Should You Be Taking Fish Oil?

There are 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors that contribute to the most death in the United States. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids ranks sixth on the list, making these compounds pretty important. The good news is that these health problems and deaths can be prevented by ensuring you get enough omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet.  One sure way to make that happen is to add a fish oil supplement into the mix.

What is fish oil?

The best sources are fresh cold-water fish; the oil is found in the tissues of these animals. You can get the nutrients directly through eating the fish or by taking a supplemental capsule. If you do not like fish or if seafood is not part of your restricted diet, a supplement is a great way to ensure you do not miss out on any of the benefits.  The reason we need fish oil is because while our bodies can make most of the polyunsaturated fats that we need, we are unable to make omega-3.  Specifically, the two omega-3 fatty acids we are looking for are DHA and EPA.

So is fish oil good for you? The simple answer is yes.  As with any supplement, there will be benefits and drawbacks and every individual has their own preferences.  Fish oil is one of the most abundant natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Studies have shown its ability to decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as arthritis, hypertension, depression, and chronic skin ailments. Even if you only decide to take fish oil for one of these problems, look at all the additional benefits you get without even asking.

What are the health benefits of fish oil?

Good for your brain: DHA and EPA are vital for healthy and optimal brain function. Studies have shown that regular fish oil intake can slow cognitive decline.  It is therefore believed that fish oil supplements may be a super weapon in the fight against brain degeneration and diseases such as Alzheimers.  Because of the important role of DHA and EPA during brain development and the fact that your brain is made up of 60% fat, it makes sense that fish oil will benefit your mental health.  In children with ADHD, fish oil has been linked to a reduction in symptoms including restlessness, aggressiveness, as well as an increase in academic performance. Fish oil also reverses symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Good for your heart: The diet of most Americans unfortunately consists of unhealthy fats and processed foods, which dramatically increase your risk for cardiovascular problems.  No wonder heart disease is the number one killer in the country.  The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids help to reverse many of the conditions in the body that cause heart disease. In addition to this, these anti-inflammatory traits also reduce inflammation throughout the body, which protects you from numerous diseases, as well as arthritis.

Good for your immunity: The antioxidant astaxanthin, when combined with omega-3, happens to be a pretty powerful force when it comes to boosting your immune system.  And it just so happens, that salmon is a great source of both.  In adding salmon in your diet, you can get a supplement that contains both ingredients.  Aside from giving your immunity a little extra power each day to protect you, fish oil may also prevent and kill certain cancers (colon, prostate and breast). Studies have shown that the addition of fish oil pushes conventional cancer treatments to be more effective and may possibly be a highly effective stand-alone cancer treatment (4).

Good for so much more: Fish oil benefits diabetics and protects them from cognitive deficit because of its ability to protect the hippocampus cells.  Fish oil also reduces oxidative stress that is a main contributor to the development of diabetes complications.  A fish oil supplement daily can also keep your eyes working at optimal levels, as it has been shown to reverse age-related eye-disorders.  It doesn’t stop there when it comes to fighting age-related problems; fish oil also delivers the essential oils and fats to your skin to keep it supple and healthy, thus preventing wrinkles.  Finally the importance of DHA and EPA for developing children makes fish oil a necessary resource for pregnant women.  Both their health and the health of their developing child benefit greatly from the daily presence of fish oil.

Should you be taking fish oil?

Again, it is always a personal choice, but the discussion of the numerous health benefits above is pretty persuasive.  Of course there are pros and cons of fish oil, just like with every other supplement.

Pros

  • Beneficial for your heart, brain and immune system
  • Increased longevity and youthfulness
  • Improvement in eye health, as well as your looks
  • Prevents joint pain that is common with aging
  • Contributes to weight loss

Cons

  • It lowers blood pressure, so is not advised for those with low pressure already
  • It may contain mercury
  • It is not guaranteed to help everyone’s skin complexion

Ultimately, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and given that our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, it is a good idea to get them as a supplement.  Fish oil as part of a daily routine not only helps prevent certain diseases but can actually reverse the symptoms of many more.

With studies backing the importance benefits, it certainly will not hurt you to try it out, just be certain to do your research. Find a quality, third party review website that can give you an unbiased opinion of which fish oils perform better.  So long as you have discussed it with your physician, taking a fish oil supplement can boost your overall health.  The capsule itself may not sound appealing, but the health benefits you get most certainly are.

Resources:

(1). http://www.fasebj.org/content/29/7/2681.full?sid=0b1e849e-0add-4ead-91fa-b42f9d7f2b9f
(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22596014
(3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24773697
(4). http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24557349
(6). https://smarter-reviews.com/lp/sr-omega3




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