Fish oil has omega 3 fatty acids present in them. Here are its health benefits, side effects and the amount you should consume. Read on.
Have you ever consumed fish oil? Fish oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are found in only particular types of fish, vegetables and capsules. Unfortunately, our body does not produce these fatty acids and can only be consumed through an individual's diet or capsules. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in oils from certain types of fish, vegetables, and other plant sources. It helps in lowering the levels of triglycerides in your body. High levels of triglycerides can result in heart diseases or even stroke. Along with the consumption of fish oil, one has to make a physical workout routine to help in lowering the triglyceride levels in the body. Fish oil is basically the fat or oil that is extracted from fish tissue. It mostly comes from oily fish like herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. Fish oil also contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). To know more, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Arushi Gupta, Associate Dietician, Dayanand Medical College and hospital, Ludhiana, about the health benefits, side effects of fish oil and the quantity one should consume.
Fish oil health benefits
Fish oil has positive effects on people facing inflammation and pain as Omdga-3 fatty acids help in reducing them. They also help in preventing blood clotting. Moreover, it even helps in preventing heart problems. Therefore, fish oil has a wide range of benefits and should be consumed by people as allowed by the doctor. The two main types of Omega-3 acids called EPA and DHA are present in fish oil supplements. According to Dt. Arushi, here are the health benefits of fish oil:
1. Lowers blood pressure
Many studies say that fish oil helps in lowering blood pressure levels. People who take fish oil supplements mostly have balanced blood pressure and don't have to face high blood pressure problems. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil helps in performing this function.
2. Aids weight loss
Combined with exercise and proper diet, fish oil can also help in your weight loss regime. It improves the body composition and reduces the risk factors in obese people. Fish oil does not directly contribute towards weight reduction but helps indirectly in losing weight.
3. Good eye health
Fish like salmon, trout, anchovies and tuna have high amount of omega 3 present in them. These fish that have oil in their gut and body tissue can provide high levels of omega-3-rich fish oil. In fact, if you don't eat seafood, a good alternative are fish oil capsules. They will play a major role in having good eye health.
Also read: Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids
4. Enhanced skin
Another benefit of taking fish oil supplements is that it helps in enhancing your skin. A balanced diet that includes Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients is a very good way to maintain a skin care routine. Along with fish oil, nuts like walnut, cashew nut, pistachio, hazelnut and even almonds should be consumed as they consist of essential fatty acids like omega 3, omega 6. These are very good in keeping the skin moisturized.
5. Reduces liver fat
Fish oil also helps in reducing inflammation that leads to reduction in liver fat, making it function properly. Liver diseases include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in which fat gets stored up in your liver, which also leads to weight gain. Fish oil capsules help in reducing its symptoms and the liver fat.
6. Reduces the risk of heart attack
By lowering blood pressure, triglycerides, helping with weight loss and by increasing the good cholesterol in the body, fish oil plays a major role in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and many other cardiovascular problems. Therefore, fish oil supplements or fish helps in improving the risk factors that lead to heart issues.
7. May help with depression and mental disorders
Omega-3 is essential for brain function and it can be obtained is high amounts from fish oil. Lowers levels of omega-3 may result in blood levels therefore its consumption is important for the body. In fact, fish oil can also help in reducing the symptoms of depression.
8. Improves bone health
Calcium and Vitamin D are important nutrients for good bone health. However, Omega-3 fatty acids also help in a listing conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis at old age. Having omega-3 through fish oil can help in improving bone mineral density.
Fish oil side effects
The side effects of fish oil vary from person to person depending on various factors. Every individual has a different diet plan, medications, workout schedule and overall health condition. Therefore, fish oil may even have a side effect on people who already have other risk factors associated with it. One should talk to a doctor before having any fish oil supplements. As per Dt. Arushi, here are the main side effects of overconsuming fish oil:
1. Nausea and heartburn
Even though fish oil is famous for its benefit towards heart health. It still may show acid reflux symptoms like nausea and heartburn. It is one of the most common side effects and this happens because of the large amount of fat present in it. So, taking care of the dosage is important as stomach discomfort occurs due to excess consumption of fish oil supplements.
2. Bad breath
You may have noticed that fish as well as fish oil have a different smell that most people dislike. Fish oil may even leave an unpleasant taste or bad breath in your mouth. Therefore, this is one of the most common side effects of consuming it. It does not specifically cause any serious harm but may cause a bad smell and taste for sometime.
3. Lose motion
Experiencing gastrointestinal issues is also seen in many people taking fish oil. It is important to take the dosage of fish oil supplements as recommended by the doctor. Lowering the dose can help in coping up with lose motion, which is another fish oil side effect.
Some case studies have shown that too much fish oil can disturb your sleep cycle and lead to insomnia. High dosage of fish oil can even advance the symptoms of insomnia and trigger anxiety. You can take fish oil supplements with meals or freeze them to reduce the side effects.
5. Nose bleeding
As mentioned above, taking large amounts of fish oil may also result in blood clotting, which further increases the risk of nosebleeding and bleeding from gums. Therefore, one should take the capsules in a limited amount to avoid this major side effect.
How much fish oil should be consumed?
Fish oil can be consumed either by having fish directly or by taking fish oil supplements. Fish oil intake is only possible from fish that are rich in this beneficial oil called omega-3 fatty acids Such fish include mackerel, herring, tuna, and salmon. One can take upto 3 grams of fish oil daily in supplement form for safe consumption without any above mentioned side effects. You should also prefer taking fish oil capsules as prescribed by your doctor. It is not recommended to take these supplements on your own. Swallow the whole Fish Oil capsule and do not puncture the capsule in your mouth. Except fish oil, one also has to take care of the diet and exercise to enjoy the many health benefits. You also have to tell all your other medications to the doctor while getting a prescription for fish oil capsules as it can bounce back as a side effect or even severe allergic reactions.
So, these were the health benefits, side effects and amount of fish oil that should be consumed by Dietician Arushi. Even if you skip the dose of fish oil supplements, you can take it immediately after realising. Do not take any supplements without the advice of your doctor or dietician, as they can give better guidance on the consumption and sources of fish oil.
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