Benefits of fish oil

Benefits of fish oil is derived from the flesh of fatty fish (e.g. salmon herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, trout). It is particularly rich in omega 3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids are converted by the body into the beneficial series 3 prostaglandins. Fish liver oils are derived from the livers of white fish, such as cod and halibut. Fish liver oils contain vitamins A and D, and should be used with caution by certain groups of people.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is present in green leafy vegetables, linseed (flax) oil, soy oil, etc. However, even if our diet is very rich in these, we may still be deficient in series 3 prostaglandins because the enzymes needed to convert ALA into EPA are only weakly active.

Dietary EPA can therefore be extremely valuable because it skips this step and provides a material from which series 3 prostaglandins can easily be produced.

The real benefits of fish oil lie in its EPA and DHA content.

Essentially the pathway goes as follows: Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is converted into stearidonic acid (SA), which is then turned into eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). ETA is transformed into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is then converted to either docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), or prostaglandin series 3. DPA proceeds to become docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The benefits of fish oil are quite significant on heart health, including:

  • Altering the balance of blood fats in a favourable way
  • Reducing the likelihood of blood clotting
  • Making the heart less prone to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
  • Reducing the viscosity of the blood, thereby facilitating blood flow
  • Fish oil may also help to prevent heart disease by raising beneficial HDL cholesterol, reducing homocysteine levels, and reducing Hypertension

Pregnant women are advised to keep up their intake of omega 3 fatty acids by eating oily fish or taking low level fish oil supplements if necessary. This is because more and more research is showing how vitally important benefits of fish oil (omega 3 fatty acids) are for the brain development of the foetus.

Benefits of fish oil have been observed through improvements in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil therapy is free from side effects and may also enhance the effects of conventional drugs.

Regular use of fish oil may also be beneficial to women who experience menstrual Cramps.

A recent study reported very significant benefits of fish oil for patients with bipolar disease (a manic depressive psychosis).

Finally, essential Fatty Acids present in fish oil may help treat osteoporosis when taken with Calcium supplements. Studies show that women who take fish oil with calcium have better bone density and fewer fractures than women who take calcium alone.

Fish oil has been used in very high amounts in clinical research without any overt toxicity symptoms. However, when taking high levels, the benefits of fish oil may diminish. Because omega 3 fatty acids can displace omega 6 fatty acids from cell membranes, there may also be a thinning of the blood and a reduction in clotting time.

When taking fish liver oils, it is very important that Vitamin A and Vitamin D intake is checked to ensure that one does not exceed upper safe levels. This is because the vitamins are fat-soluble, which means that taking fish oil increases the chance of excess amounts building up in the body. When taking cod liver oil, pregnant women should take no more than 2500i.u. vitamin A a day, while other individuals should not exceed 7500i.u. Vitamin D consumption should not exceed 10µg from supplements.

This is why the key in eliminating the risks of side effects and maximizing the benefits of fish oil is by its critical combination with other appropriate nutrient extracts in the right proportions. The resulting combination is much more effective than the sum of the individual nutrients.

Our personal suggestion for a health supplement containing all the benefits of fish oil


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