Fish Oil Supplements: Benefits, Types and Precautions
Oily and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, sardine, and herring contain fish oil. They provide omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in vitamins A & D. Omega-3 fatty acids comprise a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. If you don’t eat fish, fish oil supplements are your best bet to fulfil your body’s omega-3 fatty acids requirement.
The FDA recommends fish oil for daily consumption. It significantly lowers the triglyceride levels of the body and improves heart health. It also ensures proper blood circulation. In addition, it prevents heart diseases and strokes. Fish oil is also beneficial for many kidney-related problems.
The omega-3 fatty acids play multiple roles in our bodies. For example, they help in cell growth and muscle activity. However, since our bodies do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, only foods provide them. These fatty acids also prevent the clotting of blood. They can help avoid strokes.
What is Fish Oil?
Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Animal products, fish, and phytoplankton contain these. Fish oil is a perfect source of omega-3, an essential fat present in the human body. As a result, it provides multiple health benefits.
Fish bodies have three types of omega-3 fatty acids. These are:
Alpha linoleic acid (ALA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
These acids are necessary for performing several body functions. For example, they help improve brain function, inflammatory response, and metabolic signalling. An ideal source of fish oil is fish itself. However, you can consume fish oil supplements containing EPA and DHA.
Foods rich in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids include sardines, trout, salmon, albacore, shrimp, halibut, herring, clams, cot, light chunk tuna, and cod. ALA is a different kind of omega-3 acid. Vegetarian food sources such as walnuts, spinach, and flaxseed oil are good sources of ALA.
Health Benefits of Fish Oil
Research proves that fish oil leads to a significant reduction in triglyceride levels. In addition, fish oil is healthy for the body in multiple ways. Some of those are:
Reduces blood pressure
It makes nails and hair shiny
Diminishes plaque growth in the arteries
Stabilises irregular heartbeat
Decreases the chance of stroke or heart attack
Amplifies mental health
Strengthens the scalp
Infants get omega-3 through breastfeeding. However, younger children don’t. Therefore, they should consume an omega-3 rich diet for steady growth.
Sources of Fish Oil
There are many great sources of fish oil. All of them have a slew of benefits of their own. Here are the most common sources:
Mackerel is a small fatty fish found in saltwater. It is a good source of omega-3. 100 g of mackerel provides up to 5134 mg omega-3 fatty acid. It also has a remarkable taste and provides versatility in cooking.
Salmon is a highly nutritious food rich in selenium, vitamin B, and D. One hundred grams of salmon contain up to 2260 mg of omega-3 content.
3. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is generally considered a fish oil supplement rather than a food. The cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of codfish. There is 2682 mg of omega-3 in a tablespoon of cod liver oil.
The tiny oil fish is called anchovies. They are generally canned or dried. One hundred grams of anchovies can provide up to 2113 mg of omega-3 or fish oil.
Caviar widely includes eggs, fish, or roe. It is a luxurious dish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One hundred grams of caviar contains up to 6786 mg of omega-3 content.
Another way to consume fish oil is through food sources. Certain food sources are rich in Omega-3. Furthermore, they are very healthy on their own. The vegetable alternative of fish oil supplements for the vegetarians are as follows:
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements are omega-3 fatty acids in the form of pills and liquids. Pharma companies produce them in doses ranging from 250-2000 mg. 30% of the fish oil supplements are omega-3s. The remaining 70% is composed of other fats.
You should consume about 150 g of fish a week, about 2000-3000 mg of omega-3. However, some people prefer not to eat fish. Fish oil supplements are best for them.
The fish oil supplements are an ideal choice for you if you:
do not like consuming fish
are a vegan or a vegetarian
have congestive heart blockage or failure
are at risk of multiple heart diseases
are suffering from heart disease
want to lower your triglyceride
Taking fish oil supplements along with multivitamins is not necessary. However, together they complement a balanced diet. Multivitamin covers your mineral and vitamin needs. Fish oil covers your Omega-3 requirements.
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of fatty fish oil in humans is:
Men: 1600 mg
Women: 1100 mg
It is safe for an adult to consume up to 3000 mg of fish oil daily. However, excess consumption can cause side effects. Therefore, healthcare professionals recommend their consumption in the prescribed quantities.
