It happened again. On my recommendation, a patient brought in her supplements for me to look at and give my opinion as to their quality and to determine if they are the right ones and amounts for her. I was glad to see she was taking fish oil. This is one of the top 3 supplements everyone should take (vitamin D and a high quality multivitamin are the other two). I was a bit dubious about their quality, however. They came from a local warehouse store. Among other issues, they may have been sitting on the shelves for a long time.
With her permission, and some trepidation because I had gone through this before, I bit down into one of the fish oil capsules. I was instantly rewarded with the taste and smell of rancid fish oil that then began to permeate the room and got on my hands. We threw out the bottle. I explained to her that although fish oil is an excellent supplement because the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 oils in it help compensate for the excessive pro-inflammatory Omega-6 oils found in the modern diet, it is counter productive if it is rancid. For this reason, I recommend spending on a high quality fish oil. We carry the best one I have been able to find at the clinic, Nordic Naturals ProEFA. Alternatively, Whole Foods carries some good brands.
Fortunately, more people are supplementing with fish oil now that its benefits have hit the mainstream. One study found that people who take one or two capsules per day had a slightly decreased risk of heart disease because it helped lower their level of inflammation. For chiropractic patients who come in because of pain, lowering their inflammation will help relieve those aches. However, most people don’t take enough to get the maximum benefits. Ideally, we should take about 2700-3000 mg of EPA + DHA per day. EPA and DHA are the two Omega-3 oils found in fish oil and shown on the label. For those in significant pain, up to 6000 mg is indicated. Looking at any label, it quickly becomes apparent that it is almost impossible to get the ideal amounts by taking capsules. For this reason we also carry fish oil in liquid form. It comes in 8 oz. bottles. This makes it very easy to take 2-3 teaspoons per day. Simply refrigerate the bottle after it has been opened. And no, it does not taste fishy at all.