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Published on February 24, 2021

What Is Fish Oil Good For And Can It Give You Energy?

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What Is Fish Oil Good For And Can It Give You Energy?

At some point, you’ve probably come across information saying that fish oil is high in omega-3 and is a valuable supplement to take on a regular basis.

However, you may well have been sceptical of this information, as there are so many supplements being heavily marketed today, that it’s hard to know which ones are truly beneficial and which ones are simply a waste of money.

Plus, when it comes to fish oil, you may have heard that it can be a potential source of dangerous levels of the heavy metal mercury due to the industrial poisoning of our air and water over the last few decades.

It’s right to be sceptical about claims from supplement producers, but it’s also wise to know how to distinguish between good, healthy supplements from bad, unhealthy ones.

Personally, having to tackle multiple demands at work (as the CEO and founder of Lifehack) and in my family life (I have a wife and two kids), I started to notice that in the last few years that I was beginning to feel tired easily. When I was younger, I found it relatively easy to cope with these demands; but since hitting 40 years of age a short while ago, I noticed myself tiring quicker than I used to do before. I also noticed that I lacked the ‘get up and go’ that I used to have.

This noticeable decline in my energy levels led me to spend months researching and trying out different methods and supplements to help me regain my previous energy and productivity levels. One method I found that has conclusively worked has been to add fish oil to my daily diet. Quite frankly, it’s made a significant and positive difference to my health and well-being. I can now achieve the things I want to achieve at work, while still having ample energy to enjoy life with my family and friends.

I’ll give you all the information you need to know about fish oil — including whether it’s good for your energy and your brain — so you can make an informed choice on whether to add it to your diet or not.

What Is Fish Oil?

Let’s get started by taking a look at exactly what fish oil is.

Firstly, it’s important not to confuse fish oil with cod liver oil, krill oil or shark liver oil. These are different oils, that would need a different explanation, so in this article I’ll stick to just discussing fish oil.

Fish oil can be consumed either by eating cold-water fish or by taking it in supplement form. It’s derived from the tissues of oily fish such as herring, mackerel and salmon, and is loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Interestingly, fish don’t produce this oil on their own; the oil primarily comes from their consumption of algae and plankton.[1]

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It’s worth noting that the human body does not produce many of its own omega-3 fatty acids. It also can’t make omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids — which are common in our contemporary Western diet.

Extensive research has been done on EPA and DHA, which are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil. The research to date strongly suggests that these omega-3 fatty acids can offer numerous health benefits when consumed on a regular basis.[2]

Let’s look now at some of these benefits of fish oil, and whether you should choose to consume the oil or not.

Health Benefits of Taking Fish Oil

I’m sure you’re probably thinking… is fish oil good for you?

Fish oil is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are actually essential to the proper operation of our brain and body. Without these fatty acids, we’ll always be running below par.

So what exactly are the omega-3 fish oil benefits?

Here are the benefits of fish oil:[3]

  1. Boost brain power and mental clarity
  2. Fight anxiety and depression
  3. Improve sleep
  4. Improve eye health
  5. Promote brain health during pregnancy and early life
  6. Improve the condition of the skin
  7. Ffight age-related mental decline
  8. Fight inflammation
  9. Help with weight loss
  10. Improve risk factors for heart disease
  11. Help prevent cancer
  12. Fight Autoimmune Diseases

Find out more in this article: 11 Benefits of Fish Oil That You Didn’t Know About

Now, you might look at that list and think that many of the health benefits are not directly related to your energy and productivity. But please look again, as any ailment, disease or disorder will definitely impact your overall energy and well-being.

In my research of fish oil, I was surprised to discover that men and women benefit differently from it.

One of the key gender differences is how omega-3 fatty acids affect the ‘stickiness’ of blood. A 2010 trial by scientists from Australia’s University of Newcastle found that EPA and DHA reacted differently in males and females when it came to helping prevent a tendency for platelets in the blood clumping together to form dangerous clots (known as platelet aggregation).

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The scientists discovered that while the combination EPA and DHA both reduced platelet aggregation, there was a gender difference. Namely, EPA was significantly more effective in men, compared with DHA or placebo capsules — while DHA was significantly more effective in women, compared with EPA or placebo capsules.[4]

The University of Newcastle scientists proposed that the differences could be caused by differing interactions between the male and female sex hormones and the two omega-3s (EPA and DHA).

It’s important to note that, despite the gender differences, the study does not undermine the health benefits of consuming fish oil.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, fish oil will help you to stay fit, healthy and energetic.

Where Can You Reap the Benefits of Fish Oil?

If you’re interested in adding fish oil to your diet to help your energy and health, then you have a couple of choices.

