21 Benefits of Consuming Fish Oil on a Regular Basis

Here, we are going to explain fish oil benefits and some of the downsides. Now that it has been a few years, we know a bit more about it and can draw some very well-rounded conclusions.

I’m sure that by now we’ve all become familiar with “fish oil” or “omega-3” pills. Whether you have decided to supplement your diet with them in pill form or not, you have probably seen omega-3 fatty acids fortified in many items at the super Market.

There’s no doubt that fish oil is another fad dieting word. You know what I mean. Just the way that fashion has fads, the dieting industry has them too. It’s those buzz words you start seeing pop up all the sudden: “Organic”, “gluten free”, “green”. It happens when scientists tell us that some supplement or certain type of food is somehow going to greatly increase our overall health. “Fish oil makes you smarter!” “It’s good for your brain!” Sound familiar?

Fish oil is a multi-billion dollar industry in itself. Once word broke that omega-3 fatty acids were good for your brain, the food industry went crazy fortifying cereal, bread, and injecting more omega-3 into fish that already has it naturally!

What is fish oil and what are “oily fish”?

salmon oil capsules

Fish oil is… well, fish oil. It is oil taken from the tissues of oily fish, such as salmon. The oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial acids that are claimed to help the body with certain ailments such as inflammation. Omega-3 can also be found in chia seeds.

First of all, the fish don’t produce omega-3. They get these yummy oils by consuming microalgae or other fish that eat the microalgae.

The most commonly used fish for fish oil (Per 3oz serving)

Tuna fish

  • Sardines (1.3-2 grams)
  • Spanish mackerel (1.1-1.7 grams)
  • Salmon (1.1-1.9 grams)
  • Halibut (0.60-1.12 grams)
  • Tuna (0.21-1.1 grams)
  • Swordfish (0.97 grams)
  • Green shell/ lipped mussels (0.95 grams)
  • Tilefish (0.90 grams)
  • Tuna, canned, light (0.17-0.24 grams)
  • Pollock (0.45 grams)

These fish are all a bit lower on the food chain, meaning they are not predatory fish. If predatory fish were used as a source for fish oil, there would be more of a chance of toxins in the oil. Fish closer to the microalgae have better quality and higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

The worst fish sources for fish oil (Many of these fish are not good sources because of their high mercury content.)

Large piece of fresh seafood from swordfish

  • Any farm raised fish
  • Shark
  • Tilefish
  • Albacore tuna
  • King mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Where else can omega-3 be found?

As mentioned above, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can also be found in non-fish items.

The best non-fish omega-3 sources (Per 3oz Serving)

Chia seeds on spoon

  • Flaxseeds (19.55 grams)
  • Chia seeds (14.8 grams)
  • Hemp seeds (7.4 grams)
  • Walnut (1.7 grams)
    Soybean (1.1 grams)
  • Butter (0.27 grams)
  • Eggs, large regular (0.109 grams)
  • Red meat, lean (0.031 grams)
  • Turkey (0.030 grams)

Fish oil supplements

Fish Oil Capsules in a Fish Shape

As you can see, there are many different fish that can be used for fish oil supplements and some fish are better than others. So, how can you be sure that you are getting a good quality supplement? Many vitamin manufacturers will not put what kind of fish they used on the packaging. So, it is impossible to know whether or not you are getting a good quality, natural, not-farm-raised fish oil with all the good stuff in it if you are buying a supplement.

It is best to supplement your diet with fish oil found from eating actual fish. If you are set on using dietary supplements, then here are a few key things to take into account when making a purchase:

Make sure your supplements don’t contain toxins:

Make sure the pills you are buying are as pure as possible. You don’t want pills that have mercury or lead in them. One way to make sure they have been purified is if the bottle says the oil has gone through molecular distillation. This process will remove a good amount of the toxins.

** Manufacturers are not required to list how much mercury or other toxins are in their pills. You must do your own research before choosing a brand to make sure you are getting a good quality supplement. Be careful! Don’t necessarily trust the label.

These fish sources are great for supplements:

Buy fish oil that is taken from anchovy, hoki, whiting, Pollock or sardine. These fish are lower on the food chain and, as we mentioned above, they have less of a chance of being intoxicated with mercury and other toxins.

IFOS standards of quality:

The International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) are 3rd party fish oil testers that post their results online. The fish oil pills can receive up to a 5 star rating and are rated on the following categories (1 star can be given for each category):

  • Oxidation level less than 75% of CRN standard
  • PCB levels less than 50% of CRN standard
  • Dioxin levels less than 50% of WHO standard
  • Passing all CRN/WHO testing categories
  • Greater than 60% Omega-3 concentration

As you can see, the IFOS standards aren’t perfect either. The pills in this category are given a star even if they only have 60% fish oil concentration!

