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11 Benefits of Fish Oil That You Might Not Know About

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11 Benefits of Fish Oil That You Might Not Know About

The benefits of fish oil seem to be at the forefront of many conversations around our health and well-being. During your research about its health benefits, you might have already stumbled about its effects on digestion, but did your research tell you about the other benefits of fish oil, such as its contribution to the improvement of your memory, weight, and heart, as well?

Today, we’ll discuss some of the many benefits of fish oil, and you can decide if it should be part of your daily diet.

What Is Fish Oil?

Simply put, fish oil refers to the fatty acids present in the fish that we consume. Years ago, fish oil could only be obtained from ingesting the flesh of the fish directly, but because of advancements in technology, fish oil supplements are widely available in supermarkets and health food stores. Now, more and more people are taking it with their meals.

The most widely discussed component of fish oil is the omega-3 fatty acids. Many of the benefits come directly from these, making them an incredibly valuable factor in all fish oil supplements. As you will see, most of the benefits discussed below come directly from the presence of omega-3s in fish oil.

If you’re interested in a high-quality fish oil supplement, you can check out this Infuel Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement.

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1. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Problems

If you need to control high blood pressure and lower high triglyceride levels in your body, fish oil can help. Omega-3s make your vessels more elastic and relaxed—this means that your blood can pass through them more easily. Several studies have found this to be true[1], making this one of the best benefits of fish oil.

2. Protects Your Skin

Fish oil reduces acne, protects you from sunburn and even reduces skin flaking. One study found that both omega-6s and omega-3s “are showing promise as safe adjunctive treatments for many skin disorders”[2] These benefits likely come from the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil.

3. Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis

The benefits of fish oil works in a two-pronged approach: it is known to reduce cellular inflammation, and to protect your joints from pain by inhibiting pain-causing chemicals in your body.

One study found that “Supplementation with omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] for 3-4 months reduces patient reported joint pain intensity, minutes of morning stiffness, number of painful and/or tender joints, and NSAID consumption”[3].

4. Slows Signs of Aging

Telomeres are the extreme ends of chromosomal DNA. Basically, to look younger, you need longer telomeres. One study found that patients with lower levels of omega-3s in their blood experienced quicker shortening of their telomeres[4].

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This not only affects the physical aging process, but other signs of aging, such as heart disease and cell degradation.

5. Prevents Depression

You might be shocked to know that among the benefits of fish oil, this one is actually the least known. Omega-3s contain two fatty acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These have presented the most promising evidence in support of fish oil as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders[5].

EPA seems to be the more effective of the two, but DHA has also been found to be potentially effective in lowering risk of suicide.

6. Helps Reduce Abdominal Fat

While no evidence has been found to support fish oil as a weight loss aid, one research review discovered that “waist circumference was significantly reduced in those with fish oil supplementation combined with life modification intervention”[6].

This means that it’s likely that fish oil helps eliminate abdominal fat when combined with healthy lifestyle changes. If you’re looking to lose some inches off your waist, eat healthier, exercise, and add in a fish oil supplement each day.

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7. Improves Memory

One notable 5-year study found that “Consumption of seafood was associated with slower decline in semantic memory and perceptual speed” in 915 participants[7].

While it’s impossible to stop memory loss altogether, fish oil can help slow it down over time.

8. Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer

Among the benefits of fish oil, this one is the most controversial. That said, many research studies have shown that intake of fish oil can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 14%[8].

Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the risk of cancer can be reduced significantly.

9. Preserves Muscle Mass

In an interesting study done on cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy[9], fish oil helped preserve weight and muscle mass, suggesting that it can combat cancer-related malnutrition. It’s unclear whether fish oil can preserve muscle mass for the general population, but these findings are incredibly encouraging.

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10. Reduces Health Effects of Pollution

Omega-3 fatty acids can help shield you from the damaging cardiac effects that you will experience when exposed to air pollution, especially ultrafine particulate matter. This is one of the most useful benefits of fish oil, as we will all be exposed to air pollution at some point in our lives.

One study on 29 healthy adults concluded that “omega-3 fatty acid supplements offer protection against the adverse cardiac and lipid effects associated with air pollution exposure”[10].

11. Helps Maintain Bone Density

NASA scientists have discovered that NFκB, a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid, can “inhibit the activation of factors that lead to bone breakdown” in patients with osteoporosis[11]. The same was true for those experiencing weightlessness in space, though you’re unlikely to find yourself in the same position anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

Which of these benefits of fish oil is most relevant to you? Whether you’re aiming to reduce symptoms of depression, lower your risk of cancer, or protect your skin, eating fish or taking fish oil and omega-3 dietary supplements can help as part of a healthy lifestyle.

More on the Benefits of Fish Oil

Featured photo credit: Caroline Attwood via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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