Most health-conscious people know long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are among the best reasons for eating a diet rich in fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines. These biologically potent fatty acids contribute to optimal heart, brain, and immune function. Unfortunately, most Americans eat fish rich in these omega-3 fatty acids only sporadically, failing to meet even the 1 to 2 servings per week recommended by dietary and medical organizations.
One question left unanswered by this recommendation, however, is how eating fish rich in omega-3s once or twice a week compares with daily supplementation of omega-3s at increasing circulating and cellular concentrations within the body. Because this question has significant public policy and health implications, researchers from the United Kingdom carried out a 12-month randomized, double-blinded study to evaluate the effects of daily fish oil supplementation versus sporadic supplementation with an identical amount of EPA and DHA that would be consumed by two servings of fish per week.
In the study, researchers divided healthy males and females into one of two groups: the first group consumed 12 capsules per week (either one or two capsules per day) providing 6.54 grams of EPA and DHA combined, and a second group where individuals consumed the same 12 capsules per week providing the same dose of EPA and DHA, but only on two days each week (to mimic what happens when someone eats two oily-rich fish meals per week). So that neither group knew if they were receiving omega-3 supplements daily or only twice a week, the remaining capsules were filled with placebo oil.
To understand how both treatments raised omega-3 fatty acid concentrations over the 12-month study, the researchers measured concentrations in plasma, platelets (cell fragments that stop us from excessive bleeding), and immune cells. The researchers chose these samples deliberately because they provide a good indication of omega-3 fatty acid concentrations over short, medium, and long-term intake, respectively. The results indicated that while both groups had significant increases in cellular concentrations of EPA and DHA, the group that consumed the supplement daily had greater concentrations in their plasma and cells compared to the group that consumed their supplements only two days per week.
According to the authors, “This finding may have implications for the associated health benefits observed in continuous supplementation studies and suggests that the same dose of EPA and DHA achieved through sporadic oily fish consumption may have a lesser impact on EPA and DHA status.”
Take IsaOmega Supreme Daily and Eat More Fatty Fish
So what is the take-home message from this study? One major finding is that even the minority of Americans who consume 1 to 2 servings per week of fish rich in omega-3s incorporate these heart-healthy nutrients into their bodies less than those who take supplements of omega-3s daily. So, while eating more fish is recommended to obtain these fats, as well as other healthy nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, it also cannot be ignored that fatty fish can be a major source of environmental toxins that accumulate in our bodies over decades, possibly leading to greater obesity and other metabolic dysfunctions (see “Do Toxins Make You Fat”`).
This is why, in addition to a greater dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, daily supplementation with IsaOmega Supreme® is an excellent way to significantly increase these fatty acids in the body leading to better brain, immune, and of course, heart health. Beyond the omega-3 fatty acids, IsaOmega Supreme also contains a proprietary blend of other heart-healthy fatty acids from pomegranate, evening primrose, borage seed, and flax seed oils, and, unlike fatty fish, IsaOmega Supreme is rigorously tested and free of toxins such as heavy metals, dioxins, and other environmental pollutants.
Browning LM et al. Compared with Daily, Weekly n–3 PUFA Intake Affects the Incorporation of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid into Platelets and Mononuclear Cells in Humans. J Nutr. 2014 doi: 10.3945/jn.113.186346
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