In the past few years, there has been a lot of research and speculation regarding fish oil benefits and their uses in our daily lives. Fish oil is the most common dietary supplement that we consume every day and is good for our overall health and wellbeing. But what is fish oil and what is so special about it?
What is fish oil and how do we get it?
Fish oil as the name suggests is an oil that is obtained from fish tissue. Fish oil is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids and contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA). Omega-3 fish oil is an essential nutrient, has important health benefits and protects our body from several life-threatening diseases.
According to AHA, it is recommended that we eat fish two times a week. Fish especially fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna, mussels, oysters, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and regular consumption can improve our overall health in the long run.
But if you are a vegan or simply do not like fish, you will need other alternatives. Here is a relief. Some plants are also known to produce a type of omega-3 fatty acids called the alpha-linolenic acid. When consumed, our body converts this acid into DHA and EPA. Plants products that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Chia seeds.
- Canola oil.
- Brussels sprouts.
- Algal oil.
However, it should be noted that omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil have far more benefits than plant sources.
What are fish oil supplements?
Fish oil benefits are extensive. They not only contain omega-3 but also is an important source for vitamins A and D.
Our body cannot produce fish oil. It can only be derived from food or through other supplements. The oil supplements are medicines that come in the form of pills, liquid, or capsule.
Doctors often prescribe fish oil supplements to patients who are at risk of heart disease, have high triglycerides, an autoimmune disorder, or are exhibiting symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. People who do not consume fish can take fish oil supplements.
How much fish oil is safe to consume?
Fish oil dosage depends on your doctor’s recommendation and how much you need to supplement. The AHA recommends a 1g of daily intake of fish oil.
How to take fish oil supplements?
Take your fish oil supplements according to your doctor’s recommendation or follow the directives given on the label.
Here are a few simple steps to remember before taking your fish oil supplements.
- Swallow the whole fish oil capsule. Do not break or puncture it.
- Do not take fish oil more than the recommended dosage.
- Avoid using fish oil capsules for prolonged periods.
- Follow your normal diet, medication, and exercise regimen.
Precautionary measures before using the fish oil
Here are some precautionary measures that can be taken before using fish oil supplements.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter medicine, herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
- Avoid fish oil if you have any allergies to fish.
- Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant before taking the medicine.
- Nursing mothers should ask their doctor before using this medicine.
Fish oil benefits
Now that we know everything about fish oil let us look into some fish oil benefits and their impact on our health.
1. Fish Oil Benefits for Heart
Recent studies have revealed that those who consume fish regularly are at lower risk of heart disease.
Regular consumption of fish or fish oil can reduce many heart complications such as:
- Fish oil can lower Triglycerides by about 30%.
- Improves cholesterol levels by increasing HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.
- An increase in fish oil can reduce the risks of heart failure and stroke.
- Fish oils can reduce heart blockage or narrowing of blood vessels. It is often recommended before an angioplasty or CABG or coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
- Reduces fatal arrhythmias or abnormal heart rate.
2. Fish Oils Control High Blood Pressure
Fish oil help control moderate to high blood pressure. Research studies show that if fish oil is taken along with blood pressure-controlling medications, it has a much greater effect. However, fish oil may not manage uncontrolled high blood pressure.
3. Fish Oil in Treatment for Mental Disorders
There have been numerous studies that suggest that regular consumption of fish oil can significantly improve mental disorders and psychotic conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient needed for the normal functioning of our brain. A high dosage of omega-3 supplements can reduce schizophrenia, bipolar diseases, or even reduce the future risk of developing psychotic disorders.
Fish oil can also improve memory loss in young and older patients and help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors recommend a regular intake of fish along with omega-3 fatty oils to prevent dementia.
4. Fish Oil Helps in Reducing Obesity
Obesity is a major concern in today’s fast-moving life. Today, fast food or instant food products are ruling the market. There has been a rapid increase in the number of overweight adults or children in developing countries like America.
Obesity comes with a lot of health problems like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. It can significantly reduce our life span and affect our lifestyle.
Certain studies suggest that fish oil supplements along with regular exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce weight and the risk of heart diseases in obese people.
5. Fish Oil Benefits for Men
The benefits of fish oil are vast. It has been found that men with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are at higher risk of sudden death. Fish oil supplements are used in abundance and it can reduce the risks of fatal cardiovascular diseases and ventricular arrhythmias which can lead to sudden deaths in men.
6. Fish oil benefits for men
- Fish oils are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases in men.
- It improves skin tone.
