Fish oil benefits you in various ways and this blog will give you a clear update on all it can offer. You can procure fish oil by eating fish or by taking supplements. Some fishes are rich in beneficial oil called omega-3 fatty acids. Fishes like tuna, mackerel, herring, seal and whale blubber are highly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil predominantly contains two important omega-3 fatty acids- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Fish oil benefits you by controlling levels of triglycerides. Moreover, doctors use fish oil supplements to treat heart, blood and kidney-related illnesses. Numerous people consume fish to treat brain and nerve functioning. Thus, forenamed “brain food”. Fish oil benefits in eye ailments and multiple other sicknesses.
Cod liver oil and shark liver oil are both found in the liver of the respective fishes. Scroll down to see how fish oil benefits you and helps in your overall health.
How does it work?
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that help the body in numerous different ways. You will find omega-6 fatty acids quite common in the Western diet. But neither the body produces its own omega-3 fatty acids nor can they convert omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help in swelling and pain reduction. They also prevent blood from clotting. So, this gives reasons why fish oil can help to treat psoriasis, dry eyes or heart diseases.
Fish oil benefits for health
Here are a few ways on how fish oil benefits your health:
Fish oil fights chronic inflammation
Fishes that are fat and oily contain fish oil. These fish oils contain omega-3fatty acids. The most important omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It is seen that these acids help in controlling inflammation and can also reduce low-grade inflammation like premature aging. So, in general, they play a vital role in protecting your health.
Protection of heart conditions
Fish oil boosts the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and helps in lowering triglycerides and blood pressure. It further prevents plaques in arteries and avoids stiffening them too. As a result, fish oil supports heart health and lowers the risk of heart attacks.
Fish oil boosts bone density
It is typically seen that Americans consume a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in their diet. You can find these fatty acids in plant oils like sunflower and corn. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids is way lesser in their diet and this imbalance leads to a low bone density for both-women and men. However, it is seen that elder people with a high level of omega-3 consumption, maintain higher bone densities. This shows how fish oil also plays an essential role in bone density.
Supports eye health
Some researchers have shown that fish oil benefits the eye in cases of macular degeneration. The illness causes vision loss and can even lead to blindness. It is frequently seen to occur with age, making it extremely important to include fish oil in their diet.
Controls risk in child asthma
Studies state, consuming adequate amounts of fish oil throughout the pregnancy period, will limit the chances of asthma in children. Moreover, it can also reduce the possibilities of allergies in fetuses. But you must remember to consult your doctor before you add fish oil to your diet or consume any of its supplements.
It may even keep your brain sharp
A study showed, fish oil to improve cognitive functioning for healthy grown-ups. The age-group tested was between 51-72. Moreover, it showed much more effective results than any placebo. Researches have also shown, fish oil benefits in cases of anxiety and depression.
Help maintain physical fitness
Researches have shown omega-3 to aid in weight loss. Fish oil supplements slower the natural decline of muscle mass and functioning for both men and women from 60-85years. In addition, it stimulates the growth of muscle protein and improves muscle mass in sedentary adults. Some other studies have shown, fish oil to manage weight indirectly as they stimulate specific areas in the brain that reduces frequent cravings. Thus, it curbs excessive food intake which helps you to lose weight.
Limited usage recommended
You should keep in mind not to get exorbitant with fish oil. Consuming too much fish oil can lead to other health hazards. Fish oil acts as a blood thinner, which increases the risks of bleeding. If you happen to be on other drugs or consume supplements or aspirins, the risks of blood-thinning increases. Always consult your doctor to know, what the correct form or the appropriate dosage of fish oil your body needs.
Expert advice before fish oil consumption
Doctors prescribe supplements that contain a combination of 1000mgs EPA and DHA, for daily consumption. If you happen to be allergic to fishes or if you’re vegan, there are alternative options for you. Algal oil and marine algae fish are plant-based that can be included in your diet. But it’s always best to work with your doctor for the correct product and accurate dosage. A supplement will work best only if you’re in the guidance of professional health personnel.
Other fish oil health benefits
Since fish oil helps in protecting your brain and nervous system, they may help to treat multiple sclerosis as well.
A study has shown, fish oil benefits men by lowering the risk of prostate cancer. However, a contradictory study also shows, if the levels of omega-3 increases in men, they may increase the chances of prostate cancer. So, the benefits of fish oil in this regard remains limited.
Fish oil consumption can reduce postpartum depression. A lot of researchers have advised pregnant women to eat fishes that have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. It is beneficial when its consumption is at a frequency of two to three times weekly. Fish oil through food sources is preferred over their supplements because a good amount of minerals and proteins are supplied to the body too.
Mental health benefits
An 8-week experimental study in 2007, showed fish oil to help young adults with behavioral issues, particularly for those having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Further details were given by parents and psychiatrists, that children consuming 8g of EPA and 16g of DHA every day, showed improved results.
PLoS One journal reports that fish oil benefits working memory for children. However, another study has shown no prevention of cognitive declining in older women.
