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Last Updated on March 18, 2021

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

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

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

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Published on October 19, 2021

13 Fish Oil Benefits For Women And Men

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13 Fish Oil Benefits For Women And Men

Fish oils are great sources of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Omega fats are essential, meaning that they can’t be synthesized in your body and have to be eaten in your diet. Omega-3 is synthesized by microalgae—not by fish—but accumulates in the tissue when they are eaten by fish and shellfish further up the food chain. Oily fish contains about 30% fat in their tissues, and this is where the omega fatty acids are found. There are many claims about omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils. But what is the evidence of the real benefits of fish oil for men and women? Can fish oils really improve your brain health, reduce your cholesterol, or help your heart?

Learn about the role of omega-3 as signaling molecules, in cell membranes, arthritis, and even eye disease. Find out the main benefits of fish oil for men and women and how to get enough.

What Are Omega Fatty Acids?

There are two types of fats or fatty acids that are essential and can’t be produced in our bodies: omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 can be broken down into three main forms: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fish oils contain DHA and EPA omega fatty acids and are a good source of these essential fats.

13 Benefits of Fish Oil (Omega Fatty Acids)

There are several different health benefits of omega fatty acids. Below are the 13 most common fish oil benefits for men and women.

1. Structural Role in Cells

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids have an important structural role, as they are needed for cell membranes. You have an estimated 724 trillion cells in your body, and that is a lot of cell membranes to keep healthy.

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2. Energy Source

Both omega-3 and -6 are sources of energy, just like any other fat source. This means they can be used alongside energy from carbohydrates to power your body, providing energy for essential functions and exercise.

3. Signaling Molecules

Omega fatty acids are used to form signaling molecules called eicosanoids, comprised of prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes that have extremely important functions within our bodies.

Prostaglandins

There are many different prostaglandins with wide-ranging roles, such as the sensation of pain, inflammation, regulation of pregnancy and birth, control of blood pressure, secretion of stomach acid, contraction, and relaxation of smooth muscle.

Thromboxanes

Thromboxanes regulate blood clotting by causing constriction of blood vessels and the aggregation of platelets (so they stick together), which are early steps in blood clotting.

Leukotrienes

Leukotrienes are involved in immune function by attracting immune cells, such as neutrophils, to sites of inflammation. They also constrict bronchioles in the lungs and make capillary walls permeable.

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4. Prevent Heart Diseases

Cardiovascular events are diseases related to blood vessels, such as clots, rhythm problems, and heart attacks. Studies have found that ALA may reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.[1][2]

5. Decrease Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Triglycerides are part of your cholesterol profile. Higher levels are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Studies have found that there is an inverse relationship between omega-3 and triglyceride levels.[3] This means that an increased intake of omega-3 led to a decrease in triglycerides and that higher doses of omega-3 led to a greater effect. This effect was stronger in people who already had raised triglycerides.

One of the ways of decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease is by lowering your cholesterol. One study found that EPA and DHA decreased triglycerides by about 15% and reduced the risk of coronary artery death and coronary events, which are illnesses of arteries supplying the heart.

6. Improve Brain Health

A grouped meta-analysis has not found any link between omega 3 and dementia, but more information is needed to see if omega-3 can prevent cognitive decline. Learn more about this here: How Fish Oil Boosts Your Mental Clarity And Brain Power

7. Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Omega-3 supplements have been found to benefit the clinical outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis and may even delay the need for medications.[4][5]

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8. Decrease Progression of Osteoarthritis

A large prospective study in patients with wear and tear (osteoarthritis OA) found that a higher intake of total and saturated fat was associated with an increased risk of worsening OA, whereas a higher intake of unsaturated fats was associated with decreased progression of OA measured via X-rays.[6]

The current opinion is that the metabolic products of omega-3 fatty acids are less inflammatory than those produced from omega6 fatty acids. Western diets are associated with an imbalance of omega-3 and -6 such that instead of levels of omega-3 being higher than omega-6, the reverse is more commonly seen.

9. Prevent Autoimmune Diseases

There is also limited evidence that omega-3 supplementation may benefit people with other types of autoimmune arthropathies like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but more research is needed.

10. Good For Eye Health

The macula is part of the retina at the back of the eye, and although it is tiny—only about 5mm across—it has a very important role in vision. It is responsible for our central vision, most of our color vision, and the fine detail of what we see. Getting enough omega-3 is linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration, one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness.[7][8]

11. Boost Your Mood

It is suggested that omega-3 may play a role in the prevention and treatment of depression. However, meta-analyses of the data have not confirmed clear benefits. Instead, more research looking at the effect of supplementing omega-3 in people with depression is needed.[9]

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12. Lower Blood Pressure

The evidence of the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids on high blood pressure (hypertension) is mixed with large-scale studies showing either no effect or a small reduction in risk of hypertension.[10][11] Omega-3 fats do have other health benefits, though. They are unlikely to do harm and are easily incorporated into your diet by eating oily fish twice a week and seeds, such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and nuts.

13. Help With Fertility

Omega-3 appears to have a role in a healthy gamete (eggs and sperm) formation with consumption associated with increased probability of pregnancy and live birth rate.[12][13][14]

Where Are Omega Fatty Acids Found?

If you are allergic to fish or don’t eat it, how can you get enough omega-3? There are other sources of ALA is found in plant oils, such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in oily fish, fish oils, and krill oils. DHA and EPA are synthesized by microalgae, not by the fish, but they accumulate in the tissue when they are eaten by fish and shellfish further up the food chain.

Final Thoughts

While there is evidence of the benefits for eye health, arthritis, improved cholesterol, and heart health, evidence to support the benefits of fish oil in helping high blood pressure, protecting brain health, and preventing dementia are less convincing.

Studies have found a “whole food effect” where eating oily fish appears to be more beneficial than supplementing with a fish or cod liver oil. There are also other plant-based sources of omega-3. Although some of these studies suggest that the more omega-3 the better, there is a limit to the recommended dose of supplements unless prescribed by your doctor.

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Omega-3 supplements may interfere with warfarin, due to its anti-platelet role in clotting, so it’s best to check with your doctor before starting a supplement.

Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel via unsplash.com

Reference

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