Oil derived from fish is what this is called; it is literally taken from fish! Studies from Denmark in the 1970s highlighted that individuals whose eating habits included plenty of fish had decreased rates of heart disorders, leading to wider recognition for fish oil supplements.

This prompted a lot of investigation about fish oil, reinforcing that omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, are major contributors to the heart benefits of the oil.


Fish Oil History – Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil had been used extensively in Europe to treat different ailments for hundreds of years prior to the development of the fish oil products we use today. Back in the 18th century when fish were being processed, their livers and gallbladders would typically be dumped into pails and allowed to age.

After some duration, people began to utilize this oil as an alleviator of discomfort, rickets, gout, and TB. Its use as an aid to treat rickets was what aided in the identification and extraction of Vitamin D, which is a well recognized vitamin.

People have historically had negative opinions about the flavour of cod liver oil. There are folks who were told they had to drink cod liver oil when they were little, my grandparents took cod liver oil.

The current generation of fish oil is far less of an issue than before due to the advancements in processing, a variety of flavors helping to conceal the taste, and refrigeration keeping the fermented oils to a minimum.


How is it made?

Oil can be extracted from various types of fish. Commonly purchased items are manufactured using herring, tuna, sardine, mackerel, salmon, anchovy or cod liver oils.

Although the source is not aquatic creatures, there are “fish oils” produced from squid and green lipped mussels as well. Larger species of fish such as tuna, swordfish, and sharks can also provide the necessary omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements, however they are typically more expensive.

These creatures are situated on a higher level of the food web, and due to their longer life span, the fat in their bodies contains a variety of pollutants and heavy metals that have been drawn from the organisms they feed on.

It is uncommon for fish to be the origin of fish oil, and even for the smaller fish listed earlier, there are measures taken to guarantee that pollutants like heavy metals are kept to a minimum in fish oil items.

Companies must comply with Good Manufacturing Practices in order to have their supplements sold, and the FDA has specified boundaries that classify the highest amount of heavy metals and other impurities they are allowed to contain.

Certain businesses surpass the standard to guarantee that their fish oil supplements possess a limited amount of heavy metals.

Organizations like NSF and USP, and certifications such as the International Fish Oil Standard (IFOS), can provide assurance that people’s dietary supplements, specifically fish oil, are safe and legitimate. Consequently, this will bring peace of mind not just to individuals, but also to those caring for their family and patients.

Processing strategies are employed to reduce the levels of heavy metals and minimize oxidation in fish oil products. If left exposed to the elements, fish oil can spoil and turn sour like any other oil. Therefore, containers of liquid fish oil generally have nitrogen gas sealed into them during the production stage in order to ward off oxygen damage.

Putting the fish oil into capsules instead of keeping it as a liquid is another way to safeguard it against oxidation. The perk of capsules is that refrigeration is not necessary.


Fish Oil Available Forms

Above it was noted that the particular type of fish that is employed in producing fish oil can differ extensively, however the one commonality which unites all of the disparate sorts of sources is that they all have omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA and DHA present. Positive health benefits are linked to two omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, so you can usually learn about the content of a product by looking for the amount of EPA and DHA it contains.

  • Total omega-3
  • EPA
  • DHA

The proportion of EPA to DHA found in a fish oil supplement might be written on the bottle, as the level of each can have an effect on one’s wellbeing. Here are some examples:

  • Cardiovascular support: Look for high total omega-3 content, EPA to DHA ratio less important
  • Inflammation support: Look for higher EPA content relative to DHA content
  • Cognitive support: Higher DHA content relative to EPA content

Patients without allergies or dietary restrictions are best suited to get their omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil sources because they are simply available, budget-friendly, and are easily assimilated in the body.

  • Krill oil: Contains lower doses of omega-3 found in the same volume of fish oil, but the omega-3 in krill are 33% better absorbed than omega-3 in fish oil because they are bound to phospholipids as opposed to triglycerides or unbound as esters.
  • Squid oil: Contains mostly DHA, which can be indicated for some pediatric and neurocognitive cases.
  • Flaxseed Oil: Contains mostly alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), minimal EPA/DHA, and is not a direct replacement for fish oil, despite often being considered because it contains omega-3 in the form of ALA.

Those who live by a vegan lifestyle may use oils derived from algae and flaxseed as a source of EPA and DHA instead of a vegan “fish oil”.

The dosage of these long-chain omega-3 fatty acids is comparatively lower than the amount found in fish-derived oils. In any case, taking them is superior to not having them in the diet at all.


How does it work?

EPA and DHA act in a similar manner to non-selective cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors, which is comparable to over-the-counter NSAID medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. Consequently, they are frequently taken advantage of for their ability to reduce inflammation.

Patients may be able to reduce their intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when coupled with taking a fish oil supplement, thus lessening the potential chances of having any unfortunate occurrences typically associated with NSAIDs.

