If you are looking for supplements to add to your family’s diet and nutrition, you must have come across fish oil. Physicians, cardiologists, eye specialists, pediatricians, nutritionists, and almost everyone else is recommending fish oil these days. But why?
Long answer short – because it comes laced with benefits and can add significantly to your nutrition.
Packed with Omega 3, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D, fish oil comes with many benefits for your heart, mental health, and general growth. And if you are looking for one of the best supplements to add to your nutrition, we will tell you why fish oil should be your optimal choice.
Fish Oil: Yay or Nay?
Fish oil is essentially the oil that’s extracted from fish tissue. Oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and herring produce fish oil fit for extraction. One of the reasons that fish oil is essential is because it contains a lot of Omega 3.
What is Omega 3, and why do you need it?
Omega 3 is a type of fatty acid that our body requires but can’t produce. Hence, we have to rely on nutritional diets to provide Omega 3 to our bodies. However, modern diets do not contain as much Omega 3 as is required by the body.
In other words, the food that you eat every day does not provide you with enough Omega 3. Your body needs more! The question is, why?
Omega 3 fatty acids play a pivotal role in the brain’s functioning, standard growth patterns, development of mind and body, and inflammation. The deficiency of Omega 3 has also been linked to many heart diseases, cancers, arthritis, and some psychological disorders.
How does Omega 3 benefit our body?
To understand how Omega 3 is beneficial to our body, you instead need to explore the functioning of Omega 6 — confused much? Let us explain.
Our body uses two essential fats for its growth and development, namely Omega 3 and Omega 6. Modern diets contain more Omega 6 and less Omega 3. Our body, on the other hand, needs them both to be in an equitable ratio.
When the body receives more Omega 6, it starts using it instead of Omega 3. Too much Omega 6 causes enhanced risks of cardiovascular diseases. The consumption of Omega 3 restores a balance of fatty acids in our bodies and reduces such chances.
The Health Benefits of Fish Oil (Omega 3)
Fish oil, which comes packed with Omega 3, becomes the optimal supplement to restore the required balance of fatty acids in our body. It contains two types of Omega 3s:
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Damn! Those are some very complicated names. But as tough as they might be, they offer plenty of health benefits. And for you to consider fish oil supplements, you should know about the health benefits they have to offer.
Supports Heart Health
Heart diseases are relatively common and come with a lot of complications. However, studies have shown that people who eat fish are less prone to cardiovascular diseases. Omega 3 in fish oil works on the various risk factors of heart diseases. These include:
- Reduction in cholesterol levels – Omega 3 increases the levels of good cholesterol in the body. Too much bad cholesterol in our body can severely affect the heart. The consumption of Omega 3 counterbalances that and boosts the heart’s health by increasing good cholesterol in it.
- Helps reduce blood pressure – High blood pressure is a common problem people face these days. Fish oil lowers the blood pressure of people who suffer from elevated BP.
- Prevents Plaque– Plaque is a condition in which the arteries become hard. Omega 3 contains this condition. For existing patients, the consumption of Omega 3 helps in softening the arteries.
- Prevents Arrhythmias – Abnormal heart rhythms, or Arrhythmia is a common disease that can cause heart attacks. The consumption of Omega 3 makes the heartbeat more stable and prevents this.
- Prevents blood clots – Several situations, such as internal injuries, can cause blood clots inside our body. These clots stop the flow of blood and can be extremely dangerous. Omega 3 helps in preventing such clots and allows for more stable blood flow.
Improves Eye Health
Our retina is made of several components. One of these components is DHA. DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid and is an active component of fish oil supplements. Not getting enough DHA is a common reason for vision problems.
With the onset of old age, our eye health begins to decline. Old age sometimes causes an age-related optical condition known as Macular Degeneration. A study by Australian researchers Brian Chua, BSc, MBBS, MPH, of the University of Sydney’s ophthalmology department showed that consuming high dosages of fish oil helped improve the vision of AMD patients.