Types of Fish Oil Supplements
The omega-3 acid found in plant sources is Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. However, the omega-3 in fish oil supplements is more healthy than in plant sources.
The types of fish oil supplements include:
Fish oil supplements are available in a liquid form. Pharma companies pack and sell them in bottles.
The easy-to-swallow fish oil supplements capsules are a popular method of consuming fish oil supplements.
Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements aid the body in many ways, from cardiovascular to bodily to mental health. Here are the significant benefits:
1. Improves Heart Health
Research shows that consuming fish lowers the risk of stroke. In addition, fish oil supplements contribute to a healthy heart in many ways. Some of them are:
As per research, fish oil supplements increase good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. An increase in good cholesterol results in the reduction of LDL cholesterol. As a result, it improves heart health.
Studies show that fish oil supplements lower triglycerides by 15-30%. Triglycerides are fats in our blood. Higher triglycerides increase the risk of heart diseases.
Studies also show that consuming fish oil supplements reduces events of fatal arrhythmia. Arrhythmia comprises irregular heart rhythms which result in heart attacks.
Elevated blood pressure levels are harmful to your heart. However, research proves that fish oil supplements reduce blood pressure. As a result, it prevents the heart from severe damage.
Fish supplements also prevent plaques. Plaques cause the arteries in our body to harden.
2. Mental Health
Several studies show that the omega-3 in fish oil supplements combat the symptoms of depression. The deficiency of omega-3 in the body can lead to mood disorders and depression. The study also suggests that EPA and DHA help in treating neuropsychiatric conditions like:
Post-traumatic stress disorder for PTSD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
A decline in cognitive functions, including loss of memory
3. Eye Health
Our eyes need a healthy coating of tears. Without this lubrication, our eyes become red, scratchy and irritable. In addition, it can lead to a condition called dry eye.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology, omega-3 fatty acids have a definite role in dry eye syndrome. An analysis of 32,000 women found that those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17% lower dry eye risk than women who ate little or no seafood.
Optometrists recommend taking fish oil supplements to support eye health. Studies prove that people with omega-3 deficiency are at greater risk of developing eye diseases.
4. Weight Loss
A randomised trial proves the role of fish oil in effectively reducing weight. It shows that fish oil supplements can aid weight loss. When taken in a balanced diet, it helps improve metabolism. These supplements also enhance the absorption of nutrients in the body, which results in better excretion and faster muscle development. That is how your body gets rid of fats.
Fish oil supplements can also improve body composition. It lowers the risk of heart diseases in obese people.
5. Healthy Pregnancies
Fish oil supplements may help boost the development of the fetus. Furthermore, it aids the growth of their eyes and brain. Therefore, it is recommended to consume fish oil supplements during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should avoid high levels of mercury in fish during this time. That makes fish oil supplements all the more important for pregnant women.
A 2011 research showed that consuming omega-3 or fish oil supplements during pregnancy also helps improve memory function in children. Therefore, prenatal vitamins also contain EPA and DHA. They are essential for the development of the fetus. Furthermore, a 2018 study, women with lower omega-3 levels during pregnancy or breastfeeding are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
6. Improves Bone Strength
Age-related bone and muscle loss are major public health problems. Studies show that high omega-3 consumption results in better bone mineral density. Fish oil supplements also help in improving morning stiffness. It also relieves the pain and reduces tenderness of joints.
7. Combats Asthma
Asthma is a disease that leads to shortness of breath. It is primarily due to swelling in the lungs. Approximately 90% of patients with asthma are hyperresponsive to exercise, which is the leading trigger in asthma. As per research, dietary omega-3 PUFA supplementation may be a viable treatment modality and adjunct therapy in airway hyperresponsiveness. As a result, it can reduce symptoms of asthma.
8 . Rejuvenates Hair
Omega fatty acids in fish oil supplements are high in nutrients and proteins and can help boost your hair from the inside out. For example, taking an omega-3 supplement with antioxidants can help to increase hair density and diameter. It also aids in the prevention of hair loss.
