It is believed that taking a supplement containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, can be extremely advantageous when it comes to heart-related issues as well as aiding brain growth. Research results are occasionally inconsistent when considering the advantages of taking fish oil.
In this piece, we’ll evaluate the investigations conducted on fish oil and divide the results into what fish oil does, what advantages it yields, and what restrictions it comes with.
What Are The Benefits of Fish Oil?
Fish oil is frequently touted for its positive effect on the heart, yet it does more than just that (while certainly the well-being of your cardiovascular system is essential). But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let us look into the details surrounding fish oil, Omega-3s, and essential fatty acids, to make sure there is no mix up.
Essential fatty acids are part of a class of fats called omega-3 and omega-6. These are vital for good health. Essential fatty acids are necessary to consume as part of your diet, as your body is not capable of producing them naturally.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been intensely researched regarding several well-being issues. Omega-3s are plentiful in cold-water fish, such as these:
It is not necessary to think too much about ensuring that you get enough omega-6s in your diet. They’re prevalent in the diet. Omega-3s…not so much. However, that’s not how things have always been. Before the days of consuming large quantities of beef and chicken, human diets were much more balanced with Omega-6s and Omega-3s. A considerable portion of meals included fish.
Today, our over-consumption of certain types of fats is leading to numerous health issues. But it’s not just about eating less omega-6s. It is essential to consume a higher amount of omega-3s daily than what is currently being ingested.
Vegetable sources such as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and wheat germ do contain relatively reasonable amounts of omega-3s, but they do not supply the fullest forms of omega-3s that humans need. These plants contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid recognized as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
A few creatures are able to transform Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) into Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) with ease. Humans do not. It is the fatty acids, DHA and EPA, that are responsible for the advantageous effects associated with the consumption of fish oil.
It is essential to ingest EPA and DHA through dietary means, either by having fatty fish or with the use of dietary supplements.
READ MORE: 13 Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish Oil Supplement History
In the 1970s, research conducted in Denmark found that the Inuit people whose diet was filled with fatty fish and other fats like seal had a lower amount of triglycerides and cholesterol compared to those who did not consume this type of diet.
This discovery caused an increase in the popularity of fish oil supplements. This caused speculation among them and other scientists that perhaps fish oil has the potential to reduce the likelihood of heart disease in the public.
Since the release of the original research out of Denmark, a multitude of additional experiments have been conducted on the effects of fish oils. Some have shown impressive and far-ranging benefits. Others have speculated that fish oils are utterly useless. Some writers and scholars have even hinted that the study was likely biased from the beginning. The people in question fancy that the primary exploration regarding the Inuit regimen must have had deception and suppositions at its roots, and those first missteps are still effecting our comprehension of fish oil in the present day. The hectic back-and-forth has resulted in many customers being puzzled.
Should people adhere to the suggestions that have been advocated for many years and take fish oil supplements? Or are they just swimming upstream? It is complicated to explain the response to this query regarding health.
Research on Fish Oil for Health
Research into omega-3s is very promising and mainly looks at two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are common in fish: EPA and DHA. It is essential to have Omega-3s for creating healthy cell membranes. Omega-3s have other functions in the body too. They act as a power source, necessary for the formation of eicosanoids, molecules. Eicosanoids are essential for proper functioning of the heart, lungs, immune system, and hormones. The range of functions that omega-3s fulfill in the human body might be the reason why researchers have been investigating them in relation to so many varied health concerns. Below are some of the most studied benefits regarding the consumption of fish oil and Omega 3s.
Enhances Fat Loss
If you’re pursuing a Keto diet, you have likely encountered the saying “consume fat to slim down.” However, while it’s accurate that you can consume fat while on Keto and slim down, not all dietary fats will create fat loss. The key to losing fat is cutting out carbohydrates.
Though research has shown that adding omega-3 fatty acids does not decrease fat storage, it does contribute to a decrease in body fat.
