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From Under the Sea

"Benefits of Fish Oil"
By: Gwen Y. Reyes-Amurao, M.D.From Under the Sea

Fish has always been considered as one of the more nutritious food sources that can be included in one’s diet. Although on its own, it already provides a ton of nutritional value, many still choose to take supplements instead. In the Philippines, where there is an abundance of seafood, one can include different types of fish easily. Fish oils specifically refer to omega-3 fatty acids, more specifically, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are abundant in cold water oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, anchovy, sardines, halibut and cod fish. When taking fish oil supplements, it often comes with additional vitamins and minerals to help increase its absorption and also to help preserve its freshness.

When it comes to our health, fish oil can have a lot of good effects that on most of the vital organs in our body. Here are some of its beneficial effects:

Cardiovascular Health

In a study released by the American Heart Association, omega-3 fatty acids were found to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol levels in the blood. Because of this effect, cholesterol deposit formation is prevented, which leads to less chances of atherosclerosis (thickening and narrowing of arterial walls) decreasing the incidence of heart attack and stroke.

Healthy Immune System

Because fish oils increase the activity of chemical mediators like cytokines and eicosanoids, which help in boosting one’s immune system, having an adequate level of these fatty acids from fish helps prevent common diseases like colds, cough and flu.

Mood Disorders 

In a Cochrane study released in 2008 and 2009, evidence showed that individuals with high EPA and DHA levels in the blood from omega-3 supplements were found to experience less depressive symptoms and may be considered as an adjunct therapy for depressed symptoms found in those affected with bipolar disorder.

Mental Health

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses as one ages. Various studies published in the Public Library of Science suggests that omega-3 fatty acids help improve memory and delay onset of Alzheimer’s especially in those who are at risk.

Inflammatory Diseases

Fish oils have always been known to help with any type of inflammatory disease. Studies show that regular consumption of fish oil is helpful for those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases, even treating gastrointestinal disorders such as Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis

Eye Health

Fish oil has been known to improve one’s vision and helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration and also seems to improve those who experience dry eyes.


In pregnancy, the benefits of fish oil for the baby far outweigh the effects on the mother. It helps in the development of both the eyes and the brain of the child and has been known to decrease incidence of premature births and miscarriages. -partum depression and mood swings.

Hair Care and Skin Care

Fish oil has been shown to improve the condition of dry skin particularly those associated with eczema, psoriasis, rashes and other chronic conditions of the skin. It has also been associated with shiny, healthy hair because of the stimulating properties of omega-3 fatty acids, plus it also leads to proper hair development and hair loss prevention.


In a study conducted at the University of California, the length of telomeres (part of our DNAs) were found to be associated with cellular regeneration. They noticed that in the presence of long telomeres, greater cellular growth was noted. With greater cell regeneration, aging can actually be delayed or even prevented especially with the protective effects of the omega-3 fatty acids.

Weight Loss

In a study conducted by the University of South Australia, they found out that fish oil supplements when taken while doing aerobic exercise made for a very fast fat-loss combination. In fact in that study, adults who were exercising while taking the fish oil supplements with an underlying metabolic disorder had a significant reduction in body fat stores, particularly abdominal fat, compared to those who were just taking the fish oil supplements or doing exercises alone.


Dietary sources of fish oils are more ideal than supplements, but should be baked, roasted, broiled or grilled to derive maximum benefits from the fish. Consult your doctor first prior to taking fish oil supplements to make sure that no other medication or condition you may have will decrease its efficacy or counter its effects.  Remember anything should be taken in moderation. Any excess can lead to toxic levels and have adverse effects on the body.


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