Possible Side Effects of Fish Oil Supplements
When taken in the prescribed quantities, fish oil supplements are relatively safe to consume. However, a high dose of fish oil supplements can lead to some side effects. These include:
Increased risk of bleeding
A fishy aftertaste
Increased risk of stroke
For most people who include fish or fish oil in their diet, there is no need to opt for fish oil supplements. However, as per research, fish oil supplements usually don’t have any severe adverse effects on an individual. On the other hand, omega-3 supplements can trigger side effects. These can cause gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, diarrhoea or belching.
Precautions and Things to Remember
Fish oil supplements are generally safe for adults when consumed up to 3000 mg every day.
DHA is necessary for the eyesight and brain development of a baby. You can obtain DHA through either fish or fish oil supplements. However, there are still some precautions you need to keep in mind while opting for fish oil supplements. They are:
People on medication should consult a medical professional before consuming fish oil supplements.
Non-fish-eaters can obtain omega-3 through fish oil supplements made from algal oil. Algal oil is a sea alga through which DHA is obtained.
People with diabetes should avoid consuming fish oil supplements in high doses. Instead, they should consult their doctor before opting for the same.
People who are allergic to shellfish or fish, in general, might face some complications if they consume fish oil supplements.
Fish oil supplements are omega-3 supplements. They can affect blood clotting in the body and interfere with administered medicines and drugs.
Some fish oil supplements such as cod liver oil are highly rich in vitamin A. However, this vitamin can be toxic to the human body when consumed in large quantities.
Fish oil supplements are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are vital nutrients for our bodies. Fish oil and fish oil supplements usually consist of DHA and EPA. These fatty acids in fish oil supplements help regulate brain function and inflammatory response and facilitate the functioning of various pathways for metabolic signalling.
The best way to obtain fish oil is through the consumption of fish. However, if you do not prefer eating fish, fish oil supplements are best to fulfil your dietary needs. Fish oil supplements support heart health and the functioning of the brain. But as with all things, you should consume supplements moderately with a balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the benefits of fish oil supplements?
A. Fish oil supplements prevent heart diseases by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol. The omega-3 acid present in fish oil supplements reduces the chances of various mental health disorders and eye problems. It supports weight loss, improves bone health, and reduces asthma symptoms. It is also beneficial for pregnancy and infant health.
Q. Which is the best omega-3 or fish oil?
A. Fish oil is better as it contains more benefits than omega-3 on its own. Furthermore, fish oil itself is rich in omega-3. Therefore, it is an excellent addition to any balanced diet. Moreover, fish oil supplements generally have no severe side effects. In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids may lead to gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, diarrhoea or belching.
Q. Is it good to take fish oil every day?
A. It is safe for an adult to consume up to 3000 mg of fish oil daily. However, excess consumption can cause some side effects. Therefore, it is essential to consult a medical professional before taking fish oil supplements and consuming them only in the prescribed quantities.
Q. Does fish oil make you gain weight?
A. No. Fish oil supplements, when combined with proper diet and exercise, can help in rapid weight loss. They aid metabolism, which helps the body lose waste faster. Fish oils also help build muscle and reduce fat.
Q. What are the side effects of taking fish oil?
A. Fish oil supplements usually don’t have any severe adverse effects on your health. However, a high dose of fish oil supplements can lead to mild issues like bad breath and skin, urine with a fishy smell, heartburn, diarrhoea, chest pain, etc.
Q. How many fish oil pills should I take a day?
A. It is safe to consume up to 3000mg of fish oil daily for an adult. The doses for a child, an adult, and an infant will differ. Nevertheless, there are no fixed amounts of pills you can take in a day.
Q. Upto what age can people consume fish oil?
A. People of any age can consume fish oil. However, the doses are different for all age groups, and you should consult a medical professional before consuming fish oil.
Q. Does fish oil make you smell down there?
A. An excess of fish oil consumption can lead to bad breath and body odour. Also, armpits, groin and feet are regions susceptible to foul smell.
Q. Are fish oil pills good for your hair?
A. Omega fatty acids, present in fish oil supplements, are high in nutrients and proteins and can help boost your hair from the inside out. Taking an omega supplement with antioxidants can help to increase hair density and diameter. It also aids in the prevention of hair loss.
