Fish oils are extracted from fatty or oily fish, including trout, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, and salmon. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and many are vitamin A and D-fortified.
Many people use fish oil and omega-3 pills for the health advantages they feel they provide.
American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines encourage included fish in a heart-healthy diet. Indeed, consuming an omega-3-fatty acid-rich diet may help avoid heart disease, safeguard brain and eye health, and aid prenatal development.
However, research on supplement usage has yielded inconsistent findings, and it is uncertain if supplements are beneficial.
Learn more about fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids in this article, including some potential health advantages and several recommended dietary sources.
How are omega-3 fatty acids defined?
It refers to fats that are found in plants and marine life. Oily fish are high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Meanwhile, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) is found mainly in plant-based meals, such as flaxseed.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found throughout the body but are particularly abundant in the brain, retina, and sperm cells. However, because the body cannot create omega-3 independently, you must obtain it through nutrition.
Benefits to health
Scientists have connected omega-3 fatty acids to a variety of health problems. However, it is not always apparent whether or not supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can provide advantages.
he following sections discuss many of these illnesses and the potential health advantages of omega-3.
According to 2020 survey data, females who take probiotics, vitamin D, fish oil supplements, or a combination of these may have a slightly decreased chance of getting COVID-19.
This work, however, has not yet been peer-reviewed, and the findings are far from definitive.
Indeed, doctors have cautioned against the use of vitamins to stave off infection with the virus.
For further information on the COVID-19 epidemic, including preventative and treatment recommendations, see our live updates page or coronavirus portal.
Certain persons take Omega-3 fatty acids with multiple sclerosis (MS) because they may benefit the brain and neurological system.
However, at least one research has indicated that omega-3 supplementation does not diminish disease activity in multiple sclerosis patients.
Cancer of the prostate
According to some study, consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent prostate cancer. However, a 2013 study trusted Source showed that consuming an excessive amount of fish oil may raise the chance of developing high-grade prostate cancer.
Although the specific relationship between omega-3 and various forms of cancer is remain unknown, several studies have shown no indication that omega-3 either raises or decreases the chance of developing various forms of cancer.
Depression After childbirth
Individuals with low omega-3 levels during pregnancy and lactation may be more prone to postpartum depression.
According to the authors of a 2018 review, taking fish oil supplements during this period may help minimize the chances of depression.
However, pregnant women should avoid eating fish known to be rich in mercury, such as shark and king mackerel. Alternatives to canned light tuna include canned salmon, pollock, and catfish.
Benefits to memory and other aspects of mental health
Apart from postpartum depression, other studies show that EPA and DHA may aid in treating a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. These include the following:
- hyperactivity disorder with attention deficit
- trauma-induced post-traumatic stress disorder
- The illness of Parkinson’s
- Alzheimer’s disease
- deterioration in cognitive abilities, including memory loss
Several studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation may aid in the prevention of mental decline, particularly in older persons. According to one 2019 review trusted Source, their findings are inconclusive.Additional research is required to confirm these advantages.
Benefits to the heart and cardiovascular system
According to the AHA, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils may help reduce heart disease and stroke.
Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, may aid in the management of:
- triglyceride concentrations
- cholesterin cholesterol
According to a 2013 study, those who took fish oil supplements for more than one month had improved cardiovascular function throughout cognitively demanding examinations.
In 2012, researchers reported that fish oil appears to help stabilize atherosclerotic plaques owing to its anti-inflammatory characteristics.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly oily fish, at least twice a week. According to the researchers, this may help minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, in 2012, a review of 20 research involving almost 70,000 participants concluded that there was “insufficient strong evidence” associating fish oil supplements to a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or premature death.
Loss of vision and eye health
Consuming a proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids may help safeguard eye health, according to some studies.
In a 2012 research, mice given omega-3 supplements for six months appeared to have improved retinal function and a decreased risk of age-related vision loss than mice given the placebo.
Optometrists frequently prescribe taking omega-3 supplements to maintain eye health, even though scientific data does not necessarily support this usage. In addition, according to some experts, eating a healthy diet may be more beneficial than supplementation in some circumstances.
In 2019, for example, scientists in Holland discovered that those who eat fresh fruits and vegetables and two weekly fish meals had a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration than those who did not.
Specific individuals take omega-3 supplements to treat dry eyes. However, in 2018, a year-long study trusted Source comprising 349 participants with moderate-to-severe dry eyes discovered no evidence that supplements were more beneficial than a placebo.
Epilepsy is a disorder of the nervous system. Specific research shows that taking omega-3 supplements may help lower a person’s seizure frequency.
However, a 2018 analysis conducted by Trusted Source found no solid evidence that this might help avoid symptoms.
Normal fetal development
Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may aid in prenatal growth, particularly of the brain and eyes. This is one of the reasons why specialists advise pregnant women to consume fatty fish.
However, it is critical to avoid eating fish with high mercury levels during this period, such as shark and king mackerel.
In 2011, researchers determined that ingesting omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may benefit school-aged children’s memory performance.
Sources of food
Unless a doctor advises supplementation, the best method to take nutrients is often through food.
Sources derived from animals
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish such as sardines, tuna, and salmon.
- various seafood, particularly oysters and shrimp
- eggs enriched with omega-3
- fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil
Alternatives to fish oil made from vegetables include flaxseed oil.
- seeds de chia
- oil de canola
- walnuts dipped in soya oil
- garbanzo beans
When selecting fish, it’s good to consult Seafood Watch to ensure that one’s selections are sustainable.