Fish is basically taken into the diet by many people. We all know how beneficial it is for our health. Direct consumption of fish may not be that effective so the oil that is taken out from the tissues of a fish is known as fish oil which is extremely helpful for our overall health. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have several benefits.
What’s fish oil?
Fish oil is a type of oil that is extracted from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are precursors of eicosanoids that have been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate hypertriglyceridemia in the body. Some of the best fish to eat to obtain fish oil from in your diet include wild-caught salmon, herring, white fish, sardines, and anchovies.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in optimal brain and ocular development. They fight inflammation and may aid in the prevention of heart disease and cognitive loss. Those at risk of these conditions can benefit from taking fish oil because it includes a lot of omega-3s.
According to the survey of WHO (world health organization), it is recommended to intake one to two portions of fish per week to keep health in check. Even it is noted that around 30% of fish oil is made up of omega-3s while the 70% remaining is made up of other fats. Apart from this fish oil also contains some Vitamin A and D.
Benefits of fish oil
Fish Oil seems to be a package to get rid of various problems in your life. Some of the benefits of fish oil are explained as:
- Improves Heart Health: Since one can notice that in today’s world heart disease is the leading cause of death occurring. So, studies tell us that if a person consumes fish oil, the chances of multiple heart issues reduce. Fish oil provides benefits to heart health such as:
- Cholesterol levels: It seems to increase the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. However, it does not reduce any levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Triglycerides: It seems to lower triglycerides by 15–30% approx.
- Blood pressure: It helps in the reduction of blood pressure in people with elevated levels even if you consume it in small amounts.
- Plaque: It helps to prevent the plaques which cause the arteries to harden and make arterial plaques more stable and safer in those who are already having them.
- Fatal arrhythmias: it helps in reducing fatal arrhythmia events in people who are at risk. Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks in few cases.
Although it is studied that fish oil reduces the rate of heart disease but there seems to have no clear evidence that it can prevent strokes and heart diseases.
2. Treat Mental Disorders: The human brain is made up of about 60% of fat, and most of this fat is omega-3 fatty acids. In some studies, it is recommended that people who suffer from certain mental disorders mainly have low omega-3 blood levels. Therefore, omega-3s are vital for the normal functioning of the brain. In addition, taking fish oil supplements in high doses may reduce few symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
3. Helps in Weight Loss: In the world, almost 39% of adults seem to be overweight while 13% are obese. This number varied from country to country, but this number is higher in high-income countries, for instance, the US. Fish oil supplements may improve body composition and risk factors for heart disease in obese people. Furthermore, fish oil supplements, in combination with diet or exercise, can help in your weight loss.
4. Improves Eye Health: As similar to the brain, our eyes also depend on omega-3 fats. It helps in better eye health. The major structural component present in the retina of our eyes is DHA which is a type of Omega 3. It reduces macular degeneration. Studies show that high consumption of fish oil for 19 weeks improves vision.
5. Reduce Inflammation: Inflammation is your immune system’s way of fighting infection and treating injuries. However, chronic inflammation leads to serious illnesses, such as obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which help in treating conditions involving chronic inflammation. For example, if an individual is stressed or obese, fish oil can reduce the production and gene expression of inflammatory molecules known as cytokines.
6. Keep your skin healthy: Taking omega 3 supplements may reduce the severity of eczema. The effects could be down to omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties. It insulates the body against heat loss, prevents skin from drying and flaking, and cushions tissues and organs. A number of skin disorders may benefit from fish oil supplements, including psoriasis and dermatitis.
7. Support Pregnancy and Early Life: Omega-3s are essential for early growth and development. Therefore, it’s important for mothers to get enough omega-3s during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Fish oil supplements in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may improve hand-eye coordination in infants. However, it’s unclear whether learning or IQ is improved. Taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding may also improve infant visual development and help reduce the risk of allergies.
8. Reduce Liver Fat: Fish oil supplements can improve liver function and inflammation, which may help reduce symptoms of NAFLD and the amount of fat in your liver.
