Fish oil is the oil that is obtained from fish such as tuna, cod, salmon, anchovies, herring and mackerel. It is sold in the form of pearls and, today, is one of the most popular supplements used for its beneficial properties. Let's see better in detail!
Fish oil, properties
Fish oil contains long chain Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of the EPA type, or eicosapentaenoic acid, and DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. Scientific studies have shown that the intake of fish oil has a protective effect on the heart by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, this effect is due to the anti-inflammatory action of the omega 3 fatty acids that modify the composition of the atherosclerotic plaques and reduce their ruptures or ulcerations, conditions preceding the heart strokes (Thies et al, Lancet, Feb 2003).
In addition to this, high levels of omega 3 in the blood are associated with a longer life of the telomeres, which are caps that cover the final parts of the chromosomes. With cell division, which is part of the normal life cycle of a cell, telomeres tend to shorten and this causes the cell to die in the long run.
Therefore, longer telomeres also mean longer cell life and body protection against aging processes (Ramin Farzaneh-Far, JAMA, Feb 2010)! Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil reduce triglycerides, increase the levels of good HDL cholesterol and in individuals with hypertension, but not in healthy people, lower systolic and diastolic pressure (Bonaa et al, N Engl J Med , Mar 1990).
But fish oil also has beneficial effects in case of diabetes, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, depression, especially when used together with standard therapies for this disorder, and tumors, especially of the colon, breast and prostate by preventing healthy cells from transforming into cancer cells and by increasing apoptosis, namely the programmed death of tumor cells (Rose et al, Pharamcol Ther, 1990).
Fish oil also has beneficial effects on the skin, in fact, DHA, one of the fatty acids present in this supplement, is able to protect the skin from damages caused by sun rays such as inflammation or hyperpigmentation, while all the components of fish help to improve skin hydration and accelerate wound healing (Huang et al, Mar Drugs, 2018). Finally, thanks to the anti-inflammatory action of omega 3, in which fish oil is rich, this supplement also helps treat conditions such as arthritis and psoriasis (de Magalhaes et al, Aging, 2016).
Fish oil, when to take it
Fish oil pearls are therefore a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids whose intake, unfortunately, with the western type diet, is increasingly lower unlike omega 6 fatty acids. As we have also seen in previous posts, an excessive increase in omega 6 compared to omega 3 can cause chronic inflammations in the body that can determine wrinkles, obesity, depression, tumors and diabetes. For this reason, if the amount of omega 3 fatty acids through diet is not enough, this means a little intake of oily fish and of plant based sources such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, leafy greens and nuts, or in cases of increased need, as in the elderly or if there’s a risk of cardiovascular or autoimmune diseases or diabetes, it may be a good choice to take fish oil pearls. However, it is necessary to be sure that the supplement is of good quality as there is the risk of contamination by heavy metals and toxins. For example, there is the IFSO certification, on a voluntary basis, which certifies the safety of the product. Fish oil is taken with meals, 1 to 5 g per day. Side effects can be nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea. Ask your doctor for advice if you are pregnant, during breastfeeding or if you are taking medicines.