Lack of omega-3 fatty acid in the body is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in America, which claims up to 96,000 lives yearly. It was found out that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency ranked as the 6th highest killers and these deaths can be avoidable if the body gets adequate level of omega 3-fatty acids. Fish oil is one of the excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and including this in your diet allows you to get multiple benefits while reducing your risk to many chronic illnesses.
The health benefits of fish oil include lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Fish oil also alleviates the symptoms of arthritis, joint pain and severe skin problems such as eczema. It can also help the body in losing weight, during fertility, pregnancy and boosts energy.
FDA also approved the prescription of fish oil in the treatment of lowering unhealthy high triglyceride levels. It is also used for other conditions related to blood, heart and kidney problems. It also earned its reputation as “brain food” as it also helps in reducing the symptoms of hypertension, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and more.
What is Fish Oil
Fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish and the most common sources are fatty and cold-water fish. It can also be consumed from the fish themselves or also from supplements. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, salmon, mackerel, whale blubber, herring and seal blubber. Fish oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a major component of retina (in eye), cerebral cortex (in brain) and sperm.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid from fatty fish that involves in inflammation and blood clotting.
It is true that the human body produces most of the fats needed for survival. However, the body does not produce omega-3 so it should be included in your diet. We need to get these fatty acids from foods rich in omega-3 such as vegetables, fish oil and other plants. It helps the body lower the production of triglycerides as high level of triglycerides lead to many chronic illnesses such as stroke, coronary artery disease and heart disease.
Effects of Omega-3 Deficiency
Many health problems can be tracked back to having lack of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the body. Omega-6 fatty acids are not bad for health, but consuming huge quantity without omega-3 fatty acids can cause inflammation. This also leads to severe illnesses.
Most people consume omega-6 and omega-3 with a ratio of 20:1. However, the ideal consumption is about 2:1 so most people do not have enough omega-3 in their bodies. Including fish oil or supplements in your diet is important as overconsumption of omega-6 from fast foods, fried foods and processed foods can decrease the ability of the body to metabolize omega-3.
Top 10 Proven Health Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil is one of the nature’s most abundant sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids and you can achieve a better lifestyle by including this in your diet. Here are the health benefits of fish oil.
1. Cardiovascular Disease
It has been proven that omega-3 fatty acids are effective in lowering the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. It is associated with the higher survival rates for the victims of heart attack. According to a study published in the medical journal Circulation, heart attack patients who consumed a high dosage of fish oil showed improvements of their hearts as well as the function.
Since fish oil is rich with omega-3 fatty acids, it can reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack and congenital heart disease. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the level of good cholesterol. Fish oil prevents the body from producing too much triglycerides and it also lowers the level of extra triglycerides. According to researches, fish oil is also used in preventing atherosclerosis. It is also excellent in preventing stroke.
Many medical experts believe that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency contributes to the symptoms of ADHD as well as other related health problems. The common symptoms of ADHD are restlessness, impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and inattention. Before giving your kids heavy medications such as Adderall, parents can try adding more fish oils in their diet.
A study in 2012 involved children with ADHD from 6 to 12 years of age. They were treated with the standard behavior therapy along with methylphenidate but according to their parents, the children were reported to have no improvement after more than six months of therapy. The researches then gave some of the children omega-3 and omega-6 supplement and found major improvement.
It was also found that consuming omega-3, especially DHA, can improve the behavior of children with ADHD and enhance literacy. Since 60% of the brain is composed of fats, it is believed that this incredible oil has positive effects on the brain function.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and pain which are caused by osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. Fish oil is an effective treatment for arthritis, Raynaud’s symptoms, rheumatism and other related conditions. Fish oil can reduce the need for huge dosages of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as it contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. Large amounts of fish oil have great effects for arthritis. It also helps in reducing the effect of enzymes destroying the cartilage.
Since the accurate amount of dosage of fish oil needed for the ideal improvement is still unknown, arthritis patients must also be cautious of the side effects from consuming fish oil.
4. Alzheimer’s Disease
The studies of the connection between fish oil and Alzheimer’s disease show consistent results. The essential fatty acids of fish oil slow down the decline of the cognitive function while preventing brain atrophy for elders. According to a study reported in the issue of FASEB Journal that involved individuals with mild clinical impairment, fish oil can be used as treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive function decline.
Including fish oil in your diet can also keep dementia at bay. U.S. researchers found that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acid from fish, fruits and vegetables do better in memory tests that those who have poor diet. It is also suggested that the effects of fish oil can be used as prevention for age-related memory less.
According to Dr. Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, “Although there is no sure-fire way of preventing Alzheimer’s yet, we know that risk factors for heart disease and stroke can increase the risk of dementia. The best advice at the moment is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and keep healthy by not smoking, taking regular exercise and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check.”
