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Published on February 24, 2021

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

What Is Fish Oil Good For And Can It Give You Energy?
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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 June 17, 2021

    Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil: Which Is Better?

    Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil: Which Is Better?
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    Both flaxseed oil and fish oil supplements are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have so many known benefits, such as having a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, glaucoma, and stroke. This nutrient is essential for the body’s function, but our bodies are unable to produce them on their own. That’s why you should get enough Omega-3 fatty acids from outside sources as well.

    In this article, I’ll discuss flaxseed oil vs fish oil and their various benefits and drawbacks to help you quickly make a more informed decision about which one of these is right for you.

    Are These Supplements Safe?

    According to the National Institutes of Health, side effects experienced by users of fish oil supplements, if any, are usually mild. These side effects may include unpleasant taste, bad breath, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms. This could include symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or heartburn.[1]

    In terms of possible medication interactions, it’s noted that fish oil supplements may interfere with medicines that many Americans take to prevent blood clotting. If you’re on one of these medications or if you have a seafood allergy, it’s important to speak with your doctor before deciding to start taking Omega-3 supplements.

    Regarding the safety of flaxseed oil supplements, according to Mayo Clinic, these supplements are also generally considered to be safe. However, they report that if taken in excess and without sufficient intakes of water, users may experience various gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms include bloating, gas, and diarrhea.[2]

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    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) also advise that these supplements should not be taken during pregnancy. This is because some studies suggest that taking flaxseed oil later in pregnancy may increase the risk of premature birth.[3]

    Mayo Clinic notes that, like fish oil supplements, flaxseed oil may also have negative interactions with some medications. Specifically, it’s important to consult your doctor before starting these medications if you’re on medications to reduce blood clotting, lower blood pressure, or manage your diabetes as these may interact negatively with a flaxseed oil supplement.[4]

    How Much Should You Take?

    The tricky thing about these supplements is that there is no standard recommended dosage for any of them. To be safe, it is recommended that you read the label on the supplement you choose to buy and make sure to only take the recommended dosage.

    Regardless of whether you’re taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement, you may benefit from speaking with your primary care doctor to determine what dosage is right for you. They may be able to work with you to come up with an appropriate dosage, which may help prevent unwanted side effects.

    If you are interested in researching a particular brand of Omega-3 supplement, you can use the Dietary Supplement Label Database from the National Institutes of Health.[5]

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    Flaxseed Oil vs. Fish Oil

    Before we get into the various benefits of Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil supplements, it’s important to have some basic knowledge about Omega-3 fatty acids.

    There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA come mainly from fish while ALA comes mainly from plant sources such as flaxseed and walnuts.[6] This means that if you choose to take a fish oil supplement, you’ll be getting DHA and EPA, and if you choose a flaxseed oil supplement, you’ll be taking ALA.

    Fish Oil Benefits

    Fish Oil supplements typically contain oil that has been extracted from fatty fish, such as herring, tuna, or anchovies.[7] The Omega-3 found in fish oil is very important for our heart health. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots.[8] It can also help to reduce high blood pressure, which is common among adults in the United States.[9]

    They can also help to reduce high cholesterol and plaque formation in your arteries.[10][11] They can also help reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, which occurs when the heart is either pumping irregularly or ineffectively, making it unable to pump blood as intended to the rest of your vital organs.[12]

    These supplements may have non-cardiac benefits as well. Studies show that they can reduce your risk of glaucoma, certain cancers, and certain mental health disorders.[13][14][15]

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    Some studies have also shown that including Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil in your lifestyle may lead to improved weight loss when combined with a healthful diet.[16]

    Flaxseed Oil Benefits

    As we’ve noted, flaxseed oil contains the third type of Omega-3 fatty acid, Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). What the body does with ALA is incredibly interesting. It actually converts it into DHA and EPA, which are the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

    Something important to note, however, is that the body is not all that efficient at converting ALA to DHA and EPA. This means that the benefits of ALA may not necessarily be the same as those that you would get from just taking DHA and EPA. Studies seem to be overall mixed on whether taking flaxseed oil provides the same cardiac benefits as fish oil does. Specifically, it’s unclear whether or not flaxseed oil supplementation can lower cholesterol or reduce your risk of heart disease.[17]

    According to the National Institutes of Health, studies have shown that taking flaxseed may help individuals with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. However, it’s important to note that these findings are for flaxseed, no flaxseed oil. NIH does note that it is unclear whether flaxseed oil would provide such a benefit.[18]

    One big health benefit of flaxseed oil is its possible cancer-fighting ability. Studies have shown that taking flaxseed oil can stop the growth of cancer cells as well as cause apoptosis or death of cancer cells in certain types of cancer. One study found that the types of cancer which saw benefits from flaxseed oil intakes included breast cancer, cervical cancer, leukemia, and melanoma.[19]

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    Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil: Which Should You Take?

    When deciding whether to take flaxseed oil vs fish oil supplements, there are some important things to consider. As I’ve discussed, fish oil supplements are a great source of DHA and EPA. In contrast, flaxseed oil supplements provide ALA, which the body ends up converting back to DHA and EPA, although inefficiently.

    Additionally, the benefits of fish oil seem to be more deeply studied and more overall conclusive than the benefits of flaxseed oil. Fish oil supplements have been shown to provide so many benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, certain cancers, and various mental health disorders.

    In contrast, the research regarding the benefits of flaxseed oil supplementation is lacking. While these supplements may have anti-cancer properties, the findings on further benefits are overall mixed.

    In terms of safety, these two supplements come out relatively even. They’re both regarded as generally safe. However, both have interactions with various medications that need to be taken into consideration before starting supplementation.

    If you’re trying to settle on an Omega-3 supplement, I recommend trying a fish oil supplement over a flaxseed oil supplement. Fish oil has so many proven benefits while the research on flaxseed oil is significantly less convincing. Fish oil also has the benefit of providing EPA and DHA directly, so your body does not need to do any extra work to convert it.

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    If you choose to take a fish oil supplement, know that you’ll be quickly reducing your risk of various chronic diseases with overall very minimal effort on your part. As always, make sure to check with your doctor before starting any supplementation to prevent negative side effects or drug interactions.

    Featured photo credit: New Food Magazine via newfoodmagazine.com

    Reference

    [1] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Omega-3 Supplements: In-Depth
    [2] Mayo Clinic: Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
    [3] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
    [5] National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD)
    [6] Harvard School of Public Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution
    [7] Healthline: What’s the Difference Between Cod Liver Oil and Fish Oil?
    [8] Cleveland Clinic: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    [9] PubMed.gov: Moderate consumption of fatty fish reduces diastolic blood pressure in overweight and obese European young adults during energy restriction
    [10] ResearchGate: Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and growth and development
    [11] PubMed.gov: Effect of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on endothelial function: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    [12] Mayo Clinic: Ventricular fibrillation
    [13] TVST: Oral Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Intraocular Pressure in Normotensive Adults
    [14] PubMed.gov: Dietary fatty acids and colorectal cancer: a case-control study
    [15] PubMed.gov: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for indicated prevention of psychotic disorders: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial
    [16] PubMed.gov: Randomized trial of weight-loss-diets for young adults varying in fish and fish oil content
    [17] Mount Sinai: Flaxseed oil
    [18] NIH: Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
    [19] NCBI: Treatment with flaxseed oil induces apoptosis in cultured malignant cells

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