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Fish Oil Supplements

I take a fish oil supplement every day, and I have for a while now. When I tell friends and acquaintances why, some are skeptical, but I’m a believer in the power of this natural resource.

Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that, as far as I’m concerned, are like little miracle workers. Not only are omega-3s good for reducing inflammation (goodbye, bloat; farewell, red and blotchy skin; auf wiedersehen, mild allergies), they’re reported to be excellent for heart health.

But wait, there’s more. The fatty acids in fish oil have also been potentially linked to anti-cancer effects, reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of depression, reduced anxiety, a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, improved psoriasis symptoms, and protection against macular degeneration (age-related loss of vision). Those all sound like good things, right? Oh, and it’s long been argued that fish oil makes hair extra shiny and smoothes out skin.

Like with practically everything, though, there are dangers. But if you follow these two rules, you’ll eliminate the vast majority of any potential problems that could result from taking fish oil supplements. First, take the correct dosage. Whether you’re taking it in capsule form or straight up as an oil, be sure to verify a safe dosage with your physician.

Second, be sure to purchase fish oil recommended by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) Program, which is a trustworthy, third-party organization that tests products for harmful pollutants. For example, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals — these are all things that are extremely dangerous to ingest, but that could potentially be in fish, and hence, fish oil.

You will want to do your research and buy the purest, most natural product you can find. And of course, the better the quality, the higher the price. But one way you can minimize the expense is to buy in bulk, versus just a 30-day supply at a time, for example.

Non-fish foods can also deliver omega-3 fatty acids, such as eggs, certain lean red meats and turkey, but you would have to eat a lot of these foods to match the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

If you don’t eat a lot of fish in your diet and decide to take a fish oil supplement, you’ll be interested to know that the FDA says it’s safe to take up to 3,000 mg of omega-3 per day (remember, 3,000 mg of fish oil doesn’t equate to 3,000 mg of omega-3 — it equals about 300 mg of omega-3). But that doesn’t mean you should start hitting the stuff hard right away. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits for you and what your correct dosage would be.

Image via Stephen Cummings via Flickr

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