Updated: December 2022
Many people take fish oil. Some like it and some don’t. Some people have “burping”, “burp up”, or “burp back” with certain fish oils.
Some people use fish oil as a natural approach for lowering cholesterol. Others will use it for joint health and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
A particular focus of my practice is helping preserve cognitive function. “Brain Health” is very important to me. I do everything I can to preserve my brain function and work to help my patients do the same.
It is my opinion that a close 2nd to brain health is gut health. As I’ve written in other articles, the gut is called the “2nd Brain”.
The neurons in the gut are very much like the neurons in the brain and are in direct communication with the brain.
Signals are constantly going back and forth like a busy interstate loaded with cars. Patients often find me when they are in a state of a serious traffic jam.
Yes, I work with constipation patients, but I’m not talking about constipation. I’m talking about nervous system signaling that goes between the gut and the brain, vice versa.
When both sides of the interstate get completely backed up, communication can get lost. Lost communication can lead to disease of organ systems.
I work with my patients to help them improve and preserve their health by improving neurological function and restoring better communication.
What are EPA and DHA?
Most of my patients are over the age of 45. This is an important issue when it comes to EPA and DHA that are found in high quality fish oils.
A developing fetus has hundreds of times more EPA and DHA than an adult. The reason a fetus or infant has so much DHA and EPA is because of the development of brain and nerve tissue requires EPA and DHA.
One thing that is certain is that from the day you were born, you are dying. Yes, I know this sounds grim, but it’s 100% true. There couldn’t be a more true statement.
I’m an eternal optimist. I look for the good in people. I choose to be happy. I believe in turning a negative into a positive. It’s the way I am.
But, the hard, cold facts are that we spend 100% of our lives dying. It’s the time between birth and death that we are “living” and that is what becomes important.
Some people will chose to make decisions that tear their body down and make them unhealthy.
Other people will make decisions that work to improve their health and help them preserve their quality of life. Honestly, I don’t want a patient who is not interested in improving their health. My time is precious and I want to help people who want to be helped.
Maybe you are a person who let your health slip away. It can sneak up on you quite easily. Or, maybe you’ve tried other methods of getting healthy and haven’t had success. As long as you have the desire to get healthier, there is a chance that you can be helped.
Do I Produce Less EPA and DHA as I get Older?
So let’s get back to fish oil. Since we have the most EPA and DHA in our bodies when we are developing as a fetus or infant, and we are dying from the day we are born, our bodies produce less EPA and DHA as we age.
I believe that the above statement is hugely important to consider.
Potentially, when we are born, we are the healthiest we will ever be. We are in development and through the help of EPA and DHA our nervous system is forming at an incredibly rapid rate.
Aging occurs because of free radical damage to tissues throughout the body over time. Fish oils can give nerves what they need to be as healthy as possible and can protect against free radical damage.
Aging individuals, “Baby Boomers”, or “Senior Citizens” produce less EPA and DHA naturally which means that supplementation could become an important factor in preserving brain health.
Is Dementia Related to Low EPA or DHA Levels?
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. It begins with mild memory loss and progresses to severe memory loss usually quickly.
While Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, many people with dementia won’t go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but dementia can still cause a dramatic loss in quality of life.
I believe fish oil is healthy and recommend it for many of my patients. Fish oil can benefit the body in numerous ways. Fish oil has been extensively researched and has been shown to have effects in:
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplementation
- Supporting overall health*
- Contributes to brain function, memory and mood*
- Support for healthy body composition *
- Support for bone mineralization*
- Improves hormone response*
- Supports healthy blood sugar activity*
- Promotes healthy cellular activity*
*None of the above statements have been verified and approved by the FDA
What I love about my Spoon Full of Nutrition www.SpoonFULLofNutrition.com Omega-3 Fish Oil is that it doesn’t have that nasty “burp back” effect that other fish oils have.
Spoon Full of Nutrition fish oil actually tastes good! It supplies the body with liquid EPA and DHA and it has a subtle hint of lemon flavor.
What is EPA?
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fish. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and can have good effects in lowering triglycerides. It helps reduce overall inflammation in general and can also help lower homocysteine levels.
What is DHA?
DHA – One of the major building blocks of the brain, the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is critical for optimal brain health and function at all ages of life.
Researchers are now finding that DHA provides brain-boosting benefits in infants and aging adults.
DHA is also found in the retina of the eyes and supplementation with DHA could have benefits of maintaining and improving eye health.
What is a good Fish Oil?
Anyone who has taken fish oils knows that there are “good” and “bad” fish oils on the market. Many in my opinion are “bad”. How do I know?
I have tried many expensive brands and one common theme kept haunting me: a fishy, stinky burp back or belching from the rancid fish oil used in the capsules.
I really tried to get past it but I just couldn’t do it. I decided that it wasn’t worth the trade off and quit taking fish oil for a period of time.
The difference with fish oils is in purity and freshness. The more fresh a fish oil is, the less rancid. A good comparison is looking at bananas.
A green banana is going to cost more but at the same time be fresher and last longer. A dark, yellow banana is going to go bad much faster and also taste nasty.
The same holds true with fish oils. A high quality fish oil is going to cost a little more, but it is fresh and therefore, going to be better for you.
It’s worth spending a little more money to get better quality so that the fish oil actually does what it is supposed to do – help your brain, blood vessels and joints.
With the Spoon Full of Nutrition Omega-3 Fish Oil, I recommend 4 teaspoons/day for maintenance dosage.
Children with learning disabilities and adults with cognitive loss or other neurological deficits such as neuropathy have had great results with 8 teaspoons/day.
For people with bad cardiac or joint problems, 6 teaspoons/day is can provide maximum health benefits. Many scientific papers have been dedicated to exploring the numerous benefits of omega-3 fish oils.
The above recommendations are not for all fish oils or patients. Every fish oil supplement is different. Every patient is different. These are general guidelines.
You should always consult with your primary healthcare practitioner before beginning any medication or nutritional supplement regimen.
What is a Good Compliment to Fish Oil Supplementation?
Once my patients have gone through my 14 Day Blood Sugar Boot Camp and Liver Detoxification Protocol, we usually focus on gut repair if necessary.
Like I already mentioned, the gut is called “the second brain” because of its’ neurological makeup and importance of helping regulate body systems.
I also like to use what I call “The Big Four”: A good quality Vitamin C (Liposomal Vitamin C in high dosages – encapsulated so that you don’t get an upset stomach), a high quality probiotic (not all probiotics work), Omega-3 Fish Oil, and a really good multi-vitamin such as Mulit-Men or Multi-Women.
Of course many functional medicine patients are significantly more complex than just taking a few vitamins or fish oils, etc…
I prefer a multi-faceted nutritional approach so that I can develop customized protocols with my patients based off of a thorough case history and laboratory tests.
Having said that, a good quality fish oil can be another useful tool to improve one’s health.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie