Suffering from arthritis? Trying to look after your cholesterol? Want to maintain your brain function? Fish oil could be the key!
Fish oil is an oil derived from the fatty layers of cold water fish. This oil is rich in the long chain omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are known to be essential to human health.
Here are some of the known or suggested health benefits of fish oil:
- Cholesterol and blood pressure – research has shown that taking fish oil can reduce levels of triglycerides by 20 to 50 per cent. High levels of triglycerides raise the risk of heart disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – fish oil has been found to help people with rheumatoid arthritis, get over morning stiffness faster. Some arthritis sufferers have been able to reduce their reliance on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by taking fish oil daily.
- Period pain (dysmenorrhea) – some women who experience acutely painful periods have reported that taking fish oil alone or in combination with vitamin B12 and magnesium can reduce the pain.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children – some research has linked taking fish oil with improved thinking skills and behaviour in 8 to 12 year-old children with ADHD.
- Anxiety and Depression - Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function. A dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The Heart Foundation recommends adults have 500mg of omega-3 (marine source) everyday to reduce their risk of heart disease. This can be achieved by consuming 2-3 serves of 150g of oily fish a week. For people who already have heart disease, The Heart Foundation recommends having about 1,000mg of omega-3 fats every day .
In an ideal world, we would get all the omega-3s we need from our diet – but most people today get their daily requirements from supplements in the form of capsules or liquids. Fish-oil supplements are generally safe but can interact with the blood-thinning agent warfarin, so if you are taking it you need to be monitored. Always tell your doctor what supplements you are taking and what dose.
- Din JN, Newby DE, Flapan AD 2004, ‘Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease – fishing for a natural treatment’ British Medical Journal, vol. 328, pp. 30–35. Available Here.
- NUTTAB 2010 Online Searchable Database, Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2012. Available Here.
- Omega-3: general, Heart Foundation. Available Here.
- Mercury in fish, Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2011. Available Here.
- Fish Oil Program, Heart Foundation. Available Here.