Sometimes it can be difficult keeping up with the seemingly never-ending cycle of a food or supplement’s journey back and forth across the “best thing ever / well, maybe not” spectrum. From coffee to bacon to wine, it seems each passing year brings with it a new study nudging a popular item toward the opposite end of the range. With that in mind, fish oil benefits, while numerous, are something you may want to consider including on that ever-growing list. While it’s immensely popular and touted as an adjunct treatment for a wide variety of conditions, some of these claims have not been consistently confirmed by subsequent research.
What To Know About Fish Oil Benefits
The magic ingredient in fish oil (not to be confused with cod liver oil) is its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s “are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation.” (1) Without enough of this essential fat, a few things you’re at increased risk for include arthritis, heart disease, and even certain cancers. It’s also said to help reduce inflammation and boost brain activity.
With that in mind, not every expert agrees on all purported fish oil benefits. In fact, even the heart benefits claim has its scattered detractors, primarily when it comes to taking fish oil capsules. Some people use the fish oil capsules as a means to increase omega-3 fatty acid levels as opposed to simply eating more fish instead of red meat.
You can find omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. If you’re not really a fish eater it’s also plentiful in flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. It is, without a doubt, a vital and necessary part of your dietary intake, and you should actively seek out ways to incorporate it – but primarily from your diet. Adding in fish oil supplements in a “more must be better approach” could actually end up hurting you more than helping. Talk with your doctor first to see if he or she feel like a fish oil supplement is actually necessary for your wellness needs
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/