From the get go I just want to say supplements are optional. However, there is so much research out there that supports the positive link between supplements and IBD. So rather than bombard you all at once with information about the A-Z of supplements, I will do a separate post on each one. This week I’m talking Omega 3 Fish Oils.
Firstly there is a huge difference between Cod Liver Oil and Omega 3 Fish Oils, I used to take Cod Liver Oil tablets on and off until someone once said to me – think about what the function of the liver is in a human – to clear out toxins, break down old cells and fat – so WHY on earth would you take supplements which have come from a cods liver? Yep, my thoughts exactly. So these immediately went into the bin and in came the Omega 3s.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Fish such as anchovies, sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon and fresh (definitely not tinned) tuna are all classed as ‘oily’ fish, but don’t let that put you off, they aren’t dripping with oil, nor are they fatty, they contain what is known as the ‘healthier’ saturated fat. They are packed full of omega-3 and you should be eating a portion, 3 -4 times a week.
Whether it is supplements or whether it is fresh fish, omega-3 is packed full of health benefits such as, reducing chances of heart disease, easing joints and stiffness but also they have incredibly high levels of protein, Vitamin D, iodine, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. In turn all of these proteins and vitamins benefit you and your gut.
I came across a really interesting article on Crohns.org linked here but I will list the key findings below:
- Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are important in the production of substances called prostaglandins, which have an effect on the inflammation in the body and the clotting of the blood;
- EFAs belong to either the n-3 or n-6 groups of fatty acids and must be obtained from the dietary intake of plant sources, e.g. vegetable oils and nuts, as both humans and animals are unable to synthesise their own;
- Clinical trials have shown fish oils (Eicosapantaenoic acid) to be effective in IBD, probably due to the increased production of less potent prostaglandins (One of a number of hormone-like substances that participate in a wide range of body functions such as the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle, the dilation and constriction of blood vessels, control of blood pressure, and modulation of inflammation) at the expense of the more potent one, (i.e. from arachidonic acid).
A lot of the research comes from the US because they are just naturally ‘better’ at taking supplements than the UK population, but I’m getting there. However, it is important to note and watch out for good and bad quality fish oil – a good quality fish oil should give at least 1000mg of EPA and DHA (the long-chain omega-3s our body needs) combined, not just the total weight of the oil – sometimes they are labelled 1000mg on the front – you’ve been warned!
I recommend these ones, and they have had fab reviews on Amazon.