Health Benefits of Fish OilIs fish oil good for you?
You have probably heard about fish oils and associated omega-3 fatty acids, but how much do you actually know about them? What are the benefits of fish oil and what is it good for? This page is going to explain in plain and simple terms what omega 3 fatty acid is, as well as highlighting fish oil benefits so that you can make your own informed decision as to whether they are worth including in your diet from now on. Furthermore, we will explain what fish oil side effects are and let you know how much of it you should take per day.
Many people will also be wondering whether fish oils and the omega 3 fatty acid that they contain can also be beneficial to their pets. Look no further because we have a section on fish oil for dogs at the end of this page.
Millions of people worldwide take cod liver oil supplements each and every day. When these were first introduced they were marketed as cures for all sorts of illnesses and ailments, historically because of the vitamin A and D content of cod liver oil. Nowadays, fish oil capsules and supplements are considered better for a variety of reasons. Current fish oil pills are made up of more than just cod liver oil and also contain important refined DHA and EPA oils, without any toxins from the water the fish derive from. As we discuss further down the page though, there are certain things that you will need to check in order to make sure you are getting a good fish oil.
A lot of research has been carried out in order to ascertain and promote the benefits of fish oils. In the following sections we will discuss what exactly they contain that is beneficial to us, and why we should make an effort to include them in our diets. If there is one thing which is synonymous with fish oil benefits it is Omega 3 fatty acids, which are renowned good acids.
This whole site is dedicated to the nutritional benefits that vitamins and minerals offer the human body, so if you are interested in the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils then you are almost certainly going to find our other pages useful.
What is Omega 3 Fatty Acid?
Naturally, when you hear the word ‘fatty’ in relation to foods, in you are likely to be sceptical and think that it is bad for you. Nine out of ten times you will be right to assume that, but not when it comes to omega 3 fatty acids. Found in fish and plant oils, they have been clinically proven to have a positive effect on your health and well being.
Omega three fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Three of them are involved in human physiology. ALA (A-lineoleic acid) is found in plant oils such as walnut and flaxseed oil and won’t concern us further here. The other two are EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and are found in fish oils. These oils are important for normal metabolism, however the human body is not able to produce them itself. This means that in order to make the most of all of the the omega 3 fatty acid benefits, we have to make the effort to consume them on a regular basis.
The best source of omega three fatty acid is through the consumption of fish oils, which you guessed it come from fish, and oily fish in particular! Mackerel, tuna, salmon, mullet, anchovy, sardines, herring and trout are all particularly rich sources, containing about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 100 g (3.5 oz). However, there are other ways to get the fish oils that you need and a primary one is through omega 3 fish oil supplements. These can be bought online or in local supermarkets, stores and pharmacies.
As with most things that are nutritious and good for us, such as the many vitamins and minerals covered on this site, the best way to get what we need is through our diet.
Fish Oil BenefitsDoes fish oil help the body?
In this section, we highlight what fish oil benefits are. If you are asking yourself ‘why take fish oil?’, then hopefully the information that follows will answer this question for you.
Before we go on to provide you a list of benefits, it is important to say that the vast majority of health professionals will recommend that you get the fish oils that you need from the food in your diet, as opposed to taking a regular supplement.
- Studies by the American Heart association shows that fish oil can lessen the rate of cardiovascular disease. It works by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels (fats associated with cholesterol), and this in turn reduces the chances of coronary heart disease, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions.
- The immune system is boosted by the omega three fatty acids found in fish oils.
- Good for the treatment of dry and damaged skin, helping replenish the natural oils.
- It can also help with skin conditions such as psoriasis.
- These oils can be used to help with dry eyes, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Omega 3 fish oils can help to reduce pain and inflammation in joints.
- By getting more fish into your diet you are going to boost your health as many fish contain various other nutrients. This includes vitamin A in cod liver oil, protein in cod, mackerel, tuna and shell fish; and zinc in oysters and shellfish.
- Studies at Montreal University have shown that fish oils can help depression. Taking a regular supplement is believed to help depression because the omega 3 fatty acids have a positive effect on neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Omega 3 fatty acids can even help with weight loss, as they are burned as energy straight away and not stored on the body as fat. When it comes to the benefits of fish oil surely this is one that everybody will be interested in!
- Fish oil is sometimes used after coronary artery bypass surgery, as it seems to help keep the rerouted blood vessel from closing up.
When considering the above list of benefits, remember that it is vital that the oils you consume contain a high percentage of omega 3 fatty acids, as essentially many of the above benefits are in fact omega 3 fatty acid benefits! If you feel that these supplements are the way forward for you then it is always wise to check the percentage of omega 3 acids in the product. The higher the percentage of Omega 3 in the fish oil, the better. Concentrations of between 30 to 70% are widely available, so go for the highest you can find so you can reap the full benefits of fish oil pills.
What is fish oil good for?fish oil uses
While a good question to ask is ‘what is fish oil good for?’, perhaps it is more important to highlight what a lack of fish oil and omega 3 fatty acid can do to you. Below is a list of conditions that are linked to a lack of omega 3 fatty acid, which can happen if you don’t have enough fish in your diet or don’t take supplements.
- Anxiety and Depression
- Poor circulation
- Dry and damaged skin
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Poor moods
- Poor memory
- Weaker immune system
Taking a supplement that contains omega 3 fatty acids is believed to help avoid these conditions. However, it is always better to look to prevention rather than cure, so if you feel you would benefit from fish oil, or any other vitamins and minerals, it’s a good idea to make the positive changes now rather than wait until there is a problem that needs treating. So in short, what fish oil is good for is keeping you healthy and contributing to you avoiding the above problems.
Side EffectsAre there any fish oil side effects?
Naturally if you are going to start putting something into your body on a regular basis you will want to know whether there are going to be any negative effects. In this section we are going to cover what the most common side effects of fish oil are.
While there are various fish oil side effects that you should look out for if you are taking supplements, it is generally true that the better quality product you buy, the less chance there is of experiencing any of these side effects. The reason being is that generally you get what you pay for, and anything cheap is going to be made from poorer quality oil, probably from low quality fish.
- Diarrhea – It is possible that your body may not agree with fish oil, especially when you first start taking it. Diarrhoea is a fairly common side effect, so start off with smaller doses to allow your body to become accustomed to the pills and the omega three fatty acids inside them.
- Mixing fish oil with any medication – If you are taking any regular medication then you should speak to your doctor or other medical professional before you start to take a regular dose of fish oil, to be certain that it won’t conteract the effects of any existing medication.
- Skin irritation – Some people develop itchy and irritable skin when they start to take these capsules. The risk of this can be reduced by ensuring you only take pharmaceutical grade fish oils and avoid cheaper ones. However, more serious skin rashes are not a side effect but a sign of an allergy, and it goes without saying that if you are allergic to fish, you may need to avoid fish oils as well.
- Allergy – If you have a fish allergy then you must check with your GP as to whether the oils that you plan to take may trigger the allergy. While the ALA form of Omega 3 fatty acid is less well absorbed by the body, it is a good alternative for those with fish allergies or following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Acid indigestion and heartburn – There is the chance that fish oil can cause heartburn and acid indigestion. To minimise this risk, take them before you eat so that they can be digested properly and always check on the label that the fish oils that you are buying are properly purified.A high quality product will lead to more fish oil benefits and less fish oil side effects.
- Metal poisoning – This is a very minor risk but one worth mentioning. It is impossible to tell whether fish from the ocean have ever come into contact with polluted water. It is more likely that lower quality and less purified products could be subject to toxins that trigger metal poisoning. Though highly unlikely, it does remain a possibility.
It is also important to note that some people should avoid taking fish oil supplements altogether, If you suffer from liver disease, a disorder of the pancreas, diabetes or an under-active thyroid the fish oil is not recommended. Of course, you can always discuss with your doctor whether these supplements are right for you if you are unsure.
As you can see there are several possible side effects of fish oil, but most of them are rather uncommon, particularly when you are careful to check out the product that you are going to be using.
Fish Oil DosageHow much fish oil per day?
If you don’t already take a regular supplement but are thinking about taking advantage of the many benefits of fish oil, then one of the main questions that you will find yourself asking is ‘how much fish oil should I take per day?’.
When it comes to how much fish oil you should take each day the American Heart Association recommend 1,000 mg of Omega 3 fish oil. The higher the percentage of omega 3 there is in the fish oil pill that you take, the better it is for you. It may well be that you pay more for fish oil supplements that have a higher percentage of omega 3 fatty acids, but you will get more benefits and will be making a real difference to your body, as opposed to just regular fish oil which won’t.
If you are thinking about getting your fish oil dosage from fish in your diet, then well done. Anchovy, sardine, herring, trout and salmon are all good sources of the omega 3 fatty acids you need.
The National Institute of Health claims that the average adult should be eating 100 g (3.5 oz) of fish twice a week in order to get the relevant amount of fish oil that they need. If you are getting your fish oils in this way then the firsh should be broiled or baked, not fried.
The World Health Organization recommends that the average healthy adult consumes 1 to 3 grams of EPA and DHA , the two main oils found in omega 3 fatty acid fish oil.
However, fish oil dosage can vary from person to person depending on the individuals health, and taking too much can actually increase the risk of strokes, so if you are planning to take supplements it is always best to consult a qualified medical practitioner. In order to take advantage of the many benefits of fish oil it is always wise to find out how much is safe and which fish oil you should consume, and doctors and health professionals will have an educated opinion on this.
What is the best fish oil?
There are various brands of fish oil that you can buy online and in local shops and pharmacies, but you need to make sure you know what you are buying. There are various things to look out for when it comes to buying your omega 3 fatty acid rich fish oil. No matter the price or brand of the fish oil supplements that you buy, always ensure that you have checked for the following:
- The fish oil supplements contain omega 3 fatty acids and are not just plain fish oil, because the most important thing in fish oils is the omega 3 fatty acid.
- Check that the fish oil has actually been extracted from the fish flesh and not from parts such as the eyes, head or tails, as the quality will be notably less.
- It is important that the fish used to make the best fish oil capsules are highlighted. The best source of fish oils are tuna, sardines, anchovies and salmon. Alternatively, actually eating these fish will do you good in addition to taking a regular fish oil pill.
- It is advisable to only take a supplement that is made from 100% pure fish oils and not any that have had anything added to them such as pesticides. Also avoid anything that has been molecularly distilled.
- Check on the label that the EPA and DHA add up to the total amount of oil in the product. If they don’t it would appear the manufacturer is adding in random oils to make the numbers up! The best fish oils will always have all EPA and DHA in them.
- Krill oil provides both fatty acids, but is only available at 30% EPA/DHA. While purveyors claim it is more easily absorbed, this oil is up to ten times more expensive than regular fish oils which are available between 30 and 70% EPA/DHA. So while it is good for you, it may be more economical to look for regular fish oils.
We hope that these few tips on what the best fish oils are will help you when it comes to choosing the right supplements for you. As with any product that you are going to consume, it is always important to read the label so that you know exactly what it is that you are putting into your body.
Fish oil for dogs
Fish oil for dogs can help with degenerative diseases such as arthritis and many people will give their dog a regular fish oil tablet if they appear to be lame in their limbs, as this is the obvious sign of such a condition. They can also help with coat and skin condition, improved immune system, increased stamina and decreased shedding. Many vets and animal health specialists will recommend fish oil capsules for dogs and other animals. Other reasons it may be recommended for dogs to intake regular fish oil is kidney problems, skin conditions, various inflammatory disorders and high cholesterol. The usual recommended dose is 20 mg per pound of body weight, so a 15lb dog should have 300 mg of supplement.
When you are looking to get your dog food products that contain fish oils or a regular fish oil supplement, it is as important as with those that humans consume that you seek a product that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The best thing is to ask your veterinarian for their recommendation to be sure you are getting the best possible product for your furry friend.