As you may recall, I recently came across a hit job on fish oil supplements in a major monthly “science” magazine. The piece attempted to raise doubts about fish oil’s long-standing, science-backed benefits for heart health.
But that wasn’t the only issue. When I dug a little deeper, I learned that the author works for a drug company.
Thankfully, most reasonable doctors know better than to fall for this kind of biased, unsubstantiated nonsense.
In fact, according to a recent survey in which I participated, many doctors now routinely recommend their patients take fish oil supplements. (Perhaps yours does, too!?) Which is a HUGE advancement from how most doctors viewed the healthy practice even just 10 years ago. (But they still struggle with understanding the right doses for you personally.)
So, let’s talk about why fish oil is so important to heart health. And then, I’ll give you some guidelines for picking high-quality fish and fish oil sources.
Fish oil supports heart health
Research dating back several decades shows that fish oil—which contain loads of healthy omega-3 fatty acids—is great for your heart. Of course, the two most-studied omega-3s in fish oil are: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
They’ve both been shown to help lower blood pressure and triglycerides and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and cardiac arrhythmias. They also help reduce chronic inflammation—the underlying problem that causes many of these serious cardiovascular conditions and other chronic diseases.
The evidence on fish oil is so impressive, even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a very rare, qualified health claim saying that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Now, let’s talk about the new survey I recently participated in…
Doctors know more about fish oil than I thought
In this survey, two-third of doctors knew that herring has the highest amounts of DHA and EPA compared to other types of fish and seafood. And that’s great news, because it shows they knew more than I thought they did!
Now, realistically speaking, not that many people outside of the Baltic region actually enjoy eating herring (the way I do). So, remember, you can also benefit from eating other types of oily fish—like freshwater trout, salmon, sardines, and tuna—which also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
You should also remember to always opt for wild-caught fish and seafood, as these varieties contain up to 10 times more fatty acids than farmed fish. (Wild-caught is basically an “organic,” “natural” equivalent version of seafood.)
On the other hand, farm-raised fish contain contaminants—such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—that you need to avoid.
Now, I know vegetarians try to argue that you can get some omega-3s from plant sources. But research shows that animal brains absorb omega-3s found in seafood with 10-times greater efficiency than DHA from plant sources. (Just one more reason to avoid following a vegetarian diet!)
In another part of the survey, doctors showed a surprisingly good, basic understanding of the importance of supplementing with fish oil. In fact, nearly two-thirds of doctors recommend people with high triglycerides (who run a higher risk of developing heart disease) take 2,000 to 4,000 mg of fish oil per day.
And that modest dose can be right for those people who also eat plenty of seafood each week. But unless you’re like the old man in the sea and eat fish or seafood every single day, you probably need to take a higher daily dose.
Indeed, the amount of fish oil you should take daily depends ENTIRELY on how much fish and seafood you regularly eat. In other words, there is no “one–size–fits–all” dosage recommendation. So, if you eat little-to-no fish or seafood weekly, you really should take a much higher daily dose.
That being said, if you take warfarin (a drug that thins the blood) in addition to high doses of fish oil (in the 6,000 mg/day range), your doctor should also monitor you for bleeding. That’s because both warfarin and fish oil thin the blood and reduce the risk of blood clots. And in the survey, two-thirds of doctors said they do dutifully monitor patients for bleeding if they take warfarin and fish oil.
Fish oil helps with arthritis pain and swelling
Of course, fish oil helps with much more than just heart disease and the related conditions. In fact, taking fish oil can help with just about every chronic disease in the book—even rheumatoid arthritis—because it reduces harmful systemic inflammation.
In the survey, again, more than two-thirds of doctors said they knew about the strong science supporting the use of fish oil for rheumatoid arthritis. And clinical trials dating back to the 1990s consistently show that fish oil supplements reduce the need for dangerous corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs in people with both rheumatoid arthritis and the more common osteoarthritis.
In my view, having a natural solution to help manage pain and inflammation associated with both types of arthritis pain is particularly important, as the conditions affect so many Americans. In fact, I remember back in the mid-1970s, when I was in medical school, doctors often told their patients with arthritis to take 20 or more aspirin at a time, which is an excessive amount, to manage their pain.
By the 1980s, however, the newer non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, had come out. So people could stop taking those excessive doses of aspirin. But really—you shouldn’t take a lot of ibuprofen regularly either.
Especially because you have many safe, effective options for managing the pain and swelling associated with arthritis WITHOUT the use of drugs. You can learn all about them in the July 2021 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“The science-backed strategy to conquering arthritis in your very own kitchen”). If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.
Two important reminders for supplementing with fish oil
In the end, I’m glad to learn that more doctors know about the many impressive health benefits of fish oil. But before I go, here are two quick reminders about how to choose a high-quality fish oil supplement that they won’t tell you…
First, higher intakes of omega-3s—like EPA and DHA—offer greater protection against developing and dying from heart disease. That’s why I always recommend opting for oily varieties, like salmon. Then, the amount you should supplement with really depends on how much fish and seafood you eat on a daily or weekly basis.
Second, it’s imperative to choose safe and effective food sources and products, including a high-quality fish oil supplement—as there are a lot of terrible brands that contain mercury and other harmful substances.
(You can learn more about why quality matters when it comes to fish and fish oil, along with an easy breakdown of dosage recommendations, in the April 2021 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures [“Getting to the heart of the omega-3 ‘controversy’”]. Click here to become a subscriber today!)
Finally, in addition to taking fish oil, there are many other natural approaches to safeguard your heart and fight against heart disease. You can learn all about them in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. For more information about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now.
“Fast Five Quiz: Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil).” Medscape, 4/9/21. (https://reference.medscape.com/viewarticle/948834)