Fatty Acids

My past two posts have been about the 4 plus another 4 things you should make sure to do every day. I initially tried to make it only 4, but I realized I had left out some very major stuff. So now we are up to 8 vital things you must put on your to-do list each day. One of these is fish oil.

Why, out of all the myriad supplements which line the shelves of every grocery and drug store, would I only suggest you take fish oil? To tell you the truth, I take quite a few different supplements at the moment. I take a multi-vitamin made for women, MOVE FREE ADVANCED made by Schiff, and a whole handful of assorted other pills. But fish oil is something all the experts agree on. Americans tend to be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids.

Why are we missing this important nutrient in our diets? Because most of us are not eating a lot of fresh, fatty, wild caught fish. If you live in Alaska and eat fresh salmon daily, you probably don't need to take additional fish oil. Other sources of omega 3 fatty acids include grassfed or free range meats and eggs, but this depends on the animal consuming only grass and not grains. Most of us eat grain-fed meats and eggs which tend to be widely available and much less expensive.

A related problem is the abundance of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet. Popular vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, safflower, corn and olive oils all contain plenty of omega-6 fatty acids but almost no omega-3. Because we tend to consume loads of vegetable oil, including trans-fats in solid vegetable oil created through hydrogenation, our systems are overloaded with omega-6's and deficient in omega-3's. Many health experts, including Dr. Barry Sears and research pharmacist Ross Pelton, believe that this imbalance is one of the major factors responsible for many of our current health problems.

While there are many plant-based oils which contain a balance of omega-3's and omega-6's (such as flax seed oil, black currant seed oil, borage oil, and evening primrose oil) it seems to me that simply adding fish oil, which is pure omega-3's with zero omega-6's, is going to help bring our out-of-balance diets back into balance the most quickly. The other step which will assist this process is cutting way back on all sources of vegetable oil, especially trans-fats which are known to cause serious health problems. Watch out for vegetable oils in baked goods and all processed foods. Avoid anything deep-fried whenever possible. A drizzle of olive oil on your steamed veggies is just fine.

So what does this fish oil actually DO in your body? Many great things! Fish oil will help lower your total cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. Fish oil will make your platelets less sticky, thereby reducing your risk of stroke. Blood pressure may also be lowered, relieving all kinds of symptoms, including migraines. Omega fatty acids also combat depression and help elevate mood. Fish oils may even lower the risk of breast cancer, according to some research. And best of all, these oil can help you lose weight! (Info in this paragraph gleaned from Before the Change: Taking Charge of your Perimenopause by Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.)

If you are interested in reading more in-depth info about the omega fatty acids and their role in diet and overall health, I recommend Dr. Barry Sears' The Omega Rx Zone. I have tried to simplify the subject here in a way that has left out loads of important detail, so please do more research! And in the meantime, take your fish oil!


  1. Fantastic Fatty Acids blog! I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your blog is outstanding; the issue is something that not a lot of people are talking intelligently about it. I’m really happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.


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