In this article, we’re checking out one of the most popular supplements on the market today – omega 3 fish oil. Fish oil, commonly known as “Omega 3 Fish Oil”, is an extremely popular supplement for the numerous benefits it touts. But what can you believe about this substance? Is it really as good as it’s claimed to be?
In this article, we’re addressing this issue as more. We’re giving you an honest, research-based look at fish oil Omega-3s. The science is still quite contentious in many areas, so it is not always possible to make definitive claims one way or the other. Regardless, we’re taking a look at all the potential benefits. First, let’s take a look at the basics of fish oil.
What is Omega 3 Fish Oil?
Fish oil is the fat that is extracted from the tissue of fish. Fish oils are perhaps most notable for containing the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DPA).
Fish oil contains more than just omega-3s, though. In most fish oils, there contains about 30% omega-3s and 70% other fats. Fish oil is also a source of Vitamins D and A.
Fish oil is a complex substance, and its benefits are complex as well. You will find a lot of competing information about exactly what fish oil does, and this article is here to clear that up. Read on to find out about the potential benefits of this supplement.
Are Omega 3 and Fish Oil the Same Thing?
In the world of supplements today, it seems almost like fish oil and omega-3 are used interchangeably. This is largely because omega-3 is the most touted ingredient in fish oil. It is important to note that the two are not exactly the same. Fish oil is the oil extracted from the tissue of fish. It is roughly 30% omega-3 fatty acid, with the other 70% being other ingredients (as we covered above).
So, short answer, no. The two are not the same. However, most of the benefits that you hear about from fish oil will come from the omega 3 content. Therefore, if you hear someone mentioning omega-3 supplements, they may be referring to a fish oil supplement.
Benefits of Omega 3 and Fish Oil
In this section, we’re running you through all the potential benefits of fish oil. It is worth noting that there is contentious research on many of these topics, with no definitive answer being given either way. We intend to lay out the research so that you may see the benefits of fish oil, as well as the potential benefits of fish oil. Let’s get started.
In addition to the list of benefits that you will see below, we also thought that, in order to be in a better position to appreciate the overall value of adding omega 3 in your diet, to spend a few minutes to watch the video that we hand picked for you. In this video, this medical expert is giving a well rounded explanation of the different omega 3 research based benefits (some of them are not additional to what is included in our list below), as well as giving some very useful tips:
May Help Heart Health
Heart health is one of the major health problems prevalent in society today. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the world. There is some research that fish oil can help improve heart health in a few ways, although the research is not quite definitive.
One study concluded that there is an inverse relationship between fish consumption and 20-year mortality due to coronary heart disease. This study was based in the Netherlands and based on the fish consumption of 852 middle-aged men. Their behavior was followed for 20 years, and it was found that mortality from coronary heart disease was 50% lower among those who consumed at least 30 g of fish per day.
There is also evidence that fish oil consumption use during pregnancy may help with the symptoms of postpartum depression.
A study was conducted which concluded that fish oil consumption could have the ability to lower the symptoms typically associated with postpartum depression. The study was conducted on 52 pregnant women and was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
The women in the treatment group exhibited less postpartum depression symptoms according to the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale. The study acknowledged that a larger-scale study was needed, but results are encouraging.
Fish oil has also shown promising development in the area of ADHD treatment, specifically in ADHD among young children.
In one study, nine children were supplemented with omega-3s. At the end of the eight-week study, a psychiatrist (who was blind to the study being done) noted significant improvements in attention, hyperactivity, defiant behavior, and other symptoms associated with ADHD.
Although a larger study will need to be done to achieve notable results, this is very much an encouraging study as to the usage of omega-3s for ADHD.
Fish oil has also been suggested to improved symptoms of mental and cognitive decline in adults. This includes memory.
One placebo-controlled study evaluated the usage of fish oil on 40 healthy middle-aged to elderly people. Cognitive performance in this study was measured using working memory and selective attention. The study found that those treated with fish oil performed better in the working memory test compared to those who were given the placebo. The study acknowledged that, although this is positive, more research is needed to conclude.
There is also evidence which ties omega-3s to eye health and claims that it may have positive effects on vision as well.
One study was done one 290 patients who had neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and on 144 patients with normal vision. It was found that dietary fish oil consumption was much lower among the 290 patients with AMD. It was concluded that fish oil consumption might be a strong indicator of whether a person is at risk for developing AMD later in life, although more research is needed.
Some studies claim that there is a positive effect between fish oil consumption and the development of AMD, although more research is needed to conclude in this area.
