Getting Your Dose of "Fishless Fish Oil"
I would love to see how society would have reacted 20 years ago if we knew we would be popping "pills of fat" today at rates going through the roof. Essential Oil supplementation is one of the most popular health supplements today, mostly as consumers attempt to combat the rife inflammatory disorders that the population suffer from (likely from stress and poor diets). Perhaps it's also due to our diets lacking enough good quality oils, likely as a result of the aftermath of the "fat scare" campaign of the eighties and nighties.
Finally we are coming out of that phase and we are realising oils and the fatty acids they provide are a good and necessary part of our diet. (A quick note for your health: don't touch anything labeled "diet" or the "low-fat" option.)
Fatty acids have three basic, crucial purposes in your body:
Providing energy Providing the building blocks for cell membranes Acting as raw materials that can be converted to other substances that perform special duties in your body such as hormones.
The best way to consume these fatty acids are by including the whole food in your diet such as flaxseed oil, avocados, coconut oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds etc and aim to avoid processed foods and the unwanted types of tran-fats they contain. When we eat a diet high in processed foods you may be susceptible to a common trait at the moment where you have high amounts of omega 3's and not enough omega 6's. However I don't think it is worth getting paranoid about our exact ratios, I believe just cut out the processed foods that often contain heated oils, that are only omega 6 containing, such as safflower and sunflower oils etc and get the real foods, the quality fats into you.
I believe you can consume a healthy amount of oil through your diet and do not need supplements. However when suffering from conditions, there is a time when I believe supplementation at therapeutic doses is a nutritional way to alleviate disease and there are many studies showing the positive effect that EPA and DHA have on healing.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) are what our body converts from linoleum (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega-3) fatty acids. These essential fatty acids pivotal role in health is in regulating inflammatory responses and cell membrane function.
Much of the supplementation you will find on the shelves is in the form of fish oil, with 1 million tons being produced every year-such as cod, krill, sardine. However unless you have been living under a rock, you may realise that we are fishing out our oceans at an unprecedented rate and therefor having the population consume fish oils isn't a sustainable option.
And my motto is if you can live a healthy, cruelty-free, then why not?
Algae are what the fish eat to get their EPA and DHA, so can you...
The direct DHA that is found in the algal oil is specifically good for treating issues related to neural membranes in the brain and the retina, since EFA's, and specifically DHA, make up around 20% of the dry weight of the brain and peripheral nerves. It is also great for pregnancy and breast feeding since this is when the babies brain is at great development and requires the DHA.
You don't get the same amount of EPA directly as you do when consuming fish oils, however your body is capable of conversion when you give it the omega oils to work with. (Although Nordic Naturals USA have come out with an algae oil that is high in both which I am yet to try). EPAs are specifically good for inflammation. If you are suffering from a disorder that is inflammatory, then I suggest a plant-base diet of whole foods ( which will decrease inflammation in itself), increasing the omega 3 oils in your diet with flaxseeds, chia and hemp, and then using one of the many other herbal anti-inflammatory options you can get from your Naturopath. You don't need to rely on fish oil. If you do, make sure you talk to a Naturopath to get a high quality oil.
Some disorders that may benefit from increasing the healthy oils in your diet are:
Female Hormonal disorders such as pre-menstrual syndrome, dysmennorrhoa and endometriosis or when Pregnant or lactating
Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis or itchy flaky skin
Nervous System support in depression and anxiety
Learning difficulties in children such as ADHD