The main benefit of fish oil comes from the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains – something the human body does not produce on its own. Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Fish oil can be obtained by either taking fish oil supplements or by eating fish, such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout and menhaden. When fish oil is obtained by consuming fish, the cooking method used to prepare it makes a difference. Eating baked or broiled fish is the best preparation method for obtaining fish oil. Eating fried fish or fish sandwiches reduces the amount of omega-3 fatty acids consumed, and may in fact increase the risk of heart disease risk.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling, and prevent blood from clotting easily. This makes fish oil effective for treating many conditions, especially those related to the heart and blood system. Some people use fish oil to lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. People also use fish oil for the following conditions:
Vision: Dry eyes, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Women’s health: Painful periods, breast pain, pregnancy complications
Other conditions: Diabetes, asthma, dyslexia, obesity, kidney disease, osteoporosis, psoriasis
Fish oil supplements can be purchased at local drugstores. Ask your doctor if fish oil is right for you.
1. WebMD, “Fish Oil: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings”