What Is Fish Oil?Fish oil is a dietary supplement that is made out of fatty fish. The supplement is rich in a particular type of essential fatty acid known as omega-3.
What Is Omega-3?Many people think of fat as a bad or unhealthy thing, but the truth is that the body does require some fats to function properly. Essential fatty acids are nutrients that the body needs for vital functions and that cannot be produced by the organs. In that regard, they are similar to vitamins and minerals.
There are different types of essential fatty acids that are important for a balanced diet. Omega-3 fatty acid is one variety and is found in fish, nuts and seeds. Research shows that most people do not consume enough omega-3-rich foods on a regular basis and are at least slightly deficient of the essential nutrient. Fish oil supplements can help to bridge the diet gap by increasing levels of omega-3 fatty acid in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acid is actually a class of nutrients rather than a single nutrient. There are three main types that are important to health and well-being. The first is alpha-linoleic acid or ALA, which is found in plants, and usually not lacking in human diets. The remaining two varieties are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the essential fatty acids that many people need more of in their diets, and both are found in fish oils.
What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil?
Fish oil supplements have been widely studied and found to provide a number of potential health benefits due to the high levels of DHA and EPA that they contain. Here are some of the key benefits of fish oil:
1. Cholesterol Control.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver that is needed in small amounts by the body.
When levels of one type of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins or LDL becomes too high, the excess cholesterol can build up in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. High LDL levels have been shown to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and are a major cause of concern.
The body also contains high-density lipoproteins or HDL, which is sometimes called "good cholesterol." HDL's job is to pick up LDL or "bad cholesterol" and transport it back to the liver, reducing the risk of blockages.
Studies have found that taking 3 to 6 grams of fish oil per day can improve the balance between HDL and LDL in the body, helping to reduce the risk of heart complications. The effects are even more pronounced when fish oils are taken in conjunction with eating a heart-healthy diet.
2. Bone Health.
Your bones change over the course of your life. In women, especially, age leads to gradual reductions in bone density. Many women develop osteoporosis, a disease where tiny holes form in the bones, making them brittle and more likely to break.
Calcium is considered to be the primary bone health nutrient. Studies have found that calcium supplements can greatly reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve bone density. Now, there is research to suggest that using fish oil along with calcium may improve outcomes even more. A proper balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids has been shown to help support bone health when calcium levels are adequate.
3. Mood Support.
Fish oil has been shown to boost levels of an important brain chemical called serotonin. People who suffer from depression and anxiety often have low serotonin levels. Due to the positive effects that omega-3 fatty acids have on serotonin levels, fish oils are increasingly being recommended by doctors to provide mood support for people who are experiencing depression, stress and other emotional concerns.
4. Inflammation Relief.
Inflammation is a natural immune response. When the body perceives a threat, it releases chemicals that cause inflammation to occur. While the purpose of inflammation is to protect the body, it can cause pain, stiffness and discomfort. Studies have also shown that chronic inflammation may play a role in the aging process.
DHA and EPA essential fatty acids are known to be precursors to prostaglandins, natural substances that reduce inflammation. Research shows that taking fish oils has the potential to diminish inflammation, which could promote healthy aging and alleviate pain caused by conditions like arthritis.
5. Healthy Skin.Your skin is protected by a layer of oil known as its moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is slightly acidic and capable of killing some forms of microbes, and it helps to keep hydration locked within the skin tissue so that it remains soft and pliable.
Omega-3 fatty acid has been shown in studies to play a role in maintaining the natural moisture barrier of the skin. As a result, fish oil supplements are sometimes taken to address chronic dry skin or to promote overall skin health.
Choosing the Right Fish Oil
It's important to note that not all fish oils are the same. When fish oil is not manufactured properly, it can contain toxins like mercury and heavy metals that are naturally present in fish due to pollution in our oceans. That's why it's important to only select fish oil supplements that have been rigorously tested for purity and safety. You'll also want to compare the amounts of essential fatty acids found in the supplements to find one that's the right fit for your dietary needs.
For help selecting the best fish oil for your dietary needs, contact our customer service team.