Fish oil is often one of the main ingredients of supplements, in the form of capsules, pills, or liquids, to help overcome various types of diseases. What exactly is the content and efficacy of these health supporting foods?
Fish oil can be obtained by consuming fish directly or in the form of supplements. Fish oil is special because it contains omega-3s, which are essential fatty acids that are needed for health, but are not produced naturally by the body.
There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel are examples of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Every 100 grams of these fish contains approximately 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the Benefits of Fish Oil?
Research has found that fish oil has a number of benefits, including:
Reducing triglyceride levels
Maintaining heart health
Prevents clogging of blood vessels
Good for pregnant women
Reducing the need for asthma medicines
Potential for cancer prevention
Fish oil has been shown to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. The risk of heart disease will increase along with high levels of triglycerides in the body.
Eating fish rich in fish oil can help maintain heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Research shows that those who consume fish oil regularly are at lower risk for heart attacks, and have more controlled blood pressure.
Fish oil can prevent blood vessel blockage (atherosclerosis). Research shows that consumption of fish oil can reduce bad cholesterol levels and prevent inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of clogged arteries.
Besides being good for general health conditions, fish oil also has many benefits for pregnant women. The content of DHA and EPA in fish oil can reduce the risk of preeclampsia, preterm labor, and increase the baby’s birth weight.
Fish oil can reduce the need for asthma medicines in some children, but not in adults.
Fish oil which is quite popular to be consumed as a health supplement is not infrequently associated with its health benefits against cancer prevention. But so far the research shows that the claim is incorrect, because no fish oil consumption was found to reduce the risk of cancer.
Is Fish Oil at Risk?
Although rich in nutrients and has a variety of benefits, consumption of fish oil in high doses can actually endanger health. There are several risks that may be caused, including:
- Increases the risk of bleeding if you consume more than 3 grams of fish oil per day.
- Increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
- Triggering disorders of blood sugar levels.
- In patients with heart transplants, omega-3 fatty acids can affect heart rate.
- Some fish, such as mackerel and albacore tuna, are at risk of containing mercury toxins, although they are not necessarily contained in fish oil.
- Fish oil has the potential to affect the work of certain drugs, such as blood-thinning drugs.
- Consuming too much fish oil can increase the risk of stroke.
- Can cause heartburn, nausea, rashes, nosebleeds, and liquid stool.
Low-dose fish oil is relatively safe for most people, for example pregnant and nursing women. However, given the condition and health history of each person is different, you should consult a doctor before consuming fish oil to avoid unwanted risks.
To maximize its nutrition, fish oil is recommended to be consumed in its original form, not in the form of supplements that have been processed. Because as much as any nutrients obtained from supplements are not comparable to the nutritional content obtained directly from fish meat.