What Are The True Benefits Of Fish Oil ?

Interest in the therapeutic value of fish oils began in the Fish oil, made from the tissue of oily fish-such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout and sardines-has many health benefits. Fish oil contains important Omega-3 fatty acids , most notably eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease to combating depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
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Fish Oil Benefits

Cardiovascular Health
1970's following the observation of a low incidence of cardiovascular disease in Greenland Inuits . Subsequently, several studies identified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two major long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), as the putative protective constituents . Although the exact cardio-protective mechanisms of omega-3 fatty acids are unknown, it has been hypothesized that a reduction of arrhythmias, heart rate, ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury, serum triglyceride levels, inflammation, or improved endothelial function may be involved.
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Less Pain and Inflammation

The beneficial effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been widely described in the literature in particular those on cardiovascular system. In the last decade there has been an increased interest in the role of these nutrients in the reduction of articular inflammation as well as in the improvement of clinical symptoms in subjects affected by rheumatic diseases, in particular rheumatoid arthritis (RA).Nutritional supplementation with omega-3 may represent an additional therapy to the traditional pharmacological treatment due to the anti-inflammatory properties which characterize this class of lipids: production of alternative eicosanoids, reduction of inflammatory cytokines, reduction of T-lymphocytes activation, reduction of catabolic enzymes activity. The encouraging results of dietetic therapy based on omega-3 in RA are leading researchers to test their effectiveness on patients with other rheumatic conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus and ankylosing spondylitis. Nutritional therapy based on food rich in omega-3 or on supplementation with fish oil capsules, proved to be a valid support to the treatment of chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases.
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Better Brain Function and Higher Intelligence

The (n-3) fatty acids are essential dietary nutrients, and one of their important roles is providing docosahexaenoic acid [22:6(n-3)] (DHA) for growth and function of nervous tissue. Reduced DHA is associated with impairments in cognitive and behavioral performance, effects which are particularly important during brain development. Recent studies suggest that DHA functions in neurogenesis, neurotransmission, and protection against oxidative stress. These functions relate to the roles of DHA within the hydrophobic core of neural membranes and effects of unesterified DHA. A better understanding of development and age-specific changes in DHA transfer and function in the developing brain may provide important insight into the role of DHA in developmental disorders in infants and children, as well as at other stages of the lifespan.
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Fish Oil and Pregnancy

Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby. However, the standard western diet is severely deficient in these critical nutrients. This omega-3 dietary deficiency is compounded by the fact that pregnant women become depleted in omega-3s, since the fetus uses omega-3s for its nervous system development. Omega-3s are also used after birth to make breast milk. With each subsequent pregnancy, mothers are further depleted. Research has confirmed that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the child. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants.Omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on the pregnancy itself. Increased intake of EPA and DHA has been shown to prevent pre-term labor and delivery, lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and may increase birth weight and gestational weight. Omega-3 deficiency also increases the mother's risk for depression. This may explain why postpartum mood disorders may become worse and begin earlier with subsequent pregnancies. In a 2006 national survey, over two-thirds of pregnant women and new mothers said that they had not received any information from their health care providers about the benefits that Omega-3 could provide during their pregnancy and in the postpartum time.
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Less Depression and Psychosis

There is increasing evidence that omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be an effective treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). Countries with high fish intake have been associated with lower rates of depression, and the n-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are proposed to be among the protective factors. Omega-3-deficient states such as alcoholism, pregnancy, and the post-partum period have been linked with depression, and depressed individuals have demonstrated marked depletions in omega-3 FAs in red blood cell phospholipids and lower docosahexanoic acid (DHA) levels in adipose, compared to controls. As a whole, these data strongly suggest a psychotropic role for the omega-3 fatty acids.
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Lower Incidence of Childhood Disorders

Just to show how fish oil fatty acids leave nobody out, studies show that children (and adults) with ADD and ADHD experience a greatly improved quality of life. And those with dyslexia, dyspraxia and compulsive disorders have gotten a new lease on life thanks to omega 3 oils.
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Fish Oil and Fighting Cancer

One exciting aspect of fish oil is its significant inhibitory effects against various human cancers in animal models, including breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostatic cancer, lung cancer, larynx cancer, etc. By implanting human tumors into immune-deficient (nude) mice, researchers have found that a high fish oil diet can slow tumor growth. These results suggest that fish oil can be used for both prevention and treatment of cancer. Although there is no clear mechanism to explain fish oil's significant anticancer effects, researchers have uncovered several potential models of action:
1. Alteration of cell membrane composition. After ingestion, fish oil is easily incorporated into cell membranes (especially tumor cells) which changes the cell membrane composition. This alteration will change the cell's response to growth factor, hormones, antibodies, etc.
2. Inhibition of prostaglandin production. Prostaglandin can stimulate tumor cell growth. Fish oil can inhibit the enzyme responsible for prostaglandin synthesis called prostaglandin synthase. After a high intake of fish oil, prostaglandin (especially in the tumor cells) is decreased significantly, which in turn, slows tumor growth.
3. Immune system stimulation.
4. Hormone profile changes, which may provide important benefits for hormone -related cancers like breast cancer.
5. Tumor cell toxicity,probably by causing lipid peroxidation in the tumor cells.
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