The Benefits of Fish Oil
- Updated: February 28, 2013
One of the most beneficial supplements you can take for your overall health is omega-3 fatty acids, which come most commonly in the form of fish oil – either in liquid, capsule or soft-gel form. Fish oil is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids that help the body function in key ways while also helping to fight potentially harmful conditions that break down the body’s resistance to certain ailments, some of which may be life-threatening.
Here are some of the other documented benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil:
- General health and well-being, including improved mood, healthy metabolism and body composition, bone strength, memory, respiratory function, skin health, eye health and attention and focus.
- Improved cardiovascular health, including improved heart rate and function, reduced triglycerides, reduced blood pressure, reduced inflammation of the heart and blood vessels and reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Improved cognitive health for all ages, including reduced risks to developing fetuses, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorders.
- Anti-inflammatory properties, including joint dysfunction.
- Pregnancy, infancy and breast feeding, including improvements in the status of breast milk and reduction of certain types of allergies.
- Ocular health, including decreased likeliness of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases traditionally associated with aging.
Omega-3 is a complex chemical compound that is not manufactured by the human body, so the only way we can get it is through food sources and/or supplementation. Fish are among the best sources of omega-3 but, in the Western world, fresh fish is not as much a part of the diet as it used to be. Many of those who receive their recommended daily allowances of omega-3 essential fatty acids do so through supplementation.
It is important to remember that not all fish oil is created equal. Be sure that the oil is in a natural triglyceride form for best absorption. Purchase a brand that is trusted, supported by research and third party tested. It is also important to look for the amount of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) per pill. The higher the amount the better. Always be sure to look for a company that specializes in fish oil or a product that is pharmaceutical grade. It should also be free of mercury and other toxins.
Soft-gel capsules are the most frequently used omega-3 supplements because this form is often the most palatable. Most softgel capsules contain 2,400 mg (2.4 g) of fish oil per serving. Daily servings will depend on the individual’s needs. You should consult your doctor and let him or her make the call on whether or not you should take them and, if so, how much, based on your medical profile.