Fishing For Fish Oil

fish oilSpring is well under way and summer is fast approaching. It’s time for kids to take out their roller blades for carefree treks down boardwalks and sidewalks. Dads will rummage through closets for dormant baseball caps and to see if last year’s uniform still fits. If not playing ball he’ll watch from the sidelines, or from the comfort of his favorite chair. Moms, time to don old jeans, stock up on sunscreen, and get out the fishing poles. You heard me, ladies. Fishing poles! It’s time to fight back!

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), stroke is the third leading cause of death in women. Every year an estimated 97,000 American women will die as a result of stroke. Statistically, every 53 seconds stroke will victimize someone in America. Of an estimated 600,000 stroke victims each year about 160,000 die as a result. There is, however, an easy way to drastically reduce these statistics.

Findings in a 14-year-long study of nearly 80,000 American women indicate that eating a 3.5 ounce serving of fish, two to four times a week, lowers stroke risk by 27 percent. The more fish consumed, the more impressive the percentages. Although few large-scale studies have examined this particular issue in men, experts say there is no biological reason results of such studies would differ.

The American Medical Association (AMA) published the study results in their January journal, 2001. There is conclusive evidence that consumption of fish high in omega 3 fatty acids hold significant health benefits, including reduced thrombotic infarction — a type of stroke where a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain, resulting in destroyed brain tissue. (Blood clots are responsible for more than 80 percent of all strokes.)

Fish are a high source of omega 3 fatty acids, nutrients that help prevent the formation of clots, or “platelet clumping.” They do this by making blood less “sticky.” As a result, risk of thrombotic stroke is lessened, as well as risk of embolic stroke, where the clot forms elsewhere in the body before traveling to the brain.

Conducted at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, the study revealed that women who ate fish once a week reduced stoke risk by 22 percent; two to four times a week by 27 percent, and five or more times a week by 52 percent. Unfortunately, the average American woman only consumes about 1.3 servings of any type seafood weekly, at an average of 3.5 ounces per serving. Women are not eating enough fish!

Penny Kris Etherton, Ph.D., a heart disease researcher at the State University in Pennsylvania, has long extolled the virtues of eating fish for health purposes. “I clearly tell people to eat fish and shellfish regularly to lower the risk of heart disease.”

National Fisheries Institute (NFI) President, Richard E. Gutting, Jr., agrees. “The benefits of eating fish continue to mount as more studies are conducted,” he noted. Gutting also said that women of all ages “should enjoy the variety and great taste of fish and seafood on a regular basis.”

How the fish is prepared is important, as omega 3 fatty acids can be destroyed by heat, air, and light. NFI recommends not overcooking the meat and the use of low fat cooking methods: baking, broiling, poaching, steaming, stir-frying, grilling, or sautéing. Cook just until the point of doneness for maximum benefit. Avoid deep-frying, as it not only destroys more omega 3, but also adds to the total fat content.

If eating fish isn’t your cup of tea, you might try fish oil supplements. Most experts do not advise the routine use of fish oil supplements, however, for two reasons:
1.) possible side effects — fishy breath, gastrointestinal upset, and easy bruising. 2.) a false sense of security derived from taking fish oil for heath purposes, when the diet itself may be unhealthy.

Besides fish and fish oil supplements, other good omega 3 fatty acid sources include canola oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, certain nuts and vegetables, and tofu. However, one would have to eat at least several times the normal amount of any of these other sources to gain the same benefit from one regular size serving of fish.

Institute of Food Technologist, Joyce Nettleton, D. Sc., R.D. suggests that because eating fish alone won’t compensate for unhealthy eating habits, “fish and other shellfish should be eaten as part of a low fat diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.”

Besides boasting stroke resistant benefits, the fatty acids of omega 3 act as “health heroes” against hypertension, breast cancer, and depression. Other benefits include: less chance of developing heart disease, lower risk of heart attack even where heart disease does exist, lower blood pressure, possible improvement of kidney function in severe diabetes, and possible improvement of certain inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, and kidney disease.

In addition, nutrients found in healthy, uncontaminated fish help to insure proper development of fetal brain, eye, and nervous tissue during pregnancy. But, caution should be taken.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a recent consumer advisory, pregnant women should not consume shark, swordfish, or king mackerel or should limit consumption to not more than once a month.

These large predator fish could contain higher levels of methyl mercury than the FDA limit for safe human consumption — 1 part per million (1ppm). Over consumption risks damage to the fetal nervous system. Even fresh water predator species such as pike and walleye have been found to have methyl mercury levels in the 1ppm range.

