FISH OIL-It’s no ordinary oil; it’s your health defense.
Fish oil is known as fat or oil extracted from the tissues of fish and can be obtained by eating fish or taking supplements. Fish oil comes from fatty tissues of fish or fat deposits in some oily fish. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and many vitamins like vitamin A and D.
The two important omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Examples of fish that contain this beneficial omega-3 fatty acid are Mackerel, sardine, salmon, tuna, herring, cod liver, etc. Many people do take fish oil and omega-3 supplements because of their health benefits including protection against the number of diseases and that is why people are advised to eat fish. The omega-3 fatty acid can be found throughout the body like in the brain, retina, sperm cells, etc.
The human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids hence the need to consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil reduces pains and swelling, it also prevents the blood from clotting easily. The effectiveness is greater in people with higher triglyceride levels. This is because it reduces the level of triglyceride in the body by 20 to 50%. Also, the amount of fish oil consumed seems to directly affect how much triglyceride levels are reduced. Certain fish oil supplement like Lovaza, Epanova has been approved by the FDA to lower triglycerides. Do not mistake fish oil for cod liver oil, shark oil, flaxseed oil, or krill oil though.
Taking fish oil helps to reduce the risk of heart failure. It is most often used for conditions related to the heart and blood system. It also helps to prevent stroke, as well as chest pain, clogged arteritis, high blood pressure, and preventing internal blood clots. Fish oil is used for patients with different kidneys related problems like kidney failure, kidney diseases, and some kidney complications. These can be related to a drug called cyclosporine which reduces the chance of organ rejection after an organ transplant. So taking it helps to reduce the chance of kidney damage in people taking this drug. It can also be used for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related degeneration (AMD), and dry eyes.
Fish oil has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and can help to reduce symptoms of inflammatory disease especially rheumatoid arthritis. It may also help reduce the fat in your liver and symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease common in obese individuals.
Women do take fish oil to help with their menstrual cramps, breast pain, and complications associated with pregnancy like a miscarriage in women with antiphospholipid syndrome (known as an autoimmune disorder).
Fish oil could be taken intravenously for itchy and scaly skin known as psoriasis, cystic fibrosis, blood infection, etc.
Research suggests that fish oil reduces the rate of blood vessel re-blockage by 45%. This is usually after angioplasty (a procedure to open a closed blood vessel) when given for at least three weeks. Before angioplasty and continued for one month thereafter, but when given for 2 weeks or less before angioplasty, it doesn’t seem to have any effect.
Fish oil has some side effects which include heartburn, nausea, rash, nosebleeds, bad breathe, etc. These side effects can be reduced by freezing or taking fish oil supplements with meals.
We should note that fish oil has its amount of doses that can be taken per day. Taking high doses of it might keep the blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding. This might also reduce the body’s ability to fight infection, as well as lower the body’s immune system’s response. This could be a problem for people whose body immune system is already weak.
It’s important to also note that the types of omega-3s found in fish oil have greater health benefits than the omega-3s found in some plant sources.
If you do not eat 1–2 portions of oily fish per week, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement. However, eating meals that contain Omega-3 fatty acid is better than taking supplements.