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Fish Oil Pills
Photo: hitthatswitch on Flickr

As a service to you, dear reader, I’ve done something potentially stupid. I just popped a fish oil capsule in my mouth and I’m not going to swallow it, as is recommended, while I write this piece. I’m going to let it dissolve in my mouth, so that I experience one of the few potential downsides of fish oil pills — the taste — while I relay to you the many benefits of taking them every day.

In short hand, here’s what fish oil pills will make you: Smarter. Happier. Healthier.

So far, no taste is seeping through the capsule.

Here’s what health guru Andrew Weil and other nutritionists list as the benefits:

Improved memory

Oh shit.

Decreased chance of death. (I’m serious.)

I am beginning to gag. This didn’t take long!

Prevent Alzheimer’s

It wouldn’t be so bad but the taste is mixing with the coffee I just drank.

Improved eyesight.

Ohh, it is that bad; like eating a bon-bon with an anchovy filling.

Reduces chance of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.

I’m wretching. No joke.

Strong anti-inflammatory effect.

Ok, I think I’m past the worst of it.

Improved brain function.

I’m ok, I’m ok. Breathing normal.

Anti-depressant properties.

I shouldn’t have written this in the morning. But, as gross as that was, it wasn’t so bad. Outside of doing something stupid, I’ve never had a problem with the taste of my Spectrum brand fish oil pills. I should note the only other downside I could find about taking these is some minute risk of hemorrhagic stroke if you’re prone to that sort of thing.

How can you not want fish oil’s benefits for yourself and the ones you love?

It comes down to this: Fish oil is the best source known to man for the essential fatty acids, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic) and DHA (docosahexaenoic). These are the omega-3 fats that are vital for improved brain and central nervous system function. (DHA is a major part of cell membranes in the central nervous system.)

Why not just eat a lot of fish? I, like my Food Republic peers, will also sidestep making a Jeremy Piven crack, and just say that if you eat too much fish, stupid, you’re at risk of eating too much mercury, PCB’s and other chemicals. The best fish oil pills are from small fish like anchovies and sardines, and they come without any of those nasty bits.

Where should you get them? I’d keep away from the Internet. You look up fish oil pills and all sorts of crazy stuff comes up. Seemingly objective sites like, or all lead you to, the maker of a fish oil supplement. I can’t personally recommend those guys. I’d suggest you go to your local health store, or to a Whole Foods, and ask them for fish oil supplements that have DHA, as well as EPA, and are mercury/PCB/lead–free.

I use the Spectrum Essentials capsules (360mg EPA and 240mg DHA per two pills). I am sure you’ll be just as happy with them as I am.

And now we know that they can also serve as anchovy lozenges, in case you’ve run out.

Do you take fish oil capsules? Share your experiences in the comments.