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Be it depression or heart trouble,fish oil helps

These days,many people are taking fish oil supplements,which contain Omega 3 fatty acids,either on their own or on physician’s advice.

Written by Ishi Khosla |
March 12, 2011 12:41:31 am

These days,many people are taking fish oil supplements,which contain Omega 3 fatty acids,either on their own or on physician’s advice. Driving this trend is research data proving that these lipids actually reduce risk of heart disease.

There are,however,other wide-ranging benefits,including boosting immunity,protection against arthritis,asthma,psoriasis,inflammation,PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and certain types of cancer.

Where anti-depressant medications have failed,it is worth trying Omega 3 fats. Its intake has been found to help patients of schizophrenia,manic depression,mood instabilities and bipolar disorders.

Role of Omega 3 supplements in inflammatory conditions like allergies and asthma,sinusitis,osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis has been confirmed by several studies. Asthma is an increasing global health burden,especially in the urban world. Even in adverse conditions of heavy pollution and smoke,results of consuming Omega-3 fatty acids have been encouraging.

Several studies confirm that consuming high amounts of oily fish may protect against childhood asthma and improve lung function. Additionally,children consuming fish oil capsules had fewer asthma symptoms and responded better to medication. Many studies also report that adults with asthma who regularly eat oily fish,have better lung function,less wheezing,breathlessness and fewer episodes of waking up with chest tightness.

Research also suggests that levels of these fatty acids during pregnancy can influence immune development and may be a protective measure to reduce prevalence of childhood asthma.

It also helps ward off allergic rhinitis (runny and stuffy nose) by maintaining integrity of cell walls and cell membranes that help keep out allergens and irritants which can trigger unpleasant inflammatory reactions.

Fish oil supplements can be divided in to two categories. The one extracted from the liver called fish liver oil like cod,halibut,tuna and shark. The other is extracted from the fish body — like anchovies etc.

Fish liver oils are good sources of vitamin A &D but have a low concentration of Omega 3 fats. These are quite inexpensive. Fish body oils are rich in Omega 3 fats but low in vitamin A&D. These are therefore superior as a source of Omega 3 fats.

Most healthy people who eat fish twice a week,generally do not need fish-oil supplements. But if you have a health condition that Omega 3s can help,you will need to take supplements to get therapeutic amounts. Usually a daily dosage of 3000-5000 mg is advised. Very high doses may be counter-productive for certain individuals. So be careful when buying and using these supplements. Fish oil is available as softgel capsules. The two most potent forms of Omega 3 are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Look for a for a high quality brand that contains both. It is better not to save money by buying in bulk,because they can go rancid. Store these in refrigerator to maximise shelf life. Cod liver oil is not a replacement for Omega 3 supplements and is best taken under medical supervision.

For people who experience side effects like belching,flatulence,diarrhoea,or slightly fishy body odor,it is advisable to take smaller doses or at bed time.

Therapeutic amounts of fish oil supplements can interfere with blood clotting,so seek medical advise before taking these supplements if you are taking blood thinners like asprin.

People with bleeding disorders,uncontrolled high blood pressure,diabetics,fish allergy and those undergoing surgery must keep away from these supplements.

People with high fasting triglycerides should also be careful,if they also have high LDL (bad) cholesterol,as therapeutic doses can increase LDL.

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