Most consumers by now have become wary of so called “dietary supplements” that supposedly will improve your health or keep you healthy. Many of these dietary supplements have proven to be little more than cardboard tasting pills, or fruity juices with no real benefits to health.
Worse some supplement companies even add synthetic ingredients or chemicals that may actually harm your health if taken over an extended period of time. So with all the hype over all the supposed benefits of DHA/EPA fish oil it is only fair to ask if consuming such oils will really make you healthier?
What is DHA And EPA and Why are They Always Linked With Fish Oil?
DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic acid while EPA stands for Eicosapentaenoic Acid, two very long names for 2 of the three Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, especially EPA are found in every cell in the body and are considered essential to the body. However, the body cannot manufacture these acids so you must get them through various foods that are consumed.
While these fatty acids are found in some foods such as beef in minute amounts, the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily or fatty fish such as Salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, and Hoki, which is why these two fatty acids are almost always linked to fish oil. They are also found in smaller amounts in various other seafoods such as shrimp, krill, and mussels.
Why Do We Need DHA and EPA?
DHA and EPA are necessary to maintain good health and the proper function of the body and the mind. Just as vitamin C is necessary to help prevent rickets, cancer, and various other illnesses Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary in helping prevent a host of serious and even life threatening diseases. Extremely low levels of omega 3 have been linked to heart disease, inflammation, irritable bowel disease, arthritis, blood clots, and even acne.
If DHA and EPA are needed to help Prevent All These Health Conditions, then why has it Just Been in the Last Few Years we Have Been Hearing About the Importance of These Fatty Acids?
Over the last 20 years Western diets have undergone a lot of changes. People once consumed fatty fish on a regular basis, but now they often go months without ever eating a salmon steak, or tuna fish sandwich. In this same period medical researchers have seen increases in mental illness particularly depression, as well an increase in a number of other physical diseases. This led researchers to try and discover the reason for these increases in health problems.
While many health problems have been linked to people eating high levels of processed foods, breathing polluted air, and other problems, the one thing that was apparent in almost all cases were low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. So research began on the use of fish oil containing high amounts of DHA and EPA for certain conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, acne, memory loss, ADHD and the results were astounding. In almost all cases, adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diets of these people almost always showed some improvement in their condition.
So after years and years of research various scientists came to the conclusion that low levels of omega3 contributed to a number of serious health conditions and that by increasing your intake of these essential fatty acids, you could reduce your risk for many of these conditions.
The reason why, there wasn’t much conversation regarding the importance of these fatty acids until the last few years is that the average person was eating enough fatty fish and other sea foods to keep their omega-3 levels up where they belonged. But with the worry about the contamination of these fish, more and more families eating fast food and processed foods, and other dietary changes they simply were no longer getting the amount of omega-3 fatty acids necessary to maintain health.
Why Take A Supplement ? Can’t I Just Eat Fish and Seafood?
Of course you can eat fatty fish and seafood in order to get those healthy omega-3 FAs. In fact, this is the absolutely best way to get the DHA and EPA you need to remain healthy as eating fish and seafood provides your body with other minerals and vitamins besides just omega-3 fatty acids. However, most experts suggest that in order to get the amount of Omega 3 you need to maintain maximum health that you need to eat fish 3 to 4 times a week and for those suffering from conditions such as ADHD, arthritis, and heart disease the recommended amount may be even higher.
So even if you eat fish, taking a quality fish oil supplement that contains all natural ingredients and has right amounts of DHA and EPA can help to give you the necessary amount of omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to remain healthy.