Fish Oil

8 Fish Oil Benefits and What to Look For in a Quality Supplement

Fish oil remains one of the most popular supplements on the market today, favored for heart, brain, and joint health.

But this supposed miracle worker has a long history of toxic production methods, resulting in a rancid oil that is actually doing you much more harm than good. There is also such a thing as too much fish oil, as we’ve explained before. Despite the mainstream media heaping praise on fish oil and omega-3 fats and demonizing omega-6 fatty acids, we need them both for health on the cellular level.

In this article, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the benefits of fish oil and what research supports those benefits. But first, we’ll touch on the necessary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, and how fish oil should be processed for the highest quality, non-toxic product.

Table of Contents:

Why You Need Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats

Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are very important for managing inflammation, promoting a healthy immune response, and supporting brain function – and we can only get them from our diet. Pregnant women especially need lots of omega-3s to support baby’s brain development [1].

However, excessive omega-3s can quickly become too much of a good thing when they are not balanced out by omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic, gamma-linolenic, and arachidonic acids). omega-6s found in common (toxic) cooking oils like canola, peanut, and even sunflower oil, have been dismissed and demonized by many in the health promotion community, as well they should. But omega-6 fats as a whole cannot be dismissed in the context of cellular health.

BodyBio was founded on the science behind these essential fatty acids — and the fact that we actually need both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, in a 4:1 ratio for optimal cellular health. The omega-6 linoleic acid, for example, is abundant in mitochondrial membranes. We still need omega-6s, just not from toxic sources like commercial cooking oils.

This is why we developed BodyBio Balance Oil, a completely non-toxic blend of organic flaxseed and organic, unrefined safflower oil to supply the right balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, extracted via low temperature, expeller-pressed technology.

Does this mean we don’t recommend fish oil, which is pure omega-3 fats? Of course not, there are still plenty of cases where fish oil can be a powerful ally for health and wellbeing, especially for those stuck in chronic disease states.* But additional considerations arise for those taking fish oil supplements, like processing and extraction methods.

Fish Oil Must Be Carefully Processed

Omega-3 fatty acids are easily damaged by heat, becoming oxidized and rancid. When you ingest toxic fatty acids, they can truly wreak havoc on the body and mind. Ironically, many cheap fish oils are processed in a way that immediately renders them oxidized and rancid — making them the exact opposite of the health beacon they claim to be.

Molecular distillation is one popular process used to extract fish oil, but it suffers from high thermal stress and results in an inferior, if not dangerous, product. To produce our high-quality fish oil, BodyBio uses supercritical fluid extraction, which uses very low temperatures and keeps the sensitive fish oil (distilled from sardines and anchovies) uncompromised. It also prevents oxidation and preserves 95% of EPA and DHA for a highly concentrated product.

8 Benefits of Fish Oil

Once you’ve gotten past the obstacles in fatty acid balance and product quality, you can look at the potential benefits (the fun part!) to evaluate whether a fish oil supplement is right for you. These fish oil benefits make taking a high-quality product well worth it for many, such as those with systemic illness, aging brains and joints, mental health imbalances, and more.*

Let’s review the potential benefits of fish oil supplements and some of the research behind each.

1. Mental Health

There is some high-quality research showing that fish oil can help improve mental health in people suffering from depression and anxiety.

A randomized clinical trial tested whether people with self-identified depression would experience improvement with implementing a Mediterranean diet and taking supplemental fish oil. At three months participants reported improved depression and those improvements were sustained at six months [2].

Notably, the Mediterranean diet also supplies fresh fish on a regular basis, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and minimal to no processed foods, so the combination of the two interventions likely influenced a positive outcome [2].

A study that further combined EPA and DHA fatty acids with phospholipids like phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) showed a synergistic effect on mood and other factors, concluding:

“Utilizing DHA and EPA together with phospholipids and membrane antioxidants to achieve a triple cell membrane synergy may further diversify their current wide range of clinical applications,” [3]. As proponents of cellular and cell membrane health, this is music to our ears!

2. Heart Health

A 2021 systematic review analyzing 19 clinical trials found that fish oil “plays an important role in reducing [coronary heart disease] and cardiovascular events” [4].

Even the American Heart Association recommends fish oil as a “reasonable” therapeutic complement for those who have heart disease or other cardiovascular complications. (Though they stopped short of recommending it as a preventative measure.) [5]

Studies also show that EPA and DHA can help [6]:

Lower triglyceride levels*

Lower blood pressure*

Increase heart rate variability*

Reduce platelet aggregation (decreasing risk of blood clots)*

Modulate cholesterol levels.*

Fish oil is definitely worth considering for heart health, especially for those already diagnosed with or predisposed to CVD.*

3. Brain Health

Omega-3s are critical for brain development and maintenance. DHA is especially important for cell membrane flexibility and function, as well as releasing neurotransmitters.

Low omega-3 intake has also been linked to conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, bipolar disorder, and suicidal ideation. Fish oil seems to benefit brain health for those with these conditions, possibly by curbing inflammation in the brain* [7].

But the benefits are not limited to mental illness or cognitive decline. Research conducted on special operations forces members identified improvements in reaction time, mental fatigue, and possible reductions in mild traumatic brain injury (MBTI) with fish oil supplementation [8].

4. Athletic Ability and Recovery

Despite fish oil being used for years to support various health concerns, few point out its potential support for athletes. A 2020 review of 32 studies featuring athletes from recreational to Olympic-level performers found “consistent effects” of fish oil on mood, reaction time, skeletal muscle recovery, and cardiovascular measures in cyclists.

Positive effects in muscle recovery were also observed for rugby, soccer, and American football players. Fish oil supplements also consistently modulated inflammatory markers across athletes in both individual and team sports* [9].

5. Anti-aging/Skin Health

In one study, researchers found that fermented fish oil had an anti-aging effect when exposed to human skin cells [10]. Another systematic review on cosmetic and therapeutic implications of fish oil fatty acids on the skin found that fish oil helped to protect skin from photoaging due to UV exposure.

They also found benefits for treating mild atopic dermatitis and in general, “maintaining skin homeostasis and ameliorating cutaneous abnormalities” [11]. Translation: nourishing the skin and healing superficial blemishes or wounds.*

6. Eye Health

We know that omega-3 DHA is especially important for eye development during pregnancy. But in terms of eye disease, a scientific review examining the effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on cases of dry eye syndrome determined that significant subjective improvements occurred in seven clinical trials. They concluded that while omega-3 and omega-6 supplementation is not a standalone treatment, it may be useful for some patients with DES [12].

Based on this study, those with DES may actually benefit more from a supplement like BodyBio Balance Oil, which supplies both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But for those with a specific deficiency of omega-3s and high intake of omega-6s, fish oil can supply the missing omega-3s to even out the balance of nutrients.

7. Support for Bones and Joints

Omega-3s are super important for bone metabolism and may benefit those with bone or joint diseases* [13]. A review of studies looking at fish oil supplements for different types of arthritis found that fish oil supplements significantly alleviated pain for rheumatoid arthritis patients [14].

Another review once again looked at the therapeutic potential of the Mediterranean diet combined with fish oil supplementation for improving rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as [15]:

Reducing pain*

Reducing swelling in joints*

Improving the inflammatory response*

Slowing progression to pharmacotherapy*.

They concluded that both interventions (diet and fish oil supplements) may help achieve these outcomes and improve patients’ quality of life.

8. Immunity

A fascinating review on fish oil omega-3s, the gut microbiota, and the immune system suggests that these three elements can work together to modulate immunity and strengthen the gut lining. Inflammation is one connecting factor between these three, but research also shows that fish oil omega-3s are able to increase the species of SCFA-producing bacteria, including butyrate-producing bacteria [16]. Butyrate is well known for protecting the gut environment and modulating the enteric immune system.

Because of this connection, the authors hypothesize that fish oil supplementation may be useful for managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an inflammatory autoimmune condition* [16].

Supporting Your Health With Fish Oil

In this article, we’ve given examples of the many benefits of fish oil, with a few important caveats. Fish oil may be beneficial for your health, if:

You are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and need to increase your intake.

You are being mindful to balance the right ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in your diet (4:1).

You are taking a high-quality supplement that has been processed using a low-temperature extraction method to preserve the benefits of the fish oil and ensure a non-toxic end product.

If you’re curious about trying fish oil, we always recommend consulting with a trusted healthcare provider (who may be able to use fatty acid testing to determine your baseline EFA levels) before beginning a new regimen. Fish oil is not a miracle supplement, but it can be a useful therapeutic tool for many.

Learn more about BodyBio Fish Oil here.*

Eric Carter