The animal kingdom , as well as the plant kingdom, offers us an immense range of natural therapeutic possibilities . In this sense, oil derived from fish has been an option available at sea and in great abundance.
Fish oil has many medicinal properties, mainly due to its content of polyunsaturated fatty acids , which help the body in the prevention and treatment of some pathologies, some of them important.
In the following article, we explain the valuable benefits for the body of consuming fish oil in the daily diet.
What is fish oil?
Fish oil is an oil obtained from the tissues of some species of marine fish . This oil mainly contains two omega-3 acids : docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Note: Dietary sources of these acids are fatty sea fish , such as salmon, mackerel and trout, tuna, sardines, among others. This can be obtained by direct consumption of fish, or from a supplement in soft capsules.
The oils obtained from anchovies and sardines are the main sources of EPA and DHA products . These two species are currently responsible for 80% of the omega-3 products on the market.
The extraction of fish oil is done by wet pressing , which is the most widely used method for production on an industrial scale. Its process basically consists of four stages: cooking the fish, pressing, decanting and centrifuging.
There are different methods for the extraction of this product, from which different yields are derived. This is explained by an article published in the journal Ciencia & Tecnología Agropecuaria , where different methods for extracting this oil are exposed. (1)
For this process, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids from very cold and deep waters are generally used , which feed on plankton with mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Fish oil properties
The properties described below correspond to the consumption of fish oil obtained directly from fish, or through the consumption of supplements as a medicine.
If the source of fish oil is direct from the consumption of fish, the possible vitamins that you will consume will be vitamin A , B vitamins such as B3, B9 and B12, vitamin D, E and K. This may vary according to the type of fish that you consume
Note: In fish oil or omega 3 supplements, they may contain small amounts of vitamin E to prevent its degradation. They can also be combined with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C or D.
Vitamin A aids in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth, soft and bone tissue, mucous membranes, and skin. Vitamin B3 , known as niacin , acts in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Vitamin B 9 reduces the chances of colon cancer , is considered an antioxidant, prevents a type of anemia, helps control hypertension, is involved in the formation of the nervous system and is used in the treatment of symptoms associated with menopause.
Cobalamin or vitamin B12, is necessary to produce cells in the blood, maintain a healthy nervous system, keep neurons and blood cells healthy, participates in the production of DNA .
Vitamin D , promotes the retention and absorption of calcium and phosphorus , mainly in the bones, helps the intestine with the absorption of nutrients, regulates blood pressure.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin K helps the body to build elements of the locomotor system, through proteins. This vitamin is absolutely essential for preventing heart disease and building strong bones.
If the source of fish oil is direct from the consumption of fish , the possible minerals that you will consume will be calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium. This can vary according to the type of fish you eat.
Note: In fish oil or omega 3 supplements , they may be combined with calcium, iron. Calcium is the main component of bones and bones.
Iron is vital in the production of enzymes that aid in the production of new cells, amino acids, hormones, and neurotransmitters, in the conversion of blood sugar into energy, in the production of red blood cells, and in the transport of oxygen.
Potassium is a very important mineral for the body’s electrolyte functions and for maintaining blood pressure balance .
Magnesium is necessary to maintain proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems, may increase exercise performance, regulates blood glucose levels, fights depression, and maintains a healthy immune system.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral whose main use is the growth and repair of body cells and tissues, it facilitates protein information, hormonal balance and good digestion. It is very effective for enhancing memory and concentration.
Sodium has two primary beneficial effects: control of blood volume and pressure, as well as allowing the proper functioning of nerves and muscles . Contributes to the digestive process and provides energy.
The mineral zinc helps boost the immune system and promote healing due to its antioxidant effect.
Selenium increases protection against damage caused by free radicals and has a positive impact on the immune system.
From the consumption of fish directly from the fish, you can find 100 grams of fish can contain between 4.9 and 11.45 grams of total fat , taking into account the species of fish you eat.
If the consumption of fish oil is done through supplements, 100 grams contain 100 grams of total fat , of which 22.60 gr. they are saturated.
From the consumption of fish oil directly from the fish, you can find between 144 and 208 Kcal, depending on the type of fish you eat. Regarding the caloric content of the supplements, each 100 grams of this product can contain about 900 Kcal.
Health benefits of fish oil
The benefits described below are based on the chemical components of fish oil , in its two most common forms of consumption, which are through the direct intake of fish or through supplements as medicine:
1. Protects cardiovascular health
Omega 3 fatty acids , contained in fish oil, reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease, through the treatment of hyperlipidemia , improving the lipid profile of the patient.
Important: Fish oil reduces the risk of developing atherosclerotic plaque , responsible for arteriosclerosis , and thus improves blood flow both in the arteries and in the heart .
