i've taken fish oil capsules for years. i have heard they're good for CNS function, cardiovascular function, and a whole long list of other "functions"! lol! it's good stuff and inexpensive. can't hurt, might help. so why not?!
Why not Jill? Because it's taking a short-cut. A body will always be better off by consuming the whole food, and not just the part of the food which research suggests is the good part of the food. There likely is other food compounds in cold-water fish, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc. that provide the whole benefit to a body.
Well, if the whole food thing ain't for you, be nice while you're on them fish pills: make sure you don't burp on anybody.
I am in favor of eating as many whole foods as possible. Having said that, I don't think that because something is a "short-cut", it makes it lesser than a whole-food...and especially for someone who has a chronic disease.
Fish oil is a supplement and should be consumed in addition to regular fish in the diet. But, since hardly anyone can eat fish every day, consistent fish oil supplementation has benefits that are not realistically attainable by just eating fish...and since there is a Cleveland Clinic fish oil/low fat diet study that showed a reduction of almost 1 EDSS point after a year on fish oil/low-fat diet...it is definitely worth taking.
I also benefit from taking B12, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Selenium, Pycnogenol, Vinpocetine, Bromelain, and Quercetin in amounts that would be difficult to consume daily in the form of whole foods.
So I think whole foods are valuable but that judging supplements to be less than them, is incorrect; they are not lesser, just different.
And I do recommend that the most healthy diet is undoubtedly a whole-food diet, with as many fruits and vegetables (raw or steamed) consumed as possible, lots of spinach and greens, lots of fiber, organic chicken or fish for meat, and as few processed foods as possible.
But I also take my supplements every day. There's research supporting most of them.
Here's the article that leads to me taking Fish Oil every day:
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO, DEPARTMENT OF NEUROLOGY
A Randomized Study of Low Fat Diet with Omega3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) Thurs, April 18, 2002
Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, Monika Baier, Peterkin LeeKwen, Joan Feichter, Suzanne Dinehart, Jaya Venkatraman, Kulwara Meksawan, Mary Rensel, Pamela Bochiechio, Carol Brownscheidle, Frederick Munschauer, Richard Rudick Buffalo, NY; Denver, CO; Cleveland, OH
To determine whether a low fat diet supplemented with Omega3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) positively affects quality of life in patients with RRMS
Dietary manipulation is beneficial in patients with cardiovascular disease, and lipid modification has recently attracted attention in autoimmune diseases. PUFA and their derivatives are considered potent modulators of the immune and inflammatory responses. The benefits of dietary intervention in MS have not been rigorously studied.
Patients with RRMS were randomized into a 1-year single-blind controlled study comparing two dietary interventions:
Group 1 received a very low total fat diet (15% of daily calories) with supplemental w-3 PUFA (6 fish oil capsules/day).
Group 2 received the American Heart Association Step I diet (total fat<30% of daily calories) with placebo supplements (6 olive oil capsules).
Patients were on interferon b or glatiramer acetate for at least 2 months before entering the study.
The Physical Components Summary Scale (PCS) from the Short Form Health Survey Questionnaire (SF 36) was the primary outcome measure supplemented by the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) and the Mental Health Inventory (MHI).
Physician-rated secondary outcome measures were the Kurtzke EDSS and relapse frequency. Adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM), prostaglandin PGE2 and leukotriene LTB4 plasma levels were determined using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
This is a preliminary analysis on the first 23 patients.
Baseline characteristics were similar in group 1 vs. group 2, except for MFIS: (gender 81.8% vs. 83.3% female; age-mean 44.8 vs. 42; disease duration-3.9 vs. 3.3; EDSS 1.95 vs. 2.09, SF-36/PCS: 44.7 vs. 40.3, MFIS 57.4 vs. 37 (p=0.02), and MHI 86.3 vs. 75).
Mean follow-up was 8 months (range 1-12 months). Eight patients completed the 1yr study, 16 completed 6 months. Patients tolerated the diet well, but no significant difference was seen in the quality of life measures examined over time.
However, there was a significant decrease in number of relapses in Group 1 patients compared with their relapse rate 1 yr prior to the study: -.64 (SD= 0.5) (p=0.0019). In contrast, there was no difference in Group 2 patients.
Significantly less disease progression was seen in group 1 (p= 0.0306). When comparing the levels of immunological parameters, a significant decrease in ICAM-1 from baseline was seen in the 15% diet group (p=0.0098) as well as the 30% group (p=0.0358). PGE2 levels showed a significant decrease only in the 15% diet group (p=0.04).
The change in ICAM-1 levels was persistent in the 15% diet group patients that finished their one year study (p=0.04).
This preliminary analysis suggests that very low fat diet (15%) with supplemental Omega3 PUFA was very well tolerated and may have a beneficial effect on disease parameters in patients with RR-MS.