• 03Mar

    What are the health benefits of fish oils?

    Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and it protects against many diseases. A regular consumption of fish oil is recommended in all age groups. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced in our body. That means an external source is essential to provide its regular intake.

    There are basically three types of omega-3 fatty acids. Two of them are of animal origin and one is of plant origin. Animal omega-3 fatty acids are found in oil rich fishes like salmon, tuna, and sardines. These fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The third fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in plant seeds like linseed and flaxseed. Scientific research has proven the health benefits of both EPA and DHA in our body. The health benefits of fish oil consumption are described below.

    Breast cancer

    A scientific analysis of 26 studies from Asia, Europe and United States has shown that the consumption of fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids lowers the risk of breast cancer by 14%. This risk reduction can be achieved by eating 1 or 2 portions of oily fish per week. It was also found that, for every 100mg per day increase in the consumption of omega-3 from fish, the risk of breast cancer decreased by five per cent. On the contrary, there was no significant association between breast cancer risk and alpha linolenic acid consumption, which is present in some nuts and vegetable oils. The anticarcinogenic effect of omega-3 fatty acids is probably due to decreased production of estrogens, thus reducing estrogen-stimulated cell growth in the breast tissue. 

    Exercise induced respiratory discomfort

    Fish oil is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties and reduces airway inflammation. This prevents exercise induced bronchoconstriction. Performance in sports may be improved with regular consumption in sportsmen who are prone to this disorder.

    The health benefits of fish oil consumption include breast cancer reduction.

    The health benefits of fish oil consumption include breast cancer reduction.

    Central nervous system

    The development of brain in infants and adult brain require omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements have proven their value in such situations. It is useful in preventing dyslexia which is characterized by difficulty in learning to read fluently and with its comprehension. An improvement is seen in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Learning ability in these children can be improved by inclusion of fish oil in diet. Scientific studies during pregnancy have shown that kids of women who consume fish oil during pregnancy develop better verbal skills than those of women who did not take any fish oil.

    In many other CNS disorders there was a significant clinical improvement when the therapy was supplemented with fish oil. Some of these disorders include depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Elderly people who regularly take fish oil supplements are less likely to suffer from these disorders.


    Fish oil is good for keeping the health of eyes. The vision remains good as the omega-3 fatty acids are good for retina layer which perceives light. The age related degenerative changes in eyes are also delayed as seen in age related macular degeneration.

    Cardiovascular system

    There is a reduction in the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke. This occurs due to anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties of fish oil. The good cholesterol is raised which helps to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels. Hence the blood pressure remains normal and atherosclerosis is prevented or its progress is delayed. The anti-thrombotic effect is also related to a reduction in the triglycerides and stabilization of atherosclerotic plaque. These changes are associated with reduction in the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias, congestive cardiac failure and sudden cardiac death.

    Other uses 

    Fish oil consumption has also been found useful in treating dyslipidaemia associated with diabetes, though it has no effect on blood sugar control. The other beneficial effects have also been noted in skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in rheumatoid arthritis by reduction in symptoms and NSAID requirement.

    Fish oil is available as capsules. One may also consume fishes which are oil rich as mentioned above. Other than omega-3 fatty acids, a fish is also a good source of proteins. A regular consumption of fish oil is healthy and is recommended in all age groups.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

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