grilledsalmon Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The Benefits of Fish Oil
from woodleywonderworks

I’m sure you’ve heard before that we should eat fish on a regular basis. Besides being an excellent source of protein, fish contain the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These fatty acids are considered essential because they’re necessary for human health. The body can’t make them – you have to get them through food.

In modern diets, there are relatively few sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re found mainly in the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish.

By contrast, sources of omega-6 essential fatty acids are numerous in the modern diets. Refined vegetable oils, such as soy oil, contain omega-6 and are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in fast foods.

Omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation, blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while omega-3 fatty acids tend to decrease those functions.

Both omega-3’s and 6’s must be in balance in order to maintain optimum health. But the modern diet in America tends more towards the supply of omega-6 fatty acids and less of the omega-3’s. This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of many diseases such as asthma, heart disease, and many forms of cancer, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body.

For this reason, many doctors advise increasing our dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Multiple studies have been done over the years that have demonstrated the numerous mental health benefits associated with increasing our omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Helps Reduce The Risk of Alzheimer’s

One of the benefits being associated with omega-3 fatty acids is that they’ve been shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Greg Cole, professor of medicine and neurology at UCLA and associate director of UCLA’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center, reported that the DHA found in fish oil increases the production of LR11. LR11 is a protein which has been found at reduced levels in Alzheimer’s patients. LR11 is known to destroy a protein that forms the “plaques” associated with Alzheimer’s.

Can Help Prevent Severe Mental Illness

A preliminary study of 81 patients in Austria suggest that severe mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia may be prevented by taking fish oil supplements.  Dr. Janet Wozniak of Harvard Medical School said the findings might reasonably cause psychiatrists to recommend fish oil to some patients because there are many known benefits and little risk.

Improvement in Depression Symptoms

In a 1998 report in the Journal of Affective Disorders, it was reported that significantly lower levels of omega-3′s were found in the red blood cell membranes of patients with depression.

Then in the May 1999 Archives of General Psychiatry, Andrew Stoll, M.D., and his colleagues reported a study of fish oil conducted on 30 manic-depressive patients. Sixty-four percent of those who took 10 grams of fish oil per day for four months reported a marked improvement in their symptoms. By contrast, only 19 percent of those who received the placebo benefited.

Curbing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD)Symptoms with Fish Oil

Paul Montgomery, a researcher in the psychiatry department at the University of Oxford in England, found that “A lack of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” For the study, schoolchildren were given fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) for a period of three months. The children showed significant improvements in behavior, reading, and spelling.

Says Montgomery. “I think supplementation with omega 3′s is the only sensible way forward. One gram per day seems right for most children.”

Can Fish Make you Smarter?

In a Norwegian study, about 2,030 people in their early 70s reported their fish consumption and took various mental skills tests. People who reported eating on average at least a third of an ounce of fish per day outscored those who skimped on fish.

In another related study, Dutch researchers took blood samples from 800 men and women aged 50-70. They also were given mental skills tests at the study’s start and again three years later. Test scores were lower on the follow-up test but the drop was gentlest in people with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids at the study’s start.

Other Health Benefits of Fish Oil and Omega-3’s

Besides mental health benefits, there are many other health related benefits of consuming fish oil and omega-3’s, such as:

  • decreases risk of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeats),
  • decreases triglyceride levels
  • slows the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque
  • lowers blood pressure (slightly)
  • reduces chance of a stroke
  • reduces chance of death in people with cardiovascular disease
  • reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • may help slow the progression of colon cancer
  • help prevent the development of prostate cancer
  • protects against the development and progression of retinopathy
  • reduces inflammation

Intake Recommendations

The American Heart Association recommends that we eat a variety of (preferably fatty) fish at least twice a week. Check out Fish 101 for specific consumption recommendations.

When it comes to supplementation, there currently is no recommendation but the Food and Drug Administration classifies three grams per day as “safe”. According to the American Heart Association, people taking more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules should do so only under a physician’s care. High intakes could cause excessive bleeding in some people.

Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Additional Resources On Fish Oil

Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish Oil Improves Mental Health

Fish Oil to Treat Depression?

Alternative ADHD Treatment: Fish Oil

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brain food, essential fatty acids, fatty acids, fish oil, omega 3, omega 3 fatty acids

49 comments untill now

  1. Chris John @ 2010-02-15 08:04

    This was a great article! Thanks for posting it. I love fish and could eat it every day but ever since I learnt that fresh fish contains contaminants like mercury, lead, etc I’ve reduced my intake. Instead, I started taking fish oil supplements for the omega 3 benefits. I have been taking Triple Strength Omega 3 for two years now. I used to suffer from joint discomforts and fall sick a lot. Now my joints feel much better.

  2. They are some serious benefits! I’ll have to perhaps go out and east more fish. I’d like to know if taking supplements is as effective as eating fresh fish (I would assume not) but also to know if its possible to get the same health benefits from plant based oils

  3. I am glad to read the benefits of fish oil,and good to know that it lowers blood pressure (slightly)and reduces chance of a stroke as well.

