When I was in college studying nutrition, we were taught that most supplements were a waste of money or worse, dangerous. My ears perked up when my favorite and brilliant professor, Lamonda, told us that he “pops fish oil pills each day.”
Our bodies can make many fatty acids but there is a group of fatty acids that our bodies are unable to make. These are called essential which means we cannot live without them.
We have to get these from food and they are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Every cell in our bodies depends on these for correct functioning. These oils have been shown to improve a wide array of conditions. Conditions include ADHD, depression, diabetes, cancer, and so on.
The richest sources of Omega-3 are flaxseed, hemp oil, and some exotic oils from candlenut and chia.
The richest sources of Omega-6 are evening primrose oil, safflower, sunflower, walnut, hemp oil, and pretty much all nuts and seeds.
It’s important to note that EPA and DHA are formed from Omega-3s parent form called LNA. They are absolutely vital for normal brain and eye development. The best sources of these two oils are coldwater fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and eel. The oil from these fish can be found as supplements. Cod liver oil is also a good source of EPA and DHA. Eating fresh fish once per week is a great way to get the right amount of these healthy fats.
We need both Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils. However, do to the common consumption of vegetable oils, most people get more Omega-6 than Omega-3 in their diets. This can predispose them to various inflammatory diseases. The exact ideal ration may be more of an individual thing but it is generally accepted that a 2:1 ratio in favor of Omega-3 is the correct blend. Of course, if you are supplementing with fish oil, you want a good quality supplement that is unrefined.