Oily fish is the most abundant food source of omega-three, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid ( EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid ( DHA ). In this article, we will give you a complete guide about the benefits of fish oil.
EPA and DHA are two essential fatty acids, which can be synthesized in the human body from an omega-3 precursor, alpha-linolenic acid ( ALA ). This fatty acid, also crucial, is particularly abundant in walnuts, canola, soybean, hemp oil, flaxseed, and related oil. Fish oil, especially in the elderly or when a specific supplement is required. However, it is preferable to obtain EPA and DHA directly from fish oil rather than indirectly taking them through food sources or supplements rich in alpha-linolenic acid. This recommendation is based on the assumption that the human body has a limited capacity to carry out the enzymatic conversion from ALA to EPA and DHA.
Table of Contents
The benefits of fish oil
A large amount of omega 3 provided by fish oil makes it one of the most beneficial natural elements for health because it intervenes in many metabolic processes in the body. One of its most recognized actions is to counteract the rise in triglycerides and promote better cholesterol management within the body, promoting HDL cholesterol.
Among its recognized properties:
- hypoglycemic agents;
It intervenes in various metabolic processes, supports the liver’s action, protects the arteries and promotes the cardiovascular system, intervenes in the case of intestinal or autoimmune inflammations, and counteracts diseases such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. It carries out a therapeutic action in case of need and also preventive.
Fish oil is anti-inflammatory par excellence, also ideal for those suffering from skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Also recommended in the diets of children and teenagers and any sportsman of any age. Its anti-inflammatory properties prevent neuro-muscular injuries, facilitate recovery after sports, and reduce the risk of injury.
The main benefits of fish oil
The benefits of fish oil largely depend on its omega 3 fat content.
Although the beneficial effects of fish oil are many, below we outline only the four most essential results. This oil benefits,
To balance the levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Fish oil supplements can help support a healthy blood cholesterol profile, so blood vessel blockages don’t occur.
- Doctors recommend 3-6 grams of fish oil per day, which, combined with a healthy and balanced diet (i.e., rich in fruit and vegetables), will become a real healthy touch for the health and general well-being of the body.
Improve bone health
- As we get older (especially women who no longer have normal estrogen and progesterone levels as they enter the menopausal years), bones can begin to become more fragile and thinner.
- In fact, it is not uncommon for osteoporosis problems to develop after a certain age.
- Recent studies have concluded that those who consume higher levels of fatty acids can contribute to their bones’ health.
- Paying attention to your diet is not only desirable but fundamental: did you know that (also) taking too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 can lead to the risk of lower bone mineral density?
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To improve mood
- Regular use of fish oil in your diet also helps improve mood.
- Unfortunately, diets today are often full of processed foods. And a poor-quality diet does not favor a healthy lifestyle, and this also negatively affects the character: this phenomenon manifests itself with an increase in stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Taking the right amount of fish oil helps promote serotonin levels. Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone.
To increase brain activity.
- Although fish oil is not a stimulant, taking it can feel a positive effect on brain activity.
However, it should be kept in mind that the benefits just indicated are not immediately available. But that it is necessary to use it in the diet for a period of a few weeks.
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How to choose fish oil
Not everything called “fish oil” is healthy and healthy. There are essential selection criteria to keep in mind. Fish oil is an animal derivative, and the first rule to choose it is to know its origin. Which fed on what is found in nature. Unlike farmed fish that are provided with induced feeding, those caught grow and graze in freedom.
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Quality: Benefits Of Fish Oil
Like humans, fish cannot synthesize omega-three directly but accumulate them in their tissues by absorbing them from the microalgae or animals they feed on. Herring, sardines, and other large and small bluefish, cod, salmon, and tuna are among the fish richest in omega-three. They accumulate not only omega-3s in their meat. But also toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, mercury, and chlordane.
Since many of these substances, and in particular dioxin and some pesticides, are fat-soluble. It is therefore advisable to pay particular attention to the supplement’s right choice, considering, in addition to the possible presence of contaminants, and the degree of lipoperoxidation of the same fatty acids it contains. The most critical fish-oil sources are salmon farming and cod liver.
There are various quality certifications relating to the degree of oxidation, the content of heavy metals, and toxic substances; the best known is probably the IFOS ( International Fish Oil Standard ).
Why is fish oil used? What is it for?
Fish oil is the primary source of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), known for their fundamental metabolic properties.
Initially used above all for its hypotiglyceride-lowering properties, fish oil has gained – over time and with many studies – a large important role in the preventive and therapeutic fields.
The following are now ascribed to fish oil:
- Hypotiglyceridemic and hypocholesterolemic metabolic properties;
- Anti-inflammatory properties ;
- Antioxidant properties;
- Immunomodulating properties;
- Hypoglycemic properties ;
- Neuroprotective properties;
- Hormonal-like properties;
- Antiallergic properties ;
- Cardioprotective properties.
For these reasons, fish oil is used in the prevention and control of various diseases, including:
- inflammatory bowel pathologies ;
- autoimmune pathologies ;
- diabetes ;
- cardiovascular disease ;
- neurodegenerative diseases allergic diseases.
- In recent years, fish oil has also been successfully used in sports.
Properties and Effectiveness
What benefits of fish oil shown during the studies?
Among the most studied and best-characterized supplements, there is undoubtedly fish oil and, more precisely, its essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.
