Fish oils have been a popular supplement for years. But like many popular health remedies, they can be controversial. Some claim that they're practically a panacea. Others insist that they're worthless. As with many issues of this type, I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle. But in order to make fish oil effective, you have to use the right type – and possibly with the right companion.
Fish oils came into vogue in part because of studies of cultures that eat diets high in fish. Many of these societies, such as the Inuit, enjoy oily fish as a staple. And they also enjoy health benefits, such as rates of cardiovascular disease that are far lower than we have in the West. But many Westerners don't want to begin eating fatty fish and whale blubber on a regular basis. For some, high-quality fish isn't easily accessible. For others, they simply don't enjoy the taste.
Enter the fish oil supplement, which was intended to confer the benefits of this dietary choice without the need to actually consume the fish. As you can imagine, it's been a popular supplement – and it's one I support and recommend. I know most of us don't consume enough fish to get the healthy fatty acids we need.
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But research published last year in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine pointed out an important drawback to using fish oil supplements in the place of fish itself. The purification process for fish oils strips them of polyphenols. And these polyphenols play an essential role in the protective effects of eating fish. Worse, if you consume unsaturated fatty acids without their polyphenol partners, the fatty acids can actually contribute to oxidative and inflammatory stress. This is just what we're trying to avoid by taking the supplement in the first place.
There are a couple ways to solve this problem. One is to simply eat fish the way the Inuit do: eat actual fish, and eat it often. Or you can supplement your supplement. When you take your fish oil supplement, take a polyphenol supplement along with it. I recommend Advanced Polyphenol Formula. Fortunately, you'll get a lot of benefits from a polyphenol formula beyond simply ensuring your fish oils are effective and non-oxidative. Polyphenols are powerhouses when it comes to warding off oxidative stress and keeping your body less inflamed and as healthy as possible.
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