I started taking fish oil supplements when I was about 18 years old. I cannot tell you how effective it is in relieving my sinus problem. As a child I used to suffer from chronic sinus. This went on until I was in my late teens. When I started taking Scott’s pure cod liver oil in liquid form (original flavor and the most foul tasting food ever), the sinus problem gradually improved and I seldom have sinus attacks. I hated the smell and texture of the cod liver oil and had to hold my breath each time I swallowed a tablespoon of it. Later, I stopped torturing myself and switched to cod liver oil capsules. After the birth of my eldest daughter, I switched to fish oil with Omega 3 and have since been popping between 2-3 capsules of Omega 3 fish oil capsules enriched with DHA and EPA daily to nourish my brain, eyes and overall health.
According to research conducted at Harvard University, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is officially one of the top 10 causes of death in America, claiming the lives of up to 96,000 people each year. Out of the 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors examined in the study, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency ranked as the sixth highest killer of Americans. These deaths are considered preventable since getting enough omega 3-fatty acids in your diet can ward off this now common cause of death.
The fish oil benefits include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke while also helping reduce symptoms of depression, hypertension, 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. Prescription fish oil has even been approved by the FDA to lower unhealthy high triglyceride levels.
Health Benefits Of Fish Oil
Boosts Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), clinical trials have shown that omega-3 is effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 and therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the level of good cholesterol (HDL). Fish oil prevents the accumulation of triglycerides and also reduces the level of excess triglycerides.
For several years now, the fish oil and Alzheimer’s disease connection has been studied with consistent results. The essential fatty acids vital for brain function that are found in fish oil can not only slow cognitive decline, but can help prevent brain atrophy in older adults.
The European Journal of Neuroscience published a study in 2013 showing that fish oil reversed all anxiety-like and depression-like behavior changes induced in rats. This is an interesting study because it stresses the importance of supplementing with fish oil at critical periods of brain development. This is the reason why I have been feeding my children with fish oil since they were toddlers. When they were younger, I used to feed them with orange-flavored cod liver oil in liquid form. Now that they are older, they pop a fish oil capsule everyday.
It is believed that regular consumption of fish oil aids in boosting your immune system, thereby enabling you to resist the occurrence of common diseases like colds, cough, and the flu. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil bolster the immune system by affecting the activity and amount of cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. Researchers have also studied the effect of a 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.
It is well known that fish oil has the ability to improve vision. It also helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration.
Fish oil has been shown to reverse age-related eye disorders. In March 2014, French researchers evaluated 290 patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and they discovered that dietary oil fish and seafood intake were significantly lower in AMD patients. Due to the high EPA and DHA levels in fish oil, it was concluded that this kind of nutritional intervention could especially benefit those at high risk for neovascular age-related macular degeneration.
A higher intake of polyunsaturated fats like those found in fish and fish oils have also been linked to reduced levels of cortical cataracts.
A study published in Brain Research shows how far-reaching fish oil can be for people with diabetes. Researches found that fish oil can help reduce the risk of diabetics from developing cognitive deficit because it protects the hippocampus cells from being destroyed. The study also showed that fish oil could help reduce oxidative stress, which plays a central role in the development of diabetes complications, both microvascular and cardiovascular.
Skin and Hair
The health benefits of fish oil can be incredible for the body’s largest organ, the skin. This source of essential fats improves the health and beauty of human skin in several ways. Fish oil benefits and nourishes the skin with fats and contributes fat-soluble vitamins that help skin maintain a smooth, elastic texture. There is also evidence that fish oil prevents wrinkles and works against the aging process.
The deficiency of EPA and DHA in diet contributes to skin conditions, such as dandruff, thinning hair, eczema and psoriasis, as well as age spots and sun spots. Without the essential fatty acids, too much moisture leaves the skin. The truth is your internal health can appear on your skin, and taking fish oil internally as a supplement may be as good as or better than applying conventional moisturizers.
Fish Oil Reduces Triglycerides and Increases HDL
Both EPA and DHA have the ability to reduce triglyceride levels, most effectively after several weeks of supplementation.
Fish Oil Promotes Weight Loss
EPA and DHA have the ability to activate receptors in the body that increase metabolic rate.
DHA is correlated with weight loss in humans.
Fish oil’s anti-inflammatory effects have the ability to indirectly aid in fat metabolism in people with high inflammation or metabolic syndrome.
Fish oil can increase the secretion of adiponectin, which is responsible for breaking down fats.
Fish oil increases enzymes in muscle cells, which is associated with fat loss.
Combining fish oil supplements with exercise and a proper diet is effective in weight loss.
Supports Healthy Pregnancy
Fish oil is very beneficial for pregnant women because the DHA present in it helps in the development of the eyes and brain of the baby. It also helps to avoid premature births, low birth weight, and miscarriages.
It is also believed that women who do not have a sufficient intake of EPA and DHA in their diet suffer from depression after childbirth, as there is a transfer of some amount of brain mass from the mother to the child in the last stages of pregnancy. Thus, it is very beneficial to consume fish oil either by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, tablets, capsules, or pills during pregnancy for the overall development of the child and the well-being of the mother. However, it should be noted that fish oil obtained from the liver of the fish, example – cod liver oil, should not be consumed during pregnancy as cod liver oil is high in retinol and vitamin A, which are usually known to cause birth defects.
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.
Fish oil can be hazardous when combined with aspirin or other blood thinners.
If you want to take higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements, consult your doctor first. Your doctor can guide you in supplementing your diet with omega-3 fish oil.