The benefits of fish oil supplements keep piling up. It seems that a month doesn’t go by when there isn’t a new study or new research confirming the benefits of fish oil supplements or finds even more benefits that weren’t previously known.
In this article we will review the facts regarding fish oil, the foods that you can add to your diet that are high in Omega-3s, how much fish oil you should take in you use the supplement form, and the potential side effects associated with consuming fish oil.
There are concerns about getting enough fish oil, whether from eating fatty fish like salmon or from fish oil supplements, due to ocean contamination.
In particular, due to mercury contamination many fish, unless farmed, may have high levels of toxins in them. And this can apply to fish oil supplements as well unless they are purified.
Now, before going into the traits you should look for in searching for the best fish oil supplements for you and your family, here are the positive benefits of fish oil supplements
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #1: Anti-inflammatory properties
The term ‘Essential’ from a medical perspective means that our bodies need the fatty acids to function normally but do not produce them on their own. They must be obtained from food sources.
They are a major part of the anti-inflammatory diet and help to regulate the body’s inflammation cycle. The anti-inflammatory diet, pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil, deals with this by promoting foods with anti-inflammatory properties as well as promoting the benefits of fish oil supplements.
Adopting this dietary approach, and the fish oil supplements that go along with it, are one of the foundations of health and fitness.
Fish oil supplements and their anti-inflammatory properties are effective at reducing the inflammation that comes with arthritis, rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, and Colitis.
However, it should be noted that fish oil supplements do not prevent inflammation, but merely helps to reduce the effects of inflammation.
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #2: Reducing The Risks of Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
Heart attacks and strokes are caused by the buildup of plaque along the inside walls of your arteries. This plaque restricts the blood flow to that part of the body.
When an artery is sufficiently restricted where blood cannot flow normally to the heart, it results in a heart attack. If one of the pieces of plaque breaks loose and eventually travels to the brain and blocks a blood vessel there, a stroke results.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) play an instrumental role in helping the body to break these clots up before they have the opportunity to appear.
Additionally, proper amounts of Omega 3 fish oil supplements helps to lower your levels of LDL cholesterol [low density lipoprotein, otherwise known as your ‘bad cholesterol’, while at the same time raising the levels of HDL cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, otherwise known as your ‘good cholesterol’.
It also lowers the triglyceride levels in your blood.
As the WebMD website states:
‘You need some triglycerides for good health. But high triglycerides can raise your risk of heart disease and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome.’
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #3: Weight Loss
Research has shown that taking fish oil aids in the efficiency of exercise. Fish oil, whether through fatty fish or fish oil supplements, were used by one group that exercised regularly as opposed to a control group. The group taking the fish oil experienced greater weight loss than the group that did not.
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements #4: Increased Blood Circulation
By reducing the level of triglycerides in your blood, as well as increasing your HDL levels to reduce the amount of plaque that is along the inside walls of your arteries, fish oil helps to increase blood flow throughout the body, and in particular to your extremities.
For this reason, taking fish oil supplements may be something that diabetics should speak with their doctor about.
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #5: Relief of Emotional Distress, Such as Depression and Anxiety
In a study reported on in the May 2001 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 30 volunteers who suffered from bi-polar affective disorder, where the patient can go back and forth from periods of being in a good state to periods of severe depression, and these swings can be extremely quick in nature.
The use of fish oil supplements by these patients showed a significant reduction in reducing the episodes of depression, so good in fact that ‘Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are now regarded as a promising but untested treatment as mood stabilizers.’1
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #6: ADHD and other learning disabilities in children
Research recently done in Australia has shown that children with ADHD and other learning disabilities can see significant improvements through taking fish oil supplements over a 6-month period.
And while research is still ongoing, the initial trial had children affected by learning disorders taking fish oil supplements over a 30 week period, and saw improvements in the children’s abilities by up to 50%.2
Benefits of Your Best Fish Oil Supplements #7: Alzheimer’s Disease
This is incredible but it could be that an over-the-counter pill can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research done by Louisiana State University and later confirmed by USLA researchers has found a link between proper amounts of fish oil and Alzheimer’s and eye disease. Here’s how it works:
When your liver fails to do its job properly, it does not supply the building blocks of proteins and enzymes that allow for the creation of omega-3 fatty acids. One of the side effects has been a significant increase in the likelihood of the patient developing eye problems as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
And in those that developed eye problems, such as macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease, there was a shortage of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood stream.3
As if this was another reason not to drink and maintain proper liver health, the possibility that the secret to avoiding contracting Alzheimer’s is in your liver already may be too good to pass up.
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements #8: Eye Disorders
I mentioned these benefits in #6 but let me add a few more points. Because in addition to the study above, there was also a study done by the National Eye Institute that showed that eating large amounts of Omega-3 essential fatty acids led to a 30% decrease in the possibility of contracting macular degeneration.4
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements #9: Skin Care and Acne
Fish oil and fish oil supplements contain two types of omega-3 fatty acids, known as EPA and DHA.
While DHA assists in brain function, EPA helps to prevent acne and delays the onset of wrinkles. And EPA is an anti-inflammatory agent as well (see Benefit #1) so the aid that fish oil supplements can do for your skin certainly merits you consuming copious amounts of Omega 3s.
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements #10: Diabetes
Since diabetics are more prone to hardening of the arteries, stroke and heart attack, it would definitely benefit those that are suffering from Type 2 Diabetes to speak to their doctor about the what potential benefits adding fish oil to their diets can do for them.
The benefits of fish oil supplements or just consuming foods with large amounts of omega-3s are so numerous that you cannot afford not to get the proper amounts of omega-3s in your diet.
Foods High In omega-3s
As stated above, a holistic approach to your health is the best way to go. So the best fish oil supplements you can take aren’t in a capsule. They are the real foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil that have the amazing benefits that were described above.
You should still take fish oil supplements, but you should also seek out those foods that are high in omega-3s as well.
Foods you should add to your diet include walnuts, salmon, sardines, soybeans, halibut, snapper, beans, olive oil and scallops.
When it comes to the fish, preparation is the key. If you fry the salmon in butter, you are not doing yourself much good. Make sure that fish is baked or broiled. This especially applies if you are eating out, where restaurants will take healthy foods and absolutely destroy them because of poor preparation techniques. They will taste great, but be awful for you.
The main health concern when it comes to fish oil supplements or obtaining fish oil from fatty fish, is the purity of the fish oil and the possibility of contamination by pollution. Our society is turning the oceans into a sewer, and as a result we are in the process of destroying our own food supply.
If you are consuming fatty fish such as salmon, you should seek out farmed fish that will reduce the possibilities of mercury contamination. In addition, when considering these same issues for fish oil supplements, you need to remember that fish oil supplements can be contaminated by mercury as well because they get the fish oil for their supplements from fish themselves, and if those fish are in the contaminated ocean the supplements may be contaminated as well.
Now, if you are going to take a pill and are looking for the best fish oil supplements on the market, here are some of the things that you should be aware of: