Fish Oil – How It Works for You
When considering fish oil, how it works and what that means to you, the answer can be very complex. Extensive research is ongoing and entire books are written on the topic.
But, never the less, many would like to know more about fish oil, how it works and why it has so many amazing health benefits – without having to wade through all the boring textbooks, doctoral theses and scientific journals.
So here’s a clear and simple (it won’t put you to sleep) explanation of fish oil, how it works and what it can do for you.
One main reason omega 3 fish oil is recommended is for the heart and cardiovascular system. According to the American Heart Association, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly).”
Another omega 3 benefit is in regards to bloodpressure. According to MedLine Plus, “Fish oil seems to produce modest reductions in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil seem to be able to expand blood vessels, and this brings blood pressure down.”
Here are even more benefits as reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center :
Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:
High cholesterol – People who follow a Mediterranean-style diet tend to have higher HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, which help promote heart health. Inuit Eskimos, who get high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from eating fatty fish, also tend to have increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides (fats in the blood). Several studies have shown that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels. Finally, walnuts (which are rich in alpha linolenic acid or LNA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid) have been reported to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure – Several clinical studies suggest that diets or fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension.
Diabetes – People with diabetes often have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL, so eating foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (from flaxseed, for example) may not have the same benefit as fish oil. Some people with diabetes can’ t efficiently convert LNA to a form of omega-3 fatty acids that the body can use. Also, some people with type 2 diabetes may have slight increases in fasting blood sugar when taking fish oil, so talk to your doctor to see if fish oil is right for you.
Rheumatoid arthritis – Most clinical studies examining omega-3 fatty acid supplements for arthritis have focused on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. A number of small studies have found that fish oil helps reduce symptoms of RA, including joint pain and morning stiffness. One study suggests that people with RA who take fish oil may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, unlike prescription medications, fish oil does not appear to slow progression of RA, only to treat the symptoms. Joint damage still occurs.
Laboratory studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and low in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids) may help people with osteoarthritis, although more study is needed. New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), another potential source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been reported to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength, and improve walking pace in a small group of people with osteoarthritis. For some people, symptoms got worse before they improved.
An analysis of 17 randomized, controlled clinical trials looked at the pain relieving effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements in people with RA or joint pain caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea). The results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, along with conventional therapies such as NSAIDs, may help relieve joint pain associated with these conditions.
Depression – Studies have found mixed results as to whether taking omega-3 fatty acids can help depression symptoms. Several studies have found that people who took omega-3 fatty acids in addition to prescription antidepressants had a greater improvement in symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone. However, other studies have found no benefit.
Studies are also mixed on whether omega-3 fatty acids alone have any effect on depression. Depression is a serious illness and you should not try to treat it on your own. See a doctor for help.
There’s plenty more research on omega 3 fish oil and its many healthy results. But, since research shows it has so many great benefits, does anything else really matter?
As long as omega 3′s can get the job done naturally, you’re all set – unless, of course, you’re writing a research paper. Then, I guess, you’ll just have to read the boring textbooks, doctoral theses and science journals.
But what you really need to do, for your own benefit, is begin taking high quality pure fish oil supplements and start getting all of these magnificent results for yourself.