While it’s true nearly all fish contain trace elements of mercury, larger, older and predator fish accumulate the highest levels and pose the greatest threat, while younger fish caught after only one season in polluted water have less. Even so, a variety of fish and other seafood that offer a naturally low fat source of protein can be an important part of a balanced diet for mothers-to-be.

According to one FDA advisor, pregnant women can consume up to 12 ounces of cooked fish each week: shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or farm raised fish. Farm raised rainbow trout are most likely fed high protein foods containing a combination of soy and fish meal which make them an even better source of omega 3 fatty acid. Seven ounces of canned tuna can be safely consumed each week by pregnant women and nursing mothers if no other fish containing mercury is eaten.

Despite FDA warnings for pregnant women, the results of the survey hold wonderful news, and women should be greatly encouraged. We now have scientific proof that there is a positive step available toward reducing the risk of stroke. Even if you don’t like fish, consuming just one 3.5 ounce serving one or two times a month can reduce risk of stroke by 7 percent.

Certain kinds of fish are more beneficial than others. For instance, because Alaska is relatively unpopulated there is little industry to pollute the streams and ocean. Lack of pollution combined with the earth’s water and air circulation patterns make Alaska’s pristine waters, and consequently its seafood among the cleanest in the world.

Numerous studies support this assertion. In 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did a survey of seafood from the waters of Cook Inlet, located near Anchorage, Alaska. Results indicate that fin fish and shellfish caught in Cook Inlet were cleaner than any the EPA had ever tested. In addition, plentiful Alaska Salmon, one of the richest natural sources of omega 3 fatty acid available, are not among the publicized “endangered” varieties of salmon.

Although light meat fish such as perch, flounder, and whiting have only about 0.5 grams of omega 3 fatty acid per 4 ounce serving, fish varieties with dark meat such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and bluefish contain roughly three times the amount of protective stroke reducing omega 3 fatty acid. Fresh tuna, striped bass, and rainbow smelt are also rich sources. So if you’re going to limit fish intake, a dark meat fish is your best choice.

Whether for purposes of hobby or health, fishing is relaxing and something the whole family can enjoy together. This fun “sport” has the potential to enhance your health and your marriage.

So, go ahead! Get a fishing license, grab a pole, and hit the shoreline. Eat “the fruits of your labor” five times a week to reduce stroke risk by as much as 52 percent. Then brag about the “big one” that got away!

Asthma And Fish Oil

Fish oilThere was a study conducted in Indiana University which revealed that fish oil is a very effective remedy for asthma symptoms, especially that caused by over activity or too much exercise.

Emergency medication is often needed by people who have severe asthma symptoms. The study involved 16 asthma patients suffering mild symptoms to severe ones. These individuals need daily asthma medications in order to control the attacks. The asthma patients were given high doses of fish oil which contain EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid (3.2 gm) and DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid (2gm) for about three weeks.

Before fish oil administration, the lungs of the asthma patients were first examined through efficiency tests. Sputum samples were also taken and analyzed. The tests took note of the inflammatory cells and some markers. The same tests were conducted after the end of the study. After the 3-week period of fish oil administration, the patients showed 64% improvement in terms of lung efficiency and the need for asthma medications also reduced by about 31%. Fish oil contains fatty acids (Omega 3) which has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Asthma patients often have second thoughts about exercising because they fear that it can cause asthma symptoms. This is true especially in some asthmatics. However, the body needs adequate exercise and this is the reason why some asthma patients still engage in some forms of exercise. In some case, the air passage swells or become inflamed when the asthma patient engages in strenuous exercises. When this happens, the doctor will tell you that the asthma attack was exercise-induced. How can you tell if you’re exhibiting asthma symptoms? It’s quite simple; once you experience wheezing, breath shortness, chest tightness, and coughing, you’re already having an asthma attack. Don’t worry because the asthma symptoms will just ease off after 1 ½ hours.

If you exercise during dry and cool conditions, you’re more likely to experience asthma symptoms because there is cooling and drying out of the air passages. This will result to the release of inflammatory chemicals which narrows the airways. Some doctors encourage swimming as a form of exercise because the air is usually warmer and moist and so asthma attacks seldom happens.

When the asthma attack is exercise-induced, the individual will not be able to get enough exercise. In the case of youngsters who like sports and other physical activities, their health condition will serve as a barrier and so they can’t enjoy their life to the fullest.

