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Fish Oil Benefits
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Alternative Health Supplies :: Fish Oil Benefits

Fish Oil Benefits
There is so much information and claims made regarding fish oil that it can be confusing on why you would take a fish oil supplement. Let us help break it down.

Fish oil has a heap of benefits, but there is the most evidence to show influence on heart health, bone health, and brain health. We have used 3 reliable reports as sources for this article: The U.S. National Institute of Health, The Mayo Clinic, and the University of Maryland report because there is so much inconsistent information out there. (source links below)

The way to consume fish oil is either from eating fish or by taking supplements. Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden. As a rule of thumb, 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids is found in approximately 3.5 ounces of fish.

Heart Health– Fish Oil has many benefits to the cardiovascular system.

  • Researchers believe that fish oil can reduce triglyceride levels by 20%-50% (or another report approximated 40%).
  • Fish oil seems to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure or hypertension. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil seem to aid the expansion of blood vessels, which brings blood pressure down. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension. 
  • Fish oil seems to help prevent and treat the progress of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in the coronary arteries by slowing the development of plaque and blood clots, which can clog arteries.
  • Fish oil may lower cholesterol by keeping it from being absorbed in the intestine. There is some evidence that using vitamin B12 along with fish oil might boost their ability to lower cholesterol.
  • Evidence suggests that people who have low levels of EPA and DHA may have a higher risk of coronary heart disease and heart failure. Clinical trials suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may have benefits in terms of reducing total and heart disease mortality (death). Daily intake has been linked to a reduced risk of sudden heart failure.

The Mayo Clinic rates fish oil with a A grade for treating high blood pressure, lowering triglycerides, and secondary cardiovascular disease prevention. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.

Bone Health - There is evidence that fish oil is helpful for Osteroporosis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Osteroporosis- Taking fish oil alone or in combination with calcium and evening primrose oil seems to slow bone loss rate and increase bone density at the thigh bone (femur) and spine in elderly people with osteoporosis. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help increase levels of calcium in the body and improve bone strength. Other studies suggest that people who don’t get enough of some essential fatty acids (particularly EPA and gamma-linolenic acid [GLA], an omega-6 fatty acid) are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took EPA and GLA supplements had less bone loss over 3 years than those who took placebo. Many of these women also experienced an increase in bone density.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis - The Mayo Clinic rated fish oil an A grade for Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Many studies report improvements in morning stiffness and joint tenderness with regular intake of fish oil supplements for up to three months. Fish oil has been found to have effects on the immune system and on fats in the blood in people with rheumatoid arthritis. One study suggests that people with Rheumatoid arthritis who take fish oil may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, fish oil does not appear to slow progression of RA, only to treat the symptoms.

Brain Health - Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioural function.

  • Studies show infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems.
  • A combination of fish oil (80%) and evening primrose oil (20%) seems to improve reading, spelling, and behaviour when given to children age 5-12 years with developmental coordination disorder.
  • A number of studies show that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased risk of age related cognitive decline or dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Scientists believe the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

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