Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, DACNB Comments:
I just read an article on dietary fish oils and thyroid hormones from The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. They discussed the effects of fish oil on thyroid hormone signaling in the liver.
From my other blogs you may recall that 60% of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) is converted to the active form (T3) by the liver. So it is paramount for your thyroid health, as well as the rest of your body’s health to have a properly functioning liver. I will discuss this in greater length in a future post.
Of course cost of fish oils fan fair comes from the benefits it has on the heart. Consumption of dietary fish oils can lower triglycerides and increase “good” cholesterol. It can also slow hardening of arteries and slightly lower blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for the heart; they also help to reduce inflammation. This is perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, as inflammation is associated with many serious diseases. Heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s, for example, are characterized by increased levels of pro-inflammatory markers. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil reduce inflammation by preventing production of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules. This may help to prevent serious illness associated with inflammation.
Did you catch the part about autoimmune disease? That is what most people in the United States with low thyroid symptoms have. They have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If this is new news to you, check out my other blogs. I talk about this extensively on my blogs.
As if the benefits of fish oil on heart health and arthritis were not enough, it is believed that fish oil also helps with anti-aging as well. Omega-3 fatty acids slow the rate at which protective caps on the end of chromosomes shorten, thus increasing the lifespan of cells.
Fish oils have also been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s, depression, and other mental illnesses. Omega-3 fatty acids may help to regulate hormones in the brain to help with mental clarity.
Prolonging the life of cells is not the only anti-aging benefit of fish oil. Fish oil has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Fish oil has also been shown to be beneficial to pregnant women and the unborn child. The benefits to the unborn child are numerous and include: a healthier brain with increased intelligence; good nervous system development; better eyesight from retina formation; fewer behavioral problems after birth; and better sleeping patterns as a new born. The mother also receives benefits from her consumption of fish oil. These benefits include: a lower chance of developing preeclampsia; a decreased chance of preterm labor; and a greatly reduced incidence of breast cancer. The reason fish oil is so beneficial to the unborn child is because 70% of a newborn’s brain, retina and nervous system are made up of the Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Therefore, increasing the amount of these fatty acids present in the mother’s diet, and therefore being given to her unborn child, aides in the child’s development of the brain, retina and nervous system.
With all that said, that is why I recommend fish oils or essential fatty acids for most everyone in our office. I know that is a bit of a blanket statement, and you should consult your health care practitioner before starting any supplementation, especially if you are suffering with low thyroid symptoms.