It’s that time again. Time to add yet one more benefit to the towering list of positive things to say about fish oil.
Researchers at Louisiana State University say that the oil, which is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, may be your best bet for recovery after a stroke. And, frankly, their findings are pretty amazing.
The animal study, published in thef the journal Translational Stroke Research, found that when a component of fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was administered intravenously at three, four, five, and six hours after a stroke lab rats showed a significant improvement in their recovery when compared with controls.
After their strokes the DHA-treated rats had…
- reduced swelling,
- reduced neurological deficits,
- and better overall neurobehavioral recovery.
Stroke brain damage reduced 59% with Omega-3’s
According to the head of the research team, Dr. Nicholas Bazan, DHA triggered the production of a neuroprotective molecule called Neuroprotectin D1. Incredibly, this molecule not only salvaged brain tissue that would have died, it also repaired areas of the brain so thoroughly that just seven days after the DHA treatment they were indistinguishable from normal, previously undamaged areas.
Perhaps the most stunning news of all was that the area of destroyed tissue in the brains of the DHA-treated rats was reduced by an average of 59 percent five hours after the stroke!
While we don’t yet know if taking a daily fish-oil supplement will have the same post-stroke neuroprotective effects that intravenous DHA provides, all the many other benefits it does provide—from fighting arthritis pain to warding off high cholesterol–still make it a worthwhile supplement.
5 tips for choosing a fish oil
Just a few things to keep in mind when picking out a fish oil:
1. DHA content:
Be sure that what you’re choosing is not just any fish oil but one that contains a good amount of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA. 200-300 mg of DHA per capsule should do it.
2. Avoid contaminants:
If possible look for a brand of fish oil that’s made from fish relatively low on the food chain, such as sardines, anchovies, or herring. There’s less chance of their accumulating a dangerous buildup of mercury and other contaminants.
And if you can find one made from non-farmed fish, that’s even better. (Another good choice, admittedly pricier but also more environmentally friendly, is krill oil.)
3. Forget fillers:
Beware of filler oils! Check the label to be sure the total amount of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids) on the label equals the amount of total oil.
To be sure you’re getting fish oil that has less toxins, look for “99.99% pure” somewhere on the label.
5. Fight free radicals:
Also, keep in mind that fish oil can increase the levels of free radicals in your body so be sure to get plenty of neutralizing antioxidants, such as mixed-tocopherol vitamin E and selenium, as well.