Does a Daily Dose of Fish Oil Really Help?

Between the two tablespoons of flax seed and the four tablets of strawberry-flavored fish oil I take daily, I ingest four grams of Omega 3 fatty acids every day not counting what’s in the fortified foods I eat throughout the day.  But is this really doing anything for me?

We’ve been bombarded with articles about research showing the amazing benefits of EPA and DHA, two important fatty acids found in fish oil. If everything we read is true, fish oil can reduce blood clotting, optimize brain function and lessen the painful effects of rheumatoid arthritis.   

But in a Wall Street Journal article last week, a Harvard physician was quoted as saying that the kind of benefits seen in benefits seen in clinical trials “involved much higher doses than you see recommended on supplement labels.”  While this may be true, the consensus among medical professionals remains that Omega 3 Fatty acids offers tremendous benefits even at four mg daily and its popularity has made it the “fifth-best selling dietary supplement, behind multivitamins, calcium and vitamins C and E,” according to the WSJ article by David Stipp.

How does it help menopausal women? Dr. Barry Sears, author of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet (of which fish oil is a key component)  believes that the plunge in estrogen levels during menopause causes an increase in the production of insulin, which can be reduced or even eliminated by fish oil.  Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet in her book, Women, Weight and Hormones includes Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in her list of supplements that are critical to a successful weight loss program.  Even the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice weekly for the lean protein as well as the Omega Fatty acids.

Is fish oil or flax seed part of your diet?