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Fish Oils 

The main components of these are long chain omega-3 fatty acids but they are also high in vitamins A, E and D.  Many population studies in the west, including our own nutritional testing services show that most people are deficient in Omega 3. Likewise the ratio of omega 3 : 6 is not optimal. Too much omega 6 competes with the body's production of long chain omega 3's from the short chain types. 

It is often difficult to sustain a diet with enough omega 3 so a supplement is recommended in many cases. Cod liver oil has high levels of omega 3 but is particularly high in Vitamin A which, if you are deficient in it, would be beneficial. The problem for most of us with normal levels is that taking excessive vitamin A actually increased the levels of lung cancer, especially in ex-smokers. Unless we measure our baseline Vitamin A levels it is safer to take fish oils rather than the traditional cod liver oil, because it has lower vitamin A levels.

Arthritis; There is genuine trial evidence for the benefits of fish oil for joint point pain and arthritis. Not only have well conducted trials shown a reduction in joint discomfort, but they have demonstrated a reduction in the underlying damage to the joint. A trial involving patients with rheumatoid arthritis took 1 g of cod liver oil (one capsule) daily for 3 months. Half reported a reduction in stiffness, and 40 percent a reduction in pain and swelling. An extremely eloquent study from Cardiff University in 2004 examined the discarded arthritic knees of people who had undergone knee replacement surgery. Some were treated with Omega-3 fatty acids for 24 hours in a laboratory, others were not. A chemical was added to mimic an inflammatory response, and the samples examined four days later. When researchers looked at the cartilage pieces, they found enzymes which are responsible for destroying cartilage in arthritis present in the untreated group. But they were ‘turned off’ in those treated with Omega-3 fatty acids, as were the enzymes which cause inflammation and pain in joints. This research, therefore, showed that not only does fish oil reduce pain and inflammation in the joints of people with osteoarthritis, but it also turns off the enzymes responsible for destroying cartilage. If you have joint stiffness and pain, it is certainly worth taking fish oil.

Other benefits; There are other benefits of fish oils. Regular intake has been shown to reduce cholesterol and help reduce the risks of heart attacks, dementia and strokes. Population studies have demonstrated that individuals who have who had higher intake of omega 3 have a low incidence of cancer. Fish oil is also high in vitamin D which is difficult to take in recommended amounts, particularly in the northern hemisphere. As deficiencies in vitamin D have been also been linked to osteoporosis a wide range of cancers.


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