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 Fish Oil Health Benefits
(Omega 3 Fatty Acids)


Fish Oil Health Benefits - If there is one natural remedy that you can take for overall health, it would have to be fish oil. Just take it.

The table below summarizes all the scientific evidence to prove how fish oil benefits the body and mind in many different ways.

Also see our detailed and complete review on fish oil and get information on fish oil side effects.

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Evidence of Fish Oil Health Benefits (Leaf rating system)

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects High Cholesterol (High triglycerides / Hypertriglyceridemia)

The effectiveness of fish oil in lowering high triglyceride levels is fully established in many research studies. Triglyceride levels can be lowered by as much as 50% when taking omega-3 fatty acids from supplements or dietary sources.

It is also proven to lower low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and increase high density lipoprotein (HDL or "good”) cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, it would be best for you to consider taking omega 3 fatty acids either as a pill form or from dietary sources.

For enhanced cholesterol lowering benefits, omega-3 fatty acids may be combined with niacin.

A recent study showed that lifestyle changes and taking omega-3 fatty acids are as effective in lowering LDL as the prescription cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin (Zocor).
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Heart Disease / Coronary Arteries Disease (CAD) / Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction or MI)

Not only does, omega 3 fatty acids work to lower cholesterol, research studies show that it also prevent blood clots from forming leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and stroke.

For those people who have suffered from a previous heart attack or stroke, research shows that taking omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of having another one. One study published in July 2008 showed that higher blood levels of EPA and DHA leads to a lower risk of heart attack in women.

A research study published by D. Mozaffarian on using omega-3 fatty acids for preventing heart disease said "The strength and consistency of the evidence, and the magnitude of this effect are ...notable."

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Heart Failure / Sudden Death from Heart Failure

If you are suffering from heart failure, you must take omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association makes the following statement:

 "We recommend eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fish is a good source of protein and doesn’t have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)."

Scientists believe that taking omega-3 fatty acid is effective in preventing sudden death from heart failure because it can prevent arrhythmias (irregular heart beats).

Omega 3 fatty acids are also suspected to reduce inflammation and other conditions that can cause sudden death. Prescription cholesterol lowering medications don't work as well as omega 3 fatty acids in preventing heart failure (but they should be used for those with high cholesterol).

This latest evidence comes from a very high quality randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the gold standard for research study design) published August 2008 in the (very highly respected) research journal Lancet. 

The study was conducted in 326 cardiology and 31 internal medicine centers in Italy involving 6,975 patients for 3.9 years. The study used 1 gram daily of the omega 3 fatty acids.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Stroke

Taking omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce the risk of stroke by just under 30%. As well, research shows that people with a high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have a reduced risk of stroke.

Avoid very high doses of dietary fish (greater than 46 grams/day) as some studies show that it actually increases the risk of stroke. One or two servings of fish weekly would be best.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Atrial Fibrillation / Arrhythmias

There are now considerable evidences from clinical trials that omega-3 fatty acids of fish oil could prevent fatal arrhythmias (irregular heart beats).

If you have or are at risk of developing heart disease, it is essential that you take omega-3 fatty acids.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Studies show that taking 3 or more grams of omega 3 fatty acids reduces blood pressure significantly.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) / (ADD)

Studies in humans and animals show that lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids is related to learning and behavioral problems.

In animals, lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids resulted in lower levels of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals needed to allow brain cells to talk to each other).

Clinical studies done in children showed that taking omega 3 fatty acids resulted in significant improvements in their spelling, reading and behaviour.

See Omega 3 for ADHD for more information.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Dysmenorrhea / Menstrual Pain & Cramps

Omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease the pain and the need to take anti-inflammatory drugs for women and young teenagers suffering from menstrual pain and cramps.

In one research study of 200 women, those take more omega-3 fatty acids from diet reported milder symptoms of hot flashes and sweating during menstruation.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Omega-3 fatty acids from supplements or dietary sources reduces the risk of getting macular degeneration leading to loss of vision.

One study showed that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish lowered the risk of getting complicated AMD by 30% over a 12 year period.

Several past studies showed that eating oily fish at least once per week reduced the risk of AMD.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Osteoporosis

Omega-3 fatty acids increases bone density. This reduces the risk of bone and hip fractures. Studies in humans show that taking omega 3 fatty acids reduces bone loss over a 3 year period.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects

Depression & Anxiety Disorders

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of nerve cells. Population studies show that eating fish lowers the risk of depression and suicide. Also depression is less in countries with a higher dietary intake of fish.

One study clearly showed that omega-3 fatty acids helped with depression in women during pregnancy. As well, omega-3 fatty acids seem to improve the benefits of prescription antidepressants. 

