May 4, 2023

Fish Oil: What You Need to Know

Major Team

What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is a term that encompasses the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish, animal products, and phytoplankton. It has been shown to lower triglycerides but doesn't affect the rate of cardiovascular events. Besides, fish oil may alleviate depression symptoms and improve some inflammatory conditions.

Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and trout, and shellfish, like mussels, oysters and crabs, are the greatest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are available in liquid, capsule, and pill forms.

What Fish Oil Offers You

Fish oil supplements have numerous health benefits. They may reduce the likelihood of heart disease by reducing its risk factors. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the functioning of the brain and eyes, and a lack of omega-3s can lead to eye diseases. Fish oil may also improve symptoms of mental health conditions.

Fish oil supplements may also improve skin health and are beneficial in skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis. In infants, omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for early growth and development, and fish oil supplements can improve hand-eye coordination.

Moreover, fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with chronic inflammation, reducing joint pain and stiffness, medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, and symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Lastly, fish oil supplements have been shown to help with neurodevelopmental conditions in children and can reduce hyperactivity, inattention, and other related behaviors.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Omega-3 supplements can have benefits but may carry risks as well. They may affect blood clotting and interfere with certain medications, cause minor side effects, or pose a risk for those with fish or shellfish allergies. 

People should check with their doctor and ensure that the supplement comes from a reliable source to avoid potential pollutants and excessive vitamin A levels. The FDA does not regulate supplements' quality or purity, so always buy them from a reputable source. A balanced diet usually meets nutritional needs, so supplementation may not be necessary.

How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?

The recommended daily dosage of fish oil varies based on the purpose of supplementation. The recommended daily amount of combined EPA and DHA for general health is 250 mg, which can be obtained through a healthy diet that includes fish. However, the American Heart Association suggests consuming 1 gram of EPA and DHA daily to achieve optimal heart health.

Practical Tips for Using Fish Oil

You can take fish oil throughout the day, but to minimize the taste, take it with meals.