Archive for August, 2009

Some people are concerned about a fish oil overdose, and fish oil side effects.

Can you have a fish oil overdose? Now that’s an interesting question. When we were asked can you overdose on fish oil pills we decided to write about the risks of an Omega 3 overdose.

The first thing to say is yes, you can overdose on fish oil if you’re getting your oil from eating a lot of fish. It is now well recognized, including by the FDA, that fish are contaminated with toxins like PCBs, mercury, dioxin and chlordane. And for this reason they have a warning on their website about eating too much fish, especially top of the food chain fish.

But otherwise we aren’t aware of any fish oil overdose symptoms from eating a lot of fish. Remember, eating fish is healthy, and ignoring the problems with toxic contamination, eating a lot of fish is good for you.

Most of the studies of the benefits of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids started with studies of populations of people who eat a lot of fish. A whole lot of fish. People like the Eskimos who eat fish daily, for example. And the studies found all sorts of health benefits from eating a lot of fish due to their intake of those healthy Omega 3 fats like DHA and EPA.

We haven’t seen any evidence that the Eskimos overdosed on fish and had negative health side effects.

But the question was about fish oil tablets and supplements, not eating fish.

Again we return to toxic contamination. Fish oil supplements can be contaminated with toxins. Most are pretty good, the best are excellent, but there are issues with contamination depending on where the fish oil, or the fish it comes from are sourced, how the oil is treated to remove the toxins and even whether the oil is treated at all.
Fish Oil Overdose

When buying fish oil supplements these are the things you need to find out. The best fish oil supplements don’t have any detectable levels of contamination at all.

So, can you have an Omega 3 overdose and if so what are the symptoms? Well the risks of an Omega 3 overdose are slight, but like all things you need to have an understanding of what the fish oil dosage recommendations are and follow them. We have written about the right fish oil dosage on our site already, read that article if you’re in doubt about how many capsules to take.

There are always those people who believe that if some is good for you more must be better. So if 2 capsules a day (of quality capsules, more for “ordinary” capsules) is good for your heart then 20 capsules a day must be REALLY good for your heart.

We always recommend that, even though Omega 3 supplements are really good for so many aspects of your health, always follow the dosage recommendations. Don’t take more than recommended.

The best fish oil supplements clearly state the dosage, 2 capsules a day. Stick to that, (we do).

At best you may find that taking more than recommended is wasting money, at worst there may be an overdose effect.

But in reality there is only a small risk of a serious fish oil overdose. Unless you’re taking huge amounts you ought to be ok. You may have an upset stomach, but probably not a lot worse than that. Perhaps some fishy reflux with inferior quality supplements or a fishy after taste.

HOWEVER. For those with a preexisting medical condition we also always recommend that you check with your doctor before starting supplements of any kind. If you have a preexisting medical condition there MAY be some possible fish oil overdose effect specific to that condition.

For example one of the major benefits of taking Omega 3 fatty acids is their ability to thin the blood. This is good and is part of the reason why taking supplements improves your heart health and reduces your risk of stroke.

But for some people with pre exising medical conditions there can be some risk of bleeding from thinning of the blood, so they should consult a doctor before starting on any Omega 3 capsules, or any other supplements for that matter.

And even for those with no pre existing conditions, taking huge doses may result in bleeding from blood thinning.

ALWAYS follow the recommendations of your doctor on dosage, or if you have no pre existing problems, follow the recommended dosage on the label.

The reality is that fish oil supplements are inherently safe, disregarding the problems of contamination. Fish oil is a natural product that is taken from fish, and you shouldn’t have an overdose from eating too much fish.

A word of warning though.

Here we are talking about an overdose of fish oil from normal fish oil supplements. You CAN get an overdose if you take too much cod liver oil. Normally Cod Liver Oil isn’t found in Omega 3 supplements, but there are still some people who take it believing it to be good for them.

There are some Omega 3 fats in Cod Liver Oil and many still believe what their grandmother told them, that Cod Liver Oil is good for you.

