Fish Oil in Health and Disease

OilofPisces.com contains a comprehensive database that includes hundreds of summaries of research studies related to fish oils/omega-3 fatty acids. We invite you to browse the articles and learn about the benefits and risks of this supplement, but keep in mind that information contained herein is not medical advice. Always consult with your doctor about your personal health concerns.

Scientists were first alerted to the many benefits of fish oils in the early 1970s when Danish physicians observed that Greenland Eskimos had an exceptionally low incidence of heart disease and arthritis despite the fact that they consumed a high-fat diet. Intensive research soon discovered that two of the fats (oils) they consumed in large quantities, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), were actually highly beneficial. More recent research has established that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are the main components in fish oils, play a crucial role in the prevention of atherosclerosis, heart attack, depression, diabetes and cancer. Clinical trials have shown that taking these supplements is effective in the treatment of many disorders including attention deficit disorder (ADD and ADHD), rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Raynaud's disease.

An extensive medical literature testifies to the fact that fish oils prevent and may help to ameliorate or reverse atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. The components within this supplement help maintain the elasticity of artery walls, prevent blood clotting, reduce blood pressure and triglycerides, stabilize heart rhythm and help combat inflammation. There is also considerable evidence that fish oil consumption can reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer and help slow their progression. Daily supplementation has been found effective in preventing the development of colon cancer and has also been found to help combat depression.

It is clear that consuming a diet rich in oily fish or alternatively, supplementing with capsules is one of the most important steps one can take to ensure vibrant and lasting health. HOWEVER, pollution of fresh water lakes and even the oceans is now so extensive that a growing number of species should not be consumed regularly as they contain large amounts of mercury and other industrial pollutants. Fresh, wild pacific salmon is still an excellent source of safe fish oil, but if that is not available then a high quality fish oil is the answer to ensuring that daily needs for EPA and DHA are met. Only fresh, highly purified fish oils (molecular distilled, pharmaceutical grade) stabilized with vitamin E should be consumed. Some very recent British research has shown that emulsified fish oils are absorbed at twice the rate of non-emulsified oils. Low quality oils should be avoided as they are unstable and may contain significant amounts of mercury, pesticides, and undesirable oxidation products.