Go pharmaceutical:

There are many pharmaceutical grade fish oil products you can buy that have gone through a more rigorous purification process. You can even get a prescription fish oil called Lovaza that is FDA approved. Of course, these oils will be much more expensive, but that’s the cost of peace-of-mind.

Now that you know a bit more about the supplements and the science behind them, here is a list of benefits supposedly given by fish oil I composed thanks to Vitguide. I hope it’ll help you decide if you implement this ingredient to your diet. . Most of these statements/claims have not been proven but some are said to be heavily supported.

Here’s a list of why fish oil is something you should try

Fish oil pills

1. Reduces the risk of cancer

Several studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce breast, colon and prostate cancer growth, slow progression and increase survival chances. In particular, fish oils rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in most quality fish oil supplements, has been shown to play a significant part in reducing the risk of cancer.

A six-year study into 35,000 middle-aged women who took fish oil supplements regularly found that the incidence of breast cancer was reduced by 32%, almost a third of those taking part in the study.

2. Lowers triglyceride levels

A number of experiments into fish oil supplements discovered that it can significantly lower triglyceride levels in your blood stream. High triglyceride levels increase the risk of coronary heart disease and blockages in your heart valves. Regular supplementation of fish oil can prevent this from happening.

Fish oil benefits people suffering from HIV, AIDS and other viruses which require antiretroviral drugs. These medications have been shown to increase triglycerides to dangerous levels, which, without fish oil, would lead to increased risk of heart diseases. The benefits of fish oil to HIV and AIDS patients is also that it helps other systems in the body such as improved immune response to other illnesses.

3. Regulates cholesterol

Dr Michael L. Main, MD, with over 20 years of experience, speaks regularly about one of the main benefits of fish oil, regulating your cholesterol levels. According to Dr Main, the regulation takes place because of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DPA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in most high quality fish oil supplements.

Different doses of fish oil are recommended according to the level of cholesterol each individual has, but experts are in agreement that fish oil benefits you no matter what your current state of health is.

4. Prevents high blood pressure

The anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant properties of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are attributed to lowering blood pressure to healthier levels. The exact way in which fish oil does this is still unclear, but studies have shown that it is more than likely down to the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA.

EPA thins the blood, whilst producing anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, and it is this blood thinning process that medical researchers say is the key. By allowing the blood to be pumped more efficiently throughout the body there is less pressure exerted on the heart.

5. Decreases the risk of depression

Researchers looking into the benefits of fish oil on depression and suicide noticed that those suffering depression and/or suicide had considerably lower levels of EPA in their body.

The rate of depression in countries where plenty of cold-water fish is eaten is low, while in the United States and Canada, the rate of depression continues to rise. This trend, combined with studies into lower EPA levels, is enough for many experts to recommend fish oil as a potential cure for depression.

6. Protects against Type 2 diabetes

A study by the University of California in San Diego found that fish oil can prevent inflammation in fat cells which can lead to insulin resistance and, ultimately, diabetes.

While it won’t cure a Type 2 diabetes patient, another study currently being conducted by the University of Southampton in England is showing promise that fish oil can prevent Type 2 diabetes in people known to be at risk of the disease. The study aims to prove that purified long chain fatty acids can also serve to improve small nerve and blood vessel function that is very relevant to people at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

7. Improves your mood

In addition to decreasing depression, fish oil has been shown to improve mood swings, particularly if you suffer from bipolar disorder or are prone to mood swings. Quite often, people with mild forms of bipolar are misdiagnosed with depression and prescribed strong antidepressants with numerous side effects that can worsen bipolar disorder.

According to neuroscientist Andrew Stoll, MD, of Harvard Medical School, fish oil benefits bipolar disorder and mood swings and he has observed that fish oil stabilized the walls of nerve cells in the brain. This, he noted, was one of a number of factors that eased moderate to severe bipolar disorder and even worked for patients who had previously been unresponsive to drugs.

8. Prevents the onset of schizophrenia

A recent study in Australia by Dr. Patrick McGorry showed that the benefits of fish oil extend to preventing schizophrenia. In a study of 81 young people with early signs on the condition, Dr McGorry found that only 3% of those treated with fish oil developed schizophrenia, compared with 28% taking the placebo that developed the illness.

One in three people who show early signs of schizophrenia actually develop the condition, and since it has been proven that fish oil benefits people with a higher risk, it makes supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids even more important.

9. Protects your brain from Alzheimer’s disease

EFA found in fish oil fights the plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have also noted that the benefits of fish oil also extend to managing or easing symptoms of Alzheimer’s for those already suffering.

10. Reduces inflammation in your body

Inflammation in your body is a leading factor in a number of conditions and ailments such as psoriasis and lupus. One of the many benefits of fish oil is that it has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation of muscle and tissue.

A dose of as little as 3g per day is enough to experience a positive effect as fish oil benefits you by reducing inflammation in a number of forms.

