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The Benefits of Fish Oil

The Benefits of Fish Oil

Something of a nutrition star in recent years, fish oil has become one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements. But how much do you know about its health benefits?

Lifestyle insight
Reading time: 4 minutes

What’s So Special About Fish Oil?

Something of a nutrition star in recent years, fish oil has become one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements. But how much do you know about its health benefits?  

Fast facts on fish oil

Fish oil is fat, or oil, that's extracted from fish tissue. It’s rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that contributes to a number of crucial bodily functions and must be obtained from outside sources because the body cannot make them in the way it can make other fats.

Two of the most important omega-3s in fish are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – both of which perform an important role in various biological processes that support healthy growth and development.

The benefits of fish oils

Fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to offer a broad spectrum of benefits that include;

Supporting brain health

The brain is made up of nearly 60% fat and much of this is omega-3 fatty acids making them vital for normal brain function. This fact is so recognized that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved the claim that DHA is needed to maintain normal brain function.

Improving ADHD symptoms

Research shows that children with ADHD often have less omega-3 in their bodies than children without ADHD.

It also indicates that fish oil can help curb ADHD-symptoms, as well as reduce the negative side effects often associated with conventional medicines for the condition. 

Supporting eye health

DHA is a key structural component of the retina and people with insufficient DHA levels stand a greater risk of visual problems and eye diseases. Hence the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approving the claim that DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision.  

Fighting asthma

Omega-3 fatty acids and asthma has been a focus of recent research with some studies evaluating the omega-3 intake of pregnant women, while others looked at omega-3 intake in children. In all cases, it was concluded that sufficient omega-3 intake seems to have a preventive or controlling effect on asthma.

Improving sleep quality

An Oxford University study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that higher blood levels of DHA were significantly associated with better sleep - including less bedtime resistance, kids sleeping longer and waking up less during the night.

Reducing inflammation

Recognised for its strong anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 has been revealed in clinical trials to provide significant benefits in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, Crohn's disease, colitis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches.

Promoting healthy skin

Omega 3’s provide a skin barrier function, sealing in moisture and keeping out irritants. This moisturizing action can guard against red, dry, or itchy skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Promoting heart health

Fish oil has been shown to help increase “good” HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, reduce blood pressure and help keep arteries clear. For all these reasons, experts believe fish oil may be heart-protective.    

The bottom line

Given the wide array of benefits, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. But not everyone is a fan of seafood. If this rings true for you or your family, a quality fish oil supplement may be a necessary and effective alternative.  

 

Sources:

https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk/news/top-10-reasons-to-give-your-kids-omega-3/

https://www.additudemag.com/fish-oil-for-adhd-symptoms/

https://theconversation.com/omega-3-fish-oil-as-effective-as-drugs-for-some-children-with-adhd

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4968854/

https://www.nei.nih.gov/ Bethesda: National Eye Institute; c2017 [cited 2017 May] 

https://omegaquant.com/how-omega-3s-help-asthma-in-children/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2574280/How-oily-fish-help-children-sleep-better-Daily-dose-omega-3-stops-youngsters-waking-night.html

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12480795/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-benefits-on-skin-and-hair#3.-May-guard-against-dry,-red,-or-itchy-skin

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.013543

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