Fish oil supplements contain the omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish such as cod, herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna. It contains two distinct fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Eicosapentaenoic acid along with docosahexaenoic acid offers many health benefits, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Heart Benefits of EPA and DHA
One benefit that DHA and EPA offers is the ability to lower triglycerides in the blood, improve the health of your blood vessels, reduce plaque in the arteries, decrease the risk of blood clots and lower blood pressure. The benefits of fish oil were first discovered in 1944 when Sinclair determined that the Eskimos in Greenland had a reduced rate of coronary heart disease. He believed that this was due to the Eskimos’ high fat and cholesterol diets. As more and more studies were done, it was determined that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids offered numerous heart benefits.
Fish Oil Benefits Patients Suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, fish oil can help reduce the morning stiffness and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil helps block inflammatory prostaglandins and cytokines. Extensive studies have found that fish oil supplementation can reduce stiffness and joint tenderness in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients were able to reduce or eliminate their usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is believed that in addition to decreasing and preventing inflammation, fish oil helps to lubricate the joints so they glide more easily, resulting in less wear and tear on the joints.
Fish Oil Can Decrease the Risk of Developing Psychotic Disorders
Psychology Today reports that the Vienna Trial study found that teens and young adults that were at an increased risk developing a psychotic disorder, had the early signs of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and had a high genetic risk of developing one of these disorders may benefit from a fish oil supplement The study provided 1.2 grams of EPA and DHA supplementation to one group of participants for 12 weeks and the other group received a placebo. The study followed the test subjects for 7 years and found that only 10 percent of those who were given the EPA/DHA supplementation experienced a psychotic disorder. Forty percent of the placebo group, on the other hand, had experienced a psychotic disorder.
DHA and EPA Supplementation Feeds the Brain and Improves Memory
The University Health News reports that a recent study showed that taking an omega-3 supplement improved reaction times add memory in healthy, young adults. The brain is made up primarily of fat. Sixty percent of that fat is DHA. Unfortunately, most Americans do not consume enough DHA foods and can benefit from a supplement. In order to improve your brain functions the brain not only needs DHA but it also needs EPA. These two omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish, wild game, certain eggs, algae and seaweed. In order to reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, approximately 1 gram of DHA is needed. Women in the study found that their episodic memory was improved while men’s working memory was improved.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Helping Patients Suffering from IgA Nephropathy Kidney Disease
IgA nephropathy, or Berger’s disease occurs when immunoglobulin A (IgA) lodges in the kidneys causing inflammation that can prevent the kidneys from filtering wastes from the blood. Although there is no cure for Berger’s disease, there are some things that can be used to help slow down the progression of the disease and ease symptoms, including edema, protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish oil can reduce inflammation without the side effects of other medications. Furthermore, fish oil supplementation may decrease or postpone the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Fish oil is considered safe for most people; however, in high doses it can prevent the blood from clotting properly and may increase the risk of bleeding. It can also decrease immunity and can interact with other medications. Before beginning this or any other supplement or medication, seek the advice of your physician.