Fish oil benefits are used in the treatment of many health issues including: heart disease, ADHD, anxiety, depression, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, alzheimer’s disease, eczema, diabetes, cancer, weakened immunity, autoimmune disease and macular degeneration.
Also, it’s been proven to aid the body in weight loss, fertility, healthy pregnancy, healthy skin and increased energy.
Most of the health benefits of fish oil are because it is one of natures’ richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids like Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
While fish oil benefits are numerous there are some false claims on how to use this incredible supplement but in this article we will go over the proven scientific evidence to demonstrate the true benefits of fish oil.
Omega-3 Deficiency Side Effects
Many of Americans’ health problems can be traced back to having an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats aren’t necessarily bad for you but if they are consumed in large amounts without omega-3’s they cause inflammation which leads to chronic illness.
Today, the average american has a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, when a healthy ratio is more ideally around 2:1. This shows just how deficient most of us are and why supplementing with fish oil is so beneficial.
The biggest cause of omega-3 deficiency is the overconsumption of fried foods, fast foods and boxed foods that contain vegetables oils like soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and corn oil.
If you have an omega-3/6 imbalance it can lead to the following health conditions:
- Autoimmune disease
- Heart disease
- Type II diabetes
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Metabolic syndrome
- Macular degeneration
It’s also important to know that even though certain other foods like flaxseeds and grass-fed beef contain omega-3 fats, those omega’s are ALA and not EPA/DHA like what is found in fish oil. According to the medical research there are far more health benefits in fish oil (EPA/DHA) than flax oil (ALA) for most people.
Top 10 Fish Oil Benefits
There are many benefits of fish oil, but there are the top 10 most scientifically proven effects.
1. ADHD – The University of South Australia has determined that a combination of fish oil and evening primrose oil capsules can help reduce common symptoms of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, restlessness and impulsive behavior. According to the researchers, “Fish oil is believed to work via its effects on brain function. 60% of the brain is composed of fats, with the most important being polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These must be obtained through diet and can be found in dark leafy vegetables, walnuts, linseeds and oily fish.”
2. Anxiety – The European Journal of Neuroscience recently published a study earlier this year 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,” which is why we should give it to our kids from early on to help them so that they will not develop anxiety or depression later in life!
3. Arthritis – An 18-month long study was published this year, which evaluated how borage seed oil – rich in GLA – and fish oil rich fared up against each other in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It was discovered that all three groups (1 taking fish oil, 1 taking borage seed, and 1 taking a combination of the two) “exhibited significant reductions” in disease activity and no therapy outperformed the others. This is critical to emphasize because taking too many supplements are simply a waste of money.
4. Alzheimer’s Disease – 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, it can help prevent bran atrophy in older adults.
5. Cancer – Fish oil has been found to help kill various cancers including colon, prostate and breast. Not only has research proven that it makes conventional cancer drugs more effective, it’s also an effective standalone therapy!
According to Taiwanese investigators this past June, “Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the major n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in fish oil that decrease the risk of prostate cancer.” Also in June, Czech researchers published a study explaining that DHA not only kills colon cancer as a standalone treatment, but also enhances current drug therapies that utilize TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand)!
And still again in June, a group out of India published a study in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology that, “Fish oil rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has been preferred to chemosensitize tumor cells to anti-cancer drugs.” It was even revealed that fish oil improved “hematologic depression, digestion, liver and kidney toxicity!”
6. Depression – We’ve already seen that fish oil can help with depression-like symptoms in rats, but what about people? This past June, the journal Nutritional Neuroscience published a study evaluating the effects of fish oil supplementation on prefrontal metabolite concentrations in adolescents with major depressive disorder. There was a 40% decrease in major depression disorder symptoms in addition to marked improvements in amino acid and nutrition content in the brain; specifically, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
7. Diabetes – This year, Brain Research published some research that show how far-reaching fish oil can be for people with diabetes. In addition to learning that fish oil helps reduce the risk of diabetics from developing cognitive deficit because it protects the hippocampus cells from destroying. The study also showed that fish oil could help reverse one of the root causes of type II diabetes, oxidative stress.