But as the oil is sourced from the liver of the fish, not the flesh, it is very high in vitamins A and D, and you can overdose on those vitamins. Don’t take high doses of Cod Liver Oil unless you have solid professional advise that you ought to do so.

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Along with daily fish oil supplements a good Omega 3 cookbook will help add more good fats to your diet.

By now, even if you haven’t read our site before, chances are that you know that the Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats found in fish oil are good for your health. Very good for your health.

More and more research is showing that there are so many areas of our health that can benefit from more Omega 3 in our diet. Our brain, our heart, our eyes, our internal organs, and way more can all benefit from more fish oil.

There’s 2 essential fatty acids found in fish oil. DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, is the main one but EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) is also very important. These are the most important essential fatty acids.

These 2 are found primarily in fish and fish oil, and that’s why most Omega 3 supplements are based on fish oil.

But there is also a plant based Omega 3 fatty acid. It’s called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The benefit to the body is that it converts ALA to DHA, although there is debate about how much ALA actually gets converted, some say not a lot. For that reason DHA from fish oil is better, because your body doesn’t need to convert it.Omega 3 recipes

The way your body gets  these healthy Omega 3 fats is through what you eat. Now of course Omega 3  fats are so important to us that they should be taken daily, and the best way to do that is using high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplements. But there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t also add more Omega 3 fats to your diet as well as take daily supplements.

There are good fats and bad fats. Saturated fat found mainly in dairy products and meat, are not healthy fats. But if you eat the right foods with the good fats in them then you’re eating better food and getting healthier from what you eat.

For example olive oil, canola oil, and flaxseed oil have healthy Omega 3 fats in them. And some foods also have good fats. For example walnuts.  Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens do as well.

Whilst the vegetables have ALA fish, particularly oily fish, has DHA. So adding fish to your diet is great. But the FDA tells us to eat only moderate amounts of fish due to chemical contamination.

So whilst you really need to be taking daily fish oil supplements, if you concentrate on adding good Omega 3 foods like those above to your diet you’re also doing yourself a favor. So start concentrating on cooking with Omega 3 foods. Omega 3 cooking is not hard, if you have a good Omega 3 cookbook.

It’s pretty simple, a good Omega 3 cookbook will be packed with recipes that feature high Omega 3 foods. So it will have some great fish recipes, it will have you cooking with Omega 3 oils like canola oil or olive oil and it will feature recipes that have plenty of vegetables and other Omega 3 foods.

So remember, whilst you should be taking daily fish oil supplementsto get the maximum benefit from those good fats, it’s well worthwhile also concentrating on using Omega 3 recipes when doing your cooking.

So where do you find a good Omega 3 cookbook full of healthy Omega 3 recipes? There’s an excellent book called Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health: Hundreds of Ways to Incorporate Omega-3 Rich Foods into Your Diet to Fight Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, and More .

As well as being a great Omega 3 cookbook it also offers all sorts of good tips on finding and incorporating healthy fats into your lifestyle and diet.

Whilst supplements are great, there’s powerful reasons to start making some simple modifications to your diet. You’ll get more healthy polyunsaturated fats in your diet and you’ll also get less saturated fats in your diet if you concentrate on healthy Omega 3 recipes.

So start today, get yourself onto a good healthy diet, start taking fish oil capsules and you’re on your way to better health.

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It seems that Omega 3 fats are good for all sorts of things. Fish oil and skin health go together too.

Lately we’ve talked about all sorts of serious health concerns that can be improved by increasing your intake of Omega 3 fish oil. Skin is no exception.

Whilst skin conditions and skin health aren’t a life threatening issue, there are probably as many people interested in keeping their skin looking good as there are about any other health issue. Skin care is big business and skin aging, and skin conditions like wrinkles, lines around the mouth and eyes and skin sagging are serious concerns to so many, particularly women.

Skin is just like the rest of our body. It needs good polyunsaturated fats just like our heart does, and it responds to an increase in good fats and a decrease in bad fats in our diet by getting more and more healthy and looking better.

Most people who start taking fish oil supplements do so for reasons unconnected to skin health. However there is a tendency for many people who start taking fish oil supplements to report an improvement in specific skin conditions that they might have, as well as an improvement in the look and feel of their skin too.