Research conducted on animals indicates that the intake of fish oil can lead to weight reduction by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers noradrenaline release. Norepinephrine activates brown fat stores, increasing metabolism and creating heat. The specialists employed fish oil containing a considerable level of EPA to a maximum of 2.4 percent of the creatures’ total caloric intake. A grown-up subsisting on a 2000 calorie eating regimen would need an estimate of 5 grams of fish oil everyday.
It appears that fish oil could be especially efficient in reducing belly fat stored around the organs.
I will still address the issue that not every research demonstrate that fish oil helps people to shed weight, however that is more a distinction between words than poor science. Some research has revealed that while consuming fish oil does not alter body weight, it can still decrease one’s waist-to-hip ratio and visceral fat. It is probable that the use of fish oil has increased the lean muscle mass while reducing the amount of body fat. Although the size of one’s figure might remain the same, their body composition and likelihood of developing health issues can still be altered.
44 males and females were given either 4 grams of safflower oil or 4 grams of fish oil. People who took the fish oil supplements saw a drop in their body fat and the amount of fat relative to their body mass, as well as an increase in the amount of lean muscle. Furthermore, their cortisol levels diminished. Surprisingly, the research subjects didn’t receive any direction concerning their diet or exercise routine. They were urged to preserve the same diet and activity levels as they did prior to the experiment.
It is remarkable that the improvement in participants’ health was realized without any indication on their dietary or exercise habits, though it should not be used as a replacement for physical activity and taking fish oil.
Fish oil has an effect on energy allocation, which leads to fat loss. Omega-3s aid your body in converting calories into glycogen (a form of stored carbohydrate) as opposed to being stored as fat.
Lastly, fish oil helps with weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness. If you stay full longer, you eat less.
Fish Oil for Heart Health
Since the first research done in Denmark and reported in the Lancet, many researchers have been exploring the possible cardiovascular advantages of fish oil. Many studies have shown that fish oil has a positive impact on heart health. A plethora of studies demonstrate that consuming a greater quantity of seafood and having increased amounts of omega-3s in one’s body are connected with a lower likelihood of heart failure, heart disease, and decease due to heart disease. When it has to do with taking fish oil pills to treat heart disease, the evidence is not as solid. That’s especially true of recent research.
An exploration of 10 separate studies in 2018, which included approximately 80,000 people who had a high chance of having cardiovascular disease, questioned the efficiency of fish oil supplements. The writers of that paper came to the decision that omega-3 fatty acids had no substantial relationship with coronary heart disease or any major circulatory disease whether fatal or nonfatal. The scientists determined that those with a prior history of coronary heart disease who take EPA+DHA supplements for 12 months or more do not benefit in terms of reducing their chances of experiencing a severe cardiovascular event.
A meta analysis published September 30, 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that omega-3 fish oil supplements did lower risks of heart attack, death from coronary heart disease and death from CVD but did to see a benefit for stroke prevention.
Why do the results of earlier studies differ from those found in more recent ones? What are the differences between ingesting food containing essential minerals and taking supplements? It appears that over the last few decades, promoting the advantages of eating fish through public health initiatives has been successful – with people already ingesting more omega-3s as a result, thus reducing the requirement for supplementation. It might be possible that the abundance of cardiovascular drugs, including statins, distort the findings from fresh research. Some nutrition professionals propose that some research works utilize very small quantities of fish oils or employ supplements of suspect quality.
Despite the many studies that are hard to decipher and do not match up, the US Department of Health and Human Services still endorse the usage of fish oil to aid in heart-related health issues. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans spanning 2015 to 2020 declares that studies demonstrate that consuming seafood lowers the probability of developing cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to consume approximately 8 ounces of seafood per week, amounting to a sum of 250 mg of EPA and DHA daily, as part of maintaining a healthy heart.
Increases Lean Body Mass and Strength
Studies conducted with both younger and older adults who do and do not exercise have shown that the inclusion of fish oil in one’s diet can improve muscle strength and promote a healthier body composition. In older persons, the utilization of this product can impede the loss of muscle mass, which makes it a great addition to a nutrient-dense diet, incorporation of essential amino acids, and additional muscle-strengthening substances.
