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11 Impressive Health Benefits Of Fish Oil

| Reviewed By Dr. Karthika Thirugnanam

Having gained popularity in the recent times, fish oil is here to stay. Health experts swear by the benefits of fish oil, making it one of the most beneficial healthy oils. Made from the tissues of cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut etc., fish oils are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that offer a wide variety of health benefits. EPA and DHA are fatty acids that your body cannot make and have to be attained from the food we eat. These fatty acids are commonly associated with heart health, bone strength, anti-ageing and many more [1] .

Fish oil is generally made up of 30 per cent omega-3 fatty acids and 70 per cent of other essential nutrients. From aiding weight loss to improving your vision, consumption of fish oil can help improve your overall health [2] . Fish oil is available in the form of liquid, tablet, capsule, pill, or soft gels. There is no specific dosage for fish oil, however, there are recommendations for omega-3 intake [3] . The daily recommended intake of combined EPA and DHA is 0.25 - 2 g per day.

100 grams of fish oil contains about 900 calories of energy and 100 g total lipid[4] . Continue reading to know the ways through which the consumption of fish oil can help you.

Health Benefits Of Fish Oil

1. Improves heart health

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death all over the world. Studies have shown that people who consume a controlled and regulated amount of fish oil have a lower rate of heart disease [5] . Fish oil can reduce cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and heart attacks. It is also asserted that people who have metabolic syndrome and predisposition to heart disease will be benefited from taking fish oil regularly [6] .

2. Promotes weight loss

Consuming fish oil can improve your body composition, reduce the chances of obesity and can aid weight loss. The eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in fish oil play a significant role in fat burning [7] .

3. Enhances vision

Studies have revealed that fish oil has the ability to improve vision. Regular consumption of fish oil can play a central role in reducing the onset of age-related macular degeneration [8] .

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4. Reduces inflammation

Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat symptoms of certain inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in fish oil are well known for its anti-inflammatory property [9] .

5. Prevents cancer

Studies have shown that fish oil can help to prevent various types of cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, thus preventing cancer [10] .

6. Boosts immunity

Regular consumption of fish oil is linked with the improved immune system[11] . This, in turn, helps you to combat a few common ailments like colds, cough and flu. Having fish oil will also help in reducing fever, skin rashes and fatigue.

7. Treats asthma

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have the ability to reduce the inflammation of the lungs and therefore has a potential role in treating asthma [12] . Consume fish oil on a regular basis, so as to improve your respiratory process.

8. May help manage ADHD symptoms

Some studies have shown the fish oil supplementation can be useful in the management of ADHD due to their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Children suffering from hyperactivity, dyslexia, low concentration, emotional instability and poor coordination should consume fish oil [10] . It also helps manage the symptoms of ADHD.

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9. Promotes growth & development

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is extremely beneficial for growth and development. Due to this property, fish oil is highly recommended for mothers during pregnancy and while breastfeeding because it improves hand and eye coordination in infants and also is required for their basic development [13] .

10. Manages osteoarthritis

Fish oil has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid, which plays a major role in reducing varying signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis when compared to people who don't take it. Studies have revealed that regular consumption of fish oil can be highly effective for individuals suffering from the condition[14] .

11. Controls diabetes

According to various studies, fish oil has the ability to reduce the triglyceride levels in patients with diabetes, thereby improving their health and limiting the onset of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke [6] .

Apart from the above-mentioned health benefits, consuming fish oil help improve fertility, prevents Lou Gehrig's disease, improves blood circulation, supports healthy pregnancy, prevents ulcers, treats acne, improves skin and hair quality, aids in managing the risk and progression of Alzheimer's disease, relieves depression and anxiety, and help slow the progression of arthritis [15] [16] .

Healthy Fish Oil Recipe

1. Smoked trout, walnut, and endive salad

Ingredients[17]

  • 2 tbsp lemon flavoured fish oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp shallot bulb, finely minced
  • 1 medium sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp endives, chopped
  • 3 cups sunflower sprouts
  • 1 cup smoked trout, flaked into bite-size pieces
  • 10 walnut halves, toasted

Directions

  • Mix the fish oil, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, minced shallot, and salt.
  • Set aside.
  • Take a bowl and add the chopped endives, sunflower sprouts, and smoked trout.
  • Top with toasted walnuts, and drizzle with dressing.

Side Effects Of Fish Oil

  • Individuals who are allergic to seafood can develop hives and swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat [18] .
  • In children, over-consumption can cause itchiness, sneezing or a dry cough.
  • It may weaken the immune system of children when consumed in large quantities.
  • Pregnant women should avoid it because the mercury content can harm the memory, hearing abilities, cognitive skills and vision of the baby[19] .
  • Excessive consumption may elevate the symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Individuals suffering from diabetes, liver disease and cancer should avoid fish oil.
  • Excessive intake can lower blood pressure levels below the normal level.

