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Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements: Does Fish Oil Improve Your Health?

Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements: Does Fish Oil Improve Your Health?

A lot of people claim that there are numerous benefits of fish oil supplements. You’ve probably seen these supplements in the supermarket or in health food stores with their distinctive amber-colored capsules.

But can fish oil really have all of these benefits? Is it even good for your health in the first place? Let’s find out.

What is fish oil?

Fish oil, as the name suggests is a type of oil supplement that comes from fish. Specifically, these are oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are present only in certain types of fish. Manufacturers usually harvest fish oil by processing tuna, herring, anchovies, and mackerel, as these are oily fish that contain lots of omega-3.

One interesting thing to know about omega-3 is that the body doesn’t produce it naturally. So you need to rely on food sources in order to supply your body with omega-31.

You can also get omega-3 by consuming certain kinds of nuts and seeds. In particular, flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds contain high amounts of omega-3. Though, the advantage of fish oil is that it’s much more dense in omega-3 compared to most other food sources.

What are the benefits of fish oil supplements?

Earlier, we kept mentioning omega-3 fatty acids, but what exactly does omega-3 do for the body?

Some of the reported benefits of fish oil supplements that have omega-3 include the following2:

  • Lowers levels of triglycerides, which have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Aside from triglycerides, omega-3 could also potentially lower cholesterol levels.
  • There is evidence that shows it could relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • According to some studies, omega-3 could help with lowering high blood pressure.
  • Helps reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Increases the levels of good cholesterol in the body.

Eating a diet that’s rich in fish can help increase a person’s levels of omega-3 fatty acids. However, fish oil supplements are a convenient alternative, especially for those who don’t have the time to cook fresh fish, or don’t have access to fresh fish.

You could even add more fresh fish to your diet and complement it with fish oil supplements to significantly boost your omega-3 intake. However, it would be best to consult this first with your doctor as it could potentially have some harmful side effects such as bleeding3.

Does it have any harmful effects?

Now that we know the benefits of fish oil supplements, it’s important to know that they can also have some harmful side effects. As we have mentioned earlier, having too much omega-3 in your body could potentially cause bleeding. Though, you would need to consume a lot of fish oil and fish in order for it to happen.

One study, conducted by University of Georgia researcher Kaixiong Ye, found that genetics might affect how the body responds to fish oil. He shares, “What we found is that fish oil supplementation is not good for everyone; it depends on your genotype. If you have a specific genetic background, then fish oil supplementation will help lower your triglycerides. But if you do not have that right genotype, taking a fish oil supplement actually increases your triglycerides.”

They tested about 70,000 participants and separated them into 2 groups: those who take fish oil supplements, and those who don’t. They then studied the genotype for each of those individuals and found that those with the AA genotype had an increase of triglycerides after taking fish oil4.

However, genetic testing can be expensive, and not readily accessible here in the Philippines. A person can’t just go out and get tested to find out if fish oil is bad for them or not.

So the important thing to remember is to eat things in moderation. Don’t eat too much fatty fish, and don’t take too much fish oil supplements. Too much of anything can be harmful for the body, so it’s best to have a measured approach when it comes to your health5.

Learn more about Herbals and Alternatives here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. Fish oil – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-fish-oil/art-20364810, Accessed September 22, 2021
  2. Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth | NCCIH, https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3-supplements-in-depth, Accessed September 22, 2021
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods & Benefits, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17290-omega-3-fatty-acids, Accessed September 22, 2021
  4. Fish oil benefits some, may increase triglycerides in others, https://news.uga.edu/fish-oil-benefits-depend-on-genotype/, Accessed September 22, 2021
  5. Fish oil: friend or foe? – Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fish-oil-friend-or-foe-201307126467, Accessed September 22, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza