The oil or fat, which is extracted from the fish tissue, is known as fish oil. The oil is usually gathered from oily fish such as anchovies, tuna, herring, and mackerel. On the other hand, fish is also found in some fish-like livers, for example, cod, giving us the cod liver oil—the usual recommendation of WHO suggests having two portions of fish every week.
The omega-3 fatty acid present in the fish provides many health benefits, which also include protection from several diseases. Even if you don’t consume the recommended portions of fish every week, the fish oil is good for providing the omega-3, a vital mineral.
Fish oil is made up of 30% omega-3 while the rest 70% consists of other fats. It also provides a lot of Vitamin D and A. It is also essential to notice that the type of omega-3 is found has much more health benefits than the source of omega 3 from the plant sources. The crucial omega-3 present in fish oil is docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. From the plant source, the omega-3, which is derived, is alpha-linolenic acid. The latter is an essential fatty acid, although the former two omega-3 variants derived from fish give much more health benefits.
Another important reason to include fish oil in the diet is that due to the present structure of Western Cuisine, a lot of essential omega-3s have been replaced by other fatty acids like omega-6s. This can lead to various kinds of diseases due to the unsynchronized ratio of fatty acids.
What is fish oil good for?
There are several health benefits related to consuming the oil. The fish oil is good for the overall wellbeing of our body. Some of the health benefits of it are as follows:
Helps in keeping a healthy heart
All over the world, the leading cause of death is heart disease. Many types of research state that those who consume much fish have a considerably lower heart disease rate. We can avoid several health risks by including fish oil in our diets. The benefits which fish oil provides for the health of the heart include the following:
- Triglycerides: It can help in lowering the level of triglycerides by over 30%.
- Plaque: Plaques result in the hardening of arteries. The fish oil is useful for preventing the formation of plaques. It can also make arterial plaques safer and stable for the person who already has them.
- Cholesterol levels: Fish is good for raising HDL cholesterol levels, which is good for the body.
- Blood pressure: It can also help in reducing the blood pressure when it is administered in small doses.
- Arrhythmias: The abnormal heart rhythms, which can lead to a heart attack, are known as arrhythmia. Fish oil can help in reducing the fatal arrhythmia events in most cases.
On the other hand, fish oil supplements can increase the risk of heart diseases. Additionally, clear studies are showing that supplements can prevent strokes or heart attacks.
Treatment of various mental disorders
The fat in the brain is about 60% and much of the fat present in omega-3 acids. Studies show that omega-3 is vitally essential for keeping healthy functions in the brain. Some studies also suggest that some people with mental disorders have lower omega-3 blood levels.
Researchers state that fish oil is good for reducing a lot of bipolar disorder symptoms and schizophrenia.
Aids in weight loss
Having a body mass index or BMI of more than 30 can be termed obesity. Studies show that globally over 30% of adults are overweight, while about 13% are obese. The numbers of these results are even higher in countries with more income like that of the US.
The risk of other diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer can be significantly increased by having obesity. Fish oil can help improve body composition and reduce the risk factors for heart diseases in obese people. Moreover, studies also indicate that if the oil is consumed in combination with the diet, it can reduce weight.
Thus, this oil can aid in weight loss and reduce waste circumference when combined with any diet and exercise.
Helps in promoting eye health
Just like the brain, the eye also relies a lot on omega-3 fats. There is some evidence showing that those who don’t include the omega-3 in their diet have much more risk of eye diseases. Moreover, eye health usually starts to decline after old age. This can result in macular degeneration, which is age-related. The fish consumption reduces AMD’s risk by a lot, although the fish oil supplements don’t produce the same satisfactory results.
Another study also found that by consuming a higher dose of fish oil for 19 weeks at a stretch, the vision of AMD people went through a considerable improvement. Another two studies calculated the combined effect of other nutrients and omega-3s on AMD. The results were not exact since one study showed flattering while the other didn’t show any effect.
Moreover, fish oil is good for the prevention of eye diseases. However, the supplements may not have the same desired effect.
Reduction in inflammation
The way your immune system fights, prevents infection, and helps treat injuries is known as inflammation. However, chronic inflammation is related to other illnesses like diabetes, depression, obesity, and heart diseases. Treatment of a lot of symptoms is possible by reducing inflammation. Due to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties in the oil, it can help treat conditions related to chronic inflammation.
