Sunday, January 10, 2010

Surprise, fish oil capsules don't give you immortality

Looks like those much-touted omega-3 fatty acids aren't perfect. While they do provide many health benefits, in the long run, they can also do some damage. According to University of California - Santa Barbara researcher David Valentine, "The brain is absolutely packed full of omega-3s. However, there's also oxygen in the brain, and that's going to cause a reaction. They're going to oxidize. And that gradual oxidation is, in essence, a losing battle against brain damage. After a lifetime, the damage takes its toll." Valentine notes further that "... it's an inevitable catch-22. Human intelligence is derived in part from DHA, but DHA itself is inherently unstable." While Valentine doesn't discourage consumption of fish oil capsules, it's interesting to know that omega-3s are only short-term friends, especially since many humans now live long enough for their oxidation to have an impact.

This research complements the American Heart Association's recommendation that people without coronary heart disease are just fine if they get their omega-3s from food rather than from supplements. Since krill-derived omega-3 supplements are becoming more and more popular, it's good to know that perhaps more of this nutrient isn't necessarily going to have a positive impact. Eat sustainable fatty fish or other omega-3 rich foods and you'll probably get all you need for your brain and your heart. And real food tastes better than a capsule anyway.


Roxy said...

Fascinating article. Omega3 is the additive buzzword to just about everything these days. From margarine to milk - if it's got Omega3 it's good for you.

Nice to see some balanced response to the magic of additives.

Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition said...

Exactly. Instead of trying to eat foods that overall have a nutritive value, people want to take a shortcut. I'm not convinced that additives and supplements can substitute for a diet composed of naturally nutrient-dense foods. Or that nutrients extracted, processed, and added to a product are equivalent to those consumed in their original form.

Health Consultant said...

Fish oil is very beneficial for the heart health in both adult and children.
It controls the cholesterol level, burn fat and keeps the heart healthy and more active.
It also handle the obesity and weight gain, so we can say that it is a good nutrition for the fitness.

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