Firstly, as you’re probably aware, you can get fish oil directly from eating cold-water fish. Some of the best fish varieties to go for (that supply the most omega-3s) are:[5]

However, if you don’t like the taste of these fish, or you don’t have the opportunity to eat them regularly, then the alternative is to take a fish oil supplement.

In my experience, fish oil supplements vary widely in price, quality and purity. Some of the high-street brands just don’t offer sufficient omega-3 quantities to make them a worthwhile investment.

Personally, and after many months of experimentation, I now take one capsule per day of Infuel Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement. This premium fish oil is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids with high EPA and DHA content. These fish oil pills benefits include:

  • Promoting brain health
  • Improving heart health
  • Maintaining healthy bones and joints
  • Improving skin tone and texture
  • Enhancing sleep
  • Boosting energy and well-being

I recommend that you give Infuel Omega 3 Fish Oil a try. It’s only $12.95 for 60 soft gels, with each gel containing a generous 1,200mg of high-quality fish oil providing 720mg of omega-3s.

I believe it will make a positive and significant difference to the way you tackle your work and home life. You’ll have the mental and physical strength to overcome whatever challenges life throws at you.

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Try it and see for yourself the many benefits of fish oil supplements.

If you’re looking for more options, check out this article: 5 Best Fish Oil Supplements to Buy For A Healthier Brain

How Much Fish Oil Should I Take Daily?

Whether through eating fish or taking a supplement, there is an optimum amount of fish oil that you should take on a daily basis. (I’ll answer the question ‘So how much fish oil is too much?’ in a moment.)

Of course, this will vary from person to person. A small child will obviously need less than a 6-foot man, for instance.

So how much fish oil is too much?

As a general rule, if you’re eating two to three portions of oily fish a week, then you will be ingesting a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids. But if you don’t eat much fish, then supplementation is definitely the way to go.

Currently, there isn’t an agreed standard for how many omega-3s we should consume each day, but suggestions range from a fish oil daily dosage of 500mg to 1,000mg.[6]

You may also want to look at this fish oil dosage chart created by Omega 3 Innovation:[7]

    *Level of EPA/DHA depends on the species, time of year, how the fish is prepared, whether it was farm raised or wild caught, etc.

    Questions you might have at this point: ‘Can you consume too much fish oil?’ and ‘Are there omega-3 fish oil side effects?’.

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    According, to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), omega-3 supplements containing EPA and DHA are safe provided doses don’t exceed 3,000 mg per day.

    However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has a different position, stating that doses up to 5,000 mg per day from supplements is safe.

    It’s important that you stick to these cautions as excessive intake of omega-3s can cause blood thinning in some people. It’s because of this that many organizations recommend people who have surgery planned stop taking omega-3 supplements 1–2 weeks beforehand.[8]

    There’s also the risk of taking too much Vitamin A, which can be toxic in high doses and lead to liver problems and hair loss. It may also harm unborn babies, so pregnant mothers should avoid fish oil and Vitamin A supplements.[9]

    Personally, given that 5,000 mg of omega-3s has never been shown to provide any added benefits, I strongly advise you to stay within the safe intake limits. It will protect your health — and your bank balance!

    What’s the best time to take fish oil?

    Feel free to take it every day. It can also be consumed at any time of the day.

    Having said that, you might want to split your daily fish oil consumption into two smaller doses — one for the morning, one for the evening. This can help reduce any potential acid reflux and indigestion effects that you might get from consuming the oil.[10]

    Fish Oil Can Be Your Energy-Boosting Friend

    I hope this article has helped you to see some of the amazing health benefits that consuming fish oil on a regular basis can bring; and answered your questions such as: ‘Why take fish oil?’ and ‘When to take fish oil?’ and ‘How much fish oil per day?’.

    For me, having taken fish oil supplements for several years now, I’ve definitely noticed a major uptick in my overall health and well-being. I have way more energy than before. Plus I feel more physically and mentally resilient that I’ve done in a very long time.

    I’d encourage you to try consuming fish oil for a few months (unless you’re pregnant or going into surgery) to see the positive effects for yourself.

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    I’m confident that after a few months — you won’t want to stop taking it!

    Featured photo credit: Caroline Attwood via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Published on August 27, 2021

    Should Men Take Fish Oil? 4 Fish Oil Benefits for Men

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    Should Men Take Fish Oil? 4 Fish Oil Benefits for Men

    Fish oil is a well-known healthy food that fits in almost any diet. Most people who want to improve their diet usually try to include fish oil in their daily consumption. But some people may ask: what are the fish oil benefits for men? Is it really good for men’s health? Or is there something fishy about fish oil?

