If you aren’t already taking a salmon oil supplement, you’re missing out. Every time a new study is done on salmon oil the results seem to point to a cure for some or other disease or ailment.
Salmon oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. One of the reasons that omega 3’s are so good for us is for their anti-inflammatory properties. In a typical western diet we don’t get enough omega 3’s and consume far too many omega 6’s, another type of polyunsaturate that is pro-inflammatory in nature. That’s not to say that the omega 6’s are bad for us, but that we need to balance out the two fats in order to keep inflammation at bay. Other good sources of omega 3’s that you should consider are flax seeds and walnuts.
What makes salmon oil so special?
The real magic with salmon oil lies with two additional fatty acids it contains, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is the building block of the brain and retinal tissue. It helps with the forming of neurotransmitters and may be necessary for normal eye function. It is these two fatty acids, almost unique to fish oil, that contribute to the growing list of benefits.
So what are the benefits?
Without being an exhaustive list, these are just some of the many benefits:
- Improves cardio-vascular health
- Reduces the risk of coronary artery disease
- Controls hypertension
- Controls chronic inflammation
- Prevents degenerative eye diseases
- Helps prevent cancer
- Helps fight eczema
- Effective against arthritic pain
- A good mood elevator
- Sharpens mental acuity
- For pregnant women, it has been shown to make children smarter and better co-ordinated
- Boosts the metabolism, making it easier for you to lose fat.
How much should I take?
Well, that all depends on the EPA/DHA concentrations in your salmon oil. Check the label to see the concentrations. Typically, the low grade products, the kind you would find in most supermarkets, contain around 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA per capsule. That’s a total of 300mg per one gram capsule, equalling 30% total.
Try to find pharmaceutical grade salmon oil if possible. These oils have been filtered of all the toxins that might be present in the oil. Unfortunately, our fish supply has become polluted with mercury and other toxic substances, so your best bet is to buy the good stuff. Look for a pharmaceutical grade product that is around 60% total EPA/DHA.
On the recommendation of various sports nutritionists, I like to take quite a high dosage. This should be perfectly safe, unless you are taking any blood thinning medicines, as the omega 3’s tend to thin the blood too. Best to check with your doctor anyway. Depending on your bodyweight and current fish intake, you’ll want 2-3 grams of EPA/DHA per day for maximum benefit. That means if your oil has a 60% concentration, you’ll need to be taking around 4-5 capsules spread throughout the day at mealtimes.
If you want to learn more about Omega’s 3’s, why not check out Dr. Omega’s Blog.