Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that plays a critical role in the growth, development and normal function of the brain. Research also suggests that omega-3 can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer. Fish oil is a popular supplement that contains two different types of omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. Both are derived from the oil of salmon, halibut, herring, sardines, mackerel and lake trout. Doctors may advise people with serious medical conditions to take fish oil as a cheap and safe supplement. Consult with your physician.
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If you feel that you are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from your normal diet, then you may want to take 1,000 mg of fish oil daily. The American Heart Association also recommends that adults with coronary heart disease should take a 1,000 mg supplement of fish oil once a day. Adults with high cholesterol levels should consume between 2,000 and 4,000 mg per day. Recommendations for children 18 years or younger are not yet established. It may take two to three weeks before you experience the benefits.
If you are taking multiple doses a day, then you might want to spread them out in 1,000 mg increments every two to four hours or around meal times. This will reduce the chances of triggering some of the possible side effects, including gas, bloating, belching and diarrhea. Caution is also needed if you bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications.
Fish Oil Ratio
The dosage of EPA and DHA matters even more than the total amount of fish oil in the supplement. According to Stephen Kopecky, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, you should check the label for a ratio of 3-to-2. Either three parts EPA to two parts DHA or vice versa should produce a similar effect. For example, a common amount of omega-3 fatty acids in a single fish oil capsule is 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA. Take as many capsules as recommended by the doctor or label.
You should always take a fish oil supplement under the supervision of a doctor or medical professional, who will inform you about any possible side effects or interactions with medicine. Furthermore, you should buy supplements from a reputable source. Fish oil is generally produced from fish low in mercury; the manufacturer can remove most or all of the rest. High quality fish oil should guard against the possibility of consuming a tangible amount of mercury.