Fish oil has been a hot topic lately. Infinite reports seem to be bubbling up to the surface, claiming miracle cures for almost any ailment. It is hard to believe hyperbole, and if you are like me, maybe you are a bit suspicious.
Fortunately, there is scientific research currently or in the process of proving some of fish oil’s claims. In this article, we’ll examine all of the proven benefits fish oil can benefit you.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is extracted from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oil has garnered a lot of attention over the years because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is necessary for maintain optimal health.
People that regularly consume may not need to take a fish oil supplement, but should be aware that some of the fish they are eating may contain high levels of mercury. Eating fatty fish on occasion while taking a supplement is the preferred way to maintain a good level of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
Sardines, oysters, turbot, mackerel, herring, salmon, rainbow trout, lake trout, yellow fin tuna, blue fin tuna, and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Why Do we Need Fish Oil?
It hardly seems appetizing, but as it turns out, we do need fish oil in our diets. Research at Harvard has found that an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency contributes to 1 in 10 deaths every year in the United States.
A fish oil deficiency occurs mainly as a result of our dietary choices: consuming too many fatty friend foods, boxed foods, and foods rich in other oils such as corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oil. Suffering from a fish oil deficiency may lead to more serious conditions such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Autoimmune Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Macular Degeneration
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fish Oil Benefits
Fish oil offers a wide array of benefits. From mental health to cancer protection, you will find that fish oil is a vital component of food health.
One major benefit of fish oil is its anti-inflammatory properties, particularly in the blood and tissues. Regularly incorporating fish oil into your diet, whether it is from fish, pills, tablets, or supplements, will be a major source of relief to those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases.
Those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders will also find in ally in fish oil, as it helps to treat the symptoms of Celiac disease, colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Fish oil supplements help patients suffering from these disorders to absorb vital nutrients, vitamins, and fats. Fish oil is effective in helping those suffering from ulcerative colitis because it inhibits the buildup of leukotriene in the colon.
2) Heart Health
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil benefit your cardiovascular health in a number of ways. First of all, omega-3s decrease the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and heart arrhythmias.
Secondly, omega-3s are responsible for lowering bad cholesterol while increasing the level of good cholesterol. Another way fish oil is great for your heart is that it prevents the buildup of triglycerides.
Currently, research is examining how fish oil may prevent the development atherosclerosis in coronary thrombosis patients. Although the research is still in the development stages, the preliminary results are promising.
3) Immune Support
Studies are finding that regularly incorporating fish oil into your diet can have an extraordinary effect on your immune system, improving your ability to fight such illnesses as the flu, cold, and cough.
Fish oil is great for your immune system because of its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote the amount and activity of eicosanoids and cytokines in the body. Research has been examining all of the positive ways fish oil effects the immune system.
One animal study preformed in Taiwan found that regularly consuming fish oil greatly helped with the growth in pigs. Further research has to be determined how fish oil improves the growth and immune system of humans.
Another study has found that fish oil greatly benefits the immune system of those suffering from Lupus, and autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack its own tissues and organs. Taking a fish oil supplement may also help treat rashes, fatigue, and fevers.
4) Healthy Skin
Our skin needs moisture to keep healthy and to maintain its youthful suppleness. Fish oil is effective at treating dry skin, and for treating the symptoms of such problematic conditions as psoriasis, eczema, lesions, rashes, redness, and itching.
Maintaining a diet rich in fish oil keeps your skin moisturized while preventing sunburn. Taking fish oil is also a great way to treat acne. This supplement tackles acne by preventing the formation of androgen, which creates sebum in the hair follicle, the main catalyst of acne.
The natural anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil make it a great way to treat pain associated with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, and Raynaud’s symptoms.
By naturally treating pain associated with these inflammatory diseases, you decrease your need to take over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, which can have unpleasant side effects.
Currently, research is being conducted on the safety and efficacy of taking fish oil for arthritis. Speak to your physician before considering this specific treatment.
6) Weight Loss
Research is currently examining the effects of taking a fish oil supplement and weight loss. Preliminary results found by Peter Howe of the University of South Australia have found that taking a fish oil supplement improves exercise performance, and therefore leads to greater weight loss.
Several studies have found that regularly consuming fish oil supplements helps to decrease instances of depression. This is due largely in part to the omega-3 fatty acid content, which may relieve symptoms of anxiety, sadness, depression, restlessness, suicidal tendencies, decreased sex drive, and mental fatigue, which are characteristic symptoms of clinical depression.
One study found that taking fish oil might stabilize the mood of those suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Other studies have found that women who regularly consume fish are less likely to suffer from depression.
8) Alzheimer’s Disease
Regularly consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be a good defense against developing Alzheimer’s disease. One study performed at the Louisiana State University found that fatty acids found in fish and fish oil are effective at treating the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Another study at UCLA found similar results in treating the disease.
Fish oil has long been believed to be good for brain health, as brain matter is composed largely of fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This not only helps with the development of the brain, but also may help to treat such disorders as ADHD.
Fish oil has been found to treat such symptoms as hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, emotional instability, poor attitude, poor concentration, weakness in short memory, low IQ, impulsiveness, poor coordination, and the tendency to disrupt others.
Research conducted at the University of South Australia has found that fish oil given in conjunction with evening primrose in capsule form for 15 weeks, greatly improved the symptoms of ADHD in children.
10) Ocular Health
Fish oil has a reputation for improving vision and preventing the onset of age-related vision degeneration. Currently, there is a study in the works to determine fish oil’s role in preventing macular degeneration.