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krankyprincess
10-14-2004, 10:55 AM
I've been hearing lots of good things about fish oil. Can you guys tell me all the benefits of it. Also any experiences of anyone that has taken it? Any negative effects?

Emma-Leigh
10-14-2004, 03:32 PM
I've been hearing lots of good things about fish oil. Can you guys tell me all the benefits of it. Also any experiences of anyone that has taken it? Any negative effects?
Fish oil is great!! It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Info I have posted about omega-3's before:

Basic biochem stuff out of the way first:
Omega-3 fatty acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids between 1822 carbons in length. They are unsaturated because some of these carbon atom are not 'fully loaded' with hydrogen atoms, so instead they form double links with the carbon atom next to them. They are called omega 3 fatty acids because the first double bond begins with the third carbon atom (when counting from the methyl end of the fatty acid molecule).

There are a few very important omega-3 fatty acids:
- those from fish - like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- those from plants (like flax and walnuts) - mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Only ALA is considered an 'essential' omega-3 fatty acid. This is because your body can make DHA, EPA (and other Fatty acids) from ALA. But... only to a limited degree, and only when there are sufficient conditions in the body for this to occur....

Omega-6 fatty acids are also unsaturated long-chain fatty acids where the first double bond is at the 6th carbon atom.

There are lots more sources of omega-6 fatty acids, with the ones found most in our diets from things like:
- linoleic acid (LA), found in sunflowers, soybean oils and sesame seeds
- Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA), which is found in things like primrose oil
- And Arachidonic Acid (AA) which is the one that is found in animal sources like meat, milk, eggs etc....

Once again, only one of these is essential - that is linoleic acid - as the others can be formed in the body.

Now - The problems occur because certain things have a competative influence on the metabolism of ALA to form the fatty acids like EPA and DHA. In particular - trans fats, saturated fats and (and this is why ratios are important) LA can all interfere with this process...

This is because the same set of enzymes (desaturase and elongase enzymes) act to metabolise these things - so, if the enzymes are busy with all the omega-6s or saturated fats (which are usually converted into AA) there will not be enough for the omega-3s. So, if your diet is too high in LA, and you are not getting ENOUGH EPA or DHA, then you end up being deficient in these omega-3s.

BUT - if you have too much omega 3 (as in, lots and lots of flax) - then it limits the ability of the body to metabolise the LA - so you get a build up of this in your body.

They also compete at cellular membrane levels for lipid-membrane composition/adipose composition levels, liver fat levels and lots of other things...

Anyway...

The omega-3's EPA and DHA are extremely important for normal health in the body. They are essential in brain development and function, they help in joint lubrication and reduce the risk of arthritis, can decrease cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and heart disease, are essential for your skin and hair, are essential in maintaining healthy kidney function and helps protect your intestines and have also been links with decreasing cancer rates.

The list goes on and on... So - if they become deficient you are asking for trouble!

Omega-6s on the other hand (esp AA) can CAUSE inflammation in the body - this is because Arachadonic Acid is an important pre-curser for imflammation. See, AA helps form what is known as the Series 2 Prostaglandins - which are 'inflammatory mediators' released from tissues when they are damaged to help initiate the imflammatory cascade. So it can do all sorts of nasty things - like increase your chances of blood clots, increase the signs of inflammatory disease like arthritis etc etc.
(just on a side note - this is what anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAID's - like Asprin) act to prevent being formed...).

But - you do need some omega-6 in the diet!! So don't think they are all bad.... they are actually needed to for the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA (specifically, LA is needed in small amounts) and they have been linked with decreasing cholesterol. They are also important in ensuring our bodies CAN react to injury through inflammation!! They are needed to stimulate cell repair and are important in wound healing etc.

So you have to have a good ratio of both! - that means not too much omega 6's AND not too much omega 3's.

Anyway - Way back in evolution, our diets had ratios of around 1:1 (omega 6mega 3), because we had a higher intake of fish etc, and so this competition was not a problem... but now, the ratio is more like 20:1 (omega 6: omega 3) AND, on top of this, most of that omega 3 we do get is from ALA - NOT DHA and EPA....

And here:

Omega-3 fatty acids do a lot more than help with fat loss.

The two really important things they do are - they alter cell membrane structure and they are essential in producing the 'good' prostaglandins (series 3 prostaglandins in particular).

By altering cell membranes (they increase the poly-unsaturated nature of cell walls) they alter cell metabolism, which is one of the reasons why they make it easier to utilise fats as fuel, but they also increase the efficiency of cell signalling (important in nerve function and hormone actions).

The series 3 prostaglandins are essential in decreasing inflammation in the body. They are essential in maintaining good joint lubrication, maintaining the lining of your stomach, maintaining your kidney health and doing a multitude of other things. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in maintaining your vision (they are linked to macula health), maintaining your mood/emotional health, maintaining nerve/brain function (this is especially so for one of the omega-3 FA - DHA - which is essential for brain health and development),
maintaining cardiovascular health (decrease platelet 'stickyness', decrease blood pressure and decrease triglyceride levels etc), maintaining good hormone production, maintaining skin/hair/nail and bone health. Basically, they are needed for everything...

When you eat too many omega-6 fatty acids you interfere with the conversion of ALA (the true 'essential omega-3) into the series 3 prostaglandins, EPA and DHA and you get in increase in the formation of the 'bad' prostoglandins (series 2 in particular).

This then results in failure of all the benifits of the omega-3 FA/series 3 prostaglandins as well as an increase in the negative effects of the series 2 prostaglandins, which can result in things such as inflammation (esp of joints), decreased cardiovascular health (it increases things such as platelet stickiness and can cause hypertension)

Don't get me wrong - you DO need omega-6 FA. Series 2 prostaglandins are ESSENTIAL in your bodies immune response to disease and Omega-6 FA are also converted into the series 1 prostaglandins, which are also essential for your overall health.... But you just do not want too many in comparison to omega-3 FAs!!

Although flax does have some omega-3 in it, it does not have EPA and DHA, which fish oils DO have - and these are really important because, although the body can create these if you are getting enough omega-3, the conversion rate is very low. Flax also has omega-6 in it, so if you are already getting lots of these in your diet then you will only be increasing the imbalance.


I take it and I have found a huge improvement in my joints, skin, hair, metabolism and overall health.

krankyprincess
10-14-2004, 04:14 PM
thanks emma, how often do u take it, and when?

imperfectly_lou
10-14-2004, 10:37 PM
I take 3 capsules (total of 3000mg) each morning with breakfast

krankyprincess
10-25-2004, 11:56 AM
i started taking it. ewwwwwwwww every time i burp i taste dead fish!

gdbear65
10-25-2004, 12:01 PM
I take 3 capsules (total of 3000mg) each morning with breakfast

Capsules are crap, buy some pharmaceutical grade fish oil in a bottle. I have one that is from Norway - it's orange flavoured - no aftertaste and no fishy burps either.

Emma-Leigh
10-26-2004, 01:53 AM
Capsules are crap, buy some pharmaceutical grade fish oil in a bottle. I have one that is from Norway - it's orange flavoured - no aftertaste and no fishy burps either.

Ick. No way - that is the fastest way to induce both a horrible taste in your mouth (that you will not get rid of for hours) as well as fishy breath!

Fish oil capsules are the way to go.

I take mine 3 times/day, with 3 of my meals, 6 to 9 capsules/day depending on my intake for that day.