Fish Oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid that is known to have beneficial effects in the body. Fish Oil can be taken from eating fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, albacore, cod liver and halibut among others. It is also commercially available in capsule, also derived from the bodies of the cold water fish stated above.
Omega-3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body but constantly used up by the body. Replacing it requires eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid like marine oils and plant oils.
Fish Oil is medically known for its anti-inflammatory effect, and for its anti-coagulant effect. It is also known to help boost the immune system and sexual function.
Prevention of cardiac problems such as heart attack, coronary heart disease and ischemic heart disease are among the more famous beneficial effects of Fish Oil. For years it was said that the beneficial effect can be obtained both from the consumption of fish and Fish Oil supplements. According to recent studies conducted that was released to public in year 2012, there is a fine difference between consuming Fish Oil directly from cold-water fish and taking in Fish Oil supplements. The new study said that Fish Oil supplements do not really help prevent heart problems like heart attack but eating fish does.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in Fish Oil are related to the brain health and its size. In addition, when the brain is deprived of omega-3 fatty acids, the brain aging is accelerated. Changes in the structure of the brain had been noted also: a contributory factor for death, dementia and stroke.
What is Fish Oil used for?
According to researches, Fish Oil has beneficial effects on the following medical conditions:
- Heart problems: Coronary heart disease, ischemic heart disease and heart attack. Fish Oil helps prevent factors that contribute to the development of some heart problems by lowering the blood pressure and triglyceride levels and causing vasodilation.
- COPD and asthma, joint pain. Fish Oil has the ability to reduce the airway’s inflammation which will also help decrease the production of mucus and eventually help the person to breathe easier. It also helps relieve some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Hypertension. Fish Oil decreases blood pressure and promotes vasodilation
- Neurodegenerative diseases. Fish Oil improves brain functions.
- Autoimmune diseases
Common side effects of Fish Oil
Fish Oil is safe for as long as it is taken within the maximum or minimum prescribed dosage. Precise dosages of Fish Oils differ accordingly to everyone. The dosage depends upon the requirement of the person, what is it for and the amount of Fish Oil taken in from natural sources or dietary intake. Among its common side effects includes:
- Gastrointestinal effects like diarrhea and nausea.
- Some reported rash as side effect
- Mild indigestion
- A fishy aftertaste or sense of taste is somewhat changed
Taking Fish Oil with meals may help minimize GI problems, same goes with gradually increasing the dosage from a low dosage. Absorption of Fish Oil supplements may not be possible among people with known gastrointestinal problems.
High doses of Fish Oil may cause adverse reactions like:
- Allergic reaction. People who are allergic to fish or seafood.
- Bleeding – Fish Oil is known to be a blood thinner thus caution should be given to those who are taking anti-coagulant, NSAIDs, anti-clotting meds or aspirin and those who are to undergo any operations.
- High doses of Fish Oil may aggravate symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder
- Blood sugar control among people with diabetes may become difficult
- Low blood pressure may occur when high dosage of Fish Oil is taken with anti-hypertensive medications
Some conditions warrant special precautions when taking in Fish Oil like:
- Hematologic problems or bleeding problems.
- Some cardiac problems
- Live disease
Some studies said that high doses of Fish Oil may alter the intended effects on the above mentioned conditions and may even cause worsening of symptoms or disease.
In addition, Fish Oil may interact with other drugs like:
- Anticoagulants, anti-platelets, thrombolytic
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)
- Anti-hypertensive Drugs
- Contraceptive pills or Birth control pills
- Orlistat (Xenical)
Intake of Fish Oil along with these medications may potentiate the effects of the medication thus causing excessive bleeding and hypotension. Some might reduce each drug’s effectiveness.
Fish Oil side effects on children
There are no known significant side effects of Fish Oil on children. The possible side effects that children will experience are the same common side effects related to Fish Oil. However, children may experience the side effects in lower dosage than adults. In diarrhea for example, children may be at higher risk of dehydration as compared to adults.
Fish Oil side effects on men
According to research made, risk for atrial fibrillation is increased among middle-aged men with high intake of fish (about five or more servings per week)
Fish Oil side effects on women
Caution should be given to women who are in contraceptives for Fish Oil interacts with the birth control pill. The effectiveness of Fish Oil might be reduced by contraceptives.
Fish Oil side effects on pregnant women
Fish Oil can be beneficial to pregnant woman and the fetus. Nonetheless, eating of fish should still be limited due to the present of mercury in the fish meat that may pose risk of mercury poisoning or toxicity to the fetus. Tendency of increased bleeding may occur in pregnant women taking in Fish Oil.
Fish Oil side effects on elderly
Like in children, there are no significant side effects of taking in Fish Oil on elderly. However, side effects maybe experienced in lower dosage compared to adults and they might be more sensitive to the side effects in any of the age groups.