Deep Dive: Fish Oil.

Plus: Recipes to help combat inflammation!

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Friday. This whole “aliens are real” thing is starting to get weird. A Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast presented two figures to Mexico’s congress, claiming (under oath) that they were 1,000-year-old “nonhuman” corpses, aka aliens. So, are the aliens really here? I mean, no one has ever lied under oath. It is worth noting that his past “alien” findings (this isn’t his first time) were revealed to be mummified humans. But maybe this time, he’s right. Who knows. Here is what we do know — fish oil is a very popular supplement. But does it really do what it’s supposed to do? Let’s dive in.

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To Fish Oil Or Not?

When it comes to fish oil, most health circles label it a superstar. Everyone seems to be talking about the benefits it can bring to our health — fish oil helps combat inflammation, improves heart health, and can prevent cognitive decline. It almost sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is.

First, let’s dive into what all the fuss is about. It’s the belief that fish oil is incredibly good for our heart health. So much so that the American Heart Association suggests we get a certain amount of it. But here’s the interesting part: studies show that less than 10% of people get the recommended dose. The solution? Just take a fish oil supplement, right? Well, it turns out it may not be that simple.

When you deep dive into the world of fish oil supplements, another concern pops up. Only 9% of these supplements give us the right amount of DHA and EPA combined. These two specific oils are known for their health benefits, and together, you’d want about 2 grams of them. But, many supplements out there aren’t giving us enough. Supplement brands are skimping on the good stuff!

Here’s the bigger shocker: even if you’re taking the supplement religiously, it might not be doing what you expect. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which fish oils are rich in, are fantastic in combating cardiovascular diseases. But the catch is that most of these studies looked at folks who were getting these fatty acids directly from their diet, from actual fish. The moment you start looking at the benefits of fish oil supplements, the story begins to change.

The results were pretty stark in one extensive study with more than 15,000 participants. Those taking fish oil didn’t have better heart protection than those who weren’t. And this wasn’t a one-off finding. The American College of Cardiology pointed out another study involving 12,000 people observed for as long as seven years. The outcome? There were no significant benefits from fish oil supplements. Another study with folks taking a higher dose of fish oil for two whole years found the same thing. Compared to their counterparts who didn’t take fish oil, they had no heart health improvement.

So, does this mean that eating fish is the magic key? Well, research does indicate that if you eat fish, say about two or more servings each week, it can help ward off cardiovascular diseases. But, and it’s a big but, the same can’t be confidently said for just taking fish oil pills.

Before we dismiss fish oil supplements altogether, they aren’t entirely without merit. They do have other potential health benefits, like helping combat inflammation, lowering triglycerides, and potentially contributing to good eye and brain health as we age. However, if you’re looking for the whole package of health benefits, it seems the best route is to head to the seafood section of your grocery store more often and eat (shocker) the whole food source of these nutrients.

And if you’re not a big fan of fish, that’s okay! There are other heart-healthy alternatives you can add to your diet. Consider incorporating foods like chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, edamame, and seaweed into your meals.

The key takeaway? While fish oil has been in the limelight for its health benefits for years, it’s important to understand where it shines and where it might not. It seems the old saying might still hold true: sometimes, it’s better to get benefits directly from the source. In this case, eating fatty fish like sardines, salmon, or mackerel once to twice a week might be better than taking a fish oil supplement that doesn’t even have enough of the good stuff your body needs!

All that said, if you are a fish oil supplement die-hard, just make sure you are getting at least 2 grams of EPA and DHA combined per serving. Also, look for a brand with trusted third-party testing to ensure you are getting what you pay for!

Tonic Shots

1. Our Favorite Salmon Salad!

We have shared this recipe before, but it is worth sharing again today. Salmon is a great fatty fish option to get all the benefits we just talked about. Give this one a try. Your heart health will thank you for it!

2. Don’t Love Fish?

No problem! Walnuts are great for heart health too. Here is an easy easy way to spice up some walnuts and have them handy as a heart-healthy snack!

3. We Need Your Smile!

In honor of World Smile Day®, we’re teaming up with Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, to make smile history! Smile Train’s goal? To create the world’s largest online photo album of smiling mouths. Can you help them reach 20,000 beautiful smiles submitted?

All we need is a photo of your smile — and by sharing, you could win a $2,500 Amex gift card! Something tells us you’re grinning already…

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