Fish oil is good for reducing gene expression and the production of inflammatory molecules, which are called cytokines. Plus, the oils can also reduce stiffness, joint pains, and the need for medication in people who have rheumatoid arthritis. This can leave severe joint pains.
Fish oil benefits for skin
The largest organ in the body is the skin. It has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. The skin’s health usually declines over time, especially at an old age after too much exposure to the sun. Fish oil is good for helping with several skin disorders such as dermatitis and psoriasis. Thus, the skin may get damaged by sun exposure and aging, but a good diet with the oil helps maintain skin health.
Supports early life and in pregnancy
Omega-3s are essential in early development and growth. Thus, mothers must get a lot of omega-3 during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period. In breastfeeding and pregnant mothers, the oil can help in improving the hand-eye coordination of all infants. It is unclear if IQ or learning is enhanced by using fish oil. It is also suitable for reducing the risk of allergies and improving visual development in infants.
Helps in reduction of liver fat
The liver helps in processing the fat present in the body and plays a significant part in weight gain. Liver diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, in which there is an accumulation of fat in the liver, are quite common. The oil is good for reducing the symptoms of fatty liver by improving inflammation and liver function. Moreover, liver diseases, like fatty liver, can be expected in specific individuals. Still, the consumption of fish oil can help treat it and reduce the chance of accumulation of fat in the liver.
Helps in reducing depression
As per reports, depression can become the biggest reason for illness by 2030. People who have significant depressions have low levels of omega-3s. By studies, it shows that omega-3s and fish oil can help in improving the symptoms of depression. Some studies have also demonstrated that EPA-rich fish oil is better for reducing depression symptoms compared to DHA.
Helps in improving attention deficit in children
Several behavioral disorders are seen in children who involve inattention and hyperactivity, such as attention deficit hyperactivity or commonly known as ADHD. Studies have shown that omega-3s constitute a large part of the brain and, given enough of it, can help in preventing any behavioral disorders in early life. Fish oil is useful for treating and preventing inattention, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and aggression, resulting in better learning.
Helps in the prevention of mental decline
The brain function slows down as people age. This increases the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. With more fish intake, it is possible to reduce the decline in brain function, which helps prevent a lot of diseases. Although studies about fish oil supplements haven’t shown any clear proof about the beneficial effect of fish oil in reducing brain function decline, some studies still showed that the oil is good for improving memory in older and healthy adults. Thus people consuming more fish or fish oil has a slower rate of mental decline. This oil can help in enhancing memory and cognitive abilities.
Helps in reducing allergy risk and treating asthma
Asthma leads to shortness of breath and swelling in the lungs. This is becoming quite common among children. Several studies suggest that in early life, fish oil is good for reducing asthma symptoms. Moreover, fish oil can also help in reducing the risk of allergies of infants in pregnant mothers. Thus childhood allergies and asthma can be reduced or prevented by higher consumption of fish and the oil.
Helps in maintaining and improving bone health
With the beginning of old age, the bines can start losing their minerals, which are essential for their excellent health, making them more brittle and more likely to break. This can lead to conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Vitamin D and calcium are essential for maintaining a good and healthy bone; again, some studies suggest that omega-3s fatty acids are essential. There is much better bone mineral density in people with higher blood levels and omega-3 levels. Fish oils can help reduce the bone break down markers, assisting in reducing and preventing bone diseases. Thus it can be derived that with more omega-3 intake, it is possible to maintain higher bone density. Fish oil is very beneficial in this regard.
Safety and dosage of intake
It is safe for most people to intake fish oil through the mouth in very small doses, say, 3 grams or less per day. You should not consume it in high amounts to avoid safety issues. Daily consumption of more than the recommended amount, which is 3 grams per day, can prevent blood clotting leading to excessive bleeding.
Too much of fish oil consumption can affect out immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight off infections. This can be of particular concern, especially for those taking medication to lower immune system activity and the elderly. High doses of fish oil intake are advisable only under strict medical supervision.
Fish oil can also result in causing various side effects like heartburn, loose stool, heartburn, nosebleeds, and rash. Combining the the oil along with the meal or slight freezing can help in reducing these side-effects. Again consuming a huge quantity of fish oil from dietary sources can be unsafe. Like king mackerel, salmon, etc., some fish varieties contaminate with mercury and other types of environmental and industrial chemicals. On the other hand, fish oil is good for this aspect since it doesn’t contain any contaminants.