Thursday, March 13, 2008

yea for omega 3s!

When I went to the optometrist to get my contacts, she did some tests on my tear glands. Then she asked me, "Do you take Fish oil supplements?" I replied, Yep. She said, "I knew it!" She said my tear glands were very healthy and she noticed that whenever people took fish oil supplements (or flaxseed oil) or ate salmon twice a week they had really healthy tear ducts but when she would notice they would not tear up well or the glands produced a milky or cloudy substance (ewwww) then she'd ask and inevitably they would say no, they didn't take the supplements! So of course then she'd recommend them.

After writing a recent article on the Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone" I became aware that menhaden is the fish that is captured for the fish oil supplement capsules. And they are in the midst of a huge possible crash, at least off the eastern U.S. In the book The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America H. Bruce Franklin highlights the imminent crash, and how it could cause all kinds of marine ecosystem repercussions. Menhaden are small and ultra-abundant, but everything in the ocean feeds ON them. Even Texas Parks & Wildlife is discussing this month whether to set caps on the menhaden harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. There's so much more to this story, and it's a fascinating one. I want to try to delve more into it, maybe write a story on it. But as soon as my fish oil bottle is gone, I'm switching to flaxseed oil which provides the same Omega-3 fatty acids, but from a plant. Next thing you know, they'll be telling me there's a problem with them too....

But anyway it was kinda cool to see a direct result from taking a particular supplement in terms of my health!


Anonymous said...


Not to worry. There are plenty of fish oil capsules that do not contain menhaden oil. Toward the end of THE MOST IMPORTANT FISH IN THE SEA, I discuss some of the alternatives.


H. Bruce Franklin


Oh interesting! Can you tell from the bottle itself? I will have to look into that. And your book! Thanks for the tip.


Bruce also told me "The bottles usually list the kinds of fish used. If it says "herring," that might be menhaden"

Good to know!