Fish oil supplements are derived from fish that are particularly rich in oils beneficial to the body, known as omega-3 fatty acids. The types of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, anchovies, sardines, sturgeon, mullet, anchovy, herring, trout, and menhaden. They provide about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acid for 3.5 ounces of fish.
Interestingly, the body itself cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids (through fruits, vegetables or other food sources) it must come from fish.
Fish oil is not only used in controlling weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure but also combat a wide range of diseases - most often involving the heart and blood system.
Fish has earned a well known reputation as a good "brain food", this is because it helps with depression, psychosis, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's disease and other related disorders.
Health benefit of fish oil supplement:
- Omega3 effect on cholesterol levels: Fish oil lowers levels of triglycerides (fats related to cholesterol). Triglycerides are often associated with coronary artery disease and diabetes.
Doctors believe it is important to maintain triglyceride levels below a certain level. To lower triglycerides, doctors usually recommend increasing physical activity and restricting fat in the diet. Researchers have found that fish oil may reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%.
- It's proven to prevent heart disease or stroke, when taken in recommended doses. (It should be noted that taking too much fish oil may have the reverse effect.)
Fish oil helps to keep people with healthy hearts free of heart disease. People who already have heart disease can reduce their risk of death due to heart problems, by taking a fish oil supplement.
- High blood pressure. Fish oil helps reduce blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is slightly elevated. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil seem to expand the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. (Visit your doctor for recommended doses.)
- Fish Oil and Weight loss. Evidence suggests that eating fish increases weight loss and lowers blood sugar in overweight people and people with high blood pressure.
Preliminary investigations also show that taking 6 grams daily of a fish oil supplement (specifically 260 mg of DHA per gram of EPA and 60 mg /g) significantly decreases body fat when combined with exercise.
- High cholesterol & the Benefit Of Fish Oil Supplement. At first the doctors were concerned that fish oil may interfere with treatment with statins (a drug used in treating cholesterol) but studies show that this is no problem. Researchers believe that fish oils can lower cholesterol by preventing their absorption in the intestine. There is evidence that the use of vitamin B12 along with fish oils could also enhance the ability to lower cholesterol.
- Fish oil can help ease menstrual pain, breast pain and complications associated with pregnancy such as miscarriage, high blood pressure in late pregnancy and pre term delivery.
Taking fish oil alone (or with vitamin B12) helps reduce painful periods and decreases the need to use pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Fish oil is an important substance for combating diabetes, asthma, developmental disorders of coordination, dyslexia, obesity and weak bones (osteoporosis).
- It is sometimes used after heart transplant surgery to prevent a rise in blood pressure. This is very helpful as doctors usually use very powerful medicines to achieve this however these medicines can cause kidney damage.
- The prevention of stroke. Moderate consumption of fish (once or twice a week) seems to decrease the risk of stroke by 27%. However, the consumption of large quantities of fish (more than 46 grams of fish per day) can in fact increase the risk of stroke.
- Rheumatoid arthritis & the Benefit Of Fish Oil Supplement. Fish oil alone or in combination with the drug naproxen (Naprosyn), seems to help people overcome faster than morning stiffness. People who take fish oil can sometimes reduce the use of pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Important: How you prepare your fish is very closely related to what benefits you will obtain...
Try to grill or bake your fish to get the maximum benefits. Fried fish or fish sandwiches not only nullify the benefits of fish oil, but could actually increase the risk heart disease!
Secondary Health benefit of fish oil supplement:
- Attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Taking fish oil appears to improve the skills of thinking and behavior in children 8 to 12 years with ADHD.
- Weak bones (osteoporosis). Taking fish oil alone or in combination with calcium and evening primrose oil appears to slow bone loss and increase bone density in the thigh bone (femur) and spine in elderly people with osteoporosis.
- Prevent the hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). Fish oil appears to slightly retard or reverse the progression of arteriosclerosis in the arteries that supply blood to the heart (coronary arteries), but not in the arteries that carry blood to the head and neck (carotid arteries).
- Kidney problems & the Benefit Of Fish Oil Supplement. The long-term use (two years) from 4 to 8 grams daily of fish oil appears to slow the loss of kidney function in patients at high risk of kidney disease called IgA neuropathy. Fish oil appears to reduce the amount of protein in the urine in people with kidney disease caused by diabetes.
- Depression. Taking fish oil appears to improve response to treatment with antidepressant drugs. Interestingly, depression is less common in countries with higher fish consumption. This finding is consistent with evidence indicating that low levels of omega-3 in plasma and red blood cells are associated with depression.
- In the prevention of eye diseases (macular degeneration age-related DMS) there is evidence that people who eat fish more than once a week have a lower risk of developing AMD.
- Taking fish oil appears to prevent miscarriage and increase the proportion of live births in pregnant women with a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome.
- To improve the mobility disorder in children (dyspraxia). Taking fish oil orally, in combination with evening primrose oil, thyme oil and vitamin E (Efalex, Efamol Ltd), seems to improve movement disorders in children with dyspraxia.
- Psoriasis & the Benefit Of Fish Oil Supplement. There is evidence that fish oil administered intravenously can reduce severe symptoms of psoriasis. But taking fish oil orally does not seem to have any effect on psoriasis.
- Slows weight loss in advanced cancer patients. Taking a high dose of fish oil (7.5 grams a day) seems to slow weight loss. Some researchers believe that these patients eat more fish because the oil is helping with depression and mood.
- Asthma in children. Some research suggests fish oil can improve airflow, reduce coughing and the need for medications. However, treatment with fish oil does not seem to offer the same benefit for adults.
- Dry eye syndrome. Research suggests that eating fish helps women to prevent dry eye syndrome.
Fish oil pills side effects: Is fish oil harmful?
Fish oil is safe for most people, including pregnant and nursing women, when taken in low doses (3 grams or less per day).
Fish oil pills side-effects can include burping, bad breath, nausea, loose stools, rashes and nosebleeds. However these side-effects are often common with over-dosing.
You can reduce side effects by taking fish oil with meals or by freezing the capsule before ingestion.
High doses of fish oil may also decrease the activity of the immune system, lowering the body's ability to fight infections. This is a special concern for those with an already reduced immune system (patients with HIV / AIDS) and for the elderly.
Allergy to fish or seafood: Some people who are allergic to shellfish and/or fish may also be allergic to fish oil supplements. There is no reliable information to indicate this correlation yet, however, it's advisable that patients who are allergic to shellfish should use fish oil supplements with care.
Additional unconsidered benefit of fish oil supplement:
Some beef and fish (especially shark, king mackerel and farmed salmon) may be contaminated with mercury and other environmental chemicals, but typically fish oil supplements do not contain these contaminants.
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