Fish oil supplements - do they work?

Janella Purcell answers your questions about health and diet.

I’ve been taking cod liver oil and fish oil tablets for the past year, everyday, but I’m not sure if they actually do anything? Are supplements like this worthwhile taking or should I just supplement my diet with other types of food?

I’m a firm believer in the power of medicinal food of course, and I believe many supplements available these days are doing more harm than good to our bodies, planet and wallets. Moreover, fish supplements are farmed so are fed toxic food and then have a deodoriser added. And then there’s the capsule!

If it’s omega 3 fatty acids you’re after from the fish capsules, then simply swap this to a plant-based source of this essential, oil. The seeds of the hemp, chia or flax plant are great sources, as are walnuts. These seeds and nuts are easy to include in your daily regime either by adding a teaspoon to your smoothie, sprinkling them on or in your salads or in fact on top of pretty much anything.

Chia seeds make a lovely pudding by adding one tablespoon to one cup of coconut milk in a bottle with a lid, add some berries and shake well. What a yummy little omega 3-packed dessert you’ll have waiting for you in the fridge in a few hours. I like to sprinkle hemp seeds over just about all of my meals. Add some walnuts to your muffins (these don’t mind being heated, unlike the seeds) or again toss a handful on your salads or into your stir-fry. Seaweeds are a good source of omega 3s also. Add some arame or powdered nori to your grains before cooking. You won’t really taste them but you’ll be getting a nice hit of many nutrients including omega 3, iodine, protein, calcium and fibre.

In most cases I don’t believe there’s any need to take supplements, not when nature has provided so many medicinal foods for us.

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