If you’re looking for the best fish oils that are great for weight loss, there are many options out there. I will go over some of the best fish oils – not only for weight loss but overall health. Fish has been on the top of everybody’s health food list for quite some time now. While most people are aware of the numerous health benefits fish can provide, there are far too few people who actually include fish in their diets.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is the oil we derive from the tissues of oily or fatty fish, such as Surmai, Rawas, Rohu, Rani, Tuna, Herring. The oil content in fish varies from 0.7% – 15.5% depending on their species.
Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids have various health benefits and are essential for the proper functioning of the brain, heart, and other vital organs in the body.
What are Fish Oil Supplements?
There is nothing better than eating fish directly to extract all its health benefits. However, suppose you are a vegetarian or simply do not like eating fish. In that case, fish oil supplements are a more convenient option to fulfil your omega-3s requirement.
Millions of people across the world take fish oil supplements as a part of their daily diet. Fish supplements are readily available in the market, and you can buy them over the counter from any pharmacy. However, if you are a heart patient or have any other major illness, consult your doctor before purchasing any over-the-counter fish supplements.
Fish oil supplements come in pill, liquid, or capsule form. Many people prefer fish oil supplements to fish, as contamination is much less in the supplements due to the purification process. In addition, fish oil supplements contain the same amount of EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fatty acids, as natural fish oil.
11 Health Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil has an immense amount of health benefits for your whole body. Some of the fantastic health benefits of fish oil are:
1. Good for Heart Health
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are great for your heart health. They help in lowering the levels of triglycerides, thus reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you suffer from irregular heartbeats, include fish oil in your diet to regulate them and maintain good heart health. Fish oil can also help prevent sudden cardiac arrest and heart blockages.
2. Fish oil helps Prevent Cancer
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil ensure the proper functioning of cells and prevent them from mutating into cancerous tumours. The minerals and vitamins present in fish oil restrain unwanted cell growth and help prevent cancer.
3. Improves Skin and Hair
People who regularly eat fish have beautiful skin and healthy hair because of fish’s rich omega-3 fatty acids content. Omega-3 acids boost collagen production in our body and prevent early skin ageing, fine lines, wrinkles, etc. It also helps to retain the natural moisture of the skin and keeps our skin hydrated.
4. Fish oil improves Eye Health
Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help to maintain our eye health. It nourishes our eyes and prevents macular degeneration. Include fish oil in your diet to keep your vision strong throughout your life.
5. Controls Cholesterol
Fish oil is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. The Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help prevent the inflammation of our fat cells. In addition, fish oil can prevent Type-II diabetes by causing insulin resistance in the body.
6. Helps Improve Mood
Our brain secretes chemical serotonin that controls our mood and cognition. Fish oil helps maintain the release of serotonin in the brain, which results in a good mood and overall happiness. Take fish oil regularly to stay happy and improve your brain health.
7. Helps Reduce High Blood Pressure
The Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) present in omega3 fatty acids help expand the blood vessels, resulting in the blood flowing smoothly without any obstruction and brings the blood pressure down.
8. Healthy and Strong Bones
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help improve bone density and prevent weak bones. The fatty acids also maintain the minerals in the bone and their adjacent tissues and improve overall bone health.
9. Aids Healthy Pregnancy
The DHA present in fish oil is essential during pregnancy for the proper growth and development of the baby’s eyes and brain. DHA is the major component of our skin, brain, and retina. Therefore, it is crucial for the proper growth of the baby in the womb.
10. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent inflammation in our blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil can help treat gastrointestinal issues, inflammatory diseases, short bowel syndrome, etc.
11. Boosts Mood
Fish oil is a mood booster and helps to stabilize our mood. It also helps prevent depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, and mood swings. In addition, regular consumption of fish oil can make you feel calm and joyful.
Understanding the Nutritional Value of Fish Oil
National dietary guidelines recommend consuming two servings of fatty fish (for a total of 8 oz.) per week for optimal health. This is primarily based on strong evidence that the inclusion of seafood in the diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk, but both empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests myriad other benefits as well. Food sources of nutrients are generally considered superior to supplements. Since access to fresh, quality fish is not universal, however, fish oil supplements are believed to be the next best thing.
The power of fish oil is in its long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), also called omega-3s. The human body cannot produce these compounds, so dietary inclusion is essential. Though found in high concentrations in fish, shellfish, krill, and algae, they are also present in lesser amounts in grass-fed beef, turkey, and eggs. A third omega-3 is plant-based; alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and canola oil. A small amount of ALA may be converted to EPA and DHA in the body.
Besides the cardiovascular benefits, omega-3s play a role in brain and muscle function, growth and development, and preventing inflammation. Though deficiency is rare, symptoms may include dry skin, hair, and eyes, depression, and joint pain.
Fish Oil and Weight Loss
Several research studies have demonstrated that fish consumption can have a moderate effect on weight loss. Scientific research on fish oil supplementation, however, has yielded mixed results. The findings include:
- A literature review of animal and human studies revealed that omega-3s might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. They may provide an additional benefit by preventing weight regain following a calorie-restricted diet.
- One study with overweight young adults found that including fish or fish oil as part of a calorie-restricted diet increased weight loss in men but not in women. Consumption of lean fish, fatty fish, and fish oil supplements all yielded similar results.
- Researchers conducting a meta-analysis of studies on omega-3 use in overweight/obese subjects failed to support an exact anti-obesity role. They did, however, recommend further research as fish oil use appeared to decrease abdominal fat and the waist-to-hip ratio.
While it appears that omega-3s in fish oil may help with weight loss, the exact mechanism remains under investigation. Since eating fish is very beneficial, some researchers suggest that it is substances other than omega-3 fatty acids that provide the most benefit. Research continues to determine precisely how fish oil impacts weight loss.
If you wonder whether fish oil might help with your weight loss journey, the answer may be difficult to predict. But integrating fish oil into your daily routine is simple. Many fish oil supplements are readily available, and adding them to your diet is relatively safe. Side effects are minor for most people and may include fishy aftertaste and digestive upset. Large doses may increase the risk of bleeding, especially in those taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication.
Fish, Health and Weight Loss
While the current evidence on the benefits of fish oil supplements for weight loss is mixed, some studies show that eating fish and seafood helps improve your health. A review featured in the May 2012 issue of Global Journal of Health Sciences found that people who eat diets high in seafood are healthier than those who don’t.
Researchers concluded that individuals who eat more seafood as well as bioactive components derived from seafood have lower rates of heart disease and type II diabetes. They also stated that seafood helps with infant and child brain and vision development.
The general recommendation is to eat about two servings of fish per week. If you already do that, you may not need fish oil or omega-3s supplements.
Following a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes lots of fish, appears to be a plus in weight loss, according to an article on food and diet published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Although definitions of a Mediterranean diet can be fuzzy, people who eat a diet high in fish, poultry, nuts and beans tend to gain less weight over the years than those following a diet high in red meat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also weighed in on the topic of eating fish. To lose weight, the CDC suggests replacing higher-calorie foods with foods are lower in calories but make you feel full. Fish, along with lean meat and poultry, increase satiety while taking in fewer calories.
Consult a Health Care Provider
Fish oil supplements are considered to be an effective treatment for people with high levels of triglycerides in their blood. However, you should still follow your doctor’s recommendations, Harvard Health states. Don’t use these products without first making sure that they’re safe for you.
If you’re already taking fish oil supplements on your own, for weight loss or health, with no recommendation from a health care provider, you’re probably better off having a conversation with your doctor, who can recommend the right dosage for your needs. The experts at Harvard state that the health benefits from fatty fish may come not just from the fats in fish, but also the vitamins, minerals and supporting molecules contained in the fish.
The Mayo Clinic cautions that fish oil supplements may not be safe for people with fish or shellfish allergies. Fish oil supplements may cause unpleasant side effects as well, including:
- A fishy aftertaste
- Bad breath
- Loose stools
Heart Failure and Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements have also been linked to improved cardiovascular health, but again, the research is mixed. The American Heart Association stated in 2017 that if you have heart failure or have recently had a heart attack, fish oil supplements may help. However, these pills don’t prevent heart disease.
The studies on fish oil supplements are conflicting, according to the AHA. The mixed results extend to those who have suffered heart failure or a heart attack. While omega-3 fish oil supplements will not prevent a second heart attack, taking 1 gram a day may reduce deaths from coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death by about 10 percent.
Those with heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body, may benefit from fish oil supplements. The benefit, however, isn’t clear. The AHA states that there’s no harm in taking the supplements. One reason fish oil supplements may not be as effective as they once were is that now there are other treatments available to heart patients, which gives them more options.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil pills are made with oils derived from seafood sources. This oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are essential fats, which means they are essential to the survival of human beings, according to the National Institutes of Health. This fatty acid is not produced in the body, so you need to obtain it from food.
Omega-3s are found naturally in some foods. Fatty fish, nuts and seeds are excellent sources. Plant oils, including flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil contain large doses of omega-3s as well. You can also get these fatty acids from fortified foods, such as eggs, soy milk, fortified cow’s milk and some juices.
These fats help your cells function properly, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They also jump-start your body into making hormones that regulate inflammation, blood clotting and the contraction and relaxing of the artery walls in your heart. Omega-3s also bind to receptors in the cells that regulate genetic function.
These fatty acids may play an important role in disease prevention, as the National Institutes of Health points out. People who eat seafood have a lower risk of several chronic diseases. It’s not clear whether the benefits come from seafood itself or the omega-3s in food. That’s one of the reasons why the research on fish oil supplementation is mixed.