Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Benefits of Taking Fish Oil

Fish oil plays a role in heart health by providing you with omega-3 fatty acids. It also adds vitamins A and D to your diet, which a beneficial to eye health and bone growth. Another benefit of fish oil is its anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis and menstrual cramps, according to the
New York Langone Medical Center.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the risk of heart disease and help lower cholesterol, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. You can get your recommended daily allowance of 0.8 to1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids by eating two 3-ounce servings of fish per week or by taking daily fish oil supplements that equal 1 gram of omega-3.

Fish Oil Vitamins

Cod liver oil is the only fish oil that contains vitamins A and D. One teaspoon of cod liver oil provides you with 4500 micrograms of vitamin A, which is six times more than the recommended daily allowance of 700 micrograms. One teaspoon of cod liver oil also contains 450 micrograms of vitamin D, which is 30 times more than the recommended 15 micrograms per day. NYU Langone Medical Center recommends caution when taking cod liver oil, so you do not exceed the upper limit of 3000 micrograms of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can be toxic, while toxicity from too much vitamin D is less likely.

Fish Oil Supplements

When choosing a fish oil supplement, check the label for the two ingredients that make up omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Even though a fish oil supplement states it is 100 milligrams of fish oil, that doesn’t mean it contains 1000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Consult the pharmacist if you can’t determine which fish oil contains the most omega-3 to ensure you get the health benefits of the fish oil.

Precautions

Fish oil thins the blood, so if you take blood thinning prescriptions, such as warfarin, consult your doctor before taking any fish oil. One other drawback to taking fish oil is fishy tasting burps.

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Image: By Wuhazet (Henryk ┼╗ychowski) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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