Fish oil dietary supplements are booming in popularity among people looking to enjoy a variety of health benefits without actually eating fish multiple times per day. That’s because omega-3 fatty acids represent vital roles in the body’s function.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements typically come in three forms: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Individuals looking to consume more healthy fatty acids via food should eat more oily fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and related oils. Some foods like eggs and milk are often fortified with the three types of omega-3 fatty acids.
So why do so many health experts recommend adding more fish oil to your diet? StudyFinds has published many studies over the years documenting research on fatty acids. Here are six benefits gathered from actual studies showing the real value of omega-3s.
Omega-3 supplements could add 5 years to your life!
Add oily fish to the dinner menu tonight, especially if you want to live longer. Research finds that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood contributes to a lifespan about five years longer than the norm. The exciting finding comes from scientists at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Spain and The Fatty Acid Research Institute in the United States.
Just a one-percent increase in omega-3 levels reduces a person’s risk of death as much as quitting smoking, scientists claim. Their study shows measuring these levels in the blood can be an extremely effective tool for calculating life expectancy.
“Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years,” says study author Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila.
Lowers risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease
Harvard University conducted an analysis on the subject of omega-3 fish oil supplements and found an association between daily ingestion and a reduced risk of heart attack and most cardiovascular diseases.
Their research included data from over 120,000 adults across 13 randomized trials worldwide, including three recent large-scale trials. They found that people who received a daily omega-3 fish oil supplement had an 8% lower risk of heart attack, death from coronary heart disease.
Researcher suggest that omega-3 dosages above the typical amount (840 mg/day) used in most randomized clinical trials may provide even greater reductions in cardiovascular riss/.
READ MORE: Study: Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements May Lower Risk Of Heart Attack, Cardiovascular Disease
Fish oil may be an effective treatment for depression
Stem cell technology provides scientists with a research tool of seemingly limitless capacity. Using “depressed” human stem cells, scientists in Chicago find that fish oil can be added as an “antidepressant.”
Their study took skin cells from two types of depressed patients: those who previously responded to antidepressants, and those who didn’t. It shows that fish oil produces an antidepressant effect in stem cells taken from adults who have been clinically diagnosed as depressed.
Results of the study also show that a stem cell model can be used to study response to treatment and that fish oil as a treatment, or companion to treatment, for depression warrants further investigation.
READ MORE: Fish Oil For Depression? Stem Cell Study Shows Supplement May Be Effective Treatment
Omega-3 fatty acids stabilize memory in patients with Alzheimer’s
A study reveals that Alzheimer’s disease patients taking daily omega-3 supplements saw their performance in memory tests remain steady in comparison to other patients not consuming the nutrient.
Researchers examined 33 people with mild to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s. From that group, 18 took omega-3 supplements in the morning and evening while the other 15 did not. Spinal fluid samples were taken from participants, which can contain biomarkers of the disease. Study authors also gave a memory test at the start of the study and six months later. Although the fluid samples didn’t show a significant change, the group’s performance in memory tests was clearly visible.
Results show that memory function of the patients in the group that had taken omega-3 remained strong, whereas the patients in the control group deteriorated in the same amount of time.
READ MORE: Omega-3 fatty acid can stabilize memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
May help lower breast cancer risk
Fish oil supplements appear to alter the breast microbiome and reduce cancer risk. That conclusion comes from researchers with the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Their study involved human breast cancer patients in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Patients consumed either a placebo or fish oil supplements for two to four weeks before undergoing a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
The results reveal that adding fish oil to a patient’s diet changes the microbiome in both non-cancerous and malignant breast tissue. Researchers say that those taking the supplements for four weeks had more Lactobacillus — a type of bacteria scientists say can decrease breast cancer tumor growth — in the normal tissue surrounding a tumor. The team also found fewer Bacteroidales and Ruminococcus microbes in the group’s breast tumors. The significance of this change, however, is still unclear.
READ MORE: Adding fish oil supplements to your diet can help lower breast cancer risk
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve attention in children, compared to ADHD drugs
An international study finds that omega-3 fish oils can actually treat ADHD symptoms in certain children and improve attention just as much, or more, than many leading medications.
For the study, 92 children diagnosed with ADHD between the ages of 6-18 were separated into two groups. The first group received high doses of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) for 12 weeks, while the other group was given a placebo for the same amount of time. Results show that the children in the experimental group who already had low levels of EPA in their blood improved significantly in focused attention and vigilance scores.
It suggests that fish oil supplements are at least as effective for attention as conventional pharmacological treatments among those children with ADHD who have omega-3 deficiency. However, parents should always consult with their children’s psychiatrists since the study suggests there could be negative effects for some children.
The omega-3 supplements only worked in children who had lower levels of EPA in their blood. For those children with omega-3 deficiency, fish oil supplements could be a preferable option to standard stimulant treatments.
READ MORE: Study: Omega-3 Fish Oil Just As Effective At Improving Attention In Some Children As ADHD Drugs
Before making any change to your diet or lifestyle routines, you should always consult with your doctor first. There are also numerous companies selling omega-3 fish oil supplements. It’s important to do the research and know who you’re purchasing dietary supplements from, where they’re made, and their overall quality before buying.