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fish oil

Fish Oil: Health Benefits, Sources, Side Effects, Dosage

What is fish oil?

Fish Oilis a type of fatty acid that occurs naturally in our bodies, especially in our cell membranes. Fish oil can be obtained by eating oily fish or taking supplements. Sea fish are a rich source of fish oil. Sea fish rich in fish oil are mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, anchovies, puffy fish, sardines and swordfish. Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, and the two main omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two substances are associated with normal aging of the body. They regulate the function of cells in the body and can also heal or protect cells from damage.

Today, several studies show that fish oil has an important effect on the whole human body. There is good evidence that fish oil can help maintain a healthy heart, protect eye health and boost the immune system. Fish oil is also very important for pregnant or breastfeeding women as it helps the baby's nervous system develop properly.

Related:What are the benefits of taking fish oil?

FISH OIL HEALTH BENEFITS

Fish oil may help stabilize blood pressure

Eating fish rich in fish oil may help stabilize blood pressure levels. What's more, studies have shown that oily fish can be effective in maintaining a healthy heart. The reason is simple, most fatty acids like fish oil are found inside our cells. Fortunately, these "cells" make up part of our heart and blood vessels. When these cells contain enough omega-3 fatty acids, they release substances that control blood clotting, immune function and regulate how the heart pumps blood. At this point, the heart is pumping normally and our system can clear any blood clots that are blocking the flow of blood around the body.

Fish oil can boost baby's development

charenda fish oil

Fish oil helps a baby's nervous system to develop appropriately. Several experiments have been carried out to confirm this fact. Omega 3 fatty acids promote the proper development of the brain and retina of a child during pregnancy. The reason is that during the third trimester of pregnancy, high amounts of DHA are absorbed into the tissues of an unborn child. At this stage, only pregnant mothers who have high Omega 3 in their body can supply their unborn child with enough of the nutrient. Thus, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume 8 to 12ounces of seafood per week to supply their unborn child with enough fish oil.

Fish Oil Prevents Dry Eyes

Numerous studies have shown that consuming more fish oil can reduce the risk of dry eyes, especially in women. This is because omega 3 fatty acids help drain unwanted fluid from the eyes. In another study, it was noted that taking fish oil supplements for 4-12 weeks significantly improved some eye complaints. This explains why fish oil is widely used to treat eye problems.

Fish Oil Improves Memory In Kids And Adults

Memory loss is usually a common problem among aged people. It can reduce the quality of life and make patients unable to care for themselves. On the other hand, some children are usually smarter and intelligent than others. A primary cause of this could be the food they eat. Studies show that children who eat a diet rich in fish have improved learning ability and memory. Fish oil improves attention, mental function, and behaviour. A good explanation for this is because the human brain is around 60 percent fat. Brain cells contain a lot of fatty acids. Thus, kids and adults who eat a diet rich in fish oil tend to have improved memory.

Fish Oil Eases Menstrual Pain

Taking fish oil alone or with vitamin B12 can ease painful periods and reduce the need for pain medications in women with menstrual pain.

Fish Oil Can Relieve Joint Pain

There are growing claims that taking fish oil by mouth, alone or with naproxen, can help improve joint pain symptoms. Fish oil may help patients with joint pain reduce pain medication use. While more research is needed, current evidence also suggests that taking fish oil can reduce joint swelling and tenderness in patients.

How Can I Supply My Body With Fish Oil?

There are two ways you can supply your body with fish oil. The first way is from food. One can consume diets rich in EPA and DHA or consume foods high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which will then be converted to EPA and DHA in the body. Oily fish examples include herring, pilchards, salmon, sardines, sprats, trout, swordfish, anchovies, bloater, and mackerel. Note that the quantity of Omega 3 fatty acids you get from a fish diet is not always the same. This is because the value of fish oil differs depending on certain factors like the particular breeds of wild fish, which can vary widely depending on the season, maturity of the fish, the diet of the fish, and even and cooking methods. For this reason, Fish that is steamed, baked or grilled is considered a healthier choice. The second way you can supply your body with fish oil is by taking premium fish oil/omega-3 supplements. These supplements can be taken to boost fish oil intake levels. For example, elderly adults and pregnant women are urged to take Omega 3 supplements to maintain their health and prevent certain diseases.

Fish Oil Dosage 

The average daily intake of Fish oil (combined EPA and DHA) is between 250–500 mg. While the average daily intake of Fish oil for adult men is 1,600 mg, adult women can take up to 1,100 mg. When buying fish oil supplements, check the label to determine how much EPA and DHA are written on it. Typically, 1,000 mg of fish oil supplies about 300 mg of combined EPA and DHA. The table below shows the recommended daily intake we need according to our age and class. 

Class Age Group Average daily intake (mg)
Babies Below 12 months 500mg
Infants 1-3 years 700mg
Children 4-8 years 900mg
Youth (Males) 9-13 years 1200mg
Youth (Females) 9-13 years 1000mg
Adults (Males) 14 years and above 1600mg
Adults (Females) 14 years and above 1100mg
Pregnant women 18 years and above 1400mg
Breastfeeding mothers 18 years and above 1300mg

Fish Oil Side Effects

Fish oil is considered SAFE, especially when it is taken by mouth in low doses (500 mg or less per day). However, there are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Thus, we advise you to take high amounts of fish oil while only under medical supervision. Overdosing on fish comes with various side effects like belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, bad-smelling sweat and nosebleeds. If you experience any of these, seek medical attention as soon as possible. More so, taking large amounts of fish oil from some dietary sources could be risky. Some oily fish (especially shark, king mackerel, and farm-raised salmon) can be contaminated with mercury and other industrial and environmental chemicals. So, make sure you double-check before buying your oily fish from vendors.  

CONCLUSION

Benefits of fish oilMany, it has been used to maintain heart health, reduce joint pain, improve memory, and more. There are many studies supporting the efficacy of fish oil in the body, and it is recommended to stick to the required dosage if you want to get the maximum benefits of fish oil. In addition to eating oily fish, you can increase your fish oil levels by taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement.

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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