    In this article, I will take a comprehensive look at why fish oil is recommended for everyone, especially men. Let’s start with the sources of fish oil and how it could be good for your health.

    Fish Oil Sources and Why It Could Be a Good Catch

    Fish oil is primarily found and extracted from oily fish varieties, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardine, herring, and trout.[1] It contains two highly beneficial types of omega-3 fatty acids for many health conditions:[2]

    • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
    • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

    But here’s the catch: your human body cannot make omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. You are dependent on food sources to supplement these vital nutrients.[3] But this is not a big deal since you could consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish, or consume fish oil in the form of supplements.

    As a side note, you can also find another type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in some plant sources, such as walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. You cannot find alpha-linolenic acid in fish oil, and interestingly, your body converts ALA into DHA and EPA, but in very small amounts.[4] So, if you want your Omega-3 in balance, you will have to consume DHA, EPA, and ALA via food sources or supplements or a combination of both.

    Can Fish Oil Improve Your Health?

    The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming oily or fatty cold-water fish twice a week.[5] Fish is one of the best ways to get your omega-3 fatty acids intake and reap its numerous health benefits. It is an excellent source of protein and, in comparison to other fatty meat products, it has low saturated fat.

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    However, if you’re a vegetarian or do not consume fish, you can consult your doctor for dietary alternatives to fish and fish oil.

    Let’s look at some of the fish oil benefits for men, though some of these benefits also apply to everyone.[6]

    1. Fish Oil Can Boost Male Fertility

    Various research studies have suggested that Omega-3 improves semen quality, volume, erectile function and even prevents prostate cancer.[7]

    Recently, the first observational study on the association between fish oil supplementation intake and improved testicular function conducted also showed these supplements to be beneficial to men’s health.[8] The study was conducted on 1,700 young, healthy Danish men who averaged around nineteen years of age. Those who took fish oil supplements reported higher semen volume and improved sperm quality. Those who took other supplements, such as multivitamins did not show the same effects, pointing to possible links between fish oil supplements and better sperm counts.

    The study’s lead researcher Tina Kold Jensen, a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark who has been active in this research field for over 25 years, said that these male reproductive factors should lead to improved male fertility in men taking fish oil. Jansen was also optimistic that her research findings would have the same effect on older men who take fish oil supplements.

    She concluded that she recommends fish oil supplements for those who want to improve their male fertility. However, she adds that your best options are to increase your fish intake like codfish and follow your doctor’s dietary advice.

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    Other studies have also found positive associations between fish oil supplements and sperm quality.[9]

    While these results have certainly been encouraging, the findings from these observational studies need to be corroborated by more rigorous randomized clinical experiments. Therefore, I encourage patients to discuss their individual cases with their doctors to ensure safety and maximize benefits from fish oil supplements.

    2. Fish Oil Helps Maintain a Healthy Heart

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[10] Overall, it accounts for one in four deaths in America every year.

    Fish oil is a heart-friendly nutrient as it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It protects your heart by reducing many of the risk factors for heart disease. Some benefits of fish oil include:[11][12][13]

    • Reduction of triglyceride levels
    • Lowering your blood pressure
    • Reducing your bad cholesterol
    • Preventing blood from clotting
    • Slowing or hindering plaque formation in your arteries
    • Reducing the risk of an abnormal heart rhythm
    • Decreasing your risk of a heart attack and stroke

    There is also research that suggests that fish oil supplements reduce adverse situations, such as hospital admissions and death in people with heart failure.[14]

    The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people without heart disease have at least two servings of fish every week to reduce cardiovascular events. It suggests eating a variety of cold-water, wild fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines for their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The AHA does not recommend omega-3 supplements for people who don’t have a high risk for cardiovascular disease.[15]

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    However, if you have heart disease, it’s best to consult your doctor before you decide to take fish oil supplements. Depending on your condition, they might recommend eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and/or taking an FDA-approved fish oil supplement.

    Sometimes, higher doses of omega-3 are given to lower triglycerides. But it should be strictly under the care of a doctor because it can cause complications such as bleeding and affect the immune system.