Many studies have shown that fish oil can help in fighting and preventing many types of cancer such as prostate, colon and breast cancer. It is also proven that this oil help conventional cancer drugs become more effective. According to a scientific review published in 2013, there is evidence showing that omega-3s have antiproliferative effects. This means that fish oil can prevent the growth of cancer cells. The indirect anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil on the immune system and direct effects on cancer cells can also prevent the growth of tumor.
There are also findings stating that omega-3 fatty acids can help in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer as it enhances the conventional therapeutics. High level of consumption of fish during adulthood can also have lower chance of acquiring breast cancer.
6. Anxiety and Depression
The neurological benefits of this oil are incredible. Fish oil promotes a healthy heart and brain from kids to elders. Research has proven that fish oils can alleviate sadness, depression, mental fatigue, restlessness, nervousness, and decreased libido. Fish oil also has positive effects on Bipolar Disorder.
According to a 2013 study published in European Journal of Neuroscience, fish oil helps in treating anxiety and depression. The importance of supplementing fish oil during the period of the brain development is also stressed in the study. It is recommended that parents include fish oil in family meals to help children prevent anxiety or depression when they grow up.
In a study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, the impacts of supplementing fish oil to adolescents with major depressive disorder was assessed. The results were incredible as there was a 40% decrease in symptoms of depression along with additional nutrition content in the brain and amino acid.
7. Blood Circulation
If you are looking for natural alternatives to enhance blood circulation throughout your body, you may as well pay more attention to fish oil or fatty fish. Including this in your diet helps the overall blood circulation in all parts of the body. Many doctors also recommend fish oil to their patients as it contains omega-3 fatty acid that helps in reducing the high level of triglyceride as well as the cholesterol levels.
Atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque (formed by triglycerides) in the arteries, increases blood pressure, straining the heart and reduces the amount of blood reaching the legs, arms and other parts of the body. This disease can lead to stroke. Fish or fish oil supplements can decrease the level of triglycerides and prevent chronic ailments. It can also eliminate plaques stuck in the arteries to provide better blood circulation.
8. Skin and Hair Care
The benefits of fish oil also extend to the body’s largest organ, which is the skin. This oil contains the essential fats that can enhance not only the health but also the beauty of the skin in many ways. It provides nourishments that maintain the elastic and smooth skin texture. There are also studies that show fish oil helps in preventing or reducing fine lines and wrinkles which make it a natural treatment for slowing down the signs of aging.
Low level of DHA and EPA in the body can lead to many skin conditions such as thinning hair, dandruff, psoriasis, eczema and early signs of aging. The deficiency of essential fatty acids makes the skin dehydrated. Consuming fish oil internally can help the skin receive the right nutrients it needs to stay healthy and glowing.
Another great thing about fish oil is that it reduces inflammation. The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of fish oil can also be used as a treatment for sunburn while reducing inflammation.
9. Weight Loss
Fish oil has been proven to be helpful in weight loss. People who take fish oil supplements have the tendency to lose weight faster than those who do not so if you are looking for a natural supplement to aid your weight loss, including fish oil in your diet can be beneficial. The combination of regular exercise and fish oil supplements can eliminate body fats while enhancing the function of the heart and metabolism.
Fish oil lowers the level of triglycerides and increases the level of good cholesterol. This oil also improves blood circulation. Adding fish oil to your diet, along with your exercises, can help in getting rid of extra fats and lowers your risk in acquiring chronic illnesses. Here are some ways fish oil supplements can aid weight loss:
- Lose Fat and Build Muscle – Taking fish oil capsules every day can help in fat loss as well as muscle building. According to study, taking 2 grams of omega-3 daily for six consecutive weeks helped in losing 2 pounds of body fats without having to exercise or change their diet plan. This means that including fish oil supplements along with your exercises and diet plan can boost its effects.
- Decrease Appetite – Fish oil can also decrease your appetite. Simply take fish oil supplement after you eat to let you stay full before the next meal. Not feeling hungry for enough period of time can help you lose weight. Fish oil also releases serotonin, a type of hormone that helps in the regulation of your mood and appetite.
- Minimizes Fat Storage – Fish oil also minimizes the fat storage in the body as it increases the insulin sensitivity. This aids weight loss while keeping the body in a healthy state. The more sensitive the body cells are to insulin, less fat are stored in the body.
10. Eye Disorders
Another great benefit of fish oil is that it has been shown to prevent or slow down age-related eye problems. A research conducted in 2014 by French researches showed that patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have low seafood intake and fish oil consumption. This means that high EPA and DHA levels can benefit those with high risk of acquiring AMD.
It is also believed that high consumption of polyunsaturated fats from fish or fish oil can reduce the levels of cataracts.
Omega-3 fatty acid is important to keep our body healthy. Since the human body do not produce this specific fatty acid, it is essential that we include it more in our diet by eating foods rich in omega-3 such as fish, fish oil and other vegetables. Having enough level of omega-3 fatty acids also reduces the risk of acquiring chronic illnesses.