Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. It is recommended for a healthy diet because it contains the omega-3 fatty acids,eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors to eicosanoids that reduce inflammation throughout the body. Fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids,but instead accumulate them from either consuming microalgae that produce these fatty acids, as is the case with fish like herring and sardines, or, as is the case with fatty predatory fish, by eating prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae. Such fatty predatory fish like mackerel, lake trout, flounder, albacore tuna and salmon may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to their position at the top of the food chain, these species can accumulate toxic substances (see biomagnification). For this reason, the FDA recommends limiting consumption of certain (predatory) fish species (e.g. albacore tuna, shark, and swordfish) due to high levels of toxic contaminants such as mercury, dioxin, PCBs and chlordane. More than 50 percent of the world fish oil production is fed to farmed salmon.
Over the years, fish oil has also sparked a lot of interest in the study treating clinical depression and especially, bipolar disorder. While there have been limited studies done on the subject, there have been notable trials that showed significant evidence to suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil acted as a mood stabilizer, or at least, enhanced the benefit of SSRI medications. It is also interesting to note that the countries that indicated the highest intake of fish in their diets also correlated with the lowest rates of depression among citizens.
Benefits of Fish Oil
Proven by numerous clinical studies, fish oil benefits range from brain health, to heart health, to pregnancy health.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), clinical trials have proved that omega 3 is effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil, which is abundant in omega 3, therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol, and increases the HDL levels, which is good cholesterol. Fish oil prevents accumulation of triglycerides and further reduces the levels of excess triglycerides. Preliminary research has also shown that fish oil can be used for preventing atherosclerosis in coronary patients. Thus fish oil is effective in treating heart strokes and regular usage of fish oil can help avoid numerous sudden cardiac deaths. According to the American Heart Association, these preliminary findings should be confirmed by detailed research.
Fish oil has anti inflammatory properties; therefore, it is effective in reducing inflammation in blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil supplements, tablets, pills and capsules is helpful to those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases. Fish oil is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders, sprue, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, which are typical disorders of the intestine. Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease find it difficult to absorb vitamins, fats and essential supplements. Fish oil supplements are an effective diet for such patients. In ulcerative colitis, fish oil prevents the accumulation of leukotriene on the colon. It should be noted that the anti inflammatory properties of fish oil are limited to reducing inflammation. Fish oil provides little effect in preventing inflammation. Research is also being conducted to enhance the anti-inflammatory action of fish oil by addition of other dietary supplements and drugs.
The omega3 fatty acids are proven to be effective to prevent the pregnancy complications, including the premature delivery and low birth weight. The consumption of omega3 during the period of pregnancy will help to reduce the chance of allergies in the newborns. Moreover, the intake of omega3 during the period of pregnancy will help to will be very effective for the brain development of brain in the infants. The child’s IQ level will be very high if the omega3 oil is consumed during this period.
Benefit for development of child
The omega3 oil plays a very important role in proper development of child. It not only increases the digestion power but also make the cardiovascular health better, which help in proper development of the child.
It is believed that regular consumption of fish oil aids in increasing your immunity thereby enabling you to resist incidence of commondiseases such as cold, cough and flu. Omega three fatty acids present in fish oil benefit the immune system by effecting cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. Researchers have also studied the effect of fish meal and fish oil on the immune system of pigs and found that fish oil aided in the growth of the animals. Similar research conducted on mice at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, also gave positive results. Thus fish oil has the potential to enhance the immune system of humans. Fish oil is also beneficial to patients suffering from lupus, which is a disease characterized by the attacks of immune system of the body on various organs and tissues. Fish oil helps in reducing the pain and inflammation that may occur in joints, eyes, kidney, heart, blood vessels, lungs, nerves, etc. It also helps in reducing associated fever, skin rashes and fatigue.
Fish oil is useful in treating arthritis, rheumatism, Raynaud’s symptoms and similar conditions. Usage of fish oil can help reducing the dosage of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia, and University of Newcastle, Australia have reported that large quantities of fish oil have shown positive effect on the treatment of arthritis. In case of osteoarthritis, fish oil can be helpful in reducing the impact of enzymes that destroy cartilages. However, since the dosage of fish oil required for desirable effect in the improvement of a patient is unknown, the Arthritis Center, Department of Rheumatology, John Hopkins University, considers including omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil in the treatment of arthritis as controversial. The University also cautions that there may appear certain side effect due to the use of fish oil in arthritis patients. Read more about arthritis on the webpage of Arthritis Foundation and Arthritis Center.
Research conducted at the Louisiana State University has shown that fatty acids are effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Since fish oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids including EPA and DHA, it helps in Alzheimer disease. Research conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) validates the usefulness of fish oil as a possible remedy for the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends fish containing higher content of omega three fatty acids to patients as it acts as a protective diet during Alzheimer disease and dementia.