The amount of studies concerning the preventive and therapeutic usefulness of fish oil has increased dramatically in the last 20 years, thanks to a refinement of study techniques.
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Fish oil and dyslipidemias
One of the first applications, therefore among the most studied, of fish oil was the metabolic one. Several clinical trials have shown how fish oil, at various dosages, can present an appreciable hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic action. More precisely, the use of 2-4 g daily would seem useful in reducing blood concentrations of triglycerides by over 20% and those of LDL cholesterol by about 10-15% in a few weeks.
The lipid-lowering activity of fish oil, combined with the anti-inflammatory ones, would contribute to cardiovascular health maintenance, reducing the risk of possible complications. These data were further corroborated by studies such as GISSI or by meta-analyses with over 30,000 participants, in which omega 3 supplementations, in addition to reducing the number of hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular events, would have generally contributed to reducing mortality.
Today, registered omega-three pharmaceutical specialties are available, such as Seacor, Esapent, and Eskimo.
Fish oil and inflammatory diseases
Exciting is the data deriving from various clinical trials. The use of fish oil, already at 3 grams per day, would have been useful in extending remission time in diseases. Such as Crohn’s mobo, and in improving the histological and symptomatological in patients with ulcerative colitis.
The anti-inflammatory effects have also been useful in the course of diseases. Such as psoriasis, for which the use of fish oil would have helped to reduce. The severity of skin lesions and, above all, to prevent complications.
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Fish oil and neurodegenerative diseases
The literature on the preventive efficacy of fish oil in the neurological and psychiatric fields seems quite unanimous. According to several authors, in fact, the continuous use of fish oil would reduce histological lesions and the subsequent decline of cognitive, mnemonic, perceptual, and motor functions in patients suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis.
Interesting data would also derive from the use of fish oil in psychiatry, in which it would prove useful as an adjunct to standard antidepressant therapy.
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Fish oil and sport
The anti-inflammatory action of fish oil would have proved useful in endurance athletes, subjected to particularly intense training sessions or competitions. In this context, the fish oil may help prevent injury neuro- muscular related strenuous exercise. The reduction of some markers of muscle damage. The greater ease of recovery and the removal of the risk of injuries would testify to the usefulness of fish oil in sports.
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Doses and Directions for Use
How to use fish oil
Over time, various fish oil-based supplements have followed, with different formats and concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Classically, with ratios of about 1.5 between EPA and DHA. It is possible to find on the market capsules, caps, or liquid solutions to drinking from 300 to 850 mg of omega 3 fatty acids. To preserve the same fatty acids from harmful lipoperoxidation processes, fish oil supplements should be fortified with antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
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Side Effects and Contraindications
Usually, omega 3 supplements are well tolerated by the vast majority of people and. Suppose the average doses of use are respected. They should not cause any problem.
In any case, the possible occurrence of undesirable effects and the presence of some contraindications cannot be excluded entirely. For this reason, before starting to take omega 3 supplements. It would be advisable to seek the advice of your doctor. Even more so if you suffer from particular ailments or diseases. Suppose you are in specific conditions (for example, pregnancy, breastfeeding breast, etc.) and/or following drug therapies.
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What drugs or foods can change the effect of fish oil?
By its biological properties, particular caution should be paid to the simultaneous intake of fish oil and:
- Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, garlic, and ginkgo Biloba: due to the increased risk of bleeding for a double antiplatelet effect. Condition potentially even more severe for oral anticoagulants ( coumadin, Sintrom, warfarin, acenocoumarol );
- Oral hypoglycemic agents: for possible unexpected glycemic changes. In the latter case, given the presence of contradictory studies. It would be imperative to evaluate the risk-benefit ratio with your doctor.
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Precautions for Use
What do you need to know before taking fish oil?
During pregnancy, the use of fish oil during lactation and in the first years of life should be supervised by medical personnel. In this regard, there is considerable evidence of the importance of an adequate intake of EPA and DHA to ensure. The optimal brain development of the fetus.
The same attention should be paid to patients on drug therapy with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. And to those who have diabetes and undergoing hypoglycemic treatment. Due to the increased risk of intra-operative bleeding.
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Pitch oil and omega-3 fatty acids
When it comes to fatty acids, the term fish oil is commonly associated with two types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) e
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
These two special omega-3 fats are found mainly in fish. But also in some animal products and phytoplankton (small aquatic plant organisms). Without going into technicalities, we will only say that fish oil acts mainly through eicosanoids. In the diet, the correct ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 influences the number of eicosanoids.
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Fish oil to balance our diet
Doctors recommend eating lots of fish, precisely because fish are the cheapest. And the richest source of these two types of omega-3 fats. Not only through fish but also in the form of fish oil. These two types of fats can usefully supplement and rebalance our regular diet. It is essential to know the benefits of fish oil. That fish oil can be more significant when the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids we take are balanced in our body, in an almost equal ratio (1: 1). For this reason,t we recommend balancing it by supplementing it with fish or fish oil, which is rich in omega-3s.
Maintaining an equal relationship between these two types of fats helps to have healthy blood vessels, reduces the number of lipids, and brings almost zero the risk of plaque accumulation in the blood vessels. Furthermore, according to recent scientific studies, fish oil can also decrease diabetes and various forms of cancer, including breast cancer.