If you ask most health-conscious people what they think is a very important nutrient or supplement, the answer is fish oil.
If you have ever smelled fish oil before, you know it isn’t the most appealing or appetizing odor in the world.
In fact, it can smell bad enough to make some people gag if you aren’t a fan of seafood.
But truth be told, fish oil is one supplement that everyone should consider taking or at least get enough of.
What Is Fish Oil?
Well, as the name suggests, fish oil comes from fish. Duh.
Not all fishes are made equal when it comes to fish oil extraction. Usually, fishes that are higher in fat content make better fish oil candidates.
These are the best fishes when it comes to fish oil:
Omega 3 is the fatty acid that is found in fish oil. Fish oil can be obtained either by eating more of the above type of fishes or purchased as a supplement at the pharmacy.
Fish oil contains two very important components. They are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Omega-3 fatty acid is considered an essential fatty acid as our bodies are not able to manufacture this nutrient.
This means that we need to obtain Omega-3 from the food we eat. Otherwise, we can suffer from a deficiency.
How Is Fish Oil Made?
The fish is brought to the fish oil manufacturing plant to be processed. The fish is first properly cleaned and gutted.
It is then cooked usually be steaming to preserve the integrity and quality of the oil as much as possible.
The steamed fish is then cut into smaller pieces and mechanically compressed or pressed to extract as much fish oil as possible. Another method of extraction is to place the fish meal in a centrifuge to extract the oil.
The fast circular spinning motion will push the fish meal to the edges while letting the fish oil flow down the middle for collection.
The collected fish oil is still not pure enough to be sold as it contains water and impurities. It is then decanted in large stainless steel vats where the pure oil will separate from the other substances.
The oil is then drained and ready to be bottled or turned into capsules.
This process is also rather similar to how olive oil is made which is also a healthy oil for humans.
Benefits Of Fish Oil
Here are reasons why you should incorporate more fish oil into your diet.
Better Heart Health
Heart ailments are one of the leading causes of death globally. It has been shown that people who consume higher amounts of fish oil on average are at a lower risk of getting heart diseases.
Fish oil can help to increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood and at the same time reduce your blood pressure and triglycerides.
It can also prevent your arteries from hardening.
Better Mental Health
Your brain is made up of close to 60% fat and much of this fat is made out of Omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, it is a no-brainer (pun intended) that fish oil is important for supporting good mental health.
The omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to improve the symptoms of those suffering from psychotic disorders like bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.
Postpartum depression is very common amongst new parents. Doctors don’t quite know what causes this mental condition but it usually happens after a month of having a new child.
People suffering from this mental ailment can fall into depression and become suicidal.
A study has found that by taking fish oil, it can help reduce the risk of depression.
Better Eye Health
Like the brain, our eyes benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acids. People who have more of this fatty acid in their blood stand a lower risk of getting eye diseases.
It is said that as one gets older, the eye muscles tend to degenerate. Therefore this health supplement can be essential for many senior citizens.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body and fish oil can help with the overall health of our skin. This is especially so if you have spent many hours out in the sun in your younger days.
If you have skin conditions like acne or eczema, a fish oil supplement might help with the symptoms.
Help To Prevent Mental Decline
As one gets older, there is a higher risk of getting brain degenerative disorders like dementia and Alzheimers.
There is no cure and it is only a matter of time before it gets worst.
As they say in the medical world, “Prevention is better than cure”.
There have been some studies showing that fish oil can help support mental health as well as slow down the deterioration rate.
Healthy Fetal Development
Every expecting couple wants their child to be born healthy and strong. By taking Omega-3 during pregnancy, it can help with the brain and overall health development of the fetus.
However, it would be better for the mother to avoid fishes that are known to have higher mercury levels in the flesh.
Benefits Of Fish Oil For Pets
Our pets can also benefit from taking fish oil as part of their daily dietary plan.
Here are the benefits that our dog or cat stand to gain:
- Protects the heart
- Better skin and fur coat
- Improve kidney functions
- Decrease arthritis inflammation
- Supports cognitive functions
Although it may be fine to give your pets human-grade fish oil, it would be still better to use one that is meant for pets as it’s easier to control the dosage.
How Much Fish Oil To Take?
As beneficial as fish oil is, it does not mean that you should be taking copious amounts of it.
Too much of a good thing can become bad, like ice cream.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 3g (3000mg) of fish oil a day. If you plan to take more than that, please at least consult with your doctor first.
Side effects Of Fish Oil
Although fish oil by itself is a safe supplement to take, there will be some who might not tolerate it well. You can also experience these side effects if you take more than your body can handle.
Bleeding gums and nosebleeds are common side effects if you exceed the recommended dosage. It is said that too much fish oil in the blood thins the blood too much and prevents it from clotting.
Therefore it is often advised to not take fish oil before a major surgery or if you are already on blood thinners.
For someone who has never taken fish oil before, you might experience a short bout of diarrhea as your body gets used to it.
It can also cause other digestive issues and flatulence.
If you have a sensitive stomach, it might be good to space of the dosage to let your body adjust.