Fish oil extracted from certain fish species, contain omega-3 fatty acids that help in maintaining good health. Some of the health benefits of this supplement are reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, weight loss, managing stress, and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
Fish oil, can be obtained by consuming fish or taking supplements. It is extracted from fish like mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber. Commercially, fish oil is available in the form of nutritional supplements. Many people opt for these supplements as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Although there are several fish that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, not all of them are used for deriving the oil. The major reason for this is that predatory fish that are at the top of the food chain, also contain higher levels of toxic substances due to bioaccumulation.
Research has proven that this oil contains important omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both of which are necessary for combating inflammation of body tissues. Some of the health benefits of these supplements are as follows:
Reduction of Inflammation
The omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the chronic pain caused due to inflammatory responses. Many physicians recommend these supplements to manage the symptoms of severe inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and gastrointestinal inflammation.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
In majority of the cases, people with rheumatoid arthritis have low level of omega-3 fatty acids, which indirectly results in hypersensitivity of the immune responses. Administration of these supplements in proper doses helps in combating the painful inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
Pregnant women who consume these supplements may have normal delivery. On the contrary, those who consume low fish oil are at a higher risk of premature delivery. Studies also reveal that DHA present in fish oil promotes the eye and brain development of the fetus.
Lowering High Blood Pressure
Fish oil is often recommended for lowering of high blood pressure. Clinical trials conducted on people with hypertension have shown that, supplementing the diet with 2 – 3 grams of this oil lowers both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It is also effective in lowering the triglyceride levels of the body.
Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), omega-3 fish oils are effective in combating the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases. They lower the amount of bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol. Hence, these are effective for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
This oil indirectly helps in losing weight by promoting the efficacy of physical activities. Hence, adding it in the diet along with regular exercise (at least 30 minutes per day) promotes weight loss.
Managing Stress and Depression
Omega-3 fatty acids help in managing stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions. In fact, people with low level of omega-3 fatty acids are prone to stress and depression. Supplementing the diet with this supplement may help in the effective management of problems related to mental health.
A major concern regarding this supplement is the presence of toxic contaminants. Hence, for the safety of public health, stringent rules are implemented regarding the fish type used for extracting this oil and the constituents of these supplements. There are regulatory bodies that review and test the products before releasing them in the market. On a safer note, it is always better to purchase these supplements marketed by a reliable brand. One should also seek advice from a qualified physician regarding the safety, dosage, and side effects before opting for these supplements.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.