Fish oil is proclaimed to fight cancer, heart-disease, obesity, kidney disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and to also improve cognition, mood, heart-function and endurance. Can fish oil truly be the panacea purported by so many health-practitioners? The answer is yes, and no, if you don’t buy wisely.
Fish cannot produce the essentially fatty acids we find so prevalently in fish oil: these being EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) Instead, fish accumulate essentially fatty acids through the consumption of micro-algae; this is true of non-predatory fish such as sardines mackerel and in turn are then consumed by larger predatory fish and so the concentrative cycle begins.
However, this process of concentration yields a double-edged sword. By the same biological mechanism which conentrates EPA/DHA levels, are also concentrated a number of harmful pollutants. Nonsense you may be thinking, fish oils and eating fish are part of a healthy life-style; the situation is sadly more grave than you can imagine.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution toxic pollutants have been pumped – in exponential quantities – into our oceans. These pollutants are now – for the first time – beginning to approach cumulative levels which are hazardous to humans. These main pollutants are, but are not limited to:
•Mercury (a neurotoxin and carcinogen)
•PCB (a carcinogen)
•Dioxins (a carcinogen)
These toxic pollutants are seen in organic, oceanic, and fish-farmed fish products around the globe. The larger the fish, the greater the level of concentration. Infact, some health bodies recommend only consuming a single can of tuna a week due to their hazardous mercury content.
Fish oil, and fish products can without a doubt improve our overall health, but how can we avoid polluting our bodies with mercury, PCB and Dioxins? Well, only buy fish oils that are filtered for both Dioxins and mercury and which are high in both EPA and DHA levels. Don’t consume larger fish species more than once a week, instead aim to consume smaller fish such as sardines, catfish, clams mackerel and the like.
Many experts purport that an EPA/DHA ratio of 6:1 is most beneficial for the alleviation of depression and as an augmenter to concentration; this mechanism is not fully understood, but many claim that a reduction in cortisol levels (stress hormone) due to the anti-inflammatory effects of EPA may be in-part responsible. I postulate that any reduction in stress/lifting of mood actions a rise in concentration levels and brain-performance, hence I believe this is the ultimate ratio for nootropic use of fish oil.
Omega-3 Fish Oil 1000 mg. is a great example of a filtered, toxin free standardized fish oil at an extremely competitive price. I will soon be linking a 6:1 ratio fish-oil capsule for those interested.