Oil Supplements for Health

Fish Oil

When most people think of oil supplements, they think of fish oil. It has become very popular, and is recommended for many different people due to its wide array of health benefits. Fish oils contain EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 long-chain unsaturated fatty acids. They have anti-inflammatory benefits, have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels, and even can help reduce triglyceride levels and blood-clotting potential. For all of these reasons, fish oil is an important supplement for those who are more prone to cardiovascular disease or who currently suffer from things like high cholesterol or high triglycerides. But the benefits of fish oil go beyond cardiovascular disease prevention and support. Fish oil can also help with joint pain, dry eyes, dry or blemished skin, flexibility, asthma, and more. Although these same health benefits are found in many types of cold-water fish, most of us don’t eat enough cold-water fish so the supplements help. I recommend fish oil for most people, in addition to including high-quality cold-water fish in the diet.

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is another popular supplement. We frequently use ground flaxseed in our smoothies or yogurt. It can be beneficial for those suffering from obesity, because it helps increase arterial blood flow. Flaxseed oil contains the building blocks for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but our bodies must do the conversion themselves to obtain full benefits. Some research suggests our bodies do not efficiently make this conversion, and therefore we should consume other types of oils where the conversion is already made (such as fish oil). I think flaxseed oil is still a great part of a well-rounded diet. It helps with dry skin and is easy to use in smoothies, salad dressings, or on top of cooked veggies.

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil can be beneficial for internal use or external application to burns, sores, scars, and other skin problems. Its high vitamin E content helps to protect the health of the skin. I’ve had many knee surgery patients in my family, and vitamin E is always a main component of post-surgery care. Since vitamin E is a strong antioxidant, wheat germ oil is more stable than other oils. However, I’d still recommend keeping it in the fridge, just to be safe.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of a primrose plant and contains high amounts of GLA, which is similar to omega-6 fatty acids. This plant has been used medicinally for hundreds of years, both externally for skin problems and internally to treat things like asthma, digestive issues, gynecological problems, and to help with wound healing. Some even consider it a “cure-all”. More recent research has revealed even more benefits of evening primrose oil, such as arthritis pain relief, PMS relief, help with eczema, anti-inflammatory effects, and help with cardiovascular disease and allergies. I haven’t tried evening primrose oil personally, but a few of my teachers have brought it up in class as being an amazing oil and recommend keeping it in the house.

These are just four oils that can be used therapeutically as well as for every day nutrition. I love foods like this, because it’s almost as if your refrigerator is also your medicine cabinet – a very appealing thought, at least for me. I recommend just giving one or two of these a try if you believe you could benefit from them. The great thing about using nutrition as medicine is there are rarely any side affects!


  1. Ann, please define "cold water" fish.

  2. Sorry - I should have made that more clear! Cold water fish include wild-caught (Atlantic & Sockeye are a couple) salmon, wild-caught trout, mackerel, sardines, and northern pike. Anything farmed is not a cold water fish. Cold water fish are wild and tend to prefer the colder waters, which helps keep them healthier and away from toxins. They tend to have a higher level of omega-3s, which is one reason they are preferable to other fish.

  3. So, is a walleye, bass or perch from Lake Minnewaska in Minnesota cold water or warm water? I think fishing experts may say that trout are cold water but walleyes, bass etc are warm water. Hard to mesh nutrition and fishing semantics. Perhaps the main point for the quality of oils may be wild versus farmed. Does this make sense?

  4. These would be cool-water fish (not cold, not warm). The idea is that true cold-water fish are highest in omega-3s, which is what is found in fish oil supplements. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other health benefits in other types of fish, both cool and warm water. Farmed fish should be avoided for many reasons. But supplements should come from cold-water fish, not cool- or warm-water fish.

  5. Outstanding post Ann! Great information and very easy to read. I do have one question please: what is your suggestion when it comes to purchasing high quality fish oil supplements? Do you have a favorite brand and where do you get it from? I am assuming not all fish oil supplements are created the same.
    Thanks so much and happy Friday! Patricia