    3. Fish Oil Gives You Clear and Focused Vision

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends fish oil to optimize your eye health. While there are some conflicting reports, some findings show how fish oil helps treat eye diseases like dry eye and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).[16]

    A recent 2019 study supported findings that people who consumed fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish were less likely to develop eye diseases than those who did not.[17] Another study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science suggests omega-3 fatty acid DHA for vision protection.[18]

    Various studies have found similar findings of fewer dry eye symptoms in those who consumed fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil improved the eye’s oil film produced by meibomian glands situated on the edge of the eyelid.[19] Other studies also found that fish oil reduces pain and swelling, making it an effective treatment for dry eyes.[20]

    4. Fish Oil Helps You Become Healthy From the Inside-Out

    Fish oil is a versatile nutrient that seems to contribute to several other health benefits. These include:

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    • Lowering your depression[21]
    • Boosting your memory[22]
    • Preventing disease-causing inflammation with enhanced B cell activity or white blood cells[23]
    • Aiding in weight loss
    • Giving you healthier skin by clearing your acne and psoriasis[24][25][26]

    Why You Need to Stay Cautious About Fish Oil

    Fish oil has some possible risks associated with its consumption. Fish oil supplements have common temporary side effects, such as foul taste, smell, belching, heartburn, nosebleeds, rash, nausea, flatulence, and diarrhea.

    While fish oil can prevent prostate cancer, excess consumption can increase your risk for high-grade prostate cancer.[27] Fish oil in high doses can cause bleeding, affect your immune system, and reduce your body’s ability to fight off infection.[28]

    Certain combinations of medications can cause serious health risks when you take them regularly alongside fish oil. Hence, it would be best if you first discussed with your doctor about taking fish oil along with your prescribed medications.

    While fish oil from the source is preferable, some fish meats are prone to mercury contamination and other toxic industrial and environmental chemicals.[29] Mercury contaminated fish meats can cause blindness, brain damage, and mental retardation in children.[30]

    What’s the Verdict on Fish Oil?

    The fish oil benefits for men and women far outweigh the risks, especially for middle-aged and older people who follow the recommendations by the FDA, AHA, and EPA.

    Make fish oil your friend by:

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    • Choosing more from food sources than supplements.
    • Following AHA’s recommendation of eating one to two servings of non-fried fish every week.
    • Eating a variety of fish higher in EPA and DHA and lower in methylmercury to minimize potentially adverse effects due to environmental pollutants.
    • Consuming fish along with other vital aspects of a healthy diet, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains that ensure balanced omega.
    • Getting your doctor’s approval and prescribed fish oil supplement and following their instructions.
    • Following the AHA’s recommendations of consuming no more than 3 grams of fish oil supplement daily, as taking more can cause bleeding.
    • Taking your fish oil supplements into two doses in the morning and night to decrease side effects.
    • Taking fish oil supplements with food to increase absorption and decrease side effects.
    • Freezing and consuming them to decrease side effects.
    • Following the US federal government’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations of seafood for pregnant and nursing women. Safe fish options for pregnant and nursing women include sardines, trout, salmon, herring, and anchovies because of higher EPA and DHA and lower mercury.

    On a final note, your health is in your hands. Choose wisely, and use fish oil for your health benefit today. But first, consult your doctor for medical advice before making an informed decision on fish oil and taking action.

    More About the Benefits of Fish Oil

    Featured photo credit: Sam Moqadam via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] National Institutes of Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [2] WebMD: The Facts on Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [3] Harvard School of Public Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution
    [4] National Institutes of Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [5] American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [6] WebMD: What to Know About Omega-3s and Fish
    [7] NCBI: Prostate Cancer Risk And Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake From Fish Oil
    [8] JAMA Network: Associations of Fish Oil Supplement Use With Testicular Function in Young Men
    [9] PubMed.gov: Dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improves seminal antioxidant status and decreases sperm DNA fragmentation
    [10] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Men and Heart Disease
    [11] MayoClinic: Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart
    [12] Cleveland Clinic: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [13] Harvard Health Medical School: The complicated relationship between fish oil and heart health
    [14] WebMD: Fish Oil
    [15] National Institutes of Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [16] American Academy of Ophthalmology: The Benefits of Fish Oil for Dry Eye
    [17] NCBI: Nutrients for Prevention of Macular Degeneration and Eye-Related Diseases
    [18] Harvard Health Publishing: Omega-3 for your eyes
    [19] Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic Q and A: Fish oil supplements and dry eyes
    [20] WebMD: Fish Oil
    [21] Translational Psychiatry: Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis
    [22] WebMD: Fish Oil Supplements Boost Memory
    [23] Science Daily: Nothing fishy about it: Fish oil can boost the immune system
    [24] NCBI: Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin
    [25] PubMed.gov: Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial
    [26] Oxford Academic: Efficacy of fish oil and its components in the management of psoriasis: a systematic review of 18 randomized controlled trials
    [27] NCBI: Prostate Cancer Risk And Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake From Fish Oil
    [28] Mayo Clinic: Fish Oil
    [29] American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [30] World Health Organization: Mercury and health

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