Europe and all our neighbors on the other side of the pond have been well aware for decades, perhaps centuries, making fish an every day staple was keeping them a lot healthier. As American researchers began to catch up about five years ago, and doctors began telling their patients to take Omega 3, fish oil supplements sprang up on shelves from Walgreens to Costco. As we perused the shelves, often grabbing the first one thinking they were all equal, for the best price of course (I love those good deals, too), took them home feeling proud we took an active role in our health.
I tried so many knowing it would help with painful inflammation, bring blood pressure down, lower cholesterol, recommended by the American Heart Association for a healthier heart, the list of why we ought to take fish oil is endless. But the indigestion from every one was more than I could bear and benefits not coming through. I would ask my doctor which one, what brand and he said he didn't know, just take one daily.
I tried all priced fish oil, from inexpensive to most expensive, until one day a capsule got squashed on my kitchen counter and the odor had me fleeing the kitchen. The smell was so overpowering, determined to get to the truth and my search began in earnest.
I looked at labels on the bottles in my cabinet. I had blended fish oil, cod liver oil, EFA blend capsules, balanced essential fatty acids, and as I began to research, soon realized the source of fish was the most important. It had to be a fatty fish and if it wasn't fatty, specifically, salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel, it wasn't going to help. Neither blended, cod nor white fish fit the bill. Cod is a lean fish, blended is just that, a mixture. While all those fish are good for us, it is the EPA and DHA from fatty fish that hold healing properties we are looking for. And that is today's textbook science.
Then I began to ask those manufacturers about their fish source, lab and purification process. A few I reached by phone, and in some cases, no one replied. Of those who did respond, much to my chagrin, replies were a bit nebulous. Most contracted out to fish oil suppliers from a number of different sources. Yet their labels said, "pharmaceutically licensed laboratory." Licensed where? Somewhere in Europe was the most often heard reply.
Well here's what I learned. If that fish oil was truly distilled in a pharmaceutical grade lab, using a molecular distillation process there wouldn't be an odor causing you to run from the kitchen or suffer indigestion. Remember the capsule that squashed on my kitchen counter? It specifically said "distilled in a pharmaceutical grade laboratory."
I was on an airplane the other day and of all things, sat down next to a fellow I graduated high school with 38 years ago and hadn't seen since. With a long ride to Dallas, we talked about our lives, health, and learned he just had a quadruple bypass. As our conversation turned to fish oil, he said his wife was a trauma room physician and he was presently taking the new prescription fish oil, OMACOR, prescribed by his cardiologist. He took out a capsule; we pricked it, and had to flush it down the plane lavatory. He had been complaining of indigestion every time he swallowed one and was told in a few weeks he'd get used to it.
Check, check and re-check the source of your fish oil. Prick it! If it has any odor whatsoever, throw it out for it has not been properly purified. There are miraculous healing benefits to be had but remember, all fish are not created equal nor are all purification processes what they say they are. Seems everyone has rushed in jumping on this band wagon creating fish oil supplements with few passing the prick test. But rest assured, there are some great ones out there.
Lois Smithers, an equestrian who suffered competition injuries, credits Omega 3 with ending painful chronic inflammation from two fractured vertebra and spent years researching Omega 3's and sea-based health solutions. Owner, Sea-Based Health, LLC. See recommended products- http://seabasedhealth.com