The Benefits of Fish Oil / Omega 3
The benefits have been known for many years.
Because of food shortages after world war ll, the British government were concerned for the health of the children. Under their welfare system, parents were given fish oil and orange juice for their children to take each day. Since then many new studies have been done and the general consensus is that everyone can reap the benefits of fish oil in their diet.
The goodness in fish oil or omega 3 is due to the fact that it contains 3 fatty acids, or essential fatty acids. Fatty acids were given their name when researchers found that they are essential to growth in young children and animals.
The most common sources
of these fatty acids are fish oil and some plant oils such as flaxseed. According to Dr David Horrobin, a pioneer in fatty acid research, fatty acids comprise eight percent of the average human brain. Perhaps this is why fish is known as a brain food, certainly knowledge about the benefits of fish oil have been around for a very long time.
The three important fatty acids are;
- a-linolenic acid (ALA)
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Benefits of fish oil/omega 3 fatty acids were discovered in the 1970s by researchers studying the Greenland Inuit Tribe. The Inuit people consume large amounts of omega 3, much of it fat from meat, in their diet but have virtually no cardiovascular disease.
Although many supplements claim to contain omega 3 they often only contain ALA. A study of ALA showed that it does not have the same cardiovascular health benefits as EPA and DHA. Anyone wanting to get the best benefits from fish oil supplements should read labels carefully.
The best natural sources
of fish oil come from cold water fish such as:
For many people sourcing, the right kind of fish isn’t always easy, it can also be very expensive. Fish oil supplements are the ideal way to top up your diet.
Many tests have been done by various institutes around the world, some preliminary evidence suggests the benefits of fish oil may help in the treatment of conditions such as, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiac arrhythmias. There is also a possibility that fish oil or omega 3 may have some anti- cancer effects.
Countries that have a high level of omega 3 in their diet have the lowest levels of depression, bipolar disorder and violent crime such as murder.
Researchers are hopeful that studies may eventually prove helpful in areas such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. It would appear that the list of diseases and conditions that could benefit from fish oil is endless.
In a study done in 2007, Danish infants aged from nine to twelve months had their diet supplemented with fish oil, results showed an improvement in immune function maturation.
The US National Institute of Health
lists three conditions for which the benefits of fish oil and omega 3 are highly recommended.
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Because the western diet is severely deficient in many critical nutrients it’s important to supplement it by eating more fish and plant oils that contain omega 3 or taking fish oil supplements. Solid scientific evidence is mounting to support claims that omega 3 essential fatty acids are important to our good health.
According to Professor Peter McLennan from the University of Wollongong, half the population is consuming 50mg or less of omega 3 on a daily basis when we should be consuming about 200mg.
Some health experts now consider that the lack of omega 3 in our diet is one of the most serious health issues confronting our generation.
Our high consumption of Trans fats, little or no intake of fruit and vegetables, and excessive consumption of alcohol are increasing the risk of major illness and disease.
and those who practice alternative health therapies agree that in general people should maintain an adequate amount of omega 3 in their diet. More cardiologists and family doctors are recommending fish oil supplements as the natural way to prevent heart problems.
Some other benefits of fish oil
include the following:
- May help with pain and inflammation of joints.
- Improved memory function.
- May help to relieve symptoms of depression.
- Aids cardiovascular health.
- Can help to lower the risk of stroke.
- Beneficial in eye health especially in macular degeneration.
The preferred source of omega 3
should be extracted from the fish’s body not the liver. Liver taken from seals and whales contain the active form of vitamin A, high levels of this form of vitamin A can be dangerous. Some types of fish also contain high levels of mercury; high levels of mercury can damage the nervous system.
Since the type of fish and mercury levels vary in different parts of the world, it’s advisable to research food standard laws in your own country if you have any concerns.
We recommend omega 3 fish oil from XtendLife
Many more studies for the benefits of fish oil are a work in progress, but we can be optimistic that findings will only serve to strengthen the argument that we should include more omega 3 in our diet.