Fish Oil The Definitive Guide of Benefits and Side Effects
Fish oil supplements are usually made from mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber. Fish oil supplements often contain small amounts of vitamin E to prevent spoilage. They might also be combined with calcium, iron, or vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, or D.
15 Top Food Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Accids
Oily Fish are a great source of Omega-3
(Click on the green heart [♥] to see Nutritional Values)
Some Plants also contain Omega-3
- Chia seeds
- Fresh basil
- Perilla oil
- Hemp seeds
- Dried tarragon leaves
- Reddish seeds
Benefits and Side Effects
- Can reduce triglyceride levels
- Improve your Cardiovascular Functions
- Lower the risk of heart attack
- Prevent eye macular degeneration
- Prevent the re-blocking of vessels after angioplasty
- Reduce Asthma symptoms in children
- Improve mental functions and behaviors in children with ADHD
- Might help prevent psychotic illness
- Might help Prevent kidney damage
- Can reduce menstrual pain in women
- Reduce the risk of endometrial cancer in women
- Increase bone density in people with osteoporosis
- Provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis
- Boost your immune system
- Might increase the risk of bleeding in people with liver scarring due to liver disease.
- People who suffer from fish or seafood allergy might also be allergic to fish oil.
- Bipolar disorder: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.
- Depression: Fish oil might increase the symptoms of this condition
- Diabetes: high doses of fish oil might make the control of blood sugar more difficult
- High blood pressure: Can lower blood pressure too low in people who already are under medications to lower blood pressure.
- HIV/AIDS and other conditions in which the immune system response is lowered: Higher doses of fish oil can lower the body’s immune system response. This could be a problem for people whose immune system is already weak.
- An implanted defibrillator (a surgically placed device to prevent irregular heartbeat): Some, but not all, research suggests that fish oil might increase the risk of irregular heartbeat in patients with an implanted defibrillator. Stay on the safe side by avoiding fish oil supplements.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis: There is some concern that fish oil might further increase the risk of getting cancer in people with this condition.
Fish oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, when taken in low doses (3 grams or less per day). There are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Taking more than 3 grams per day might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding.
Opinions in the Scientific Community
For many years Fish oil is been a subject of controversy even in the scientific community. Some people swear by it, and there are thousands of clinical trials and laboratory research’s trying to find out the definitive answers to what really fish oil may benefit or may damage our health.
Doctor Howard LeWine, M.D and Chief Medical Editor of Harvard Health Publications suggest in one of his articles:
“Despite this one study, you should still consider eating fish and other seafood as a healthy strategy. If we could absolutely, positively say that the benefits of eating seafood comes entirely from omega-3 fats, then downing fish oil pills would be an alternative to eating fish. But it’s more than likely that you need the entire orchestra of fish fats, vitamins, minerals, and supporting molecules, rather than the lone notes of EPA and DHA.
The same holds true of other foods. Taking even a handful of supplements is no substitute for wealth of nutrients you get from eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
What should you do if you currently take fish oil? If your doctor prescribed them—they are an approved and effective treatment for people with high blood triglyceride levels—follow his or her instructions until you can have a conversation about fish oil.
If you are taking them on your own because you believe they are good for you, it’s time to rethink that strategy. If you don’t eat fish or other seafood, you can get omega-3s from ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, and soy oil. One to two servings per day can help you avoid a deficiency of omega-3s.
Experts will surely remain divided on their opinions about fish oil supplements for the general population. And don’t expect any clarity about what to do any time soon. I expect other studies with flip-flopping results in the future.”
Following food author Michael Pollan’s simple advice about choosing a diet may be the best way forward: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”
Photo credit: Mr.TinDC / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND