There are various benefits and side effects of fish oil. Fish oil is often consumed as a dietary supplement. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, it is very important to our health. If you are not a fan of eating fish, then opt for fish oil supplements, which will also provide you with enough omega-3 fatty acids. To find out the Benefits and Side Effects of Fish Oil, read this article.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is obtained from the tissue of oily fishes like tuna, herring, anchovies, and mackerel, while cod liver oil is extracted from the livers of cod. Fish oil holds two essential omega-3 fatty acids as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Interestingly, our body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own. As the omega-3 fatty acids protect us from many diseases, WHO also recommends we include 2 portions of fish a week in our diet. However, if you don’t like to eat fish, fish oil supplements come in handy.
Here are some benefits and uses of fish oil that you should know about.
Benefits of Fish Oil
- Enhances Skin and Hair Health
In our body, the omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil improves the production of collagen and gives a youthful look. It aids the cells to hold their natural moisture, keeping the skin healthy and hydrated all day long. Daily intake of fish oil or its supplements will eliminate your acne problems and make your skin brighter.
- Helps your Heart
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may benefit the heart by lowering triglyceride levels, decreasing blood pressure slightly, reducing blood clots, and also preventing inflammation of the blood vessels. Even though fish oil won’t prevent heart attack or stroke, it reduces the risk factors associated with heart disease.
- Aids Weight loss
If you want to lose weight, take a fish oil supplement, as it helps you lose a few extra pounds. Unlike various weight loss supplements that consist of caffeine and extra stimulants, it will not make you feel anxious and nervous. Either your energy levels will also not drop after taking it. Fish oil decreases your appetite and helps you to lose fat, as it minimizes fat storage. All you need to do is to take enough dosage.
- Improves Eye Health
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is great nourishment for our eyes. It prevents eye disorders and avoids macular degeneration. A study states that, if anyone is not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, they will face high-risk eye problems. It is also found that omega-3 will lower the risk of dry eye syndrome and reduce the risk of glaucoma. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is the body’s most essential omega-3 fatty acid plays a vital role in improving eye health.
- Reduces Inflammation
Recent research revealed that fish oil which contains omega-3 fatty acids might reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory molecules, specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) have very effect on white blood cells and also control blood vessel inflammation. Our body makes SPMs by breaking down important fatty acids. The researchers found that intake of fish oil supplements raises blood levels of SPMs.
- Relieves Depression
Omega-3 acids can easily pass through the brain cell membrane and associate with mood-related molecules. These fatty acids in fish oil also hold anti-inflammatory actions that may ease depression. Besides, omega-3 is important in maintaining normal brain function throughout life.
EPA and DHA also play an important role in a baby’s brain development. Several studies say that pregnant women consuming fish or fish oil will benefit children’s intelligence.
- Eases Joint Pain
For those who have joint problems, everyday activities like walking, climbing steps, and exercising can cause horrible pain. Even though over-the-counter pain killers can relieve some discomfort in joints such as arthritis and bursitis, there are a couple of helpful natural alternatives.
Fish oil is the best substitute for joint pain relief. The fatty acids that are present in fish oil, reduce the inflammation in joints and minimize the pain. But it is necessary to take the right quantity of it every day.
- Reduces Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is mostly triggered due to some allergies in which our immune system generates more immunoglobulin which leads to swelling of airways and thus, hard to breathe. In cases like this, precautions should be taken to lower the factors that trigger asthma attacks.
Few studies say that patients who consume fish oil on a regular basis show positive results. There will be relief in breathing and also less sensitivity to the allergens that cause asthma.
Side Effects of Fish Oil
Fish oil is popular for its health-promoting properties. Yet, consuming more fish oil rather than the suggested dose may actually do more harm than benefit your health. It is always important to consult your health care provider before taking a fish oil supplement.
Here are a few side effects that occur when you eat more fish oil.
- High Blood Sugar Levels
The research found that consuming high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids could raise blood sugar levels by stimulating the production of glucose in people with diabetes.
However, other research shows up in contradictory to the results, recommending that only high doses affect blood sugar.
Diarrhoea is one of the most common side effects of consuming high doses of fish oil. Therefore, if you experience diarrhoea after taking fish oil, do consult the doctor or reduce the dosage.
- Acid Reflux
High-fat content in fish oil triggers acid reflux symptoms like belching, nausea, and stomach discomfort. Taking a moderate dose will help in reducing these symptoms.
How to use
EPA and DHA dosage recommendations are different based on age and health. WHO suggests a daily intake of 0.2–0.5 grams (200–500 mg) of combined EPA and DHA.
Hence it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking fish oil or fish oil supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide normal brain and eye development. They prevent heart diseases and protect from inflammation and whatnot. If you are at risk of these health problems, you will be benefiting a lot by consuming fish oil.
Anyhow, eating whole foods will always be better than opting for supplements. Fish is as effective as fish oil in preventing many health issues.
Nevertheless, fish oil supplements are also a good substitute if you don’t like eating fish.