Fatty fish, such as mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, salmon, and sardines are the primary source for fish oil. Fatty fish are sometimes referred to as “oily fish.” Nutritional supplements can be an easy and effective way to ensure daily doses of fish oil.
Health care professionals and nutritionists believe the two primary ingredients in fish oil are beneficial: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both are types of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are types of fat found in plant oils and certain types of marine life oils. Many health benefits have been associated with omega-3 fatty acids; however, the most prevalent and compelling are omega-3 fatty acids’ ability to help lower triglycerides (the fats related to cholesterol) and blood pressure.
It is believed that the omega-3 fatty acids are the “active ingredient” in fish oils. The human body does not produce its own omega-3 fatty acids, so, omega-3 fatty acids must be derived through diet or supplements.
Benefits of Fish Oil
There is a wide variety of health conditions for which fish oil or fish oil supplements are recommended. Typically, fish oil is part of a broader treatment regime for heart and blood system conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It is also part of many heart and blood system prevention plans.
Fish and fish oil are sometimes prescribed to treat or prevent depression, psychosis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other “thinking” disorders. There are a wide variety of other health conditions for which fish oil has been considered to be part of a beneficial treatment including diabetes, asthma, dyslexia, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.
Fish oil can be purchased over-the-counter, and it is available on a wide basis at health food stores, retail outlets, and general merchandise chains.
Negative Effects of Fish Oil
Health care and medical professionals believe fish oil, when taken in low doses, is safe for most people, even pregnant and breast-feeding women. Low doses are defined as three grams or less per day. High doses may prevent blood clotting; increase the chance of bleeding; reduce the effectiveness of the immune system; and cause unwanted side effects, such as heartburn, nausea, belching, bad breath, loose stools, nosebleeds, and rashes. The side effects can be reduced or eliminated by ingesting fish oil supplements with a meal.
Taking fish oil may also increase some of the symptoms of certain diseases and medical conditions including:
- Bipolar disorder;
- High blood pressure;
- HIV/AIDs and other immune system disorders;
- Heartbeat irregularity from a surgically implanted defibrillator;
- Certain types of cancer.
Fish oil may also interact in a harmful manner with birth control pills, medications for high blood pressure, blood clotting agents, and weight loss medications.
Uses for Fish Oil
Fish oil and its omega-3 fatty acids are generally recommended as part of a broader health condition treatment or preventative health care regime. Victims of or candidates for a number of heart and blood diseases can benefit from adding fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids to a program that includes regular exercise, balanced diet, weight management, balanced nutritional supplements of vitamins and minerals, stress management, and regular medical monitoring.
It evident that fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown in numerous medical studies, treatments, and daily usage to be effective for certain heart and blood disease purposes when it is taken as directed.
Negative effects have been shown through testing and case examples for persons who take large doses and for those who already experience certain health issues. If you are using fish oil as a supplement, be vigilant for changes that might signal an adverse reaction and seek medical attention, if necessary.