Omega 3 and Pregnancy
As stated above, Omega 3 is responsible for the early growth and development of our bodies. The consumption of Omega 3 during pregnancy improves hand-eye coordination in infants. Early visual development and a reduced risk of allergies are other advantages associated with omega three and infancy.
Other advantages include-
- Higher intelligence
- Early development of social skills
- Lower risks of autism and ADHD
- Fewer behavioral problems.
The above problems have also been related to attention and hyperactivity in children. Fish oil supplements improve this attention deficit and boost the attention span in children.
Fighting Depression with Omega 3
Even though depression is entirely a mental disorder, the link between Omega 3 and depression is quite interesting. Studies have shown that people with major depression also have lower blood levels of Omega 3.
The consumption of Omega 3 is linked with improvement in depression. EPA, which is an Omega 3 fatty acid, is effective as an anti-depressant.
It is, however, to be noted that depression is a severe mental disorder. Though Omega 3 is generally effective against it, depression requires therapy by a certified counselor. Hence, one should not omit to go to a counselor. It would be irrational to rely on Omega 3 to fight depression entirely.
Helps prevent Mental Decline.
Our brain function slows down with the onset of old age. The activity of the brain faces a decline due to this. Studies have shown that people who consume fish oil experienced improved memory and slow mental decline.
Alzheimer’s disease is common and begins with the onset of old age as well. Various studies have shown that the intake of Omega 3 benefits people who experience mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Omega 3 and Inflammation
Inflammation is a body process in which our body responds to various infections. Hence, inflammation is a vital process. However, sometimes it can persist for a long time without the onset of any disorder. This condition, known as Chronic Inflammation, is shown to cause obesity, heart diseases, depression, diabetes, etc.
The consumption of Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation, which reduces the impact of the diseases mentioned above on our bodies. Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in fighting this condition.
Other various benefits
Apart from the significant benefits mentioned above, several studies have linked the consumption of Omega 3 with other benefits. Some of these include –
- Reducing joint pain and stiffness.
- Improving skin health.
- Reducing liver fat.
- Improving bone health.
- Prevention of Asthma
- Prevention of cancer
However, these are limited studies and still need concrete evidence. Bot holistically speaking, Omega 3 has proven to be helpful in several of these cases as well.
Sources of Benefits:
The World Health Organization recommends consuming 0.2 to 0.5 grams of both EPA and DHA combined daily. You can also tweak the dosage if you’re pregnant or fighting heart disease.
To select an optimal fish oil, choose one which provides at least 0.3 grams of EPA and DHA per serving.
Another essential thing to keep in mind is the form of Omega 3. It comes in several forms. However, check if your fish oil is in ethyl ester form. This form is not as advantageous as the other forms. Check with the chemist before you purchase the fish oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I consume fish oil supplements if I eat fish?
Yes. Firstly, you need to understand that consuming only a select few fishes provides your body with Omega 3. Secondly, Omega 3 consumption is required daily. But most people don’t eat fish every day. If you consume fish like Salmon every other day, you are good to go. But if eating fish is an occasional thing, we recommend that you go for fish oil supplements.
At what time of the day should I consume fish oil supplements?
It is best to consume fish oil supplements after a meal. The fats in the meal will help the absorption of Omega 3 by the body.
Is Omega 3 safe for me?
Holistically speaking, yes. Omega 3 is a safe substance and is always helpful for the body. It does not generally cause any harm or side effects to people. However, it is always advisable to consult a doctor before the consumption of fish oils.
Omega-3s are an essential component required by the body. They benefit the body in more than one way and help fight a lot of conditions and diseases. Furthermore, they are generally safe and do not come with any harm or side effects. Hence, they are one of the most optimal supplements to go for.
So if you’re on the market and you’re looking for a supplement that benefits you in a lot of different ways, go for fish oils right away.