This information is intended for educational purposes. While fish oil is considered an excellent product to supplement to an already healthy lifestyle, you should consult your doctor before beginning any supplementation regimen. If you are on any medications or are suffering from a specific health condition, your doctor will be able to determine if supplementing with fish oil is right for you. Consulting a clinical nutritionist or a naturopathic physician will also prove helpful in tailoring a supplementation protocol that is right for you. Read on to learn about the benefits of fish oil.
Your body has metabolic pathways that can either promote or decrease inflammation. Fish oil works with the metabolic pathway that helps to reduce inflammation. There are a multitude of benefits when the body’s inflammatory levels are kept low. Of course while inflammation is a necessary arm of the immune system, in most people, it tends to be turned up a bit too high rather than the other way around.
One way of measuring inflammation is by using “C-reactive protein” as an inflammatory marker. A person’s risk of heart disease can be assessed with the use of Cardiac C-Reactive Protein.
The reason inflammation plays such a significant role in heart disease is because of the fact that chronic inflammation over time will cause the arteries to harden and develop plaque which if severe enough can eventually result in a portion of the thickened arterial surface breaking off and forming a clot. If this happens in the heart it is called a “heart attack” or myocardial infarction. If this occurs in the brain it is called a “stroke”. As a result, fish oil by reducing inflammation, can reduce the risk for heart attacks and stroke.
Fish oil lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol, and increases the HDL levels, which is good cholesterol. Fish oil prevents accumulation of triglycerides and further reduces the levels of excess triglycerides.
While there are many factors involved in cancer risk, one of the factors influencing cancer risk is that of inflammation. If a cell is chronically inflamed or exposed to inflammation, a condition known as hyperplasia or an abnormal increase in number of cells can result. Over time, inflammation can contribute and accelerate to the process of a cell or cells degenerating toward cancer. While fish oil cannot prevent cancer, it can help to curb inflammation and thus serve to reduce inflammation’s role in contributing to the cancer process.
Research suggests that fish oil may be most helpful in helping to prevent breast, colon and prostate cancers. Overall risk also takes age, genetic predisposition, lifestyle, and environmental factors into account.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that fish oil supplementation can help in reducing the effects of depression. It has in fact been observed that there are lower rates of depression in countries where fish is frequently consumed. Research done at Case Western Reserve University suggests that fish oil can have a mood stabilizing effect in patients with bipolar disorder.
While Alzheimer’s is a progressive and ultimately fatal illness, fish oil has been shown to exert a positive effect on the disease by providing nutritional support in the form of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as EPA and DHA. Fish oil is also helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s as it helps to curb inflammation. Research at UCLA and Louisiana State University suggests that fish oil shows promise as part of a protocol for Alzheimer’s. From a realistic standpoint, fish oil will not cure patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It may however help by providing nutritional support and may help to slow the progression of the disease. People who have a family history of Alzheimer’s would likely benefit from fish oil supplementation.
The brain consists of grey matter and white matter. Grey matter consists largely of nerve cells while the white matter acts cover nerve fibers in order to improve conduction. White matter actually consists of fat and amazingly, the majority of the brains volume is in fact fatty tissue. This of course makes it easy to understand why consuming healthy fats has a direct effect on brain health. In the case of ADD and ADHD, fish oil has been shown to have a positive effect based on research done at the University of South Australia. Omega 3 fats are found more in the fatty tissue of the hips and thighs as opposed to that in the abdomen. This of course is interesting as pregnant women are able to utilize this fat for the development of brain tissue.
According to a study performed at the American College of Rheumatology, fish oil supplementation showed beneficial effects in patients suffering from lupus. One reason could be that fish oil calms down the inflammatory arm of the immune system.
Recent research suggests that elderly individuals who consumed fish two times per week or more were 45% less likely to develop macular degeneration. A separate study in Australia found that individuals who ate at least one serving of fish per week were 40% less likely to develop early stage macular degeneration than those who consume little or none.
Various foods in the diet are high in Omega 6 fatty acids while other foods are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Foods high in Omega 6 fatty acids are peanut butter, avocado, vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, sesame, soybean, safflower), margarine and pumpkin seeds. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, English walnuts, cold-water fish (salmon, herring, mackerel) and sardines.
Traditional diets going back several hundred years had an Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio of anywhere from 4:1 to 2:1. Today, many nutritionists believe that the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio is anywhere from 10:1 to as high as 20:1 or even 40:1 in some cases.
Diets high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 result in increased inflammation. Taking fish oil can help to correct that imbalance as fish oil is high in Omega 3 oils. While Eskimos consume a high fat diet, their overall incidence of heart disease is low as a good percentage of the fats they consume are in fact Omega 3.
There is good, there is better and then there’s the best. Livehealthytoday.org considers Nordic Naturals to be the best fish oil on the market today for a host of reasons: