The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish provide potentially dozens of important health benefits, such as helping to control blood clotting and building brain cells. As important as these nutrients are, your body doesn't naturally produce omega-3s—you need to provide them in the food you eat.
Fish oil is known to support heart health by reducing triglyceride's (unhealthy fat in the blood). It may also reduce symptoms of asthma, ADHD, obesity, kidney disease, menstrual pain, osteoporosis, psoriasis, dry eyes, mental illness, and a host of other illnesses. But too much fish oil can produce undesirable side effects and increase the risk of stroke.
SO WHAT'S A PERSON TO DO?
Because fatty fish contains healthy doses of omega-3s along with other important nutrients, every man, woman, and child should aim to eat two or three servings of fish each week. Each 3.5-ounce serving provides about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids. The fish you choose should also be low in mercury, which typically include: mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden.
If you cannot get at least 3 grams of fish oil weekly through your diet, 500 mg daily supplements may be in order—but never exceed recommended doses without your physician's consent. High doses of fish oil can impair your body's immune system and clotting ability. It can also exacerbate symptoms related to liver disease, bipolar disorder, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, immune system problems, and interact with other medications.
Because fish oil can thin the blood, patients who take aspirin, warfarin, or other heart-related medications should always check with their doctor before taking fish oil supplements.
More information from The Iowa Clinic can be found at DesMoinesRegister.com/IowaClinic.
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