Q. Does fish oil help skin?
A. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish oil supplements, may help to protect your skin from sunburns, minimise the severity of skin redness after UV exposure, and alleviate the symptoms of photosensitive diseases.
Q. Does fish oil help nails and hair?
A. Yes. Fish oil leads to a significant reduction in triglyceride levels, which can make nails and hair shiny.
Q. Can I take multivitamins and fish oil together?
A. It is not necessary to take both multivitamins and fish oil supplements together. However, taking them together can significantly improve the quality of your diet. That is because a multivitamin covers nutritional gaps for nutrients that you don’t receive through meals.
Q. Can I take vitamin C and fish oil together?
A. Combining fish oil and vitamin C supplementation can have a higher anti-inflammatory impact. Therefore, consult a medical professional before taking multiple supplements together.
Q. Is fish oil good for men?
A. Fish oil has many benefits because of the omega3 fatty acids. For example, it increases fertility and improves heart health in men. Fish oil supplements reduce the chances of various mental health disorders and eye problems.
Q. Can you take fish oil if you have diabetes?
A. People with diabetes should avoid consuming fish oil supplements in high doses and should consult their doctor before opting for the same. Supplementing high doses of omega-3 fatty acids can raise blood sugar levels in diabetics. That is because excessive amounts of omega-3 can increase glucose synthesis, leading to high long-term blood sugar levels.
Q. Does fish oil reduce blood sugar?
A. No. There is no scientific evidence to prove that fish oil helps reduce blood sugar levels. However, it helps boost immunity and prevent several diseases in diabetics.
Omega-3: Uses, Health Benefits & Side Effects • Supplement Lexicon
Omega-3 is an essential nutrient for the optimal functioning of the body. It is also quite popular as a dietary supplement.
10% of American adults take omega-3 supplements due to the various health benefits attributed to it. These health benefits range from preserving your heart’s health to aiding in mental health and preventing autoimmune diseases.
That omega-3 is good for you is an undisputed fact. But the question is, can it keep all the above ailments at bay?
In this Omega-3 crash course, we set popular views aside and turn to science for answers. We highlight the most popularized omega-3 benefits and weigh them against the scientific research conducted on the same.
We also have an overview of omega-3, its daily recommended dose, possible side effects, and its safety factor.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 are a group of essential fatty acids found in fish and various plant food sources. Essential fatty acids are not made by the human body but are necessary for its functions; they are acquired through diet (1)
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA amino acids are sourced from fish, while ALA is present in some plant foods (2).
Coldwater fish are the best sources of omega-3. They include; tuna, salmon, sardine, lake trout, anchovy, bluefish, halibut, striped bass, and herring.
If you are vegan, vegetarian, or are averse to fish, you can get omega-3 from plant food sources. These include; walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, seaweed, and flax seeds.
Note, however, that the fish sources are richer in omega-3 than plant sources (3). The ALA form of omega-3 present in plants can be converted to EPA and DHA forms but at low rates.
Omega-3 fatty acids form part of the cell membrane in every cell in the human body. The incorporation of omega-3 fatty acid to the cell membrane makes it essential for body functions like cell growth (4) (5).
Is Omega-3 Safe?
Omega 3 is generally considered safe and well-tolerated among different users. In 2004, the FDA approved the consumption of foods and supplements containing EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids (6).
It also approved the use of omega-3 in adjunctive or secondary therapy for persons with elevated triglyceride levels (7). Triglycerides are excess calories stored in your adipose tissue as excess fats or lipids (8).
However, omega-3 is not without its cons. Omega-3 may trigger mild side effects in some people which we will highlight later on.
Some studies have linked long-chain fatty acids like omega-3 with increased risk of prostate cancer in men. Others, however, have yielded contradictory results (9).
There are also conflicting data on whether people who are allergic to fish can take omega-3 supplements. The best thing would be to consult your doctor before you start taking omega-3 supplements.
Omega-3 Health Benefits
As previously stated, omega-3 rich foods and supplements are popular because of omega-3’s health benefits. So, which benefits are factual, and which ones are a farce?