Omega 3 is different from Omega 6. Large percentage of Omega 3 is found in fish oil and this is very beneficial to asthma patients because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The latter is pro-inflammatory which means that it can trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals, thereby resulting to asthma attacks. Medical experts advise asthma patients to increase their consumption of Omega 3 or fish oil instead of consuming more vegetable oils, processed foods, dairy products, and meats which contain Omega 6. So where can you get fish oil? You can get it from oily fishes or in fish oil that came from plant sources.

You have to include fish oil in your everyday supplements because of its therapeutic benefits. You can use it to prevent future asthma attacks which are exercise-induced. Beware of fish oils with lesser grade because it has harmful toxins. Try to purchase only the pharmaceutical grade or best quality supplements of fish oil.

Beenfits And Risks Of Taking Fish Oil

fish oilAs the name implies, fish oil is oil that is removed from the tissues of oily fish and is often recommended as part of a healthy diet program. Many nutritionists recommend that individuals each fish at least once a week, but emphasis must be placed on the importance of avoiding fish that contain certain harmful contaminants. In avoiding predatory fish, such as sharks and others, individuals will prevent the consumption of unhealthy substances which can accumulate due to the fish’s predatory lifestyle.

The benefits of fish oil are thought to be many, including a number of experts who believe that it’s consumption can help to regulate cholesterol. This problem affects many individuals and, if left untreated, can lead to more serious complications. The liver of fish, however, may contain dangerous levels of Vitamin A.

According to the American Heart Association, daily consumption of the proper amount of fish oil can be beneficial for patients suffering from coronary heart disease. In addition, the United States National Institute of Health recommends fish oil for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Once again, the institute reiterates the fact that high levels of omega-3 fatty acid intake may increase the risk of dangerous side effects, including a stroke.

In September 2005, Louisiana State University conducted a study that resulted in findings to support a theory that fish oil may prevent the brain from developing cognitive problems that are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. This illness, which is common among the elderly, causes an individual to gradually lose his/her memory.

Apart from consuming fish on a daily basis, fish oil is available as dietary supplements and can may be purchased at many locations. In certain cases, fish oil may require a doctor’s prescription if the product is of pharmaceutical quality. It is important that individuals read the label and/or instructions carefully before using any medication and/or dietary supplement, including fish oil. It is also equally important that individuals inform their doctor of any current health problems and/or medications for which they are currently taking.

This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor’s recommendation . Prior to beginning any treatment regimen, including one that involves the use of fish oil, an individual who develops an illness of any type should consult a licensed physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What Is Fish Oil?

fish oilFish oil has been in the news a lot in the past few years, expounding on The health benefits of this nutritional supplement. But what is fish oil, and how can it help? Fish oil is oil that is derived from the body tissues of oily fish like salmon and tuna. Fish oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids as well as certain other compounds.

These compounds help to reduce inflammation throughout the entire body. Fish obtain the Omega 3 acids by eating microalgae which contain these acids, as well as from eating other fish who have the acids already built up from their diet on this algae. Fish do not produce the omega 3 acids in their body. Fish that are fatty include Salmon, Tuna, Mackeral, Lake Trout, Sardines, and Herring.

Eating these fish will give you some of these fish oils, but not as much as a supplement will. Unfortunately, these fish are usually predators, and as such they may accumulate toxins and harmful chemicals by eating other fish which have these toxins in their body. The FDA has a recommendation concerning the consumption of these fish, because many of these fish have things like mercury, dioxin, Chlordane, and PCBs, built up in their fatty tissues. Because of these issues, many people are turning to fish oil supplements to get the benefits of fish oil without the contamination risks.

When buying fish oil supplements, make sure that the label states that the product is distilled, free of mercury and any other toxins, and that the product is USP certified. There are numerous benefits from fish oil that have been proven in scientific studies. There have even been studies that link low levels of omega 3 fatty acids with an increase in violent behavior among prisoners. Fish oil can help regulate the cholesterol in your body, There is also strong evidence to support the theory that the fatty acids found in fish oil are needed for the growth of neurons in the frontal cortex of the brain, which most neurologists believe is responsible for personal behavior and impulse control.

Fish oil is also recommended by physicians to patients who have high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and many other medical conditions. There is even scientific evidence that shows having adequate amounts of fish oil in your diet may give some protection against Alzheimer’s Disease. As with any nutritional supplement, you should always talk to your doctor first, and follow their advice.