Supplements offer individuals a chance to prevent and treat conditions on their own terms. Fish oil is the third most popular supplement on the market today as reported by Yahoo Health. Individuals are taking fish oil as over-the-counter medications, as well as by prescription from their doctor. This treatment is being used for everything from heart disease to multiple sclerosis. As a result, a large pool of research has been ongoing for the past decade to determine scientifically the successful uses of fish oil. Here are some of the ways that fish oil is effectively benefiting individuals.
How Fish Oil Functions
According to Psychology Today fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that are vital to our development, growth, brain function and inflammation. These fatty acids are:
• DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
• EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
In addition to fish, we can get omega-3 fatty acid of another type called alpha-linolenic acid from certain plant foods—pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and canola oil. Alpha-linolenic acid can be converted into EPA and DHA. We need fatty acids in order to function properly. If we become deficient we have an increased risk of certain cancers, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and mood disorders—just to name a few.
Choosing Fish Oil Supplements
According to an article published by Nutrition Journal, many Americans do not eat enough fish high in omega-3 fatty acid, including sardines, salmon and mackerel, on a regular basis. Additionally, some people aren’t interested in eating plant sources of omega-3 fatty acid due to the cost and flavors of seeds and nuts containing alpha-linolenic acid. As a result, there is the move toward supplementing our diet with fish oil supplements will help to improve our intake of fatty acids. Expansive studies are being done at medical research facilities all over the world to see if the supplements are just as effective as eating fish.
Uses of Fish Oil Supplements
There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that fish oil improves cardiovascular and heart health. This reduces the risk of heart disease, the leading killer in the US, making it a frequently prescribed supplement by heart doctors. Furthermore, here are a couple of other proven medical uses for fish oil:
1. Preventing Postpartum Depression
New mothers who are experiencing or prone to experience postpartum depression can take fish oil supplements as a precautionary measure. Furthermore they can take fish oil safely while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is a natural supplement proven by the University of Connecticut School of Nursing to reduce feelings of anxiety and loss of self. By taking supplements when pregnant the newborn infant receives developmental advantages for up to 9 months after they are born.
2. Reducing Vision Loss
A recent study by the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, the use of DHA supplements could possibly prevent age-related vision loss. The researchers discovered that the retina of subjects experienced toxin build-up, which led to vision loss. However, when DHA was incorporated it did not build up any of the toxin. The theory is that DHA could prevent all sorts of age-related dystrophy, a premise that needs to be researched further.
Quest for the Best Fish Oil
According to Nutrition Journal, high potency fish oil supplements improve the benefits and absorption of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acid. Look for supplements that are all-natural, free of preservatives, sweeteners and artificial flavors or colors.