The #1 Most Important Supplement
Posted 6/21/16 by Catherine Henderson
A lot of people want to know, “What is the most important supplement that I should take?” Well, I suppose the most correct answer is that it depends on what you need. I certainly can’t give a blanket recommendation that applies to every.single.person. But, I would have to say that the answer for MOST people is fish oil, and here’s why.
- The cardiovascular benefits people. Fish oil raises your HDL (the good cholesterol), lowers blood pressure and decreases inflammation. Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in the United States-- let’s do something about it!
- It is lubricating. This may not be the first thing you think of with fish oil, but it is super-important. It lubricates your joints, your bowels, your hair, even your eyes. In fact, that is why I personally began using fish oil, because I had dry eye syndrome. When I was diagnosed, my ophthalmologist said it was one of the worst cases he had seen in awhile and that it looked like someone had thrown sand in my eyes! I began treatment with some really expensive drops that got me on the road to recovery, but soon realized that I couldn’t continue to afford them forever. So, I added fish oil and within 2 months I was able to drop those expensive drops and I have never had to use them again.
- It fuels your brain. Our brains are largely composed of fat; and EPA and DHA, thefatty acids found in fish oil, are found in high concentrations there. Science is still studying the effects of fish oil supplements on brain health but evidence is showing that fish oil is beneficial for cognitive function. Interestingly, evidence also is starting to prove that these effects are more pronounced the earlier you begin taking fish oil or incorporating it into your diet. That’s the thing about disease prevention, by the time you have symptoms it is often too late to reverse the problem--and that’s a soapbox topic for another day, but the bottom line is that you should start taking this supplement sooner rather than later.
So, how much should you take and how do you pick a quality fish oil supplement? The appropriate dose for an adult is in the range of 2-4 grams/day (2,000-4000 mg/day). I tend to recommend the higher range for those at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and the lower range for those that are generally healthy and in a lower cardiovascular disease risk level. Note: You should always consult your health care provider before beginning any supplement.
As for quality, this is a case where cheaper isn’t typically better. With fish oil, there are 2 major contaminants that you have to worry about: mercury and PCBs. Mercury is easily removed but PCBs are more difficult. I am a big fan of the Zone brand of fish oil products because they have the highest purity standards that I have seen on the market. It is the brand that I personally take (2 grams a day) and I love it because I don’t get the fishy aftertaste that I have experienced with other brands. It is a bit pricey, but this is one instance that I can truly justify the added cost. If you want to check it out, you can find it in our online store.
What benefits have you experienced with fish oil?