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Health Corner: Should you take fish oil?

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Taking one multivitamin a day can strengthen your health arsenal. How about fish oil?

A wealth of medical data shows that beneficial oils in cold-water fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon (called omega-3 fatty acids) can lower blood pressure or triglyceride levels as well as reduce stroke and heart disease.

You usually get about one gram of omega-3 for every three to four ounces of fish you eat (depending on the variety). The most important and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week if you’re healthy with no heart disease history. Some people take fish oil supplements instead of (or in addition to) their normal fish consumption.

Before taking supplements, seek your doctor’s advice. Some medical professionals suggest taking 220 milligrams of omega-3s a day. Pregnant women might take slightly more.

Some neuropaths prescribe fish oil to improve overall wellness in addition to enhancing the heart and blood system. But beware that consuming too much fish oil can increase stroke risk.

Omega-6 vs. omega-3

Don’t confuse omega-3 fatty acids with omega-6. Many types of vegetable oil contain omega-6 such as corn oil and sesame oil. According to Mayo Clinic, “Because omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete with each other to be converted to active metabolites in the body, benefits can be reached either by decreasing intake of omega-6 fatty acids, or by increasing omega-3 fatty acids.”

Omega-6 fatty acids provide many health benefits. But because most Americans tend to consume far more omega-6 than omega-3, balance is crucial to reduce heart disease risk. The Mediterranean diet, for example, limits the use of meat (high in omega-6) while focusing on foods higher in omega-3s such as fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

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