Fish Oil Improves Mood, Reduces Inflammation And Increases Cognitive Function – Dr. Agrios, ND
I want to talk about flax versus fish because
this comes up a lot, and I like flax oil. It is an omega-3 — it’s ALA — but it does
not contain EPA or DHA. You can create some EPA in the system from ALA, but you can’t
get DHA, and DHA is really implicated in a lot of the cognitive benefits of fish oil.
And so there is a vegetarian way to get DHA and that would be to do seaweeds. So Udo’s
actually does make a vegetarian blend for people who don’t want to take fish oil.
I have to say I have tasted it. To me, it’s a little bit bitter, but it’s an alternative
option if you want to have a vegetarian source. So anything that comes from the sea is going
to be higher in the EPA and DHA. Things that are land-located tend to higher in ALA in
terms of the omega-3s, and then lots of omega-6s. As much as nuts and seeds are good for us,
they’re really high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and so we have to actually take…the
more polyunsaturated fatty acids we take in, vegetable oils in other words, the more we
really have to take in antioxidants just to make sure that those oils are not oxidizing.
Fish oil, the major, major benefits is that they’re very anti-inflammatory, and they
really help with cognitive function and mood, and there’s just so much hard evidence on
this now that basically everyone takes fish oils now. The one thing I’ll say is I really,
really prefer that people will take oil versus capsule, and the reason why is that, first
of all, it’s more cost-effective, but second of all, to get therapeutic dosing. So the
studies were all talking about anti-inflammatory this and that, you really need upwards of
three grams to start getting a really great anti-inflammatory dose. And that doesn’t
mean three grams of fish oil; it means three grams of EPA and DHA, which are the active
constituents in the fish oil. It’s the omega-3 part of fish oil. So a lot of these capsules
will say like, “Oh, 1,000 milligrams of fish oil,” but that’s not 1,000 milligrams
of EPA and DHA. Per capsule in this one, 180 of EPA and 120 in DHA. So what’s really
common is 400 to 700 milligrams per capsule of actual omega-3 fatty acid. You have to
take a lot of capsules to get a really high dose. And so the other thing my patients freak
out about is like, “Oh, it’s going to be fishy. I can’t do it.” And if you have
a really good fish oil that’s not rancid, it’s not going to be fishy. And so I will
say that cod liver oil actually tastes heavier than fish oil, just to make that distinction
because a lot of people are like, “Oh, I remember I took cod liver oil when I was a
kid and it was terrible.” And a lot of the oil was oxidized anyways back in the day,
so it was a little bit rancid so it made it fishier. But cod liver oil has a heavier taste.
This one is by far my favorite. It’s called Finest Pure Fish Oil. It’s made by Pharmax.
There’s one by Seroyal as well. Seroyal owns Pharmax. Now it’s actually one and
the same, so one place has one, one has the other. I’m not attached. I mean, as long
as you guys are getting clean oil. So we want to know that it’s molecularly distilled
and that it’s not rancid. And you know, everybody freaks out around the metals with
fish, and that’s definitely something to think about. Most major companies do a very
good job of doing what’s called molecular distillation, so all of the mercury has been
pulled out of the metals. That’s not actually one of my bigger concern. My concern is oxidation.
If oil has been left in heat too long, it’s rancid, and a lot of times, capsules will
have more oxidation that goes on than actual oil. If you open a bottle and don’t use
it for a long, long time because oxygen will start to get in the bottle. They’re nitrogen-flushed
when they are made. So if this is sitting in your fridge for a year, you can smell it.
Sometimes things will get a little bit more fishy. So as long as you’re using things up
quickly, that doesn’t happen, but I actually encourage people, if you’re going to — if
you really don’t want to do the fish oil and you want to take the capsules — bite
your capsules. And if they’re fishy, that oil is not good oil. Your oil should not taste
fishy. Someone told me not to buy the ones that have ribbon in them because… You can
still taste them, and I’ve bit… Every time I go to a medical conference, I sit there
and I bite the fish oil, so I’ve had enough of them. Like, I know what they taste like
now, and you can taste fishy oil through lemon or orange oil or whatever. This one has an
orange essence in it, but it’s really nice. It’s really light. You’ll see. My patients
never believe me, and so I have like, an open bottle of this in my office in my fridge so
that when they come, I can be like, “No, really. Take a little.” And so I tell them
if you don’t want to taste the oil sensation on your tongue, you can put it in an ounce
of really antioxidant-rich juice like pomegranate juice or acai or something that’s just really
thick in antioxidants and good for you anyways, but most of my patients are fine with the
fish oil. They really, really like it, and they feel so good on it. It really helps with
depression, helps with hormonal issues, very cardiovascular-protective. Krill oil is good.
It tends to have more to do with phospholipid health, and so it’s fine. Just definitely
very good. And so a lot to do with cell membrane integrity, some cognitive support around krill
oil, but most of my patients are just on regular fish oil. Most all of my patients are on a
tablespoon of fish oil a day. The one thing I’ll say is fish oil does thin blood, and
it’s a good thing, but if you know that you’re going to have a procedure done, I would
stop taking fish oils and vitamin E and anything else that’s really blood-thinning a week
before because it makes it harder to stop your bleeding if you’ve got too much fish
oil in your system.