We have known for some time now that eating fish is good for your health. It used to be that the single greatest benefit of fish was for increasing brain power, and that still holds true. In recent years though it has been found that some of the “fattier” fish, such as salmon and tuna, may help with lowering cholesterol, fighting inflammation within the body, and even preventing heart disease. The idea was that if these fish could help then creating and utilizing fish oil supplements would be an ideal way to fight these conditions on a regular basis. There has therefore been a great rise in the sale of these supplements with the belief that they could be your best friend in staying healthy in a form similar to a vitamin—but are these supplements all that we want them to be?
The problem is that in many cases we incorrectly believe that the supplement is as good as the actual food, and that may not be true at all. In this instance studies have looked into how well the body reacts to a supplement vs. the actual fish, and the results aren’t as positive as one might hope for. Though supplements do have their place within a healthy lifestyle, they aren’t a proper substitute for eating right. They can be a great complement to proper nutrition and help to pick up where your diet leaves off. Can they really offer the same health benefits though? Recent studies raise these question and find that the fatty fish are truly the best, and that these supplements may not be helping you as much as you might think.
Though there is no harm in fish oil supplements you may not want to put all of your faith into these products. You want to be sure that you go for a pure supplement and that it is truly loaded with what you need, but in the end it may also come down to eating right as your best way of fighting certain health conditions.
The body processes synthetic supplements differently than naturally occurring types: This is at the heart of these studies and why the questions have been raised. When you eat this type of fish or you take in these nutrients firsthand, then your body processes and utilizes them the way that it should. The body can’t however process synthetic supplements in the same way that it processes the naturally occurring nutrients. That means that these supplements that you may use even as a substitute for eating the real thing, aren’t being absorbed or utilized in the way that you want them to be—and you may ultimately be wasting your time with them in the first place!
The synthetic version of these supplements went undetected in the body: This is perhaps the most damaging part of this study for it means that the supplements could be doing next to nothing. In these studies they compared patients who took in the nutrient naturally to those who turned to the fish oil supplements. The results were that the supplement version of the nutrient went completely undetected. You couldn’t find traces of it in the bloodstream or in the body at all, and that goes to show that it’s not being absorbed or utilized the way that it should be. This isn’t good news for those who count on these supplements each day but it is important to know moving forward.
There is a belief that the synthetic supplements may not actually help in fighting inflammation: When you consider the fact that these supplements aren’t even showing up in these studies, then you wonder if they could possibly be doing any good. The problem here is that health experts are wondering if the supplement version of fish oil can really play an active part in fighting inflammation as just one example here. You may turn to these as you would vitamins to help combat any health conditions that you have, but the reality is that they may not be offering all the help that you need.
Though the supplements can’t hurt, the real thing is truly the best: The bottom line is this—supplements can’t hurt you at all and that’s an important thing to remember! They are fine as part of a healthy lifestyle, but you will get the most benefits from eating the real thing. There is no substitute for a healthy diet, and that’s the lesson to take away from this. The research is still going strong on fish oil supplements and so people shouldn’t necessarily walk away from them altogether, though it’s important not to put all of your faith into them as the only solution.