January 11 2021
Ever wondered about the hype about fish oil?
Fish oil is essential as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated (comprising of double bonds between carbon atoms) long-chain fatty acids and can neither be produced in our body nor can be converted from omega-6 fatty in our body. Thus, Fish oil can only be included in our diet either by consuming fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon, and herring or by taking fish oil supplements that have been on the market for decades. With a booming industry, it is unlikely to get discarded anytime soon and why should it when it offers so many benefits and is safe to consume?
So, let's come to the fascinating part.
What exactly is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is responsible for brain health whereas EPA is significant for alleviating inflammation.
Worry not by reading the word fatty acids! On the contrary, it helps to reduce the triglyceride content in our body. Triglycerides are the chief reason for the blocking of arteries in our body. When these 'plaque' deposits on the internal epithelium of the arteries, they block the passage of blood and over time, can result in clots. When this happens, it results in Coronary artery disease, leading to heart attack and stroke.
Thus, omega-3 fatty acids help lower this incidence, ultimately keeping your heart healthy and beating. However, fish oil can interact with antihypertensive drugs by making blood pressure go too low. Also, it is contraindicated when taken along with blood-thinning agents like Warfarin. In such cases, it is imperative to consult a doctor before.
Other sources of Omega-3 include
- Plant oils- canola and flaxseed oil
- Fortified food like milk, eggs, juice, etc.
- Seeds and nuts like walnut and chia seeds
There are numerous other benefits offered by fish oil in addition to the ones mentioned above:
- They are significant for Brain Function! Our brain is largely made up of fats, distinctly omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, consumption of these fatty acids will prove to be beneficial. They also prevent the incidence of various neurological disorders.
- Improvement of eyesight. Want that perfect 20/20 vision? Here's your answer. Evidence suggests that the consumption of omega-3 also prevents the occurrence of eye diseases
- The most common problem due to a variety of reasons is hair fall. Fish oil provides essential nutrients and promotes the growth of hair follicles
- Fish oil is, to a great degree, supportive in cases of joint inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis cases. By acting as a lubricant, it reduces the stiffness in joints. It is also useful in reducing the number of cytokines or pain and inflammatory mediators in obese individuals
- Overt appearance is also vital. The skin is the largest organ of our body and to keep it healthy and glowing is paramount. Fish oil, when given intravenously, helps to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis
- It is safe to ingest during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Rather, it is recommended. A high intake of fatty acids is essential for fetus development during the first trimester when significant organ development takes place. It is also important for preventing allergies in the infant
- Fatty liver is a recurring problem observed in obese individuals. Fish oil can prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver and reduce the symptoms
- During the ongoing pandemic, it is equally important to keep track of your health. Research has proven that Fish oil can reduce the symptoms of depression and make you feel good
Research also suggests that intake of fish oil can improve the symptoms related to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as bipolar disorder. Might improve bone health. It is usually observed that people with a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids have good bone health. Along with vitamin E, fish oil can reduce the severity of menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) in women.
There are some minor side effects like burping and loose stools observed in some individuals. However, these effects can be minimized by not taking the supplement with spicy foods or any food that might give indigestion. In most cases, an after- taste can be felt. This can be minimized by taking the supplement with regular meals or by using pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that is expensive owing to its 85-90% purity i.e. consisting of only 15-20% of other oils or fish fat. Including fat products in your meal can aid in improving the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the consumption of 1-2 portions of fish per week. However, it is not possible in a country like India, where a huge population of people preferring a vegetarian diet is residing. Also, some people are aversive to the smell of fish. In such cases, a supplement of fish oil formulated as capsules can be used or people also have the option of switching over to algae oil.
WHO recommends a maximum of 3g of fish oil in healthy individuals. The fish oil in the market is usually a 300mg Omega-3 containing oil with 180mg of EPA and 120mg of DHA. For an intake of more than that, prescription fish oil is recommended after consultation with the doctor. In cases of high triglycerides, 1-15g of fish oil is suggested for 6 months. Some good quality fish oil supplements in the market include.
ALENFISH Fish Omega 3 Oil, 1000 mg EPA 330 DHA 220 (Soft Gel Capsules) is recommended in the dose of 1-2 capsules per day and helps in improving eye health and reducing obesity.
SALMON FISH OIL 1000 mg Omega 3 EPA 330 DHA 220 (60 Softgel Capsules)- Salmon Fish oil is considered the 'KING OF FISH OIL' as it is rich in DHA and EPA. 1-2 capsules daily are recommended.
In both of these products, omega-3 fatty is present in its natural form- the triglyceride form.