Fish oil helps in improving the condition of poor and dry skin by making it shinny and glowing. It is useful in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, itching, redness of skin, skin lesions, and rashes. In case of psoriasis, the EPA present in fish oil restricts the growth of pro-inflammatory agents by producing arachidonic acid. Fish oil can also be applied topically to obtain relief from psoriasis. Regular intake of fish oil capsules helps in reducing loss of moisture from the skin. It is also claimed by some people that fish oil helps in preventing sunburns.
ADD and ADHD
There are more and more children who are currently suffering from attention deficit disorder or ADD. In fact, in America alone, 3 to 5 percent of children are diagnosed with such condition.
This problem could have stemmed from lack of dopamine, which can be derived from drugs such as Ritalin. Nevertheless, drugs can contain some substances that can promote side effects. The best way is to take in natural supplements for ADD. This means increasing the level of dopamine through intake of fish oil.
Since you need to tremendously improve your level of neurotransmitter dopamine in ADD children, you will need to supplement their diet with rich long chain omega-3 fatty acids through high fish in take or alternatively give them pharmaceutical-grade fish oil.
Fish oil is effective for acne as well. EPA is known to inhibit androgen formation. Androgen can affect the formation of sebum in hair follicle.
The research, which lasted for 3 months, revealed a startling discovery: those who have been taking EPA in their diet were able to fight the signs of depression as early as one month compared to those individuals who are still left in the care of anti-depressant drugs.
This can be attributed to the fact that besides the above-mentioned benefits of fish oil against depression, the essential fatty acids that it contains will not only prevent blood clots but it will also improve the functions of your brain.
All in all, fish oil is the perfect partner for depressed patients, who are in anti-depressants. Nevertheless, carrying a positive attitude and making oneself busy with other physical and mental activities will improve your chances tremendously of getting yourself healed faster.
Several studies report possible anti-cancer effects of n−3 fatty acids found in fish oil (particularly breast, colon and prostate cancer).[ Omega-3 fatty acids reduced prostate cancer growth, slowed histopathological progression, and increased survival. Among n-3 fatty acids (omega-3), neither long-chain nor short-chain forms were consistently associated with breast cancer risk. High levels of docosahexaenoic acid, however, the most abundant n-3 PUFA (omega-3) in erythrocyte membranes, were associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Type II diabetic patients are more prone to cardio vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. As mentioned above, fish oil is helpful in treating various heart problems. Research conducted at the University of Oxford, UK, has proved that fish oil is useful in reducing triglyceride levels in diabetes as well.
Study shows that the fatty acids of Omega 3 proved to be more helpful in terms of weight loss. Results also showed that fish fatty acids have many health benefits. However, to make it healthier, it is recommended that you also have a balanced diet filled with proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to aid in losing weight.
Remember these facts to help you with your fish oil and weight loss program. Fish oil can be beneficial but couple it with a healthy diet.
The symptoms of peptic ulcer include pain in the abdomen, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, loss in appetite, weight loss, etc. Due to the presence of EPA and DHA, fish oil can be helpful in case of ulcers caused by NSAIDs.
Preliminary research conducted on boar has shown that when male boars are fed with diet containing fish oil, the quality of the sperm is enhanced. After ejaculation, the sperms have increased survival against lipid peroxidative attacks in the female genital tract, thereby increasing the chances of conception. On the other hand, similar animal studies have shown inhibition in the synthesis of prostaglandin E and prostaglandin F, which are produced in large quantities by human seminal vesicles. The research found no impact in the count and mobility of sperm.
Fish oil helps maintain a good luster of the hair. Omega three has hair growing properties as it provides nourishment to the follicles. It therefore aids in faster development of hair and preventing hair loss. A good supply of proteins is also necessary for hair growth. Since most fish varieties are rich in protein, eating fish helps in keeping healthy hair.
A study examining whether omega-3 exerts neuroprotective action in Parkinson's disease found that it did, using an experimental model, exhibit a protective effect (much like it did for Alzheimer's disease as well). The scientists exposed mice to either a control or a high omega-3 diet from two to twelve months of age and then treated them with a neurotoxin commonly used as an experimental model for Parkinson's. The scientists found that high doses of omega-3 given to the experimental group completely prevented the neurotoxin-induced decrease of dopamine that ordinarily occurs. Since Parkinson's is a disease caused by disruption of the dopamine system, this protective effect exhibited could show promise for future research in the prevention of Parkinson's disease.
Studies published in 2004 and 2009 have suggested that fish oil may reduce the risk of depression and suicide. One such study took blood samples of 100 suicide-attempt patients and compared the blood samples to those of controls and found that levels of Eicosapentaenoic acid were significantly lower in the washed red blood cells of the suicide-attempt patients. A small American trial, published in 2009, suggests that E-EPA, as monotherapy, might treat major depressive disorder, however the study achieved no statistical significance.
