It's hard to escaped information about the benefits of omega-3 rich fish oil and microalgae for lower risk of heart disease and stroke, reduced incidence of cancer, less inflammation, less depression, better skin, and so on.
And you may have also heard that DHA is the essential fatty acid for the brain at every stage of life. But what if you are allergic to fish or shellfish?
Here are five things you need to know about Omega-3 and DHA.
- If you are allergic just to shellfish, you may be able to use a high-quality fish oil.
- Microalgae is safe if you have a shellfish allergy.
- Krill oil can be deadly if you have a shellfish allergy.
- If fish just makes you queasy, high-quality fish oil will probably be OK.
- Men's bodies don't turn the alpha-linolenic acid in vegetable oils into DHA very well. Women's bodies can turn about 10 per cent of alpha-linolenic acid into DHA.
Many people who get serious allergic reactions after eating shellfish also avoid fish, just in case there is some cross-contamination during processing the fish or their bodies have created some kind of cross-sensitization.
But if you do have a milder, allergic reaction to fish, it's to the muscle tissue of fish, not the fat.
The less "marine liquids" are found in your fish oil, the less allergic reaction is likely.
Generally, if every capsule of fish contains at least 600 mg total DHA + EPA, there just isn't enough room in the capsule to include the parts of the fish that cause allergies.
But if you have ever had a life-threatening allergy to shellfish, then play it safe and leave fish oil alone.
Microalgae products are a great way to get DHA. Fish get their DHA by eating microalgae. The microalgae used for omega-3 fatty acids are grown in sterile tanks kept fish- and shellfish-free.
Krill are tiny shrimp. They are not, as some "experts" will tell you, plants. High-quality krill oil contains very little of the muscle tissue that triggers allergic reactions, no more than 1/10 of a gram (1/280 of an ounce), but even a tiny amount can cause huge problems. Just say no to krill oil.
If you have a sensitivity to fish, but not a full-blown allergy to fish, then any product that doesn't contain bones, muscle, skin, or gelatin will have little or no effect. A small clinical trial has found that purified fish oil supplements don't cause reactions in people who have fish sensitivities. Distilled fish oil, however, is a must.
If you have allergies in general, adding omega-3 essential fatty acids to your diet is a must, and it's easier to get them "straight," already in the product.Flaxseed oil is sometimes touted as a DHA formula, for instance, contains alpha-linolenic acid that can be transformed into DHA. The problem is that the body isn't very good at doing that. Getting more omega-3's is essential. But so is reducing omega-6's.
One of the driving forces behind any allergic reaction is inflammation. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, microalgae, perilla oil, and flaxseed oil, help the body make the eicosanoid anti-inflammatory hormones that keep allergies in check.
On the other hand, omega-6 essential fatty acids, like those found in corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil, help the body make the hormones that start the inflammation. You need to reduce your omega-6's to take advantage of your omega-3's.
The safest source of the DHA your body needs for brain health is microalgae. But you can also benefit from the much less expensive, molecularly distilled, high-DHA fish oil offered by Xtend Life.