This condition prevents the risks of heart attacks and heart failure. In an article on “Cardiovascular effects of omega-3 fatty acids and alternatives to increase their intake”, in cases of cardiovascular disorders, the intake of foods enriched in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA) is an available option. (two)
2. Lowers blood pressure
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), present in fish oil, increases vasodilation by reducing blood pressure. Decreases systolic and diastolic hypertension in hypertensives, by expanding blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
Important: An article from the Hospital Clínicoquirúrgico Hermanos Ameijeiras , concludes that the dietary supplement with FA ω-3 has a hypotensive effect in hypertensive patients. (3)
Another study concludes that high intake of fish oil can reduce blood pressure, especially in older and hypertensive subjects. (4)
3. Reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels
When fish oil is consumed from the fish’s own source, eicosapentaenoic acid , combines with vitamin B3 , which helps reduce cholesterol and other blood fats and prevents coronary artery disease.
Note: An article in the Chilean Nutrition Magazine concludes that ω-3 PUFA (omega 3 fatty acids) of marine origin, such as EPA and DHA, have proven to be effective in the treatment and prevention of various conditions, including dyslipidemia. (5)
4. Helps improve brain functions
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), present in fish oil, is helpful in mitigating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It is believed that it favors the cognitive level , because it has been proven that babies born to mothers who have taken omega 3 fatty acids have better eye and hand coordination, as well as greater attention, social skills and scores on intelligence tests.
With the addition of vitamin E, vitamins B6 and B12 reduce the likelihood of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Reduces the risk of strokes
Omega 3 acids (DHA and EPA) help reduce the risk of a stroke , reducing its incidence factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Important: An article in the Chilean Nutrition Magazine concludes that ω-3 PUFA (omega 3 fatty acids) of marine origin, such as EPA and DHA, explain the neuroprotective effect of omega 3 fatty acids through ingestion of fish oil. (6)
6. Strengthens bones and muscles
When the omega 3 fatty acid is consumed mainly through the intake of fish, the consumption of minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A and D is added.
Therefore, fish oil with the incorporation of these minerals and vitamins helps in the formation and strengthening of the body’s locomotor system.
7. Reduces joint pain
Fish oil usually helps improve morning stiffness and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis , since omega-3 fatty acids enhance the immune system , important in adults. Also, this fatty acid has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Note: An article in the Chilean Journal of Nutrition , through a background review, allowed us to establish a potential use of LCPUFA ω-3 (omega 3 fatty acid), as part of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis , especially in the early stages of the disease. illness. (7)
8. Helps fight eye diseases
Docosahexaenoic acid g (DHA) can improve visual acuity , as well as being a nutrient that offers great protection against retinal disorders such as glaucoma , macular degeneration, retinopathies, among others.
Therefore, the consumption of fish oil in any of its forms tends to lower the risk of suffering from eye diseases.
9. Improves skin and hair health
The components of fish oil have an antioxidant effect , blocking the release of enzymes induced by ultraviolet rays .
They help keep skin cell function in good condition, so applying fish oil to wrinkles hydrates the skin. It is ideal for improving dry skin and treating various problems such as eczema, psoriasis and skin rashes .
10. Helps fight allergies
With the contribution of calcium, magnesium and zinc , in addition to vitamin E, fish oil can contribute to the mitigation of inflammatory allergic processes such as asthma and rhinitis.
This is indicated by a review article entitled “Influence of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids from the diet and their metabolites on the allergic-type immune response.” (8)
11. Reduces depression and anxiety
Fish oil through omega 3 fatty acid, is an alternative to combat depression, psychosis, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia .
This is mainly because docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps maintain the function of dopamine and serotonin , the two hormones that, according to the literature, play an important role in developing some of the aforementioned conditions.
12. Prevents some types of cancer
In various trials, it has been shown that through the decrease in cell proliferation in the colonic mucosa, it is possible to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer , through the use of omega-3 in people, observing a slight improvement. (9)
Important: In an article updating the Chilean Nutrition Magazine , they state that there is evidence that allows establishing a possible preventive and therapeutic use of omega-3 fatty acids against cancer, specifically prostate, breast and colon cancer. (10)
How to consume fish oil?
There are two ways to consume fish oil , and obtain the benefits derived from its fatty acids, in addition to the content of its vitamins and minerals , which are through the direct consumption of fish or by medical supplement.
The most common way to obtain the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil is through the intake of oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, salmon, horse mackerel and caviar.
Through specialized industrial processes and different processing methods, pure fish oil is obtained , which is presented in soft capsules in different presentations.
Before consuming the fish oil in this presentation, it is advisable to consult a doctor to recommend the appropriate dose of this medication for your case.
- Fish oil is an oil obtained from the tissues of some species of marine fish .
- Contains vitamin A, B vitamins such as B3, B9 and B12, vitamin D, E and K.
- Among its minerals are iron, calcium, sodium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and selenium.
- Fish oil is important for cardiovascular, brain, bone, muscle and eye health, and may also prevent some types of cancer.
- It can be consumed directly in fish or in supplements indicated by medical specialists.