9. Improve Symptoms of Depression: Depression may become the second largest illness by 2030. The omega-3 levels in the blood of people who are suffering from major depression are low. Fish oil supplements, especially EPA-rich ones may help improve symptoms of depression more than DHA.
10. May Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Children: A number of behavioral disorders in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), involve hyperactivity and inattention. Omega-3s make up a significant proportion of the brain, getting enough of them may be important for preventing behavioral disorders in early life. Behavioral disorders in children can interfere with learning and development. Fish oil supplements have been shown to help reduce hyperactivity, inattention, and other negative behaviors.
11. May Help Prevent Symptoms of Mental Decline: People who consume more fish seem to experience a slow decline of the brain. Fish oil is vital for early brain development and maintenance, while EPA seems to be closely related to behavior and mood. Together, both molecules provide critical neuroprotective benefits.
12. May Improve Asthma Symptoms and Allergy Risk: A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, a key component in asthma. But more studies are needed to show if fish oil supplements improve lung function or cut the amount of medication a person needs to control the condition.
13. May Improve Bone Health: A low level of Omega-3 fatty acids may lead to inflamed joints, which may eventually cause arthritis. The Omega-3 acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the pain and inflammation of the body. The fatty acids also assist in easing joint tenderness, decreasing stiffness, and may help lessen the need for medication.
Intake of fish Oil
When it comes to consumption of fish oil a various thing needs to be considered such as:
- Dosage: When it comes to dosage, it can vary, but two capsules daily suffice as a general rule. Fish oils contain roughly 300 milligrams of EPA and 200 milligrams of DHA in each 1000 milligrams capsule of fish oil. If you are looking for a vegetarian source, flax seed oil is a viable option. These are usually found in liquid form, and 1 tablespoon a day taken with food is a good start. Roughly 60% of the fatty acids are omega 3. If you are taking Coumadin, you should consult your healthcare provider before starting fish oils or flax seed oils as a supplement.
- Form: Fish oil comes in different forms such as ethyl esters (EE), triglycerides (TG), reformed triglycerides (RTG), free fatty acids (FFA) and phospholipids (PL). One must consume it according to the body absorption.
- Concentration: There are many supplements with 1000mg of fish oil per suffering but in them there is only 300mg of EPA and DHA. So, it should be kept in mind at least 500mg of EPS and DHA per 1000mg is necessary.
- Purity: One must choose third party tested products or products with seal of purity from Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega-3s.
- Freshness: For freshness one must take supplements which have antioxidants such as vitamin E to avoid rancidity. Even it should be placed properly away from light, mainly in refrigerator.
- Sustainability: A certified product should be chosen such as from Marine Steward Council (MSC) or Environmental defense fund. Even the fish oil produced from anchovies and small fish is much more sustainable from large fish.
- Timing: It is very important in all aspects. Since fish oil also needs to be consumed properly thus, it should be taken along with other dietary fats.
How much omega-3 fish oil is safe?
Taking up to 3 grams of fish oil daily in supplement form is considered safe. It is recommended to choose a supplement that contains at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg of fish oil. Don’t take more than that unless you discuss it with your doctor first.
Are there side effects with omega-3 fish oil?
As we all know, with benefits, side effects come along. So, some of the side effects from omega-3 fish oil may include:
- A fishy taste in your mouth
- Fishy breath
- Stomach upset
- Loose stools
Taking more than 3 grams of fish oil daily may increase the risk of bleeding.
If you want to take higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can guide you in supplementing your diet with omega-3 fish oil. Also, your doctor can monitor all aspects of your health if you take higher doses of fish oil. For people with very high triglyceride levels, prescription omega-3 preparations are also available.
It is important to understand that fish oil containing Omega 3 is a type of fatty acid that your body cannot produce and hence you need to provide the Omega 3 from foods & nutritional supplements as may be required. The fish oil benefits include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke and helping in the reduction of symptoms related to depression, hypertension, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain, arthritis, and chronic skin ailments like eczema. Fish oil intake has also been associated with aiding the body in weight loss, fertility, pregnancy, and increased energy. The prescription of fish oil has even been approved by the FDA to lower unhealthy high triglyceride levels.
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