Why is Fish Oil Good for You?
Tuesday is about Taking Care of Yourself
Photo by adactio
I’ve heard of the benefits of fish oil for years. One friend swears it cleared up her son’s eczema, another says she uses it to prevent colds, I read that runners should take it to protect their knees, and doctors prescribe it in Europe to their patients with heart disease. So I decided to do a little research and learn more.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. Since our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids, and can only get it from our food, these are called essential fatty acids. The three types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The major actions of omega-3 oils are to reduce inflammation, which helps combat a number of medical problems. Another important fatty acid is omega-6, but it is common in most of our diets since it is found in meat. People with a good ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to have a variety of medical problems including heart disease, cancer and arthritis. However, the best ratio varies according to the condition you are worried about. Since most of our diets have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, taking fish oil is a great way to supplement your diet and achieve better 6 to 3 ratios.
So my bottom line assessment of the benefits of taking omega-3 oils is WOW!
As I looked through the medical literature, I saw LOADS of studies that have shown the benefits of increasing omega-3 oils in your diet. Some of the conditions that have been studied are listed below with the links to the research that shows the benefits. This is not a comprehensive list, but is a great start.
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- High Levels of Triglycerides
- Treatment for Depression
- Certain Types of Stroke
- Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Immune System Conditions
- Treatment for Asthma
In terms of the evidence for preventing colds and treating runner’s knee, I couldn’t find anything. But after seeing all of these other benefits, I put some fish oil (that has had the scent removed) into my 4 year old daughter’s juice. She has eczema and I hope to see an improvement. I will write about it after she has taken it for 2 weeks.