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fish oil

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

What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is a fatty acid naturally found in our body. It is particularly contained inside our cell membranes. Fish oil can be obtained by eating oily fish or by taking supplements. Sea fishes are rich sources of fish oil. Typical examples of these fishes include mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, anchovies, bloater, sardines, and swordfish. Oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids. Thus, the two main omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) & docosahexaenoic acid. (DHA). These two substances have been linked to healthy ageing in the body. They can regulate how a cell functions in the body. They can also heal or protect cells from damage caused by inflammation.

Today, several studies suggest that fish oil plays a significant role in the whole of the human body. There is satisfactory evidence that fish oil help to prevent heart disease, preserve eye health and strengthen the immune system.  Fish oil is also crucial for pregnant or breastfeeding women because it can help a baby's nervous system develop properly.

Related:What are the benefits of taking fish oil?

FISH OIL HEALTH BENEFITS

Fish Oil Prevents Hypertension.

Eating fish rich in fish oil helps to reduce high blood pressure. More so, research suggests that oily fish can be effective for keeping people with healthy hearts free of heart disease. The reason for this is simple. Most fatty acids like fish oil are found inside our cells. Luckily, these "cells" make up parts of our heart and blood vessels. When these cells have enough Omega 3 fatty acids inside them, they release substances that control blood clotting, immune function and regulates how the heart pumps blood. Once this happens, the heart pumps properly, and our system can remove any blockage obscuring the flow of blood around the body.

Fish Oil Promotes The Development Of Babies

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 research shows that eating more fish oil is linked to a lower risk of getting dry eye, especially in women. It is because Omega 3 fatty acids can help to drain unwanted fluid from the eye. In another research, it was noticed that taking fish oil supplements for 4-12 weeks significantly improved some dry eye symptoms. This explains why fish oil is popularly used to treat eye diseases such as glaucoma and high eye pressure.

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 Rescues Pain in Arthritis 

There is a growing number of claims that taking fish oil by mouth, alone or together with the drug a called naproxen, can help improve arthritis symptoms. Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, and this can help arthritis patients reduce their use of pain medications. While more research is needed, the present evidence also suggests that administering fish oil reduces swollen and tender joints in people with arthritis.

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. 

ClassAge GroupAverage daily intake (mg)
BabiesBelow 12 months500mg
Infants1-3 years700mg
Children4-8 years900mg
Youth (Males)9-13 years1200mg
Youth (Females)9-13 years1000mg
Adults (Males)14 years and above1600mg
Adults (Females)14 years and above1100mg
Pregnant women18 years and above1400mg
Breastfeeding mothers18 years and above1300mg

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

The benefits of fish oil are very many. Fish oil has been used to prevent heart disease, reduce pain associated with arthritis, and improve memory, amongst other benefits. There is numerous research supporting the role of fish oil in the body. If you wish to get the maximum benefit of fish oil, it is advised to stick to the required dosage. Apart from eating oily fish, you can take premium omega-3 supplements to boost the fish oil in your body.  

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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