It appears that the protein synthesis effect is the most influential for EPA out of the two key omega-3s, DHA and EPA.
Studies revealed that a combination of fish oil and the proper amount of protein or amino acids provoked a 30% increase in the synthesis of proteins, in comparison to those groups that only received amino acids or protein. Research has demonstrated that the consequences of this have been observed in individuals of varied genders and ages, including healthy youth, the middle-aged, and the elderly.
Muscle growth is attained by augmenting protein synthesis and/or reducing protein degradation. It has been demonstrated that EPA has an influence on both the process for synthesizing proteins and the process for breaking them down, which are managed by separate mechanisms.
Fish Oil in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The quantity of fish oil that a mother ingests during her pregnancy and nursing time can make a difference to the wellbeing of her infant in diverse ways. Studies have demonstrated a connection between the intake of DHA-rich seafood averaging 8 ounces each week during pregnancy or breastfeeding and enhanced mental and visual growth. It is possible that Omega-3s could be correlated to a longer pregnancy period and a higher baby weight.
However, there is a worry when it comes to eating fish, mainly during a woman’s pregnancy, as some types of fish can contain high levels of mercury, which is not good for human health.
If you’re concerned about mercury exposure during pregnancy or breastfeeding, here are some guidelines to follow:
- Pick fish that’s higher in EPA and DHA and lower in mercury (examples: salmon, herring, sardines, trout)
- Avoid king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish, which tend to be higher in mercury
- Cap your white (albacore) tuna consumption at 6 ounces per week
Do not ignore the advantages of eating fish regardless of your worries about mercury. Investigation demonstrates that while there is a danger of mercury absorption when eating fish, the advantages of moderate fish intake are more noteworthy.
READ MORE: 16 Healthy Foods For Pregnant Women
Supports Brain Function
A mother’s DHA is conveyed to her unborn infant, which is essential for their brain growth. It then affects brain function throughout life.
There is a significant distinction in the subsequent growth of infants depending on whether or not their mother took fish oil supplements during pregnancy. Numerous research findings demonstrate this. For illustration, at 2.5 years from delivery, kids whose mothers supplemented with fish oil had significantly better hand-to-eye coordination than those of moms who did not take the supplement.
The long-term impact of DHA on brain well-being is sustained throughout the lifespan. Studies have suggested that DHA may be able to prevent or delay cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
Purium‘s Revive-It-All contains two very important ingredients that have been proven to help reverse memory loss and increase energy and vigor: Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid. This supplement can improve improve mood, memory, and cognition.
How Much Fish Oil Should You Eat or Take?
Studies have indicated that people receiving one to two grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) each day, or consuming two to six fish oil capsules, may be able to enjoy the positive outcomes mentioned above. It is recommended by conservative estimations that the daily consumption of DHA and EPA should be somewhere between 1-4 grams. The label of Omega-3 softgels will reveal the amount of DHA and EPA present in them.
Cheaper fish-oil supplements typically contain 300 milligrams of EPA and DHA in each 1-gram softgel. Softgels of superior quality often contain between 500 and 600 milligrams of EPA and DHA each.
A usual salmon fillet gives about one gram of EPA and DHA altogether. Certainly, it is unrealistic to think of eating something as rich in fat as wild Alaskan salmon on a regular basis, so consuming a supplement is necessary to make up for the gap.
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The Bottom Line
What are the indications that one should take a fish oil supplement? If you have a deficiency in omega-3s, you may observe issues with your skin such as dryness or an abnormally bumpy texture. Discussing tests with your medical care provider to determine omega-3 levels may be a good option.
Although it is uncommon to experience true deficiencies in essential fatty acids due to the body’s natural reserves, consuming increased amounts of fish oil could still be beneficial to many Americans.
In spite of the lack of undeniable proof, an extensive collection of evidence is indicative that consuming more omega-3s may reduce one’s chances of getting ill. In conclusion, eating a greater amount of fish is likely to have a positive outcome and a minimum of negative consequences.