Might Improve Brain Function
Omega-3s are actually essential for brain function. This is because your brain is made up of roughly 60% fat. The brain is, therefore, highly enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These PUFAs are released from the membrane and will participate in several signaling activities within the brain. PUFA levels are significantly altered in various disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
Some studies have been done to look at the effects of omega-3s on certain psychotic disorders. In one study, 81 patients were looked at who were considered “ultra-high-risk” for a psychotic disorder. They were given a 12-week intervention of omega-3s or placebo, followed by a 40-week monitoring period. 2 of the 41 in the omega-3 treatment group transitioned to psychotic disorder, while 11 of the 40 in the placebo group transitioned. This could stand as an indicator that omega-3 reduces the risk of progression to a psychotic disorder, although more extensive research is needed to conclude.
Omega-3 and fish oil are also said to help with many aspects of weight loss.
For example, one study found that a diet that is rich in omega-3s helps to satiate the appetite. By keeping you full, you have fewer cravings to eat, and it would be easier to less weight. The study included volunteers who were given a low-amount or a high-amount of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and put on a weight loss diet.
The study concluded that long-chain omega-3s help to moderate fullness in volunteers who are attempting weight loss. However, due to the small sample size, a larger study was needed.
Research also supports that omega-3 consumption may increase metabolic rate. One study looked at 44 men and women whose resting metabolic rate was tested each morning following an overnight fast. Using a double-blind method, subjects were assigned omega-3 oils or Safflower oil.
The study concluded that, after six weeks, subjects who were given omega-3s saw an increase in resting metabolic rate each morning, as well as increased lean mass and decreased fat mass. This may suggest that omega-3 consumption improves metabolic rate.
May Help With Inflammation
Fish oil might also help with inflammation in response to various injuries. One source notes that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as those in fish oils) decrease the production of various chemicals that cause inflammation in the muscles. The source also notes that the long-chain PUFAs help produces anti-inflammatory mediators called resolvins.
Fish oil can also help with skin health. One source states that supplementing a diet with fish oil can help to manage inflammatory skin disorders. This is largely because the skin requires fat to function properly.
May Improve Bone Health
Omega-3 and fish oil may help improve bone health. One source examined the effects of omega-3 on bone health and muscle health in adults. Emerging research is showing that polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as those found in fish oil) may play a significant role in decreasing bone and muscle loss, which occurs with aging.
The research suggests a correlation between higher omega-3 fatty acid consumption and bone and muscle health. The study does conclude that more research needs to be done in this area to conclude definitively.
May Help with Asthma
There is also research that suggests that omega-3 and fish oil can help with asthma. One source examined the evidence surrounding omega-3 fatty acids and airway hyper-responsiveness. Hyperresponsiveness to exercise is one of the main drivers of asthma symptoms in many people.
Growing evidence is suggesting that dietary factors could influence this hyperactivity. There is evidence that pharmaceutical-grade fish oil may reduce airway hyper-responsiveness following exercise or other triggering events. However, more research is needed to fully conclude in this area.
Source of Vitamin D
Finally, fish oil is a source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is notoriously hard to find in the natural environment, which is why it is such a popular ingredient for a supplement. Perhaps the most popular place to receive Vitamin D is from natural sunlight. Therefore, being able to incorporate Vitamin D into your diet can be quite useful if you are not receiving enough sunlight.
The world of supplements is complicated and vast. As you have seen from this article alone, there is numerous academic research which is done on all sorts of topics surrounding fish oil supplements and omega-3s, and it is often difficult for them to conclude definitively one way or the other.
This is because there are so many complicated areas of biology, as well as so many difficulties in pinpointing exactly how each effect is achieved. This is why so many of our studies were unable to conclude definitively one way or the other. But what we can say is that there is a lot of promising research out there supporting the use of fish oil for numerous beneficial purposes in your body.
Additionally, supplements should never be the only way that you receive certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They are called supplements for a reason – because they act to supplement a healthy diet. When you can consume these nutrients in their natural form (such as by eating fish), then you should do so. Supplements are a great way for you to ensure that your diet remains well-rounded, but they are only one step of many. Incorporate them into your overall dietary plan to see maximal results.
So remember, diet is but one part of a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we examined how omega-3 and fish oil can provide various benefits. But to receive all of these benefits, they have to become part of a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks very much for reading our comprehensive guide to all the potential benefits of omega-3 and fish oil! As you can see, there is a lot of promising research in this area. Science points toward many potential exciting benefits of fish oil, which is why so many thousands of people have started to supplement fish oil into their diet.
We hope you have learned something from our guide, and we hope that we have helped you understand all the exciting research surrounding fish oil and omega-3!