Below we take a look at each popular benefit of omega-3 and level it against scientific research on the subject. Note that most existing research data on omega 3 is based on the EPA and DHA forms of omega 3.
Let us kick off with the health benefits.
1. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Omega-3 has a myriad of benefits to the cardiovascular system. These include lowering blood pressure, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack, and lowering triglyceride levels.
What science says
The cardiovascular system is quite elaborate. To thoroughly explore the benefits of omega-3 to the cardiovascular system, we have to independently look at each benefit.
Lowering blood pressure
There have been several studies on the effects of fish oil and omega-3 supplements on blood pressure. Normal blood pressure should read a systolic figure (numerator) below 120 and a diastolic figure (denominator) below 80, 120/80.
Systolic blood pressure is a more critical marker of the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, an elevation of both the systolic and diastolic figure is indicative of high blood pressure or hypertension.
A series of placebo-controlled studies were conducted on persons with risk factors of hypertension, such as diabetes. The participants ranged in risk factors from low to high.
The studies showed that omega-3 and fish oil significantly reduced both diastolic and systolic pressure. The effect was more profound in participants with more significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease (10) (11).
Lowering triglycerides levels
The average triglyceride concentration in the blood is 150m/dl of blood; anything above that is high. When triglyceride levels are high, the excess fat is deposited along the arterial walls and causes the arteries to harden (12).
The arteries’ loss of elasticity can lead to adverse and fatal heart conditions like stroke and heart attack.
Various research studies conducted on both humans and animals suggest the efficacy of omega-3 in lowering triglyceride blood plasma levels (13) (14).
The studies went a step further and identified the mechanism of action by which omega-3 lowered triglyceride levels.
First, omega-3 inhibits the delivery of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) to the liver. The liver uses NEFA to synthesize triglycerides (15).
Omega-3 also increases beta-oxidation, which is the breakdown of fats in the adipose tissue to an enzyme necessary for biochemical reactions (16).
2. Reduced risk of blood clots
There is a belief that Omega 3 can combat blood clots that may occur in the arteries and cause life-threatening conditions.
What Science Says
When we get an injury that causes bleeding, either outside or inside the body, blood clot formation prevents excessive bleeding.
The platelet cells in the blood are the first responders in case of bleeding. They initiate a process called hemostasis, whereby the blood flow rate slows down to facilitate the clotting process (17).
However, excess platelet activity leads to the formation of a thrombus, a type of blood clot that blocks the arteries (18). Thrombi causes diverse cardiovascular diseases and conditions like heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis.
As previously stated, the cell membranes of all body cells consist of omega-3; including blood platelets. Note, however, that the omega-3 composition varies with the omega-3 composition per individual.
Various research studies suggest that omega-3 on the platelet cell membrane regulates platelet activity and inhibits thrombin formation (19) (20). By regulating clotting, omega-3 also lowers the risk of acute cardiovascular diseases.
3. Lowers the risk of inflammation
Omega-3 can also reduce inflammation, which may otherwise lead to chronic illnesses like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
What Science Says
Inflammation is the action triggered by our immune system in response to a foreign body such as a pathogen. Just like clotting above, inflammation is necessary for our health but detrimental when it goes rogue.
One negative effect of inflammation is with autoimmune diseases whereby the body attacks itself. Autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, arthritis, lupus, and sclerosis.
Various studies have been conducted on the effect of omega-3 on inflammation. The studies established that omega-3 supplementation increased anti-inflammatory markers (21)(22).
According to these studies, the omega-3 present on the cell membrane of cells is involved in signaling and gene expression. It helps regulate their function to minimize inflammation.
However, note that there is no direct evidence linking the anti-inflammatory property of omega-3 with the treatment of inflammatory diseases (23).
4. Improve mental health
Omega-3 is believed to improve the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia.
What science says
Various studies and reviews have linked omega-3 with sustained mental wellness. Some studies associate omega-3 deficiency with the development of mental illnesses (24).
Other studies also established that omega-3 supplementation could improve the symptoms of depression and schizophrenia (25).
However, there is still not enough evidence to support the use of omega-3 in the treatment of these mental conditions. There needs to be more research to conclusively establish the efficacy of omega-3 in the treatment of mental health illnesses.
