If you’re anything like us, you’ve been flooded with information about fish oil lately. Advocates describe it as some sort of wonder supplement, fixing every health, beauty and wellbeing problem you’ve ever had. The problem is, with all of the information that’s being thrown at us it’s hard to know what to believe, what products to take and what benefits you’ll get from adding fish oil into your diet.
We’ve got down to the nitty-gritty for you, to bust all the myths and find out what the real deal is with fish oil. As it turns out, it’s great for you in multiple different ways; you just need to make sure you choose the right supplement! Keep on reading as we debunk the hype behind omega 3’s, essential fatty acids and everything in between.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are important for optimal health, but can’t be naturally produced by our bodies, so we must consume them via supplements and food. There are two main types of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-6 promotes inflammation, increases blood clotting and depresses the immune system, whereas omega-3 counteracts all of those effects. We must ensure we’re consuming enough omega-3 to balance out this ratio— however, our Western diets contain too much omega-6 to maintain this balance, so we should be taking regular supplements to maintain optimum health.
The two most beneficial omega-3’s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Fish is the best source of these omega-3’s, however due to a lack of fish consumption in Western diets, as well as a fear of toxins such as Mercury, we don’t tend to eat enough fish to get all the nutrients we need. Enter fish oil supplements.
EPA and DHA work together for optimum health, but each has different benefits. EPA reduces inflammation, improves cardiovascular health, and is beneficial for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. DHA is vital for brain, nerve and eye cells, as well as benefitting cognition, fetal and infant development, pregnancy and decreasing depression.
Why take fish oil supplements?
It seems that fish oil is truly a wonder supplement, benefitting your eyes, mind, skin, hair and heart. It even helps slow ageing of the skin!
Omega-3 fish oil helps relieve eye redness, dryness, pain and inflammation, reduces the risk of cataracts and protects against age-related eye disorders.
Fish oil promotes mental and emotional health, supports attention and learning ability, can slow the progression of age-related memory loss and protects nerve and brain cells from oxidative damage and ageing.
Reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease, slow the progression of atherosclerosis, improve circulation and blood vessel function, prevent and improve cardiac arrhytmias all by supplementing your diet with fish oil.
Skin and Hair
And now for the benefits you can actually see. Fish oil supplements are proven to protect against premature wrinkles, improve eczema and psoriasis, reduce and prevent skin inflammation, hydrate the skin and restore skin texture, protecting against free radicals and oxidative damage and can improve and prevent acne.
All of these things help slow the destruction of collagen and elasticity in the skin, preventing the ageing process from taking as much of a toll on your skin.
While sunlight is vital for creating Vitamin D, which our bodies require, it does inflame the skin, speeding up the ageing process. By supplementing your diet with fish oil, you can prevent the inflammation of the skin, reducing the destructive effects on collagen and elastens that preserve your skin, and contributes to slowed ageing.
How to choose the right supplement
You need to ensure the supplement you’re purchasing is pure— free of mercury, lead and other toxins. It should be free of artificial flavours, and have no fishy taste or smell. These are signs of poorly manufactured oil, as well as a lack of freshness. Make sure the supplement you’re taking has been tested by a third-party, and has been produced with quality in mind, rather than mass production. And very importantly, the fish oil you take needs to be sustainable; environmentally responsible fishing should be high on your list of priorities.
We asked anti-ageing expert Dr. Michael Elstein about the benefits of fish oil in slowing the ageing process of skin.
Rescu. Recommends: Nordic Naturals fish oil products (RRP $24.10-$49.30). Our go-to for fish oil supplements, we love Nordic Naturals for their commitment to purity, freshness, taste, dosage and sustainability. With no fishy taste, nasty chemicals and their environmentally friendly ethos, Nordic Naturals provides the full range of fish oil benefits while ensuring you’re not putting any nasties into your body. Available from selected health food stores nationwide.