A mistaken belief which is widespread is that it is simple to substitute all omega-3s, however this is not the case. If a person does not wish to or is not able to consume fish, flaxseed oil is proposed as an option to replace fish oil for the acquisition of omega-3 fatty acids.

There is a distinct structural divergence between the alpha-linolenic acid present in flax and long chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA found in fish oil.



Health Benefits

Lowers triglycerides.  Fish oil has been shown to be effective in reducing high levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood. There are three prescription fish oil medications on the market right now; Lovaza, Omtryg and Epanova.  These prescription medications will help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels.  Do not stop taking prescription medication and switch to fish oil supplements without consulting your doctor!

Can improve blood vessel health.  Angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked or narrowed blood vessel. Taking fish oil by mouth decreases the rate of blood vessel re-blockage after angioplasty surgery by up to 45% when taken for at least 3 weeks before an angioplasty and continued for one month after. Angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked or narrowed blood vessel.

READ MORE:  Fish Oil Supplements For The Heart: The Good And The Bad

Beneficial for cancer patients.  Fish oil supplements can help stop involuntary weight loss in people who are very ill (cachexia or wasting syndrome). Taking a high dose of fish oil by mouth seems to slow weight loss in some cancer patients.

Can aide those with kidney damage and disease. Fish oil also seems to improve kidney function in people who recently rejected a transplanted kidney and are taking cyclosporine.

Taking fish oil by mouth for 2-4 years can slow the loss of kidney function in high-risk patients with IgA nephropathy. This is a condition that slowly leads to kidney disease (IgA nephropathy)

Fish oil can help reduce painful menstrual cramps. Taking fish oil, alone or with vitamin B12 or vitamin E, can improve painful periods and reduce the need for pain medications for menstrual cramps.

Improves pregnancy outcomesTaking omega-3 supplements helps lower the chances of early delivery.

Lowers heart attack risk. Consuming higher amounts of fish oil from foods has been linked with a lower risk of heart failure. Eating 1-2 servings of non-fried fish per week is recommended. It’s too soon to know if taking fish oil supplements helps prevent heart failure. But taking fish oil supplements by mouth might reduce the risk of death or hospitalization in people that already have heart failure.

Lowers triglycerides in people with HIV/AIDS. Taking fish oil supplements by mouth reduces triglyceride levels in people with abnormal cholesterol levels caused by HIV/AIDS treatment.

Fish oil can help lower high blood pressure. Taking fish oil by mouth seems to slightly lower blood pressure in people with moderate to very high blood pressure. It’s not clear if it helps people with slightly high blood pressure or those who are already on blood pressure-lowering medications.

Fish oil can help people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. Taking fish oil by mouth might reduce liver fat and improve liver health in people with NAFLD.

Can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking fish oil by mouth, alone or together with the drug naproxen, seems to help improve symptoms of RA. Fish oil cannot prevent RA but it can ease symptoms.  Doctors sometimes prescribe taking fish oil by IV reduces swollen and tender joints, but this can only be given by a healthcare provider. However, taking fish oil does not seem to prevent RA.


No Scientific Evidence for These Fish Oil Claims:

  • Taking fish oil by mouth for up to 6 years does not prevent age-related vision loss or slow down its progression.
  • Taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not reduce the risk of death or improve heart health in people with chest pain.
  • Taking fish oil by mouth doesn’t slow the progression or improve symptoms of atherosclerosis.
  • Taking fish oil supplements doesn’t help treat or prevent eczema. But children who eat fish at least once weekly from the age of 1-2 years seem to have a lower risk of developing eczema.
  • Eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat. In fact, the risk of irregular heartbeat might be increased in some people taking fish oil supplements.
  • Taking fish oil by mouth along with conventional treatments for bipolar disorder does not improve symptoms of depression or mania in people with this condition.
  • Giving fish oil by mouth to premature infants doesn’t seem to reduce the infant’s risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
  • Taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not seem to improve H. pylori infections when compared to standard medications.
  • Taking fish oil by mouth doesn’t seem to improve symptoms in people with MS.
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking fish oil by mouth doesn’t improve pain or function in people with osteoarthritis. But it might help overweight people with osteoarthritis-like pain.
  • Taking fish oil by mouth doesn’t lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It also doesn’t reduce the risk of certain complications of diabetes, such as heart attack and stroke. But taking fish oil by mouth might lower blood fats called triglycerides in people with diabetes.

More research is necessary to complete understand the nutrition and health benefits of fish oil.



Fish oil supplements have most often been used by adults in doses of up to 6 grams daily by mouth for up to 12 weeks. Fish oil products typically provide 180-465 mg of EPA and 120-375 mg of DHA per capsule.
Fish oil is also available in prescription drugs, including Lovaza, Omtryg, and Epanova. Fish oil supplements cannot be used in place of fish oil prescription drugs.
Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what product and dose might be best for a specific condition.


Purium Products that contain healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Spirulina Powder

Cocoa Mint Spirulina Powder
Spirulina capsules
Power Shake

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