Fish oil is oil taken from fatty or oily fish. Fish oils are rich in healthy fatty acids in the form of DHA (docosahexanoic acid), EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and omega 3 fatty acids. These chemicals have been seen in various studies to have several health benefits, which is why you may have heard your local Lutz chiropractor talking about them.
Where do they get Fish Oil?
Fish oils are not taken from every fish, but are only abundant among oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, anchovies, herring, halibut, cod, Pollock and flounder.
These fish do not produce the omega 3 fatty acids themselves, but tend to accumulate this compound from eating other fish that feed on microalgae. These fish also contain antioxidants in the form of selenium and asiodide making fish oil contain high amounts of other beneficial components.
Fish that are on top of the food chain such as shark, albacore tuna, swordfish, and tilefish also contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids because they eat more prey fish; however, they are not sources of fish oils because of their high mercury content.
Health Benefits of Fish Oil
As stated earlier, fish oil contains high amounts of antioxidants that are beneficial for the body. In this line, fish oil was found to aid in the management and prevention of the following conditions:
- Heart disease
Fish oil is a popular prevention for heart diseases because omega-3 fatty acids help reduce cholesterol levels and helps maintain the integrity of the arteries preventing hypertension. As a result, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease are also prevented.
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered good cholesterol and help reduce the bad cholesterol in the body. These bad cholesterols or Low Density Lipoproteins tend to aggregate on blood vessel walls reducing the lumen and contributing to hypertension and heart disease.
EPA and DHA are also seen to contribute to better well-being because of its anti-anxiety effects. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, those who take fish oil have lesser incidences of anxiety-related disorders.
- Clinical depression
The EPA component of fish oil also has anti-depression properties. The blood samples of people with no depression reveal higher EPA levels as compared to those with depression or suicidal ideations.
Fish oil, particularly its n-3 fatty acids component was found in various studies to be beneficial for the prevention of prostate, colon and breast cancer. This effect is due to the prevention of the development and growth of cancer cells
- Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a cognitive disorder related to degeneration of the neurons. Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA was found to protect the brain from cognitive illnesses.
- Macular degeneration
Fish oil also has protective properties for the eyes. It helps maintain the integrity of the macula to prevent degeneration.
Other benefits include prevention and management of Parkinson’s disease, lupus and psoriasis.
Fish oil can be taken in supplement forms for maximum beneficial dosages. Nevertheless, eating fish may also provide same benefits plus the other advantages such as high protein, vitamin and mineral content.