus grows at a rate of 250,000 new neurons every minute?! And it doesn’t stop there. Throughout a person’s life, from fetus to infancy to childhood to adolescence, many clinical research studies have shown that omega-3 fish oil is essential for proper brain development. This is true even for the elderly, as omega-3s have show benefits for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Omega 3 fish oil is also good for other parts of the body, such as the heart. It has shown to decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, decrease blood triglycerides for those that with hyperlipidemia, reverse atherosclerosis and even prevent heart attacks! In Europe, it is tantamount to malpractice if a doctor does not prescribe fish oil for a heart condition (no kidding, read this)!
If you are not taking fish oil supplements, you should definitely consider doing so. The results of hundreds of clinical research studies demonstrate that the benefits of omega 3 fish oil are innumerable. Adding fish oil to your routine is probably the single best change you can make for your health, even compared to exercise and eating a healthy diet!
If you do decide to begin taking omega 3 fish oil, make sure to choose a fish oil supplement that’s highly purified to avoid toxins. Many quality fish oil products will be highly-concentrated, meaning that each gram of fish oil contains more omega-3 (600-900mg) than what is typically found in nature (300mg per gram). Consider an omega-3 supplement that has been certified by the International Fish Oil Standards program for purity and potency and learn about fish oil dosage before making your switch.