4 Fish Oil Benefits You Should Know About

Fish oil is one of the best omega 3 fatty acid supplements you can buy, and it provides some of the most scientifically proven benefits of any dietary supplement. In addition, fish oil is better than flaxseed for omega 3s because it contains the two fatty acids DHA and EPA, whereas flaxseed only contains ALA and so the body has to convert it first. So fish oil is more efficient and the better choice for omega 3. The benefits of fish oil include cardiovascular health, protection against cancer, and to a lesser extent treatment for depression.

Cardiovascular

Fish oil is well known for it's protection against the most common heart diseases. The typical modern Western diet is high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in the omega 3s, and it is partially this imbalance that leads to high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, and ultimately cardiovascular problems. An increase in daily consumption of fish oil has a proven protective effect against these problems, according to the US National Institute of Health.

Heart dysrhythmia, any of several conditions that involve erratic heartbeats, is less likely to be treatable with fish oil according to several recent studies.

Mental Health

Several studies suggest that violent behavior may at least partially result from diets low in omega 3s. Prisoners fed diets high in seafood were overall less violent than those who were not, according to one study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. There is also at least some evidence that fish oil can help alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. In one study, high risk patients were given fish oil and others were given a placebo as the first symptoms of schizophrenia were manifesting. Similar evidence exists for Alzheimer's patients. Most of this is preliminary, and no firm conclusions can be drawn yet.

As for depression, anecdotal stories abound across the Internet of people with depression finding relief through fish oil supplementation. However, scientific study of this has not been conclusive so far. Of the several studies done, some show a benefit and some do not. So while the jury is still out, a sufferer of depression could make use of fish oil and see if it helps, while being aware not to forgo other prescribed medication.

Cancer

Omega 3 definitely has anti-cancer properties, as shown through several studies published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The cancers most affected were breast and prostate, two of the most common cancers that afflict both men and women. A 2007 study concluded that the growth of prostate cancer was significantly reduced and survival times were increased through the use of fish oil. And risk of breast cancer was found to be 32% lower in women who made regular use of fish oil supplements.

With so few side effects, and so many benefits, fish oil should be at the top of everyone's list of nutritional supplements to take. The only known side effects include bleeding and stroke from excessive overdosing, and possible problems with poor ingredients in some supplement manufacturers. To keep a healthy heart and reduce risk of the most common cancers, fish oil should be included in the diet, either via fish or by supplementation if not enough fish can be eaten. Sufferers of depression can try fish oil to see if it benefits their depression, but only under doctor supervision.