11. Prevents joint pain and arthritis

Fish oil serves for reduction in inflammation, and this also extends to an inflammation of the joints, which can cause rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

In fact, fish oil eases joint pain so well that some studies have suggested that it can be used in place of pharmaceutical drugs for arthritis relief. Researchers and scientists also agree that the most effective form of fish oil to use is a natural, non-synthetic one.

12. Gives you clearer skin

Countless tests and studies have highlighted DHA and EPA as being highly beneficial in regulating sebum (oil) production, increasing hydration of the skin, lessening wrinkles and reducing blemishes such as pimples or acne.

One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that fish oil was very effective for chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, dry skin and redness. With regular fish oil doses, itchiness, redness and scaling significantly decreased. Better still, there were no adverse side effects associated with the fish oil treatment!

13. It protects your skin from UV light

A 2005 study from the Journal of Lipid Research found that the benefits of fish oil extend to protecting your skin from UV light – which is known to speed up the aging process and cause permanent skin damage.

Researchers applied one of the omega fatty acids, EPA, to human skin cells and then applied UV radiation to the skin cells to simulate the harmful effects of sun exposure which causes wrinkles and skin damage. They concluded that fish oil did increase the skins resistance to UV rays and that it is “a potential agent for the prevention and treatment of skin aging.”

14. Relieves symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

While I couldn’t find many conclusive scientific studies or trials to show that fish oil benefits IBS, there are countless real life reviews from IBS sufferers on forums all over the web who swear by fish oil. Many note that their constipation is relieved significantly by it, and it also seems to improve the regularity of your bowel movements.

From the little scientific evidence I could find, it seems that the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil improve the function of your colon and prevent the fluctuations between constipation and diarrhea that many IBS sufferers experience.

15. Helps the fight against cystic fibrosis

There have been a number of in-depth and quite conclusive studies into fish oil and the effects it can have on cystic fibrosis. Treating cystic fibrosis with a common fatty acid may reverse or prevent abnormalities in organs affected by the disease and DHA found in fish oil can improve organs affected by the disease.

Researchers suggested that by using supplements to restore normal levels of the omega 3 acids they can reverse the effects of cystic fibrosis. Studies are ongoing, but the use of DHA and fish oil to reduce the symptoms of this illness is an exciting and entirely new strategy to correct and possibly even prevent some of the ravages of it.

16. Promotes weight loss

While still relatively unproven, a number of studies have shown that fish oil can promote weight loss and burns fat better than diet and exercise alone. Not only are there studies, but testimonials of real people who have used fish oil for weight loss.

One reason why fish oil benefits fat burning is due to the increased metabolism which comes from regular fish oil supplementation. In essence, fish oil stokes your fat burning furnace, allowing your body to burn calories even while you are not exercising.

17. Enhances brain function in unborn babies

There is a reason that omega-3 fatty acids are recommended in prenatal vitamins, and that is because they can significantly improve brain development and macular health.

Women who take a high-quality fish oil supplement regularly have babies with fewer learning and mental difficulties and a higher IQ than the average baby. Associated Press reports that many nutritionists believe that omega-3 is a primary brain builder which is directly related to intelligence.

18. Increases clarity and focus

Because fish oil promotes a healthy brain, it is common for regular takers of fish oil supplements to experience an improved focus and clarity, both in their work and personal lives. Although it may take up to 6 weeks to experience the full benefits of fish oil, memory and focus can substantially increase with regular doses.

It is also shown to prevent or control ADHD, after researchers discovered that children who had ADHD, also had lower levels of omega-3 in their blood.

19. Improves your eye sight

Higher levels of omega-3 protect blood vessels, many of which are found in your eyes, and as a result, several studies have indicated that fish oil benefits eye function by protecting from retinal damage. It has also been noted that mothers taking fish regularly will pass this benefit onto the baby in utero.

20. Reduces soreness from exercise

Experienced weight lifters and those interested in fitness have found that a daily dose of omega-3 can reduce muscular soreness after exercise.

Taken regularly, fish oil benefits you in this way by making your day to day life easier after exercise by reducing soreness. It also makes exercise more enjoyable and allows you to work out more frequently since recovery times are shorter.

21. Aids relief of Crohn’s disease and Colitus

Ulcerative colitus and Crohn’s are digestive diseases caused by inflammation of the digestive tract which can lead to severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and even malnutrition. Treatment for these diseases is often expensive and can sometimes include painful surgery to remove parts of the intestines and colon.

Whether or not you decide to supplement your diet with pills, start eating more fish or decide to forget about the whole thing and eat whatever you want. At least now you can make an educated decision and feel confident that you are making the right choice. If you are not sure if fish oil would really benefit you, talk to your doctor about your specific health concerns.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

About the author


Lauren is a writer and painter. When she's not painting or writing, she enjoys cooking, exercising, playing music, singing, and getting lost on YouTube for hours on end.

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