Oct 2023 For over three decades I continue to be convinced that if you only take one dietary supplement it should be Omega-3 fish oil. I still recommend it to nearly every patient I see and continue to receive very positive feedback with relief of numerous inflammation related conditions. Specifically, back and neck pain in my neurosurgical practice. There are also numerous other conditions that Omega-3 fish oil has shown to help.
The vast majority of Americans, primarily due to our Western diet, are significantly depleted in Omega-3 due to the lack of foods, like seafood, certain green vegetables and flax seeds. Omega-3 dietary supplements are a relatively easy way to help increase and maintain adequate levels. Omega-3 fish oil supplements provide two essential fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3, as a molecule, is the build block of every cell membrane in the body and critical for cellular growth, function and survival. Critically low intakes, or blood levels, of (EPA + DHA) are independently associated with increased risk of death from coronary heart disease (CHD).
(Table – Shows shift away from Omega-3 foods to more saturated fats and Omega-6 along with increased heart disease.)
Omega-3 have been shown to have a number of health benefits, including:
- Improved heart health: Omega-3 fatty acids can help to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, and improve blood vessel function. These effects can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
- Reduced inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that they can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is a major factor in many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
- Improved brain health: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and function. They can help to improve memory, cognitive function, and mood. Omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to play a role in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
- Reduced risk of certain types of cancer: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
- Improved eye health: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for eye health. They can help to prevent macular degeneration and age-related vision loss.
In addition to these general health benefits, omega-3 fish oil may also be beneficial for people with certain specific medical conditions, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Omega-3 fish oil can help to reduce inflammation and pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Asthma: Omega-3 fish oil may help to improve lung function and reduce asthma symptoms.
- Depression: Omega-3 fish oil may help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
Omega-3 fish oil is generally safe for most people to take. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking omega-3 fish oil, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.