- Reduces acne inflammation and can be used for treating other skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are known to boost cognitive functions and improve brain function and activity.
- Research shows that fish oil help improve blood flow to all parts of the body. It can improve circulation and testosterone levels which are needed for maintaining libido and improves skin and muscles.
- Fish oil can improve sperm counts and help in the treatment of male infertility. DHA deficiency is an important marker for male infertility. Regular omega-3 consumption can improve DHA and restore the deficiency.
- Fish oil rich in DHA can help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Taking fish oil regularly can relax the arteries and improve blood flow throughout the body including the penis. It can help in getting a better erection and reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction.
- Fish oil benefits bodybuilding and the overall growth of muscle mass. Athletes and bodybuilders use fish oil for their anti-inflammatory properties and also for joint pains, muscle strength and other benefits.
- Fish oil improves vision.
7. Fish Oil Can Improve Eye Health
Regular consumption of fish is known to reduce age-related macular degeneration or AMD. It has been found that people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are at higher risk of eye disorders.
A regular intake of fish or fish oil supplements can improve eye vision and reduce risks of eye diseases.
8. Fish Oil helps to Reduce Inflammation
Fish oil has a wide array of benefits. The oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce chronic inflammation. Inflammation is our body’s defense mechanism and occurs when we have an infection or injury.
Fish oil can be extremely beneficial for reducing chronic joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
9. Fish Oil Benefits for Skin and Hair
Want to get that luscious hair and gorgeous glow in your skin? Fish oil can do that for you. Fish oil is rich in natural oils and can reduce acne or premature aging, and also provide nutrition to your hair.
The omega-3 fatty acids are helpful to our skin in many ways such as:
- Protects our skin from the harmful effects of the UV rays.
- Hydrates the skin.
- It provides luminosity to the skin.
- Maintains the natural oil balance of our skin.
Many dermatologists recommend fish oil due to their anti-inflammatory properties. It helps treat skin diseases like psoriasis, melanoma, or skin cancer.
Fish oil opens up the hair follicles and promotes the absorption of the oil into the scalp. The benefits of fish oil as a hair care product include:
- Strengthens hair follicles.
- Promotes hair growth.
- Strengthens weak or damaged hair.
- Prevents breakage of hair.
- It provides luster and gives a shine to the hair.
- Reduces dryness of the scalp.
10. Fish Oil Benefits for Women
Omega-3s are not only essential for the healthy glow of your skin or hair but it has a myriad of health benefits.
Here are some health benefits of fish oil for women:
- Fish oil can reduce painful menstrual cramps and reduces the need for taking pain medications.
- It can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer which is cancer that occurs in the lining of the uterus. A regular intake of fatty fish or fish oil supplements can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.
- Fish oil is good for your skin and hair.
- Research shows that omega-3 fatty oils are good for the growth and development of the fetus and infants. This is the reason why fish oil is often recommended during pregnancy and also in lactating mothers. Fish oil is good for the overall development of the cognitive, motor, and sensory skills of the fetus.
12. Fish Oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis
It has been found that taking fish oil alone or together with naproxen or Naprosyn medication can relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or RA.
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory substances which can provide relief from joint pains and stiffness in RA patients. A regular intake of fish oil reduces the need for taking pain medications.
You can administer fish oil intravenously and can reduce tenderness or inflammation of the joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.
Research studies show that fish oil alone or if taken with calcium supplements can improve bone density in elderly people. It can slow down the process of bone loss in patients suffering from osteoporosis.
13. Fish Oil helps in Depression
Is depression becoming an epidemic? It is one of the most pertinent questions in recent decades.
Depression is a form of mental disorder and studies show that every one out of ten people gets into depression during some time of their life. Research studies have proved the consumption of fatty fish at least thrice a week can help reduce depression.
Post-partum depression is very common in new mothers. Fish oil can help control the risks of post-partum depression. New mothers are advised to take food that is rich in omega-3 oils and vitamins and minerals instead of supplements.
Research studies have also shown that people with depression have low omega-3 levels in their blood. Fish oils rich in EPA can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
14. Fish Oil improves ADHD and DCD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is very common in young children. This is a common cause why many children cannot focus or be attentive in studies or their daily activities.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a disorder of motor skills. In this case, children have low motor skills, behavioral problems, difficulty in reading, spelling, and more.
Fish oil plays a significant role in the proper functioning of the brain and can prevent behavioral delays or disorders in early childhood.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce hyperactivity, aggression, impulsiveness, and improve attention and positive behavior among children.