Is Fish Oil Harmful?

Some people ask "Is fish oil harmful?" yet, there are other issues that may be much more important concerning this popular supplement ...

When debating the safety of fish oil, the method of consumption is often more important than answering the question, “Is fish oil harmful?”

Fish oil has been proven safe enough to be included in many infant formulas, so the supplement is safe for human consumption. However, increasing the amount of natural fish oil in the diet can be achieved in one of two ways, either through the use of supplements or adding more fish to the weekly diet.

... supplements do not carry the higher mercury levels that fish has ...

Fish is known to have small to moderate amounts of mercury in every serving. Attempting to increase fish oil in the diet through weekly meals can also lead to increases in mercury consumption to the point of unhealthy levels. Mercury is especially a concern in pregnant and nursing women. While eating fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids is considered a healthy choice, supplements do not carry the higher mercury levels that fish does.

According to medical research, fish oils are important for both mental and physical health. Omega 3s, specifically, have been linked to decreasing inflammation, which can lead to a reduction in common illnesses like heart attack, stroke, certain forms of cancer and auto-immune conditions like arthritis and diabetes. Coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression and insulin resistance can also be affected by Omega 3 or fish oil levels.

The Symptoms of Too Little Fish Oil

The development of any of the above listed conditions could mean a deficiency in fish oil. Moreover, dry skin, frequent trips to the bathroom and dry hair can also be common symptoms of lower than normal fish oil levels. In order to increase the amount of Omega 3s, Omega 6s and the lesser known Omega 9s, a good supplement is needed in addition to healthy dietary changes.

The most publicized fish oil is Omega 3. When it comes to supplementing fish oil, however, a balance in needed between Omega 3s and Omega 6s in order to achieve optimum health. Fish oils can be viewed in the same light as cholesterol. Lower cholesterol levels are good, but if the good cholesterol is not in balance with the bad cholesterol, lower is not better and can actually harm health.

A healthy ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s is 4 to 1. Most American diets operate at a 10 to 1 ratio and some even as high as 30 to 1. The higher the Omega 6 level, the less beneficial the Omega 3s will be in the diet. Omega 6s are commonly found in foods like poultry, eggs, cereal and fortified breads. This means reaching high levels of Omega 6s is easy, while Omega 3s are a bit harder to consume.

So, now you have an answer to the question "Is fish oil harmful?"

Supplementing the diet with Omega 3 fish oil will help achieve a better ratio. Fish oil supplements should contain both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). One to two grams of fish oil is recommended every day for optimal health and Omega 6 balancing.

Omega 9 fatty acids are naturally produced by the body which means supplementation is not as important as it is with Omega 3s. Great sources of Omega 9s include olive oils and nuts.

Our preferred supplement is Xtend-Life's Omega 3 DHA Fish Oil

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