Fish oils are derived from the tissue of fatty fish. There are fish like the trouts, mackerel, and tuna, which are high source of oils. Oils contain two kinds of nutrients that are of special interest to the nutritionists – DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Both EPA and DHA are types of Omega-3 fatty acids.
A standard sized fillet of oily fish like sardines and herrings contain a very high concentration of oil. The oil is derived from their liver. In addition to Omega-3 fatty acids, the fish are also good sources of vitamins like vitamin A and D. Other fishes contain vitamins too, but in a much lesser concentrations.
Benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil
You must have heard that Omega-3 fatty acids are good. But, how good those are? Let’s find out how EPA and DHA are good when consumed:
- EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid is a type of Omega-3 fatty acids that is found in large amounts in fatty fish. So, when your nutritionist is talking about Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, he must be talking about EPA.
- DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is another form of Omega-3 fatty acids that is found in fish. DHA is one of the main components of human retina, cerebral cortex, and sperm. Around 40% of the PUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids in human brain consist of DHA. In the human retina DHA makes up for 60% of the PUFAs and almost half of the plasma membrane of neuron is made of it. Breast milk is also a rich source of DHA.
Does fish oil really have health benefits?
Fish oil is full of good things. The ingredients are what make fish oil beneficial to human health. There have been more than a dozen studies on the benefits of fish oil. According to nutritionists fish oil is healthy for humans. Given below is a short list of benefits of fish oils:
- Fish oils are helpful in multiple sclerosis. There are quite a few studies that have found out that fish oils are good for people with MS.
- Fish oils reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer in men. A healthy concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids in the body can help in fighting against a high risk of ‘aggressive prostate cancer’. Interestingly, there are studies that claim otherwise. Recently in a study by the Fred Hutchison Cancer research Center it was claimed that fish oils intake increases the risk of high-grade prostate cancer by 71% and other types of cancers in the prostate by around 43%.
- Fish oils help to reduce post-partum depression. According to researcher Dr. Michelle Price Judge, “DHA consumption during pregnancy at levels that are reasonably attained from foods has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression.”
- Omega-3 fatty acids enhance brain development. The oils help tackle behavioural problems like ADHD. In addition to that the working memory of adults can improve with Omega-3 fatty acids. Regular intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Report of a study on Omega-3 fatty acids, published in the magazine Neurology in the year 2007, states that, a diet rich in fatty fish, fruits, and vegetables will reduce the risk of dementia and other problems like Alzheimer’s.
Moreover, Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for boosting fetal motor and cognitive development. So, eat fish to live a healthy life.