Fish oil is special oil taken from fatty fish. It has been very popular for its various health benefits. Fish oil gets its health benefits from the essential compounds it contains. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids in the form of omega- 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids include DHA or docohexanoic acid and EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid. These omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects and other health benefits.
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are not actually produced by fish. Rather, they are accumulated in the body of fish by eating prey fish that also accumulated fatty acids in their body as well as microalgae.
Fish oil is usually present in fatty fish such as:
• Mahi mahi
• Red snapper
• Orange roughy
• King mackerel
• Tile Fish
Since predatory fish are commonly very high in omega-3 fatty acids such as swordfish, sharks, albacore tuna and tilefish, they may be good sources of fish oil. However, because they belong to the higher hierarchy in the food chain, they also tend to have more toxins in their bodies such as dioxin, mercury, chlordane and PCBs. Therefore, the US Food and Drug Administration have recommended limiting the intake of these kinds of fish.
Since fish oil has been very essential for the health, aquaculture feeds now contain fish oil such as in the aquaculture feeds given to farmed salmon.
Health Benefits of Fish oil
Fish oil has been studied to produce significant health benefits to those who consume fish regularly. Fish oil may be able to manage and prevent various diseases such as:
• Cardiovascular diseases
The omega-3 component of fish oil is advantageous for people to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in the body to prevent atherosclerotic episodes. The American Heart Association recommends taking up to 1 gram of fish oil by eating fish that contain it.
The omega-3 fatty acid also has been reported to have anti-cancer benefits. Prostate, breast and colon cancer may be prevented by consuming fish oil and may also slow the progression of cancer in case it has already developed. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce cancer growth and improve the survival rates of individuals with cancer.
• Mental Illnesses
Fish oil, specifically the EPA component, also may help reduce the risk of depression and suicide. Other evidence has proved that people who consumed seafood with high omega-3 fatty acids have reduced incidences of schizophrenia and behavioral disorders.
• Alzheimer’s disease
DHA is an important fatty acid for the development of the brain and the nerve cells. Consuming fish oil may help improve the cognitive abilities of adults; thereby preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
• Parkinson’s disease
The intake of fish oil or eating fish regularly may also help prevent Parkinson’s disease by maintaining the health of the nerve cells.
Lupus is a skin and joint condition that can be prevented by taking fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits that can help reduce or prevent lupus.
People with psoriasis can also benefit from fish oil. The anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil my help in reducing the skin condition.
Aside from these illnesses, fish oil may also be beneficial for pregnant women. Fish oil improves the brain development of fetus when pregnant women take fish regularly. However, certain fish including shark, mackerel, and other predator fish should be avoided because of their possible mercury content that can affect the fetus.
Fish oil has proven its efficacy in maintaining health and well-being so eating fish regularly is a good diet option. You may also take fish oil from fish oil supplements to have a regular those of omega-3 fatty acids.