When considering what to eat, many people have heard of fish oil and ask What does fish oil do?
History of Fish Oil Interest
The interest in fish oils dates back to the 1970s from a study with Greenland Eskimos. It was discovered that they had a remarkably low incidence of heart disease and arthritis, which was attributed to their fish-based diet.
Important Fish Oil Components
Fish oils are important because they contain important fatty acids which are important to heart health. This is not the harmful types of fat, which is saturated or trans fatty acids. Instead, this is polyunsaturated fats. Fish oils contain Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are two of the three important types of Omega-3 fatty acids.
There are two types of omega fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. The most important thing when considering Omega fatty acids is the proportion of Omega-3 to Omega-6. Omega-6 has many of the opposite effects when compared to Omega-3. A problem with a typical American diet is that it tends to have too much Omega-6.
Types of Fish Used
Fatty, cold water fish are especially rich in omega 3. Fish oils are extracted from several types of fish, including salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, anchovies, lake trout, albacore tuna and sardines. Other foods that contains Omega three include krill, plants and nut oils.
The American Heart Association recommends that people without a history of coronary heart disease should eat many types of fish, at least twice a week. People who have a history should get at least one gram of EPA and DHA a day. People with low triglyceride levels should consume two to four grams of EPA and DHA daily. Its best to eat the fish, but not everyone wants to pay and prepare fish, so there are supplements available.
Health Benefits of Fish Oil
Omega 3 is important in brain function, growth, development and reduces the risk of heart disease. Its not understood exactly how fish oils work in reducing cardiovascular disease. Some possibilities include by decreasing the risk of arrhythmias, thrombosis and triglyceride levels as well as growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, blood pressure, inflammatory response and improving endothelial function. Perhaps it lowers the risk for cancer and arthritis.
Deficiency of Omega 3 causes fatigue, dry skin, mood swings, poor memory, poor circulation, heart problems or depression. It may also be involved in cholesterol levels, increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
There have been numerous studies done on fish oil and what it does. Some of these studies have resulted in conflicting data.
The following are just some examples of what is available on the market. A search of Amazon.com for fish oil returns 3,492 results under the Health & Personal Care.
Nature Made Fish Oil Omega-3 1200mg goes for $17.88.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil for $32.44
Kirkland Signature Enteric Coated Fish Oil Omega 3 1200 MG Fish Oil, 684 MG of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, 180 softgels goes for $17.04.
Nordic Naturals, Ultimate Omega, 1,000 mg Fish Oil, Soft Gels for $51.95.
As you can see, the answer to the question What does fish oil do? is complex and involved.