5. Treatment of Skin Disorders
Omega-3 may also protect the skin from skin disorders by protecting it from UV rays.
What science says
Various studies have been conducted on the efficacy of omega-3 in tackling dermatological problems. One such study highlighted the dermatological issues included; acne, skin ulcers, psoriasis, and UV lesions (26) (27).
Another study also shows that omega-3 supplementation can also reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers. It is especially beneficial among populations at a high risk of such cancers (28).
Omega-3 and other long-chain fatty acids like omega 6 are necessary for our skin’s normal function and appearance. For starters, they help regulate the inflammation response of the skin to external stimuli and promote healing without skin damage (29).
The studies also posit that omega-3 enhances the skin’s barrier function. The skin barrier function protects the body from excess loss of water.
6. Protects against eyesight deterioration
Omega-3 proponents believe that it can be used in the treatment of dry eyes.
What science says
There have been a series of studies on the effects of omega-3 on eyesight. The studies were done on both human and animal subjects.
The research studies conducted among human subjects reveal that omega-3 is essential for developing good eyesight during formative years. A series of studies conducted on rats and monkeys showed that omega-3 prevents retinal degeneration and damage (30).
Both studies agree that the DHA type of omega-3 is the intervening factor. It makes up 50% of the brain because of its prominence on brain cells’ cell membranes.
However, research on the use of omega-3 in treating dry eyes remains inconsistent.
Omega-3 Side Effects
Omega-3 is generally safe to take both in dietary form and as a supplement. However, it is not without a few mild side effects. These include:
Too much omega-3 can also cause bleeding and suppress the immune system because of its anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have also linked long-chain fats like omega-3 with increased risk of prostate cancer (31).
Omega-3 Usage and Dosing Considerations
There is no consensus on the daily recommended dose of omega-3. This is primarily because different omega-3 doses have been proven to tackle various conditions.
For starters, the FDA approved the use of 4g of omega-3 per day in a specific drug to treat high levels of triglycerides. The FDA also recommended 0.8g as the minimum daily dose for foods and supplements labeled as containing omega-3.
For general use, the unofficial recommended dose for adults seems to be 1g per day. The doses also vary for children.
To be on the safe side, ensure you consult your doctor before taking any omega-3 supplements.
Risks and Precautions
If you are on blood-thinning medication, ensure you consult your doctor before taking omega-3. It might compound the blood-thinning effect and cause severe bleeding.
The same goes for any other type of medication to prevent negative medication interaction.
If you have a cardiovascular problem, you should also consult your doctor before taking omega-3 supplements.
If you want to increase omega-3 rich fish in your diet, consider fish with low mercury levels. These include salmon, sardine, cod, and tilapia.
Also, ensure you stick to the recommended dose if taking supplements.
Which is the best type of omega-3?
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Of the three, EPA and DHA are the most important in the body.
They are found in fish oil. ALA is found in seeds and seed oils. It can be converted to the other two forms by the body but at low rates.
Can omega-3 make you fat?
There is evidence, albeit limited, that omega-3 has a modest positive effect on visceral fats. So it can help you shed a pound or two.
Can I take omega-3 with multivitamins?
Yes, both will go a long way in enhancing your health.
When is the best time to take omega-3
Recent research studies show that omega-3 is best taken during meals. They also show that high-fat meals increase the absorption and bioavailability of omega-3.
The Bottom Line
Although our bodies do not make omega-3, it is necessary for most of its functions. Adding omega-3 to your diet will go a long way in improving your health.
However, if an omega-3 rich diet is not a viable option for you, you can opt for omega-3 supplements.
Either way, ensure you take it in moderation.
Benefits Of Fish Oil For Hair Growth And How To Use It
Usage of fish oil for hair growth is slowly gaining popularity. It is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. When applied regularly, it can soothe the scalp, reduce irritation, promote hair growth, and combat dandruff. Read on to learn more about fish oil, how it can benefit your hair, and how to use it correctly to reap the maximum benefits.
Fish Oil – How Is It Extracted?
