Updated: Jan 6
You know how it is… you stare blankly at someone’s face, fishing for their name, delving into the depths of your memory, stalling the conversation or even avoiding stopping to chat altogether. Or, like me, leaving your phone at home and having to stop and remember where I parked the car. While I’m not admitting to age related cognitive decline….yet, I will admit to knowing, as much as we all try, our diet has more than a small role to play in this absentmindedness.
This is why I supplement, and when it comes to fish oils, studies have proven just how effective they are. For years I’ve been recommending fish oils, the evidence points towards to benefits in depression, ADHD, joint inflammation, hormone imbalances, baby’s brain development and eye health.
Omega oils cannot be made in our body, it must come from our diet. There are two key types of Omega3, EPA and DHA. The best source of these is fatty fish and but they can also be sourced from ALA which the body can convert into EPA and DHA. ALA is found in nuts, seeds (particularly chia and flax) and good quality fats.
But a supplement is designed to… well supplement. If your diet is already rich in fatty fish and omega-3-stocked nuts and grains, you probably don’t need to consider daily capsules. For the majority of us though, this isn’t the case.
Fish oils vary dramatically in benefit and high strength doesn’t necessarily mean better health. To recommend a good fish oil I looked at the:
· quality (WHO recommends 500mg combined EPA and DHA as a minimum daily dosage),
· source (small, wild caught, cold water fish),
· treatment in processing (avoid heat, light and oxygen),
· packaging (dark colour to prevent oxidation),
· tested mercury content.
Rancid fish oil increases inflammation, just like rancid cooking oils, so make sure the fish oil you’re taking is independently tested. People praise fish oils for soothing their inflammation or for lowering blood pressure but it won’t have a chance to create any positive effects if you can’t afford it or as in my kids case, can’t stomach it.
I’ve tried them all and one consistently came out on top, Aquabiome Fish Oil at €29.95. It sits on the mid-high end price for fish oils but with this clinical validation it seems like good quality to me. It has a pleasant enough lemon flavor and comes in unassuming brown packaging. AquaBiome Fish oil only has 4 ingredients and one of those is its natural lemon flavoring. It contains DPA, which can used be to manage the EPA and DHA stores in the body, and, importantly, their research has proved that it improves gut bacteria.
Despite this you should really consider eating fish and seeds, two to three times a week as a healthy strategy. The same holds true of other foods. Taking even a handful of supplements is no substitute for a wide and varied diet, which for most of us, is a work in progress….now, where have I left my kids!!!