Heart health and brain health has been seen to be boosted by consuming fish oil. While a diet rich in the nutrient may support better health and brain health, it is still not clear how much humans need. Research suggests that more studies are needed to determine what types of fish are needed in a diet and which fish oil supplements are most beneficial.
A recent study found that older women with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, those found in fish oil, achieved an enhanced level of brain preservation as they aged. Compared with those who had the lower levels of omega-3, the older women showed that they could maintain better functioning of the brain for an extra year or two. Researchers concluded that higher levels omega-3 have the potential to delay older age-related mental ailments such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive aging.
As previously mentioned, scientists still do not know the certain amount of omega-3 is needed to support optimal heart health and brain health. Nevertheless, researchers state that to get a high enough intake, people would need to eat oily types of fish at least five times per week. Otherwise, twice a week and using fish oil supplements to boost omega-3 intake.
Some studies have found boosting heart health and brain health with fish oil to be a false hypothesis. A study last year found that supplementing omega-3 levels with fish oil does not a significant effect on the prevention of heart attacks, the onsets of a stroke, or death. However, the American Heart Association stated that research supported by the group suggests those at risk for heart disease can benefit from great heart health and brain health by boosting it from taking fish oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids lessen the risks of cardio arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart beat, and triglyceride levels, levels of fat in the blood. They can also gradually slow plaque growth on the walls on veins and lower blood pressure to support greater heart health.
The American Heart Association also recommends consuming two servings of oily fish per week. Oily fish includes salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna. The recommended serving is a cooked weight of 3.5 ounces or three-quarters of a cup of flaked fish. While increasing omega-3 intake through food consumption is preferred, the heart association states that those with an increased risk of heart disease because of poor heart health may need supplementation.
Spokeswoman for the heart association Gina Lundberg recommends fish oil supplements to those over age 50. She explained that not only does fish oil lower triglyceride levels and boost heart health, but it is a powerful antioxidant and can strengthen brain health. She also stated that over-the-counter supplements work just as well as prescriptions and they are much more affordable. The heart association recommends that people take 1,000 milligrams a day of long-chain omega-3 acids. Long-chain omega-3 contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA also makes up around 30-40% of the fatty acids located in the membranes of the human brain.
Therefore, which supplements are best? Dietary supplement quality evaluation company, LabDoor, recently tested 30 types of fish oil supplements. CEO, Neil Thanedar stated the company found 21 of the subjects contained omega-3 levels that varied over 10% from what their label stated. Thanedar stated the supplements rated the highest among quality include Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3, Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega 3 Fish Oil, Axis Labs Citrus Omega Fish Oil, NOW Foods Ultra Omega 3, and GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil.
ConsumerLab.com found problems with 11 products it tested out of 35 omega-3 supplements. The company’s president, Tod Cooperman, stated that two brands of supplements exceeded the PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) contamination limit. However, no mercury was present.
He stated that his recommendation for the top-quality, low-cost supplements were Swanson EFAs Super EFAs, Vitacost Mega EFA Omega-3 EPA & DHA, and Kirkland Signature Natural Omega-3 Fish Oil, the Costco brand. All of these are found in the soft liquid gel form.
While heart health and brain health become more important as aging increases, scientists have found that fish oil can aid the body in fending off cognitive and cardiovascular problems. As further studies are completed, more information will be available to the public to aid the choices people make when caring for their bodies to reach an older, more cognitively sound age. Therefore, consuming fish oil proves to be well-found to boost heart health and brain health and helps people stay functioning at a normal level as they grow older.
By: Alex Lemieux