8. Eye Disorders – Fish oil has been shown to reverse dry eye, age-related eye disorders like cataracts. This past March, 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, it was concluded that people at risk for neovascular AMD should take fish oil supplements.
9. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) – According to the Cardiovascular Research Institute in Maastricht in Netherlands, “Epidemiological studies showed that replacing fat by carbohydrate may even be worse and that various polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA) have beneficial rather than detrimental effects on CVD outcome.” This includes, they continue, fish-oil fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent and reverse a plethora of cardiovascular diseases.
10. Immune Compromise – A recent study has shown that when the antioxidant astaxanthin is combined with fish oil, the immune boosting power is multiplied. This is why I recommend using an omega-3 fish oil supplement with astaxanthin and Vitamin D3 to increases how it’s absorbed into the body becoming even more effective!
Other Health Benefits of Fish Oil
In addition to the above benefits, fish oil also improves skin health, weight loss and fertility.
Fish Oil Benefits 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 improve the health and beauty of human skin in several ways. They nourish the skin with fats and contribute fat soluble vitamins that help skin maintain a smooth, elastic texture. There is also evidence that fish oil prevents wrinkles and work 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.
One of the biggest reasons fish oil leads to healthier skin is because it reduces inflammation. In fact, several studies have found that supplementing with fish oil reduced the appearance of acne and eczema. Also, a recent study out of Europe found fish oil to be an effective treatment for psoriasis and a study published out of the University of Manchester discovered fish oil to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Fish Oil Benefits Pregnancy and Fertility
Recent studies have shown that the consumption of fish oil (or, more specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) improves fertility in both men and women. DHA, which is a byproduct of omega-3 fatty acids, play a key role in the mobility of sperm and health of sperm in men.
Fish oil has also been shown to increase fertility in women by reducing inflammation, balancing hormones and regulating their cycles. Also, fish oil has been found effective in treating conditions like PCOS and endometriosis which can cause infertility.
Fish oil is also extremely beneficial for pregnant women and their children. The omega-3 fat DHA supports the development of brain, nervous system and eye sight in the infant. It has also been proven to reduce miscarriages. Also, a medical study out of Denmark conducted on more than 8,000 women found that consuming more wild caught fish resulted in healthier babies and less premature births.
Finally, consuming EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce post pregnancy depression and improve mood.
Fish Oil Benefits Weight Loss
Australian researchers published results of a study examining the effects of fish oil on weight loss in combination with diet and exercise in the May 2007 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The results showed that the total proportion of fat in the body, particularly in the abdominal region, was reduced significantly in the fish oil plus exercise group but not by fish oil or exercise alone.
Also, french researchers published a study done on twenty seven women who were given 1.8 grams of fish oil daily versus a placebo. After two months of daily fish oil supplementation the group had a significant reduction in belly fat.
How to Take Fish Oil Supplements
The types of fish which are most commonly used in fish oil supplements are salmon, cod liver, mackerel, sardines, halibut, tuna, pollock and herring.
When taking fish oil, more is not always better. Remember that you want it to stay in a balanced ratio with omega-6 fats. For most people, a 1,000mg dose of fish oil daily is a good amount and the most scientifically studied dosage.
Also, not all fish oils are created equal. Most fish oils are highly processed and can oxidize easily because omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated, have a low heat threshold and can easily go rancid. For that reason, you will want to buy a fish oil in triglyceride form that also contains anti-oxidants to preserve them like astaxanthin or essential oils.
To improve the health of your heart, brain, skin, hair, body and much much more, consider adding fish oil to your daily supplement regime or consume wild caught fish daily.
How about you? Do you take fish oil? What health benefits have you experienced from fish oil or omega-3 fats?