Fish oil is the fat or oil that is extracted from fish tissue. It usually comes from fatty fish like herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. But it is sometimes extracted from the liver of other fish, such as cod liver oil.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1 to 2 servings of fish per week. Because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish offer many health benefits, including protecting against a number of diseases [¹]

The main reason why fish oil has become so popular in recent years is because of its high content of omega-3 fatty acids . These acids are very important for proper brain function, essential for the growth and development of our body and act effectively against some types of problems such as inflammation, which is why it is so important to take advantage of the benefits of fish oil.

In contrast, people who are deficient in omega-3 acid are at greater risk for health-related problems, such as certain types of cancer, some cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and altered moods.

The type of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil is what’s important

It is important to note that the types of omega-3s in fish oil have greater health benefits than the types of omega-3s found in some plant sources.

The most important omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the omega-3 fatty acids in plant sources are mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) .

Although ALA is an important essential fatty acid, EPA and DHA have many more health benefits. [ 6 , 7 ]

How to consume it

Today we can find fish oil capsules in any specialized nutrition store, but some experts believe that the best way to absorb its benefits is by consuming the fish directly.

Fish rich in omega-3s are, for example, freshwater trout, mackerel or mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines and tuna, including canned versions. The recommended amount is two or three servings per week.

For which people is fish oil suitable?

Fish oil supplements offer a variety of health benefits. For this reason, they are extremely useful to the general public and can help everyone from top athletes to sedentary people.

Bodybuilders and athletes find fish oil attractive due to its potential bodybuilding benefits, but virtually anyone interested in improving their overall health can benefit from the fatty acids in fish.

Benefits of fish oil and omega-3s

Learn about the health benefits of fish oil

1. Benefits for the cardiovascular system

Studies have shown that fish oil helps us lower blood pressure, lowers triglycerides and in some cases prevents the development of plaques in blood vessels. It is also beneficial in regulating the heart rhythm and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, so there is less chance of sudden death from these diseases. [5]

2. Fish oil for rheumatoid arthritis

As we mentioned earlier in the introduction, the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil are good for fighting inflammation in the body . Some experts advise us to consume it to lessen the effects of stiffness that rheumatoid arthritis causes in the morning. The effects will not be seen for a few weeks, even months. See more information on rheumatoid arthritis.

3. The benefits of treating allergies

The acids present in fish oil help us to calm the most common seasonal allergies , acting in a double sense. On the one hand, its anti-swelling properties will reduce nasal inflammation caused by histamine, while on the other, it strengthens the immune system. That is, by themselves omega-3 acids do not end allergies, but they are highly recommended within a general treatment.

4. For skin care

In general, applying a lotion with fish oil produces relief from itching and protects our skin. It also works effectively against various problems of the dermis, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, itching, redness or rashes. If you have very dry skin it is ideal to hydrate it and if we are going to be in the sun for a long time and we do not have a more appropriate protective cream at hand, we can use it to prevent burns.

5. Fish oil for allergies

Studies mention that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids by mothers during pregnancy can protect babies against the development of allergies. Fish oil has been found to protect against the symptoms of hay fever, sinus infections , asthma, food allergies, and allergic skin conditions such as hives and eczema [²‚³].

6. Omega-3 acids to treat fatty liver

The disease nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a frequent accompaniment of obesity and insulin resistance. Since the prevalence approaches 85% in obese populations, new therapeutic approaches to manage NAFLD are warranted.

A systematic literature search was conducted for studies related to the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation on NAFLD in humans.

Pooled data suggest that omega-3 PUFA supplements may decrease liver fat , however the optimal dosage is currently unknown. Well-designed RCTs are needed to quantify the magnitude of the effect of omega-3 PUFA supplements on liver fat. [ 4 ]

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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