7 Reasons to take fish oil supplements
Eating a healthy, balanced diet should provide your body with all the nutrients it needs, but sometimes there's no harm in adding a couple of supplements to your diet, particularly if you've been stressed out or eating less well than you do usually. One of our favourite supplements has to be fish oil - in fact, we're not alone. It's the 3rd most popular supplement in the world - although many people take it believing it can help to boost heart health, and there's evidence to suggest that this isn't true. The good news is that the fatty acids fish oil contains offer plenty of benefits for health. So we look at 7 reasons why you should take fish oil supplements.
#1. Boost your memory
Find yourself forgetting to call back a friend or losing your house keys on a regular basis? Research published in PLoS ONE revealed that 18 to 25 year olds who took fish oil supplements daily for 6 months saw a memory boost of up to 23% (1). Omega-3 fatty acids are known to boost brain health and memory, so adding a fish oil supplement to your diet could help to reduce your risk of Alzheimers as you age too - or try eating more oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.
#2. Get clear skin
Do you dream of clear, glowing skin without a blemish in sight? Good skin starts from within, not from chemical-packed skincare products. Taking fish oil supplements could help to fight acne, leaving your skin clear and beautiful. A study carried out at California State Polytechnic University Pomona in 2012 showed that fish oil could be used to tackle acne. Those participating in the study took 3g of fish oil per day and 60% of volunteers noticed an improvement in acne after just 12 weeks (2).
#3. Protect your heart from air pollution
Living in a big city such as London can impact your health thanks to the high levels of air pollution. Evidence exists to suggest that taking fish oil could protect your heart against air pollution. A study from 2012 of 29 middle-aged adults, who each took 3g of fish oil or olive oil daily for a month revealed that those who took fish oil saw less negative impact on their white blood cells when exposed to air pollution (3). So taking fish oil supplements could help to keep your heart protected whilst you're out on your morning run in the city.
#4. Boost your eye health
Macular degeneration and vision problems can plague many of us as we age, and keeping your eyes in tip-top shape isn't always easy. Whilst ensuring you have regular sight tests and eating plenty of vitamin-A rich foods can help, so can taking fish oil supplements, it seems. A study carried out by the National Eye Institute in 2009 revealed that those who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids were 30% less likely to suffer from macular degeneration over a 12-year period (4). Fish oil supplements aren't the only source of omega-3s though. Eggs and oily fish are also great sources, but taking supplements can help to boost your levels.
#5. Promote lean muscle growth
Working out to get lean, strong muscles is great, but there are supplements you can take which can help your progress! Fish oil supplements could promote lean muscle growth and quality, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology in 2013 (5). So before you hit the gym, consider adding fish oil supplements to your diet, or adding some healthy salmon to your morning scrambled eggs!
#6. Decrease inflammation
Inflammation is damaging to health and can cause disease, but it can also affect the body's ability to build muscle and lose body fat. A recent study where participants took 4g of fish oil daily for 6 weeks saw a decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Elevated cortisol levels can cause inflammation and lead to lean tissue and muscle loss. Taking fish oil supplements daily can help to detoxify your body, decrease levels of inflammatory hormones and improve muscle building (6).
#7. Improve bone health
Vitamin D, magnesium and calcium are all important supplements for maintaining bone density, but omega-3 fatty acid DHA is also essential to ensure healthy bones, especially as we age. A study was carried out using rats, comparing the effects of an omega-6 DPA and omega-3 DHA on the growth of rat bones. Rats who were fed the omega-6 showed the lowest levels of bone mineral content and bone mineral density in comparison with rats fed omega-3 supplements (7). Taking fish oil supplements in combination with regular strength training could help to prevent osteoporosis as you age.
We're fans of eating a balanced diet that includes everything you need for good health, but we know there are time when our bodies need a little bit of extra nutrition and help. Fish oil supplements are one of the world's most popular supplements for a reason, and adding them to your diet could let you enjoy all the above benefits, and more.
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