Fish Oil Supplements versus Eating Fish

Fish is an important staple in American culture. We throw fish fries with family and friends to celebrate a big catch, we host seafood parties with salmon or tilapia as the main dish, and who can forget about our trendiest custom – eating sushi!

Because our country is abundant in lakes, rivers and streams, we often take these jewels of the sea for granted. Fish has long been lauded not only for its good taste, but for its health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week to promote cardiovascular wellness.1

Fish is high in protein and vitamins and low in saturated fat. Medical professionals also believe the regular consumption of fish can boost brain power and reduce the risk of certain inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis. Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3, essential fatty acids that help our bodies to work normally.

Why Choose Fish Oil?
  • Convenience
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Safety
  • Absorption rate

With all the great advantages of eating fish, you may be asking: “Why choose fish oil?” It is believed that fish oil provides most of the same benefits of eating fish, without the preparation and cleaning up. It contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to reduce pain and swelling. Fish oil supplements are also rich in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two vital fatty acids that are instrumental in brain development and functioning.

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of eating fish versus consuming fish oil, consider the following comparisons:

Safety

You are what you eat. Although health professionals sing the praises of regular fish consumption, they also warn about the dangers of eating too much fish for certain high risk groups, especially for pregnant women and children, because of exposure to unsafe levels of mercury.

Mercury is a poison that interferes with the brain and nervous system, and it is found in trace amounts in nearly every fish. Certain kinds of fish, such as swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to babies and young children, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.2

This is not to suggest that eating fish should be avoided, but there are other contaminants to consider in addition to mercury, such as PCB. PCBs are industrial pollutants that are found in fish in most parts of the world. According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), if the level of PCBs in a piece of fish is high enough, it may pose a health concern to people who eat fish often.3

Quality fish oil supplements, such as OmegaMx, are regularly tested and certified below detectable levels of mercury, dioxins, PCBs and other environmental contaminants.

Convenience

Not everyone is able to get in the American Heart Association’s recommended servings of fish per week. Maybe you’re unable to tolerate the smell and taste of fish. Perhaps you lead a busy life, and it’s not convenient for you to bustle around the kitchen preparing tuna or salmon a few nights a week, in addition to cleaning up the mess.

Additionally, fish has to be prepared a specific way for you to enjoy the vital nutrients it contains. Grilling and broiling are the healthiest options. Frying fish not only deprives it of its essential omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, excessive consumption of fried fish can increase the likelihood of coronary heart disease. Fish oil is a worry free choice for people on the go.

If smell or aftertaste is your concern, quality brands of capsules that feature enteric coating don’t leave a fishy aftertaste.

Cost

Depending on what part of the country you live in, a pound of salmon can range between $8 to $14 a pound. Many consumers are choosing to purchase wild-caught fish rather than farm-raised, which is thought to contain less usable omega-3s than their wild counterparts and more antibiotics and pesticides.5 This can raise the price of your grocery bill significantly, since wild-caught fish can run between $16 to $22 a pound. Fish oil supplements are a cost-effective choice for the health-conscious consumer. Some companies may even offer an auto-ship program, which boosts your savings.

Absorption

You may be wondering if it’s more beneficial for your system to eat the whole fish than fish oil capsules. Maybe you think that fish is more highly absorbed and assimilated by your body than fish oil.

Think again. Researchers at the American Society for Clinical Nutrition set out to determine if fish is more readily absorbed by the body than fish oil. They selected a group of healthy female volunteers to consume an average of 485 mg EPA and DHA acids, derived either from two servings of oily fish per week or from one to two fish oil capsules.

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that fish oil supplements have an equally effective absorption rate as fish.4

Fish is an important staple in our culture, and experts tell us it should also be an important one in our diet. As you can see from the above comparisons, fish oil is a highly suitable alternative to fish when it comes to potency, cost and convenience. Unlock the benefits of fish oil supplements today.


References

  1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Eating-Fish-for-Heart-Health_UCM_440433_Article.jsp
  2. http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/outreach/advice_index.cfm
  3. http://oehha.ca.gov/fish/pcb/
  4. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/6/1621.long
  5. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=96
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