A study from the Orygen Research Centre in Melbourne suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could also help delay or prevent the onset of schizophrenia. The researchers enlisted 81 'high risk' young people aged 13 to 24 who had previously suffered brief hallucinations or delusions and gave half of them capsules of fish oil while the other half received fish-tasting dummy substitute. One year on, only three percent of those on fish oil had developed schizophrenia compared to 28 percent from those on the substitute.
Fish oil supplement
The health benefits of fish oil are no more mystery and that is the reason why the consumption of fish oil is increasing among the healthconscious individuals. Whether cardiovascular disease or neurological disorders, doctors say fish oil and its essential component, Omega-3, seem to prevent the diseases. Taking fish oil along with proper diet and exercise can also lower the cholesterol level. However, these days, fish oil supplements are replacing the direct consumption of fish oil.
Why Fish Oil Supplements are Better Options?
The environment pollution has affected almost everything on the earth. Fish that are available from the sea are often found to contain high levels of mercury and other harmful contaminants. Even, the FDA has warned that taking too much of fish can increase the risk of getting high mercury level in your body. On the contrary, the fish oil supplements can be safer option to get required Omega-3 Fatty acids as the high quality fish oil supplements are purified capsules.
When we are taking fish oil for some specific need of our body, we have to take it in balanced amount to obtain positive result. Fish oil capsules are manufactured with proper balance of Omega-3 which is essential for our body.
As our body is unable to synthesize Omega-3 fatty acids, it is an essential food supplement for us. And the right source of Omega-3 is the fish oil supplements. However, if you want to get the desired result it is wise to consult your physician about the dosages.
Side Effects of Fish Oil
Fish oil has been considered as one of the best source to prevent number of health related issues, but they even have few side effects of fish oil which can’t be over looked. The growing popularity of imega-3 fish oil has been a matter of concern due to the side effects which a person can face. People should be made aware of both the aspects of fish oil so that they may not have to suffer in long term.
Fish oil contamination
Some of the fishes get contaminated due to mercury and the fish oil obtained from them is severely contaminated by mercury. Hence it is quite essential to make it confirm before buying a fish oil that it has passed mercury distillation test. The contaminated fish oil if taken can be hazardous to children and women. Though men are also affected but children and women are affected the most. Mercury is poisonous to our body and is found in sea or lake water due to industrial discharges. Now the fish dwelling in that contaminated water gets affected and leads to a poisonous fish oil.
Fish Oil and Heavy Metals
The industrial discharge leads to a heavy metal poisoning in fishes. Fishes dwelling in contaminated water to contain heavy metal content in their body. These heavy metals could be lead, nickel, arsenic or cadmium. Fishes which are porn to these contaminations are largemouth bass, shark, sword fish, sturgeon, king mackerel, tilefish etc. Hence fish oil from those contaminated fishes may lead to sever body poisoning.
Fish Oil Vitamin Poisoning
Sometimes a very high doze of fish oil which contains a high value of vitamins leads to the risk of vitamin poisoning. It’s a condition which leads to toxic symptoms. Hence it is recommended to use fish body oil rather than fish lever oil.
Fish Oil Dosage
Recommended dosage of fish oil is about five grams a day, exceeding to which may lead to diarrhea. Hence it should always be taken as per the doctor’s advice. Fish oil has one more property of acting as a blood thinner, so a person already using blood thinner should never take fish oil as it may lead to critically low blood pressure or an excessive bleeding. As specified by the food and drug administration that a normal intake of fish oil should not be 2 grams per day. This could move down the risks associated with fish oil.
Start taking a quality omega-3 fish oil supplement every day. Get a brand that has at least 250 mgs of DHA and 100 mgs of EPA. Anything less isn't even worth getting. This way, you will only have to take 2 capsules to get the recommended amount of EPA and DHA per day.
Shop carefully for your fish oil pills. You want to purchase a bottle of fish oil that contains 30 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) and DHA. If it does, the bottle will read that each pill contains 180 milligrams of EPA and 120 milligrams of DHA.
Now a question arises that due to these side effects of fish oil, should we prohibit its use? Looking at the positive aspects of fish oil its use should not be completely prohibited. Fish oil has been found useful in preventing many health related problems like cardiovascular attack, brain functioning, diabetes, eczema etc. Hence, instead of abolishing its use, it should be used under certain criteria. Only those supplements should be used that are manufactured under good manufacturing practice (GMD). It should be made confirmed that molecular distillation of the fish oil has been done. It should have high content of DHA and should be free from any kind of contaminations.
Disclaimer: This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regime, it is advisible to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.