The fat in fish contains a class of polyunsaturated fatty acid called omega 3. These fatty acids differ from the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils, called omega 6 and have different effects on the body. However fish do not manufacture such fats but obtain them from the plankton they eat, the colder the water, the more omega 3 the plankton contains. The two most potent forms of omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) they are found in abundance in cold water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna. The source of a third type of omega 3, alpha- linolenic acid (ALA), is certain vegetable oils such as flaxseed oil and leafy greens such as purslane. However, alpha linolenic acid may not be as effective as EPA and DHA this is still being researched. Omega 3 plays a key role in a range of vital body processes, from regulating blood pressure and blood clotting to boosting immunity. However they may be useful for preventing or treating many diseases and disorders.
Fish oils appear to reduce the risk of heart disease. The presence of omega 3 makes platelets in the blood less likely to clump together and form the clots that lead to heart attacks. Therefore omega 3 can reduce triglycerides and may lower blood pressure. Omega 3 is also effective general anti inflammatory, useful for joint problems, lupus and psoriasis. However fish oil supplements are not necessary for heart disease prevention or treatment if you eat oily fish at least twice a week. Therefore supplements are recommended for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. When taking supplementary fish oil, ensure that you get extra antioxidant protection by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables or taking extra vitamin E.
They may have side effects as well fish oil capsules may cause belching, flatulence, bloating, nausea and diarrhoea. However very high doses may result in a slightly fishy body odour. Some studies have found that high doses of fish oils worsen blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Omega 3 fatty acids inhibit blood clotting so one should consult a doctor before consuming fish oil supplements if they have a blood disorder or if they are taking anticoagulant medicines. Fish oil supplements should not be taken during the two days before or after surgery. Fish oil supplements are available in capsule, liquid, powder or soft gel form. Common uses of fish oil supplements are done to help to prevent cardiovascular disease, useful for other circulatory conditions, including lowering levels of triglycerides. Block disease related inflammatory responses in the body. It may lower the blood pressure. Individuals with high levels of triglycerides should be careful if they also have high Low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. However therapeutic doses of fish oils can increase LDL. Therefore garlic supplements may be the remedy. One study found that garlic reversed the fish oils LDL raising effect. However in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions eating fish is probably not sufficient and so the fish oil supplements are recommended.