And it’s not only skin. Whilst it’s clear that fish oil for good skin does indeed work, fish oil is also good for your nails and hair. Users of high quality fish oil supplements routinely report improvements in nails and hair.Fish Oil Skin

So why take fish oil for skin health? What does Omega 3 do for skin?

The skin has it’s own natural oils. It produces them itself, but can often suffer from a lack of oils. They can be stripped out by, for example, too much sun or wind or other factors. So people use moisturizers to retain skin moisture and reduce oil loss.

Omega 3 fats are similar to the skins natural oils and help the skin produce more.

Not only that but Omega 3 is also an excellent anti inflammatory. Many skin conditions are characterized by inflammation and so anything that helps reduce this is good for the skin. Fish oil has been shown to be an even more effective anti inflammatory than aspirin, and has no serious health side effects. Reducing skin inflammation is an excellent way to improve skin health and reduce specific skin problems.

Many skin experts are now prescribing a dose of fish oil for skin health each day. Of course that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also be using quality skin care products, you should be doing both.

There’s excellent health reasons to be taking Omega 3 supplements for general health and everyone should now be doing so. Whilst skin health is important the health and heart benefits of daily Omega 3 supplements are vital, and reason enough to be adding a serious dose of fish oil to your daily diet.

But if your skin, and your nails and your hair are also going to benefit then there’s just more reasons to get healthier and feel better, and look better.

Remember your fish oil. Skin loves it and your whole body loves it. Take quality fish oil for good skin health and overall health.

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Eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids increases your intake of Omega 3, but how much and at what cost?

Now that the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in improving your health is well known the food industry has jumped on board and started producing foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids. But should you be eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids?

Good question. Now of course there’s no doubt that Omega 3 fats, mainly found in fish oil, are good for your health. That’s now clearly established and we have talked about many of the health benefits of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats right here. That’s what our website is about.

But with a rash of new Omega 3 foods coming onto the market we are being asked about eating foods with Omega 3 in them. Currently there are plenty of Omega 3 fortified foods available like eggs, bread, fruit straps, cereals,milk, cheese and pasta, and more.

There are basically 2 different forms of Omega fats, plant forms and fish, or marine, forms. Both are different and it is currently considered that the fish based Omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) are the better for you, so for this reason food manufacturers are using fish oil fortification to produce their fortified foods.

Now of course there’s no problem getting more Omega 3 fats in your diet. They have a recognized health value and very few side effects. People who eat a lot of fish have been found to have much lower levels of various diseases like heart disease and this is linked to the amount of fish they eat.Foods Containing Omega 3 Fatty Acids

However there is another issue. Whilst it does no harm at all to eat more good fats you need to consider how much you are getting and at what price.

Because foods with Omega 3 are much more highly priced than those without. That’s marketing for you. If people want those foods the manufacturers will charge more for them.

However when you look at the amount of Omega 3 in various foods you have to question whether the amount of good fats that you’re getting from your food justifies the extra cost. If the cost were the same then this isn’t an issue, but Omega 3 rich foods are more expensive.

Generally speaking the amount of Omega fats that you get in most of the foods is pretty low. If you take one serve of Omega-3 fortified bread you get around 120 mg of good fats. Of course there’s nothing wrong with more good fats, but how much are you paying for them?

Contrast that with a serving of oily fish and you get 3000 mg of Omega 3s. Dramatically more than from the bread.

Now of course fish isn’t cheap either. In fact probably the cheapest way to get your DHA and EPA is taking high quality fish oil supplements.

If you’d like to see an analysis of the different prices of DHA in different fish oil supplements read our page about how to compare fish oil supplements by price.

So there’s no problem eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. You’re getting more DHA and EPA and that’s good. But it’s not stricly a cost effective way of doing it. You’re better to eat non fortified foods and buy fish oil supplements on a cost analysis.

And make sure you eat foods that aren’t fortified but are naturally high in the plant form of Omega 3. These include olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts and soy and linseed bread. These aren’t priced higher just because they have Omega 3 fats in them.

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