  4. This only proves that one of the healthiest oils with lots of helpful benefits can be found on fish. That’s why I make it a point to eat different fish dishes at least three to five times a week.

  5. this is a grate post….it is providing very good information about fish oil and its benefit………….

  6. How get the same health from fast foods :)

  7. I’m glad that I’m more into fish than pork meat. I really don’t know, but I feel I’m healthy having fish served on my plate. Otherwise, pork meat needs to be prepared with vegetable.

  8. Great article, very helpful! Thanks for posting it. I love fish
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  9. Omega3 fatty acids is very essential for a pregnant women. This helps in brain development of the embroyo..

  10. I understand that fish oil is now the #1 selling supplement in health food stores even beyond multivitamins.

  11. Fish oil is an essential addition to ones diet. A helping of salmon, or one of the other fish mentioned above, two or more times a week will help get the required Omega 3 fatty acids.

  12. No wonder, my mom would make sure that we have fish in our daily diet. Maybe because she’s aware of its importance.

  13. My mother don’t like making some dishes like this.

  14. i love all the sea food

  15. And oil from oliva is very good too!

  16. Yes ,Today many oil company’s are present in the market and publish our products and sell. But you are given information about benefit of oil. And which oil is best…..

  17. Actually I heard about Omega 3 from fish can make you smarter, I didn’t know how, but I guess eating fish is a wise decision :).

  18. I am pregnant and from the begining of this pregnancy i can’t stand fish or any kind of meat. But my doctor told me i should take Omega 3. I feel ok and my baby is fine, so i recomand it with all my heart.

  19. Hi Gary,

    Nice post with many informative points stressing the HUGE need of Omega 3 for our heath.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    But we are getting more and more dismaying facts on the side effects of eating fish or fish oil as an Omega 3 supplement.

    Like: toxins, thinning of the blood, higher PH levels in our body, burping bad fishy smell, etc…

    However, a new plant (not flaxseed) recently discovered is giving all we dream of having from Omega 3 oil – and more!

    It is the Clary Sage, that almost went into extinction a few years ago.


    P.S. The testimonials are seriously awesome!

  20. This is an excellent and informative post which is filled with great info of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and The Benefits of Fish Oil. I guess eating fish is a wise decision for people of all ages.

  21. It’s a good thing I love fish. Unfortunately there was a large uproar around our costs about people getting mercury poisoning. I don’t think it will affect me per say but I guess everything in moderation.

  22. Wow, thanks for the info. I hate eating fish, might as well start an “at least once a week” eating fish voyage to avoid getting senile. Do fish in its bony body contains a lot of omega 3 fatty acids too? Cause It’s pretty hard to find fish oil around where I live.

  23. Sea food is my favorite dish so I’m very happy to read this useful information

  24. Very interesting study, never knew that could be a correlation of the Omega-3 levels with the intelligence or, at least, with a lower decrease of intelligente on the elder.

    Looks like will add some extra fish to my diet, hehe

  25. After reading this article, it reminds me to eat more of salmon and other food that is rich with omega 3 fatty acids. I heard that fish oil supplements could have stench or fishy taste. I wish I could take a good brand of fish oil supplement in my place.

  26. Fish is a big source of energy giving Food and See Food is yammmi very testy and heath making thing Good to read this post abt fish oil.

  27. Since I started taking fish oil as a nutritional supplement I have had more energy and have been much more focused

  28. We really should take care of what we eat, thank you for this information.

  29. Thanks for the post, How get the same health from fast foods

  30. Omega 3 is really good.
    Here in Brazil we consume it a lot.

  31. that,s very interesting and informative post.thanks

  32. wow its great post i like this post

  33. this is very helpful post.

  34. oh, good. I like this blog

  35. great advice and discussing,I’ll get this amazing for me .thanks!

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  38. Thanks for sharing. It’s really helpful info.

  39. Remember to only use ‘pharmaceutical-grade’ fish oils. These are specially processed fish oils that have minimal levels of mercury, PCB’s and dioxins. Another criteria to look for is fish oils with high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids. Most 1000 mg fish oil soft gels provide about 30% omega 3 concentrations – about 120 mg of DHA and 180 mg of EPA totalling 300 mg. You can get fish oil soft gels that provide upwards of 60 – 80% omega 3 concentrations. These types of fish oil products will provide you maximum anti-inflammatory benefits.

  40. Can anyone suggest the brand of a high-grade fish oil, like of wild salmon or cod liver or crill oil? Which is better?

  41. I find natural sources always better than artificial sources of nutrients. That is why it always helps to eat raw ingredients.

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  45. wow so well knowledge .

  46. I liver oil lists improved immune system function as a benefit; fish oil does not. So which would be the better choice?

  47. What are the benefits of Fish Oil, and what’s the best what to consume it?

  48. this is a very interesting and informative post.thanks so much

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