These healthy fats provide many health benefits. However, many people do not like eating fish and those with coronary artery disease may not be able to get enough of these healthy fats from diet alone. Doctors may recommend taking fish oil supplements as part of a healthy diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are not made by the body so they need to be consumed in food. These healthy fats are required for our bodies to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate processes involved in blood clotting and muscle activity. They also play an important role in brain and eye development. A lot of research has been done on omega-3 fatty acids that are often contained in fish oil supplements.
One of the most positive effects of fish oils is its effect on cardiovascular health. Studies have found that regular supplementation with fish oils can reduce triglyceride levels by 20 to 30 percent. In addition, most medical experts believe that fish oils can raise high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which are better known as "good cholesterol." Since both high triglycerides and low HDL increases a person's risk for cardiovascular problems, such as hardening of the arteries and heart attacks, many scientists believe that fish oil supplementation can be beneficial for those at risk for developing heart disease or who are being treated for the condition.
Researchers are currently investigating the benefits of fish oils for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Fish oils may increase levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which makes the body more responsive to insulin, the chemical that lowers blood sugar. A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health established a connection between fish oils and elevated levels of the hormone, but more investigation is needed to determine just how helpful fish oil supplements can be for blood glucose control.
The benefits of fish oil on mental health are also being investigated. Researchers at Michigan Technological University found that individuals who used fish oils exhibited fewer physical symptoms in response to stress. Some studies have shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have decreased levels of omega fatty acids in their bodies and they are currently examining whether or not taking a supplement can improve symptoms associated with this disorder. There is also some preliminary evidence that fish oils may be beneficial in the treatment of other mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
While fish oils are generally safe for most people, you should always talk to your doctor before taking any type of supplement. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions listed on the product packaging unless otherwise directed by a physician.