Supplement to be taken with caution: Fish oil

Health and Diet

In recent years, the interest in supplements seems to be growing year by year.
However, there are two major problems with current supplements and health foods.

  1. Regulations are much more lax than for pharmaceuticals. This means that ineffective products are easily available at high prices.
  2. There is less research data than for pharmaceuticals. In other words, no one can say for sure about the long-term dangers.

As a result, many people are forced to pay unnecessarily high prices for health foods that not only have no effect, but may even shorten their lifespan in the long run.
The only way to prevent this from happening is to somehow sort out what we know and what we don't know, based on scientific evidence.
So, based on reliable data, we will look at supplements that have the potential to harm the body.
Previously, I introduced research results on the following supplements, and now I will introduce fish oil.

Fish oil is an important ingredient

Fish oil, as the name suggests, is a supplement made from the fat extracted from fish.
It is also sold under other names such as Omega-3, DHA, and EPA, and is highly popular.

It may come as a surprise to you to hear that fish oil is a “dangerous supplement”.
Fish oil has been widely reported on TV and in magazines as a “blood thinner” and a “preventive of dementia,” giving the impression that it is common knowledge that fish oil is good for health.

Indeed, there is no doubt that fish oil is an important ingredient.
This is because DHA and EPA are essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body and must be actively consumed from fish and vegetable oils.

In fact, even the most reliable data confirms the usefulness of fish oil to a great extent.
A representative example is a meta-analysis published by the University of Joanina, Greece in 2012.
It is a compilation of data from 69,000 people, selected from a large number of high quality fish oil studies conducted in the past.
Evangelos C. Rizos, et al. (2012)Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
The conclusion can be divided into two main points.

  • There is no point in a healthy person taking fish oil.
  • If you're at high risk for heart disease, fish oil can help prevent it.

If you don't have heart or blood vessel problems, fish oil is useless, but if you do have some problems, it seems to have the effect of lowering your risk of developing the disease.
In other words, if you are a middle-aged or older person who is more susceptible to heart disease, fish oil may be helpful.

No supplement is more susceptible to deterioration than fish oil.

So why should you be wary of fish oil supplements?
This is because fish oil is an unusually degradable ingredient.
Fish oil is a type of fatty acid called “polyunsaturated fatty acid”.
Unlike the saturated fatty acids found in butter and eggs, these fatty acids do not harden in the body, which is a good thing because they do not have a negative impact on blood vessels. However, they are also vulnerable to oxidation.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction between matter and oxygen. Oxidation is the reason why iron rusts and why neglected foods lose their taste.
In recent years, it has become clear that oxidation in the body can shorten our life span.

And among the many supplements, fish oil is the one that is unstable to oxygen.
In fact, several studies have concluded that fish oil supplements are dangerous.

For example, let's look at a paper that came out in 2017.
R. Preston Mason, et al. (2017)Omega-3 fatty acid fish oil dietary supplements contain saturated fats and oxidized lipids that may interfere with their intended biological benefits
The Harvard Medical School selected three popular fish oils sold in the U.S. and examined how much they were oxidized.

The results were shocking: all of the fish oils were oxidized well above the safe limit.
Some of the products had oxidation levels seven times higher than the standard value, which is not good.
A research team from Harvard University says.
It is not well known what effect oxidized supplements have on our health status.
However, we do know that oxidized lipids are a risk factor for heart disease.

We cannot say for sure how bad oxidized fish oil is for you, as there are few research examples.
However, it would not be worth the trouble to take the risk of oxidation.

If you want to get high quality fish oil from food, for example, I recommend “canned mackerel”.
Ordinary “mackerel cans” are sealed with the air completely removed, so there is almost no oxidative damage even when they are in the store.
It's a great way to get fresh fish oil.
If you want to stay healthy, eating two cans a week should be enough.

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