A plethora of research demonstrates that, not only are the benefits of fish oil numerous, many of them are actually quite extraordinary! It seems that new research is being published everyday, as researchers and doctors learn even more about how and why it is indeed good for health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are “good fats” that are vital to health. They are essential for our health but the body can’t make them – you have to get them from your diet. Here are some proven fish oil health benefits that should convince you to eat more oil rich, wild fish and/or start taking a high quality fish oil supplement if perhaps you aren’t currently!
Promotes Cardiovascular Health & Prevents Heart Attacks and Strokes
Fish oil continues to increase in research credibility as a significant promoter of heart health. According to statements from the American Heart Association, fish oil is effective in reducing the incidence of heart disease and helps to reduce risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Research studies of heart attack survivors have discovered that daily fish oil capsules dramatically reduce the risk of death, subsequent heart attacks and stroke. Omega-3s also decrease blood triglycerides, help correct irregular heart rhythms, and can help avoid and treat atherosclerosis by preventing the formation of plaque and blood clots, which tend to clog arteries.
Reduces Inflammation and Pain
Omega-3s have a great anti-inflammatory effect. Lab studies show that diets rich in omega-3s (and low in the inflammatory omega-6s) may benefit people with inflammation-based disorders — anything that ends with -itis!. Fish oil additionally has been applied to effectively treat back, neck and menstrual pain, allowing study patients to reduce their own intake of NSAID drugs.
Ensures Healthy Joints and Lessens Symptoms of Arthritis
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce tenderness in joints, pain intensity and morning stiffness produced by rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, quite a few test tube studies have found that omega-3s actually lessen the activity of enzymes that break down cartilage. More than 13 published scientific studies have shown that fish oils are very beneficial at treating rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil has helped people suffering from RA to reduce their dependence on pain medication.
Increases Mental Acuity & Long-Term Cognitive Function
Did you know that omega-3s, especially DHA, are incredibly prevalent in our brains? They’re essential for optimal cognitive (brain memorization and performance) and behavioral functioning, as well as proper growth and development. Studies show that omega-3s may aid in maintaining adequate cognitive functioning and possibly in avoiding or staving off the onset of dementia. We also now know it’s incredibly essential that pregnant women get enough DHA, which is required by the developing fetus — in the 3rd trimester of being pregnant, the fetus’ brain grows at a rate of 250,000 new neurons every 60 seconds! Children are also aided by fish oil consumption, as many studies show that omega-3s improve learning, concentration, reading and vocabulary abilities. Numerous studies have also shown benefits in treating ADHD.
Produces Positive Mood & Emotional Well-being
In nations where fish is a significant part of the diet, national rates of depression are lower. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that studies have shown that fish oil supplements can temper the symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis. Several studies have found that those that took fish oil in addition to prescription anti-depressants had a larger improvement in symptoms than those that took anti-depressants alone, with individuals enjoying a stabilization effect and less mood swings. Trials have also demonstrated that, when prisoners were given fish oil, there was a huge reduction in aggressive behavior. Omega-3s also seem to reduce the risk of postnatal depression.
Promotes Vision Health
Studies show that people with a greater omega-3 intake seem to have a lower risk of Dry-Eye Syndrome and developing AMD, or age-related macular degeneration. Early research also shows that fish oil supplementation aids in reducing dry eye symptoms, may help to inhibit macular degeneration for people already experiencing it and helps eye health generally.
Pregnancy, Infancy Eye & Brain Development & Less Occurrence of Childhood Disorders
DHA comprises 15-20% of our cerebral cortex and 30-60% of the retina, so it’s absolutely indispensable for typical growth and development of the fetus and baby. Prenatal DHA availability also appears to lessen likelihood of childhood allergies and have an effect on motor skill quality, cognitive development and behavior/hyperactivity later in the child’s life. Omega-3s also aid in reducing the risk of low birth weight and premature birth.
Promotes Increased Fat Metabolism and Weight Loss
According to the National Institute of Health, omega-3s transmit “I’m full” signals to the brain and help quash hunger signals. Research has also demonstrated that fish oil improves the efficacy of exercise in reducing body fat. Volunteers who were given fish oil with their diet showed greater decreases in weight as compared to those who did not consume fish oil. Exercise along with fish oil had a positive effect on the body shape and body composition of the volunteers.
Lowers Chance of Breast, Prostate & Colorectal Cancer
Though additional research in this area is certainly needed, we now are aware that the omega 3’s found in fish oil help in the prevention and treatment of prostate, testicular, breast and ovarian cancers. Preliminary trials suggest that taking fish oil daily can help inhibit the progression of colon cancer in those with early stages of the disease and may even have the capacity to cause apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous cells.
Much more could be written about the many fish oil benefits. And, as the science community and doctors continue to study omega-3s, you can be certain that fish oil will keep producing news as the best source of these essential fatty acids that are so essential to our bodies. Even if you’re already in good fitness, a quality fish oil supplement is the fastest, safest way to achieve and maintain optimal health!