Cardiovascular and Heart benefits
Fish oils protect your heart during mental stress. The American Journal of Physiology stated, people who had fish oil supplements for more than a month, showed improved cardiovascular functioning in the tests performed on them. Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, that help to stabilize atherosclerotic lesions as well. Studies showed that people having stents included fish oil with other drugs that showed lower risks of heart attack than others who did not consume fish oil. The AHA advises to consume fish, especially the ones which have oil in them, for at least two days a week, to control cardiovascular diseases.
Over the years, it was believed that consuming fish oil regularly could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology journal in 2007 suggested, a diet that is high in fish oils, vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Canadian researchers stated in a journal, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, that diets containing adequate amounts of DHA prevent people from age-related vision loss.
The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry in 2014 published that people with epilepsy may have a reduced number of seizures, when they consumed a prescribed dosage of fish oil regularly.
Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
Fish oil reduces the chances of psychosis. Some researches that were published in the journal Nature Communications stated that positive results were seen in reducing risks of psychotic morbidities through fish oil in a 12-week detailed study.
Fetal health development
Fish oil benefits the fetus by boosting motor and cognitive developments. Researchers found fish oil to be beneficial during pregnancy. It showed improvements in motor, sensory and cognitive developments in the fetus.
Side effects of fish oil
You can consume fish oil by fish liver oils, fish or omega 3 fatty acid supplements. However, fish oils can impose multiple side effects to many people. Here we will see some of the side-effects of fish oil:
- If you are on medications for blood-clotting, fish oil supplements may intervene and affect blood clotting in your body.
- Fish oil can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, belching or indigestion.
- Consuming too much of fish oil may become poisonous for the body, as they have a high content of vitamin D and A too.
- If you have allergic reactions to fishes or shellfish, consuming fish oil supplements will stimulate the allergies for you.
- Since the oceans contain pollutants, consuming too much of marine fishes may cause poisoning within the body.
Keep in mind that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S, doesn’t monitor the purity or quality of fish oil supplements. So, you must purchase supplements from a reputed brand. Moreover, try consuming fishes containing high content of fish oil is than its supplements.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests consuming fishes like shrimp, salmon, catfish, light canned tuna and pollock as they have low levels of mercury. Furthermore, they recommend avoiding fishes like king mackerel, tilefish, shark and swordfish because of their high mercury content.
Whether the consumption of fish oil has health benefits or not, that remains contradictory. But you can always have a diet with a slew of nutrients, which will be healthy and beneficial for your overall health.
Note: You must keep your doctor informed regarding your diet. If you are thinking of consuming oral supplements, check with your dietician at once.
What other drugs will affect Fish Oil?
Always consult your doctor, and tell him/her about your pre-existing medications. There are certain drugs that react with fish oil which can further complicate your health. Some of the drugs are listed below; which are:
- A diuretic (which is a water pill) like, hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide, HydroDIURIL), indapamide (Lozol), chlorthalidone (Thalitone, Hygroton), metolazone (Zaroxolyn, Mykrox), chlorothiazide (Diuril) and many others.
- Blood thinners like warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin)
- Estrogens (Hormone replacement or birth control pills)
- A beta-blocker like carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, dutoprol, Toprol), atenolol (Tenoretic, Tenormin), Sotalol (betapace), propranolol (Innopran, Inderal), labetalol (Trandate, Normodyne), nadolol (corgard) and many more.
There may be numerous other drugs that may react with fish oil and lead to further complications. Inform your doctor regarding all prescribed or non-prescribed medications you are consuming. That can include vitamins, herbal products or even over-the-counter medicines.
How will you consume fish oil?
Always take fish oil supplements as the label instructs the dose to you. However, if you’re on prescribed medication, follow the instructions your doctor gives you. You must not change or alter the consumption on your own.
You should always swallow a fish oil capsule as a whole. Remember not to open up the capsule or puncture any side. It is seen that fish oil works best when you consume it with food.
You should regularly monitor your health conditions. Performing regularly blood tests and visiting to your doctor often will show you the effects of the medications you’re on.
Fish oil acts as a catalyst in overall treatment. So, it’s important to have a proper regime of exercise, weight control and particularly, a healthy diet to complete your treatment. You must remember that medications will work better if you follow your routine and diet meticulously. Store fish oil at normal room temperature. It should be kept away from heat and moisture. Do not freeze your fish oil supplements.
What happens if you skip a dose?
If you happen to miss a dosage, you can always take it as you remember. But incase, it’s time for your next scheduled dose, skip it. Remember not to take in extra pills to make up for the missed dose.
What happens if you overdose?
Always reach out to a medical emergency if you have overdosed yourself.
What should you avoid?
You should avoid diets that are rich in fat and cholesterol. Alcohol consumption will increase levels of triglycerides and worsen health conditions. Fish oil will not show its effectiveness on lowering triglycerides levels if you do not follow a proper and precise diet.