Best Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oil supplements are the most commonly used supplement in the United States after some vitamin and mineral supplements. You may have taken it at some point in your life, even as a child, but fallen off it. For many people, especially those who don’t eat much fish, fish oil supplements can offer a lot of health benefits.
How does it work?
The main nutrient that people take fish oil supplements for is omega 3. Omega 3s are an important type of fat that is integral in cell structure and function. They are part of cell membranes and cell receptors, and they assist in the production of hormones that regulate blood clotting, inflammation, and the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels. Because of these roles in the body, omega 3 fatty acids are essential in cardiovascular health, and many people take fish oil to improve their heart and cardiovascular function.
Conditions Treated with Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are most often taken for general health benefits and prevention, but it is also being studied as a treatment for some health conditions. One surprising condition that may be improved by fish oil supplements is bipolar disorder.
Among their other roles in the body, omega 3 fatty acids are broken down into some of the components of brain cells. In recent years, this has led to an investigation into the idea of omega 3 fatty acids’ role in mental health and disorders. There is also a correlation between low omega 3’s and bipolar disorder. The existing studies, although still very preliminary, do indicate that an increased intake of omega 3 fatty acids could help to treat some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. There is also evidence for using them to treat other mental illnesses, like depression and schizophrenia.
Conditions Prevented with Fish Oil
Thanks to the role that omega 3 fatty acids play in cardiovascular health, fish oil supplements can prevent some cardiovascular issues. Heart disease and high blood pressure are two such issues that occur less often in people who take a fish oil supplement.
There is some evidence that the use of fish oil supplements can reduce the risk or effect of chronic inflammatory conditions, like arthritis. High lipid and triglyceride levels can also be prevented with fish oil supplements. Very serious issues like stroke and some forms of cancer may even be less likely with the use of this supplement.
People who don’t get enough omega 3 fatty acids in their diet are at a higher risk for eye problems than those who do, so fish oil may help to prevent such eye problems. The skin contains a lot of omegas 3’s, that`s why some skin issues can be prevented with supplements, too.
Obviously, “fish” is a pretty broad term, and “fish oil” isn’t much more specific; there are different types of fish oil supplements, made from different types of fish and sea creatures. They include:
- Natural fish oil supplements - Natural fish oil is the oil taken straight from the tissues of the fish. The most common types of fish used for this are salmon, sardines, cod, and herring.
- Purified or concentrated fish oil supplements - Most of the fish oil supplements on the market are processed in some way. Purified fish oil is free of contaminants like mercury, and concentrated fish oil increases the amount of omega 3’s per volume.
- Krill oil supplements - Although krill aren’t fish, they are sea animals that make for a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. One of the benefits of krill oil over other fish oil is that, due to the short lifespan of krill, they don’t have many contaminants like mercury and don’t need to be purified.
- Mussel oil supplements - This is another non-fish seafood source of omega 3 fatty acids. The biggest reason people are drawn to mussel oil over fish oil is that it’s considered to be more environmentally friendly.
And, of course, these different types of oil can be found as:
If you know what kind of fish oil supplement, you’d be interested in trying, you can take a look at our top ten favorite fish oil supplements to find a high-quality, well-reviewed product.
Food Sources of Fish Oil
The food source of fish oil is fish! Not all fish are created equal, however, and the greatest amounts of omega 3’s are found in the species of fish that we call “oily fish”. This includes:
Fish oil is known to have several health benefits, and many others are currently being studied, with promising results. Fish oil has benefits for cardiovascular health, such as improving cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The symptoms of mental disorders like bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia may also be improved with the use of fish oil supplements.
Some studies indicate that fish oil could help with weight loss for obese people, although the conclusions aren’t totally clear yet. It also may reduce fat accumulation in the liver, which in turn improves liver health overall. Bone, skin, and eye health are all among the other things that may benefit from the use of fish oil supplements. These effects may also be found in infants when fish oil is taken by the mother while pregnant.
Side Effects of Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are generally regarded as safe when taken in reasonable quantities. Side effects that do occur are usually mild. These might include a fishy aftertaste or bad breath, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, or rash. More severe side effects are generally only seen in individuals with allergies. If you experience any side effects indicative of a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention. Make your doctor aware of any known allergies before to starting any new supplement to reduce the risk of such a reaction.
In rare cases, when taken in very high doses, fish oil supplements may cause side effects like increased risk of bleeding or stroke, and immune responses may be affected. Additionally, since fish oil contains very little to no mercury, there is generally no concern regarding side effects caused by mercury, as there might be when eating some types of fish.
Precautions and Warnings
You should consult with your doctor before starting a fish oil supplement to get the best directions on how to take them safely. In general, fish oil is regarded as very safe for most people to take, but there is always a possibility of interactions with medications, complications due to existing medical conditions, or allergic reactions. It is currently unclear whether any type of fish oil supplements are safe for people with allergies to seafood, so caution should be taken if you have known seafood allergies. An alternative omega 3 supplement would be preferable to avoid allergic reactions.
How long should I take fish oil?
Since most of the benefits that people take fish oil supplements for are preventative and long-term, many will take fish oil every day for as long as they want, potentially for their entire lives. However, it’s best to follow the directions of your physician. They will be able to advise you on how long you should take the supplement, depending on the conditions and benefits you are taking it for.
If you don’t see results immediately after taking fish oil, you shouldn’t be discouraged. As mentioned above, the results generally take place over a long period. It’s generally recommended that you wait at least six weeks from the start of taking the supplement before determining whether it is working for you or not. The amount of time before you see results may also depend on the quantity and type of fish oil you take.
Taking fish oil along with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, which reduce blood clotting, may increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with blood pressure medication may cause the blood pressure to lower more than expected. If you take any of these medications, you should consult with your doctor before considering fish oil supplements. Oral contraceptives may interfere with the efficiency or benefits of fish oil supplements. On the other hand, fish oil supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of vitamin E supplements.
One weight loss medication, called Orlistat, temporarily prevents the body’s absorption of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. These medicines can be taken on the same days, but ideally several hours apart to avoid this interaction. This list of potential drug interactions is not complete, and there may be many more interactions that we are unaware of at this time. Always ask your doctor about possible interactions with any of the medications you are currently taking.
Fish oil supplements are a great convenient way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. They can improve the health of everything from your cardiovascular system to your skin to your mental health. There are fish oil supplements available in different forms and from different species of sea creatures, so you have lots of options available and should be able to find a version of the supplement that works for you.
Always discuss your known allergies, medical conditions, and other medications with your doctor before starting a new supplement, so that they can make sure you are safe in taking it. When you have a plan that will be safe and effective for you, you can refer back to the list of our favorite products to find some of the highest-quality fish oil supplements available.
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