Excess consumption of fish oil can cause the following side effects [20] :

  • Bad breath
  • Stomach upset
  • Loose stools
  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Uneven heartbeat

Infographics by Sharan Jayanth

View Article References
  1. [1] Sutili, F. J., Gatlin III, D. M., Heinzmann, B. M., & Baldisserotto, B. (2018). Plant essential oils as fish diet additives: benefits on fish health and stability in the feed. Reviews in Aquaculture,10(3), 716-726.
  2. [2] Eslick, G. D., Howe, P. R., Smith, C., Priest, R., & Bensoussan, A. (2009). Benefits of fish oil supplementation in hyperlipidemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.International journal of cardiology,136(1), 4-16.
  3. [3] Sidhu, K. S. (2003). Health benefits and potential risks related to consumption of fish or fish oil.Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology,38(3), 336-344.
  4. [4] Nasopoulou, C., & Zabetakis, I. (2012). Benefits of fish oil replacement by plant originated oils in compounded fish feeds. A review.LWT-Food Science and Technology,47(2), 217-224.
  5. [5] Sidhu, K. S. (2003). Health benefits and potential risks related to consumption of fish or fish oil.Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology,38(3), 336-344.
  6. [6] Horrocks, L. A., & Yeo, Y. K. (1999). Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).Pharmacological research,40(3), 211-225.
  7. [7] Harris, W. S. (2004). Fish oil supplementation: evidence for health benefits.Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine,71(3), 208-221.
  8. [8] Turner, R., McLean, C. H., & Silvers, K. M. (2006). Are the health benefits of fish oils limited by products of oxidation?.Nutrition research reviews,19(1), 53-62.
  9. [9] Daviglus, M., Sheeshka, J., & Murkin, E. (2002). Health benefits from eating fish.Comments on Toxicology,8(4-6), 345-374.
  10. [10] Ruxton, C., Reed, S., Simpson, M., & Millington, K. (2007). The health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence.Journal of human nutrition and dietetics: the official journal of the British Dietetic Association,20(3), 275-285.
  11. [11] Swanson, D., Block, R., & Mousa, S. A. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life.Advances in nutrition,3(1), 1-7.
  12. [12] Thien, F. C., De Luca, S., Woods, R. K., & Abramson, M. J. (2002). Dietary marine fatty acids (fish oil) for asthma in adults and children.Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (2).
  13. [13] Mourente, G., & Bell, J. G. (2006). Partial replacement of dietary fish oil with blends of vegetable oils (rapeseed, linseed and palm oils) in diets for European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) over a long term growth study: effects on muscle and liver fatty acid composition and effectiveness of a fish oil finishing diet.Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,145(3-4), 389-399.
  14. [14] Peanpadungrat, P. (2015). Efficacy and safety of fish oil in treatment of knee osteoarthritis.J Med Assoc Thai,98(Suppl 3), S110-14.
  15. [15] Lee, A. V., You, L., Oh, S. Y., Li, Z., Code, A., Zhu, C., ... & Karrow, N. A. (2019). Health Benefits of Supplementing Nursery Pig Diets with Microalgae or Fish Oil.Animals,9(3), 80.
  16. [16] Parker, H. M., Cohn, J. S., O’Connor, H. T., Garg, M. L., Caterson, I. D., George, J., & Johnson, N. A. (2019). Effect of Fish Oil Supplementation on Hepatic and Visceral Fat in Overweight Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial.Nutrients,11(2), 475.
  17. [17] NA. (2010). Fish Oil [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/fish-oil
  18. [18] Hardman, W. E., Moyer, M. P., & Cameron, I. L. (1999). Fish oil supplementation enhanced CPT-11 (irinotecan) efficacy against MCF7 breast carcinoma xenografts and ameliorated intestinal side-effects.British journal of cancer,81(3), 440.
  19. [19] Lau, C. S., Morley, K. D., & Belch, J. J. F. (1993). EFFECTS OF FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTATION ON NON-STEROIDAL ANTI—INFLAMMATORY DRUG REQUIREMENT IN PATIENTS WITH MILD RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS—A DOUBLE-BLIND PLACEBO CONTROLLED STUDY.Rheumatology,32(11), 982-989.
  20. [20] Anti, M., Armelao, F., Marra, G., Percesepe, A., Bartoli, G. M., Palozza, P., ... & Gasbarrini, G. (1994). Effects of different doses of fish oil on rectal cell proliferation in patients with sporadic colonic adenomas.Gastroenterology,107(6), 1709-1718.
Karthika ThirugnanamClinical Nutritionist and Dietitian
MS, RDN (USA)
Karthika Thirugnanam

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