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Fish Oil – Possible Benefits and Possible Consequences

[27 Jan 2012 | No Comments | | Author: ]
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Fish oil seems to be the new cod liver oil (which, incidentally, is type of fish oil) � a relative cure-all. But do you need to take it? Why should you take it? First and foremost, realize that for the most part it is better to get the nutrients that you need by eating a healthy and well-rounded diet. It is better to eat fish than to take a fish oil supplement.

Of course, this is not always completely reasonable � you may not want to eat fish every single day. Another thing to consider is the fact that some fish may contain mercury, and this is not good for humans, especially pregnant women. Also, realize that fattier fishes like salmon have a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids than other fish, like canned tuna.

That being said, let�s find out why other people take fish oil:

Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, the word �fatty� may throw you off, but omega-3 fatty acids are actually very good for your heart. That is why many people take fish oil as a preventative measure against heart disease. People who have a history of heart attacks in their family are likely to want to take fish oil as a supplement.

In fact, fish oil is a great supplement for anyone who already has coronary artery disease (even those who have not yet had a heart attack).

People who have auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis should also consider taking a fish oil supplement on days that they do not eat fish. About 3 grams of omega-3s a day are recommended. Clinical studies suggest that fish oil can help with joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s can suppress the immune response.

People who have high triglycerides may also benefit from fish oil, as well.

Other, possible benefits of fish oil supplements (not all of these are accepted benefits by the medical society at large):

* It can improve lupus symptoms.
* Fish oil cuts the risk of sudden death.
* Used during pregnancy, it can prevent diabetes.
* It could reduce stroke.
* Lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body.
* Increases the good (HDL) cholesterol.
* Again, you are much likely to get a dose of mercury from taking a fish oil supplement than from eating fish.
* Helps in the treatment of depression.
* Can help eczema.
* It aids in infant brain and vision development.
* Beneficial to dyspraxic children.
* Helps prevent cancer.
* Improves language and learning skills for autistic children.
* Some even say that it can reverse the brain damage caused by crystal meth.

Again, realize that not all of the above-mentioned possible benefits are necessarily true. More studies must be conducted.

There are, of course, negatives associated with fish oil. In other words, just because fish oil may seem like a panacea, it does not mean that you should take it. Most definitely consult with your physician before you take fish oil or any other supplement that you have questions about.

Some possible negatives of fish oil supplements include:

* People with diabetes could experience an increase in glucose levels when they take large doses of fish oil (a large dose is generally 3 grams or more a day).
* Large doses can also cause nausea, belching (and a horrible taste in the mouth as well as bad breath), and diarrhea.
* A very large dose could actually suppress the immune system � people with weakened immune systems should consult a doctor before trying out fish oil.
* Fish oil causes a decreased ability for blood to clot � while this helps prevent heart attacks, it is a negative thing for people with bleeding disorders, hypertension, etc.

I mentioned it before, and I will mention it again: be sure to consult your doctor before you take fish oil. It is readily available and relatively safe, but for some people, the possible consequences may outweigh the possible benefits.

About the author

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on supplements, please visit this site.

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