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Omega 3 Info

Fish oil side effects

The health benefits of taking fish oil supplements are now well documented in numerous studies throughout the world. Pure EPA fish oil contains the Omega 3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  This essential fatty acid helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower triglycerides, promote a general sense of health and wellbeing as well help improve a growing number of other mind and body related conditions.

So what are the risks? If you are taking a good quality fish oil at the correct dosage, then the risk of experiencing serious side effects is rare.  By far the most common side effect reported is a slight fishy taste in the mouth after taking the oil, and “fishy burps”. However Pure EPA has been put through a unique chilling and filtration process twice to completely eliminate this problem. Other side effects are not so common and include diarrhoea, heartburn, and nausea.  There is also the possibility of occasional nosebleeds as well as easy bruising. However these side effects were reported by people taking huge daily doses sometimes up to 12 grams.

One important point to remember is that fish oil thins the blood, so it is advisable to check with your GP before taking fish oil if you are already taking other blood thinners such as aspirin, for example.

Some studies have demonstrated that fish oil reduces triglyceride levels.  High triglyceride levels are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and there are indications that lowering triglyceride levels makes the bad cholesterol less dangerous.

Cod liver oil is fish oil that has been extracted from the liver of fish.  As vitamin A is stored in the liver, cod liver oil contains high levels of vitamin A and D. Too much of these vitamins in the body can lead to vitamin toxicity so it might be better to avoid taking this oil unless you suffer from vitamin D deficiency.  Pure EPA contains no vitamins apart from vitamin E; this is in the capsule to help keep the oil fresh.

There have been numerous reports in the press about the high levels of toxins, such as mercury, present in fish, making fresh fish somewhat risky.  As fish oil is made from fish, there is a slight possibility that some of these toxins could find their way into the fish oil.  One way to avoid this is to purchase a high quality pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement such as Pure EPA.  This is the best, purest and most advanced kind of fish oil on the market today; any harmful toxins have been filtered out leaving a pure and safe fish oil.

Pure EPA actually goes through the chilling, distillation and filtration process twice!!

The health benefits to be gained from taking fish oil would appear to far outweigh any potential risks from side effects

Fish oil vitamin

Fish oil is an excellent source of the essential Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. They are classed as essential because the body needs them but cannot synthesise them itself and has to obtain them from dietary sources. The Omega 3’s have extraordinary health benefits that have now been validated by studies from all over the world; however, most of us do not get enough of these in our diet.   Omega 3’s are found in high quantities in cold water oily fish such as Sardines, Mackerel, Salmon and Tuna but because of the risk of potentially harmful toxins in fresh fish, many people prefer to supplement their diet with fish oil.

There are basically two types of fish oil available; one is extracted from the fatty tissue of fish and the other from the liver of fish, cod liver oil for example.  Both types contain the essential Omega 3 fatty acids but cod liver oil can also contain high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin D and these vitamins can accumulate in the body over time and possibly lead to vitamin toxicity.

Vitamin A is necessary for night vision and helps to fight infection but too much of it can result in severe vitamin A toxicity.  Any oil extracted from the liver of fish will contain higher and potentially harmful levels of vitamin A.  Vitamin D helps our body to absorb calcium and is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. We can source vitamin D from sunlight as well as from some dietary sources and supplements, but exposure to excess sunlight will not cause vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity is most likely to arise from people taking vitamin supplements or fish oil supplements containing vitamin D.

One of the problems with any type of fish oil is the risk of rancidity.  As they are highly unsaturated, fish oils can oxidise very easily.  This means that without added protection, they can quickly become impure and lead to an increase in the number of free radicals in the body, which could counteract any of the health benefits of taking the fish oil in the first place.

To avoid this problem, it is important when choosing a fish oil to look for one that contains an efficient antioxidant such as vitamin e, tocopherol.  This will help to keep the fish oil fresh and prevent it from going rancid, it will also help to preserve the beneficial and protective effects of the Omega 3 fatty acids present in the fish oil.

Some types of cod liver oil have been processed in such a way that all the natural Vitamin A and D has been removed and a synthetic form of vitamin A and D added.  This type of oil can increase your risk of suffering from vitamin toxicity.  If you are in doubt about the level of vitamins in your body, the only way of finding out is to have your levels tested by your GP.

Pure EPA pharmaceutical grade omega 3 fish oil only contains the natural form of vitamin E, this has been added to help keep the oil fresh both in the capsule and in the body.

Fish oil pill or tablet

We have all heard that fish and particularly oily fish is good for you, but can you get the same health benefits from taking a fish oil pill or tablet as you can from eating fresh fish? The simple answer is yes, if you choose a high quality fish oil.

Fish oil extracted from the fatty tissue of oily fish contains very high quantities of the essential Omega 3 fatty acids EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA docosahexaenoic acid.  These fatty acids are essential for our health and wellbeing and yet the body cannot synthesise them by itself, it has to obtain them from dietary sources, either by eating fresh fish or by taking fish oil supplements.

Cod liver oil on the other hand, is extracted from the liver of the fish.  Although also high in the Omega 3 fatty acids, this oil contains high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D.  Vitamin A helps to fight infection and is good for night vision, and vitamin D is particularly important for those living in the Northern Hemisphere where there is not much sunlight.  The danger here is vitamin toxicity. It is possible to exceed the recommended daily allowance for these vitamins leading to vitamin overdose as they can accumulate to unhealthy levels in the body.  The only way to find out would be to have your GP check your levels. Consequently, some people like to take cod liver oil in the winter when there is not much sunlight around and then switch to fish oil in the summer.

There has also been a lot of concern about dangerous levels of mercury, dioxins, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and other toxins found in fresh fish. The current recommendation is to eat at least two portions of fish a week but no more than four.  Not all fish carry the same risk, for example mercury can be found in high levels in fish at the top of the food chain such as Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel and Tilefish.  It can also be present in Tuna and in somewhat lower levels in Salmon.

One way to avoid the risk of harmful toxins and yet still gain all the health benefits of eating fish, is to take fish oil supplements.  Fish oil pills are made from fish, so an important consideration when purchasing a fish oil is its purity. It is possible today to get pharmaceutical grade fish oil that has been subjected to intensive purification processes.  This means that the oil is safe and pure, allowing you to gain all the benefits of the fish oil without the risk of exposure to harmful toxins.

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