Other studies show that it can help to reduce anxiety and stress.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA / Rheumatism)

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to help significantly in reducing joint pain, inflammation, morning stiffness and range of movement. This means that you might be able to reduce the dose of your prescription arthritis medications.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Asthma

In children omega-3 fatty acid supplements seem to improve their asthma symptoms. Experts believe that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation that causes asthma.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Endometrial Cancer

Women who eat fish twice weekly have a reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side EffectsColon Cancer

Some evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce the risk of colon cancer. In one clinical study, omega-3 fatty acids seem to slow down the growth of colon cancer in its early stages.

Several other studies show that the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your body is related to your risk of getting colon cancer; those with higher amounts of it seem to have a lower risk of colon cancer.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Anorexia Nervosa / Eating Disorder

Individuals with an eating disorders seem to have lower levels of essential fatty acids such as omega-3's. Experts suggest eating fish or taking omega 3 fatty acids supplements to avoid deficiencies.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Autism (Severe)

In a research study, omega-3 fatty acids did not show any benefit in children with severe autism. We will need more study to see if it benefits children with mild to moderate autism.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Low Birth Weight Infants

Pregnant women with low omega-3 fatty acids to to have babies of a lower birth weight.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Weight Loss / Obesity

People who are overweight are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (non insulin dependent diabetes) and high cholesterol.

Studies show that these people will get a better control of their diabetes and cholesterol when they combine exercise with a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Arthritis / Osteoarthritis / Joint Pain
 
Omega-3 fatty acids seems to help treat rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps with osteoarthritis. There is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids might prevent cartilage damage in the joints.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Bipolar Disorder

Omega-3 fatty acids when taking with prescription medications seems to benefit the depression part of bipolar disorder. However, it does not seem to benefit the manic part of the bipolar disorder.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Breast Cancer

Studies seem to show that women who get omega 3 fatty acids from dietary sources are less likely to get and die from breast cancer.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Prostate Cancer

In animal studies, omega 3 fatty acids seem to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells. The fish oil health benefits in prostate cancer prevention will need to be verified with more studies.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) / Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis

Omega-3 fatty acids, when combined with prescription medications seem to decrease the symptoms of IBD.

However, there are other studies that show that it is no more effective than taking the prescription medications alone. Another study shows that by taking omega-3 fatty acids, the dosage of steroid medication can be reduced.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Psoriasis

One small study in humans seems to show that omega-3 fatty acids along with conventional prescription medications helped with psoriasis.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Acne / Other Skin Conditions

One small study in humans showed that omega 3 fatty acids reduced a person's skin sensitivity to sunlight exposure.

Many physicians believe that taking omega 3 fatty acids supplement would help with treating acne.
 
Helpful
Diabetes / Insulin Sensitivity  - Enhances Insulin Sensitivity

Omega-3 supplements do not change blood sugar levels. However, people with diabetes are at risk of developing heart disease so omega-3 supplements are highly recommended for the other health benefits.

A recent study in July 2008 showed that omega-3 fatty acids improves the insulin response to sugar in the blood (and lowers blood pressure significantly).

When insulin starts to become less effective at lowering blood sugar (called insulin resistance), this is the start towards the path of developing diabetes.
 
Helpful Migraine Headaches

Some research studies show that taking Omega-3 supplements modestly reduce the number and severity of migraine headaches.
 

Suggested Fish Oil Health Benefits and Traditional Uses

See this list for all the other suggested fish oil health benefits in treating other health conditions..
 


Omega-3 fatty acids have be extensively studied and have the following important beneficial effects in our body:

  1. anti-inflammatory effect benefits inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and many others,
  2. blood-thinning effect (antithrombotic) like Aspirin, thus reducing the risk of heart attack,

  3. stabilizes the cell membrane thus may help with irregular heart beat (arrhythmias),

  4. reduce the heart rate; to prevent heart related problems,

  5. reduce hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis),

  6. dilates blood vessels (vasodilation) to lower blood pressure and to maintain kidney functions,

  7. reduces the production of chemicals (leukotrienes) that causes asthma attack,

  8. significantly lowers triglycerides (a type of fat) in individuals with high triglyceride levels,

  9. lowers the "bad" cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) and increases the "good" cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein),

  10. stabilizes nerve cells membrane and thus help with conditions like depression and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and

  11. reduce the formation of prostaglandins (PGs, a chemical made when cells are broken down) that can speed up tumor growth such as prostate, breast, lung and colon cancers.
Do not underestimate all the fish oil health benefits. It's got extensive studies to back up it's claim to fame!

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Related Articles and Resources on Fish Oil Health Benefits

Get the FULL Review on Fish Oil Health Benefits

Fish Oil Side Effects to Watch Out For

What is the Fish Oil Dosage to Use?




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