Omega 3 fatty acids, found mainly in fish oils, are considered essential nutrients, in that we cannot make them in our bodies, and must obtain them from our diet. Omega 3s have long been used for their beneficial effect on the heart, the fatty acids (EPA and DHAs) stop the blood platelets from clumping excessively, which could cause a blood clot that could lead to a stroke. They also help to lower blood pressure and when consumed in large doses, angina and heart attacks can be reduced considerably. A diet high in fish – and particularly cold water oily fish – is an excellent way to obtain omega 3 oils. As fish absorb the oil from the algae in their diet, farmed fish tend to be lower in these essential fatty acid, and as larger fish can accumulate toxins, it might be good to vary the type of fish to reduce any risks. Fish oil supplements have often been purified to remove these contaminants, and some such as Lifeplan do not use salmon in their capsules. Although fish oil has a blood thinning effect, it is not normally a problem to take with warfarin type blood thinners, since it’s mechanism and effect is different, but always seek medical advice. Flaxseed is another alternative for vegetarians but best taken raw.
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