Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Omega-3 fatty acids: Good or Bad

Can omega-3s harm you?
It's time to delve into another media frenzy that has taken a perfectly good clinical study and caused utter confusion amongst society. So, here's what you love me for. Keep reading for the 'real deal', the 'inside scoop', the 'truth uncovered'...

Late last month, a study was published that investigated whether there was potential risk to taking high dosages of fish oil - dosages far greater than what one would consume eating the American Heart Association's recommended 2 servings of fatty fish a week, or a daily fish oil supplement. In fact, the researchers even point that they still recommend people continue to consumer fatty fish regularly and take supplements.

Why do this study?
These studies are important - once researchers discover a nutrient can offer the body healthy benefits (such as fish oil's proven ability to help boost cardiovascular, immune, mental, joint and digestive health), it's scientifically responsible to investigate if an upper limit exists. And, the study found that there may be a point where too much fish oil may have negative effects on the immune and cardiovascular system. But, its important to put these findings in perspective - this research is not about whether fish oil is dangerous, it helps scientists better determine how much fish oil is most beneficial to our health.

What's a Safe Dosage?
To date, research studies have used anywhere between 500mg and 9g of omega-3 fatty acids*. But, what is the "best" dosage for you? Well, that depends on your health condition, diet, age and weight. Health Canada says a safe dosage for adults is 100-5000mg of EPA + DHA (those are two types of omega-3 fatty acids) daily. Curious about your kids? Health Canada suggests kids under 8 years of age get 50-1500mg of EPA+DHA daily. Read more on Health Canada's Monograph for fish oil here -

*Note: The amount of omega-3 fatty acids is not the same as the amount of fish oil. Fish oil contains some omega-3 fatty acids - read your supplement label carefully.

Interested in reading what the media has to say? Here is a bit more of a well rounded story on this latest study:

My Confession? Our family not only takes a fish oil supplement each morning in our shake, we seek out environmentally conscious fatty fish choices in our diets to support the little kids' brain development, and the aging joint of us big kids'.

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