Fish oil is a fatty acid derived from tissues of fish such as herring, salmon, tuna, and cod liver and has caught the attention of researchers over the past decade due to its potential to positively impact the health of people that take it regularly.
While people who consume a high amount of fish as part of their regular diet need not worry about taking fish oil supplements as much, there are many benefits to taking fish oil supplements and reasons why people should consider introducing it to their diet especially if they do not eat fish. There are many advantages to taking fish oil supplements and below are only some of them.
Fish oil supplements contain both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that have proven to be instrumental in reducing the risk of heart disease. Numerous trials have demonstrated that DHA and EPA reduce triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in blood, by 25 to 30 percent and this in turn helps blood circulation throughout the body. These acids decrease blood pressure and heart rates which are two very strong predictors for heart disease.
The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) recommends people consume 500 mg of these acids every day and higher quantities for people with health conditions is especially beneficial. Fish oils contain them both, making it a logical choice.
As people grow older, bone structures begin to thin out and the risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease where bones become more brittle and fragile, becomes more prevalent. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements impact the amount of minerals in bones and surrounding tissues, decreasing bone loss and increasing their density.
Fish oils are also extremely rich in vitamin D and specifically cod liver oil has a higher concentration of this vitamin than any other food source. Vitamin D is crucial in the absorption of calcium, a requirement for healthy bones. Vitamin D and calcium work hand-in-hand to build strong bones. Therefore, in addition to taking fish oil for regular vitamin D intake, it is also beneficial to ensure a healthy daily dose of calcium.
3. Mental Health
Research also suggests that introducing fish oil to a diet can improve one’s mental health. Because processed foods are so common in the typical diet, most people are not getting the nutrition they need and this is correlated with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Fish oils assist in regulating serotonin in the body, a hormone responsible for mood regulation.
Because the human brain is composed of 60% fat with much of this being omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil supplements, which contain omega-3s, can prove essential in brain functions and prevent the onset of conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders.
4. Immune system
Your immune system needs to be strong to fight against bacteria and viruses that could make you sick. In a study at the University of Michigan, DHA found in fish oil supplements was found to boost activity in white blood cells that are important in the immune system’s fight against illness. The study also showed that consumption of fish oil supplements aided antibody production and dampened inflammation that would lead to sickness or disease.
5. Weight loss
In combination with a healthy diet and daily exercise, fish oil supplements can help with weight loss. The presence of fatty acids in the supplement allows people to lose weight by speeding up the metabolism and keeping the body in a healthy state. In a study that took place in 2013, researchers found that people maintaining a healthy body weight had higher levels of omega-3 acids in their body compared to those who were overweight.
The study also reported that those who took fish oil daily demonstrated a reduction in visceral fat which is often responsible for high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar that could lead to diabetes.