What Does Fish Oil Do For Your Health?
Fish oil is obtained from the inner tissues of oily fish. Fish having the highest amount of fish oil are salmon, halibut, shark, swordfish and tilefish. King mackerel, flounder, pollock and tuna fish have lower levels of fish oil per serving. Fish oils have omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid which form eicosanoids in the human body, that reduce inflammation. They have been proven to improve one’s health in many ways.
Fish do not produce the fatty acids themselves, but acquire them through the consumption of micro algae and prey fish that have omega-3 fatty acids accumulated in their own tissues. Antioxidants such as selenium and iodide are present in micro algae in high levels, which prevent the peroxidation of these polyunsaturated lipids. Fish oil is an important ingredient used to make aquaculture feed, most of which is fed to salmon. The fatty acids found in fish oil are used in the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia, and in the treatment of heart diseases.
What does fish oil do? Several studies are being carried out investigating the beneficial effects of fish oil in the treatment of cancer, mental diseases, cardiovascular ailments, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, clinical depression and psoriasis.
A number of reports suggest that n-3 fatty acids found in fish oil show anti-cancerous effects in cases of breast, prostate and colon cancer. These fatty acids decrease the rate of prostate cancer growth. High levels of DHA reduce the risk of breast cancer. Fish oil is beneficial in treating cardiac dysrhythmia, secondary cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. High levels of n-3 fatty acids have been suggested to reduce depression and anxiety as they supposedly enhance the neuronal growth of the cerebral frontal cortex of the human brain. Some studies suggest that regular intake of fish oil could prevent or delay schizophrenia. A recent study suggests that DHA may prevent cognitive brain problems related to Alzheimer’s disease. Fish oil boosts the immune system of the body by increasing blood platelets and anti-inflammatory proteins. This aspect has been used to treat patients suffering from Lupus disease in the skin and joints. Diets that include cod liver oil have shown beneficial effects in patients suffering from psoriasis.
When considering what does fish oil do, it is important to keep in mind the benefits of fish oil for pregnant mothers. Omega-3 fatty acids protect the fetus from brain injury and enhance the growth of the fetus. Intake of DHA possibly has long-term benefits on the neurodevelopment of the infant, particularly of the foetal brain. DHA is also an essential requirement for the visual development of the infant. Fish oil prevents food allergies and certain skin diseases in young infants. Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent pre-term labour and premature delivery. Breastfeeding women are prescribed fish oil supplements for the sake of the child’s health.
Although fish oil is highly beneficial for health, there is an increasing risk of consuming toxic contaminants that have been bio accumulated in the tissues of many fish species around the world, as a result of excessive pollution of freshwater and marine ecosystems. Fish species that provide fish oil are positioned at high levels of the food chain, as a consequence of which biomagnification of pollutants like mercury, chlordane, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. Since the liver is the primary detoxifying organ, the toxic content of liver oils is much higher than oil produced from processing whole fish. However, a recent study of popular brands of fish oil found negligible levels of mercury, suggesting that the fish processed to extract oil are mercury free or that mercury is removed in the manufacturing process of purified fish oil.