Fish oil is derived from the tissues of fatty fish like mackerel, anchovies, trout, salmon, etc. The oil has many therapeutic and cosmetic applications. It is extracted through various methods like the use of supercritical fluids, wet pressing, extraction using solvents, or fish silage employing enzymes ( 1 ). The most common extraction method is wet pressing, carried out in four stages – cooking, pressing, decantation, and centrifugation.
Fish oil has various benefits for hair. Let us explore them in the following section.
How Does Fish Oil Benefit Hair?
1. Stimulates Hair Growth
Mackerel is a fatty fish rich in nutrients. In a mice study, mackerel-derived fermented fish oil increased the proliferation of dermal papilla cells, thereby stimulating hair growth. The oil prolonged the anagen phase of the hair follicle growth and increased the hair shaft’s life period (2).
2. Improves Scalp Health
Fish oil has antibacterial properties ( 3 ). The oil may help keep the scalp clean and improve hair and scalp health. It helps protect skin against aging and dermatitis. It also may promote wound healing (4).
Importance Of Fish Oil In Hair Health Fish oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like DHA, which reduce atopic dermatitis and oxidative stress. This suggests that the oil might reduce hair loss caused by oxidative stress. Omega-3s can help reduce hair loss by increasing hair density and reducing the telogen phase of hair growth ( 5 ). Omega-3s being healthy fats also may prevent a flaky and dry scalp.
3. Reduces Hair Loss
Omega-3s were also found to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, which produces the hormone that causes hair loss. The fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce hair loss and improve hair health in terms of hair strength and volume (6).
Other Important Facts About Fish Oil Fish oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that promote thick hair ( 7 ). Marine protein supplements were found to improve the skin and hair of women with self-perceived thinning hair ( 8 ).
These are a few of the important benefits of fish oil. In the following section, we will look at how you can use it for hair growth.
How Do You Use Fish Oil For Hair Growth?
1. Include Fish In Your Diet
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help improve hair health. The recommended fish include mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, and lake trout. Try adding fish oil to your recipes and smoothies. You may want to check if you are allergic to fish oil before adding it to your diet.
2. Take Fish Oil Supplements
You can also choose fish oil capsules or pills available on the market. A health professional can guide you properly about the correct dosage.
3. Use A Hair Mask With Fish Oil
Fish oil is not often used topically because of its strong odor. But anecdotal evidence suggests that applying a blend of olive oil and fish oil to your hair offers nourishment and moisturization. However, scientific studies are scarce in this aspect.
How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?
A dosage of 250–500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day should suffice (9). The dosage also depends on an individual’s needs. If you have any specific health condition, consult your doctor before taking a fish oil supplementation.
Intake of fish oil and its supplements are generally considered safe. However, fish may also have the risk of mercury contamination (10). In this case, fish oil supplements from a reputed brand are preferable. Pregnant and lactating women may also benefit from fish oil supplements.
When on supplements, stick to the prescribed dosage. Overconsumption of fish oil, as per anecdotal evidence, may lead to headache, indigestion, nausea, rashes, bad breath, and diarrhea. If you have any medical conditions, please check with your doctor before adding fish oil to your diet.
Fish oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and can help promote hair growth, improve scalp health, reduce dandruff, and minimize irritation. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil offer several benefits to the hair. You may use fish oil for hair growth in the form of fish oil supplements or hair masks. Including fish in your diet is also a good way to improve hair health. Follow the tips mentioned to use fish oil correctly and consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Key Takeaways Fish oil is extracted in four stages – cooking, pressing, decantation, and centrifugation.
Fish oil promotes wound healing, improves hair, and keeps the scalp clean.
You can take fish oil supplements after consulting a health professional.
Pregnant and lactating women can also have these supplements. Sources Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details. Methods of extraction refining and concentration of fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
Mackerel-derived fermented fish oil promotes hair growth by anagen-stimulating pathways.
Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of omega-3 rich oils/curcumin nanoemulsions loaded in chitosan and alginate-based microbeads.
Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin
Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women
Efficacy of a Nutritional Supplement, Standardized in Fatty Acids and Phytosterols, on Hair Loss and Hair Health in both Women and Men
Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.
Complementary and alternative treatments for alopecia: a comprehensive review.
Scientific Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)