Fatty acids are considered essential nutrients meaning that we (humans) cannot synthesize them ourselves. We must obtain them through our diet.
There are a number of different types of fatty acids including omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9. Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids come from terrestrial food sources from eating plants and animals (like our typical meat and potatoes American diet).
The Ideal Ratio
Ideally, we need to consume an equal amount of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (a ratio of 1:1). However, most people are consuming much more omega 6 fatty acids than they are omega 3 fatty acids (by a ratio of 20:1 up to 50:1).
What Can Happen With an Abnormal Ratio
When there is an imbalance in the consumption of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, the body responds by going into inflammation. Inflammation is extremely harmful to our bodies and may lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, advanced aging, neurological degeneration, psychiatric disorders, brain problems, arthritis, and other issues.
What About Supplementation?
As more people become educated about the benefits of getting more omega-3 fatty acids, they’ll search for a quality supplement. Historically, the most popular form of omega-3 supplementation has come in the form of fish oils. Fish oils mostly come from the tissues of cold water oily fish. These include mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, and sardines. The fish do not produce omega-3 fatty acids themselves. But rather they accumulate them from consuming algae and/or other fish.
Fish Oil vs Krill Oil
There is a relatively new source of omega-3 fatty acids which comes in the form of krill oil. Krill are not fish, but rather crustaceans that resemble little shrimp. They are found in deep cold waters (commonly near the South Pole). Omega 3 fatty acids which come from fish oil are structurally different than from krill oil.
Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids are in a triglyceride form. Krill oil is a phospholipid bi-layer (which is the same structure as our own cell walls). Because of that similarity, some researchers believe krill oil is superior. However, no conclusive proof exists that shows krill works better to prevent or reduce disease or pathology.
Krill is also about eight times as expensive as fish oil. And because there are pharmaceutical quality fish oils in the marketplace (which are GMP certified to be free of any heavy metal or biological contamination), I believe fish oil is still a better choice.
Not All Fish Oils Are Made Equally
Not all fish oils are made equally. Because the product comes from fish, and because fish are potentially exposed to vast amounts of toxins in the polluted oceans, whatever toxins the fish may have will be transferred into our own bodies when we eat the fish products.
It is important that you only use fish oil supplements that come from companies that have been independently tested and certified to be free of heavy metals and biological contaminants.
What Can Fish Oils Do For You?
What kinds of problems can be helped by taking fish oils? To date, fish oils have been used to help with depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory, cognition, ADD/ADHD, Autism, psychosis, high blood pressure, cancers, diabetes, autoimmune disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, arthritis, complications associated with pregnancy, asthma, allergies, dyslexia, kidney disease, liver disease, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, high cholesterol / high triglycerides, sports injuries, whiplash trauma, entrapment syndromes (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome), colds/flu, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and anti-aging.
What Product Do I Recommend?
There are a number of quality fish oil products in the marketplace. The one I recommend the most is Orthomega 820 from Orthomolecular. The time from the catch to the capsule is only 60 days. This product will not leave you with a fishy aftertaste.
I partner with an online supplement dispensary called Fullscript. Ordering from them is as easy as ordering something from Amazon. You choose whatever you want, pick priority shipping and it will be delivered to your front door within two days. To order Orthomega 820, register for a free account with Fullscript. Here is the link: us.fullscript.com/welcome/ccc