Fish Oil Health Benefits
We have all heard about the various health benefits of fish oil, but what exactly is fish oil and what are these so called “benefits”. Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids and doscosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fish themselves do not produce Omega-3 fatty acids but consume microalgae or other fish which have accumulated microalgae. Fish oil’s claimed health benefits include: clinical depression, cancer, cardiovascular health, hypertension, mental health, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, depression, psoriasis, and many others.
A recent study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and comparative physiology touts the health benefits of fish oil. Previous studies have documented the link between mental stress and cardiovascular risk. Other studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids suggest to protect against cardiovascular disease. However, there has been no link which shows the connection between fish oil and mental stress.
These study took 67 volunteers and separated them into a placebo and “drug” group. Those in the placebo group took 9 grams of olive oil and those in the “drug” group took 9 grams of fish oil. It is important to note that olive oil does not have the same beneficial cardiovascular effects as fish oil. The participants had vitals taken during rest and a 5 min mental stress protocol before and after an 8 week fish oil/placebo treatment. These vitals consisted of: heart rate, blood pressure, Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity (MSNA), and blood flow.
The findings found that the results showed that the treatment didn’t have any effect on the vitals taken at rest, but they did however show that during the mental stress test that they did show slight effects. The fish oil groups showed blunted heart rate reactivity compared to those in the olive oil group. In addition to this MSNA reactivity was also blunted in the fish oil group.
The importance of this is that it shows that fish oil can help reduce mental stress and help keep the heart healthy. You can get your weekly dose of fish oil from eating fish or you can also purchase fish oil soft gels from your local pharmacy such as: CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc. These can be purchased in 500 mg to 1000 mg capsules. It is important to note you can get fish oil from consuming predatory fish such as: tuna, shark, mackerel; but these fish often contain high levels of toxic chemicals such as: mercury, dioxin, PCBs, and chlordane.