Fish oil supplements are some of the most popular over-the-counter health elixirs in the United States, according to Harvard University. These popular pills first hit the market in the ’80s, when researchers began to notice that people who ate a diet rich in fatty fish (like sardines, salmon, and herring) were less prone to cardiovascular disease. These days, fish oil is a common staple on drugstore shelves, promising consumers that their health will improve by adding just one small pill to their regimen.
However, as is the case with many supplements, fish oil is controversial – thanks to a host of concerns arising from the environment to a lack of scientific literature supporting industry claims. To be fair, it can be pretty difficult to know for sure if something is effective if it hasn’t been subjected to rigorous investigation.
But fear not, fish oil devotees: Plenty of experts have done the research on fish oil supplements, with many concluding that there are indeed benefits to taking a fish oil supplement every day. So, without further ado, here’s what happens to your body when you take a fish oil supplement every day.
You'll receive a mood boost if you take fish oil every day
Taking a fish oil supplement every day could make all the difference when it comes to your overall mood.
According to the Los Angeles Times, happiness is on the decline in the United States. Since the peak of happiness in the early ’90s, fewer and fewer American adults have as much to smile about as they once did, thanks to factors like addiction, declining health, and increased time spent on the internet. Economic worries were also noted as a concern, showing that we’re a lot more worried than we used to be.
If you’ve realized you’re just not happy, registered dietitian Trista Best suggests taking a fish oil supplement every day. “Your mood will elevate because these fatty acids can easily move through the brain to reach mood-related hormones and molecules,” Best told The List. She continued, saying, “They are also anti-inflammatory, and low levels of chronic inflammation can exacerbate depression.”
While a fish oil supplement is not a magic bullet (nor a replacement for your anti-depressant), there’s a chance fish oil supplements might help you feel really happy more often.
Taking fish oil every day can help your joint health
Fish oil supplements could help you get rid of that joint pain once and for all.
Plenty of people suffer from joint pain for a variety of reasons, as noted by the Mayo Clinic. Whether it’s caused by arthritis, tendinitis, or diseases like lupus or Lyme disease, joint pain can both disrupt your life and make a variety of once-easy tasks difficult to accomplish.
While there are plenty of treatments for joint pain, depending on the cause and your unique situation, there’s a chance that adding a fish oil supplement to your daily diet might help to ease it. “As a personal trainer I have seen highly positive results with my joint health from taking fish oil every day,” certified personal trainer Jamie Hickey shared with The List. Hickey continued, saying, “The omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties that significantly reduce the release of several elements, which play a part in inflammation from your white blood cells.” In other words, fish oil supplements can calm down and soothe your cranky joints without putting your body at risk of damage from NSAIDS. After all, you shouldn’t take ibuprofen every day.
If you take fish oil every day, it can help you stay physically fit
Could taking fish oil supplements be the trick to getting and staying fit?
When it comes to reaping workout benefits, there’s no shortage of advice out there for exercise enthusiasts. According to Muscle and Fitness, you should eat complex carbs before your workouts, supplement your diet with protein powder, and drink a whey shake immediately after you finish pumping iron. And don’t forget to stretch!
Taking a pill of fish oil every day might help you with your fitness goals as well, says registered dietitian Cynthia Sass. “Supplemental fish oil has also been shown to slow the normal decline in muscle mass and function in men and women between 60 and 85,” Sass penned in an article in Health. She continued, writing, “The good fats if fish oil also help to stimulate muscle protein growth, and improve muscle mass, even in sedentary older adults, and bolster resistance training-induced increases in muscle strength.” So, don’t forget your fish oil supplement the next time you hop on the latest fitness trend. Just be sure to avoid bad fad diets at all costs.
You will protect your heart if you take fish oil every day
Taking a fish oil supplement every day is good for your heart, according to experts.
The importance of monitoring your heart health cannot be overstated. Given that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the entire world by far, according to the World Health Organization, nurturing your ticker is serious business. Fortunately, if you take a fish oil supplement daily, you’re looking out for your heart health — as noted by certified health and wellness coach Lynell Ross. “When you take a fish oil supplement every day, you may lower your risk of heart disease,” Ross explained to The List. She continued, saying, “That’s because the Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation that can damage your blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.”
While it remains unclear if the molecules in fish oil can prevent cardiovascular disease in and of themselves, according to the American Heart Association, they certainly “supercharge macrophages, specialized cells that destroy bacteria and eliminate dead cells.” Additionally, they have the ability to render platelets less sticky, which can help prevent blood clots from forming.
Want to lower your blood pressure? Take fish oil daily
Taking a fish oil supplement every day could help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Did you know that approximately 11 million American adults have hypertension but don’t even know it? According to the CDC, these individuals aren’t receiving the treatment that they need for this condition, which is why it’s often called the “silent killer.” If you’re a person with high blood pressure, consider taking a fish oil supplement on a daily basis, as it might be able to help. “Your blood pressure will improve because omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil in abundance, are beneficial for the vascular muscle cells (heart cells),” board-certified pharmacist Dusan Goljic told The List. He continued, explaining, “Although it isn’t clear whether fish oil helps with hypertension, it does lower systolic pressure even by taking small amounts.”
Once again, that spells good news for your overall heart health. “Since omega-3 fatty acids are good for the entire cardiovascular system, including their ability to lower cholesterol levels, they promotes heart health,” Goljic added.
Does taking fish oil every day protect your eyes?
Fish oil could work to promote your eye health.
Even though you might not think of them very often, your eyes need to be supported just as much as the rest of your body. And making sure you get enough omega-3s is an important part of doing that, says Dr. Ruairi Robertson. “Like your brain, your eyes rely on omega-3 fats,” Dr. Robertson wrote in an article in Healthline. He continued, saying, “Evidence shows that people who don’t get enough omega-3s have a greater risk of eye diseases.”
Additionally, a small study found that taking a large dose of fish oil every day helped people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), though Robertson also cited other evidence. “Two larger studies examined the combined effect of omega-3s and other nutrients on AMD,” he continued. “One study showed a positive effect, while the other exhibited no effect.” While it’s unclear if fish oil supplements can be wholly trusted to protect your eyes, they may help. And since your eyes reveal so much about your health, it’s important to look after them.
Looking to improve your hair and skin health? Take fish oil every day
Fish oil just might be the product your skincare routine has been missing.
Do you ever watch commercials for shampoo and conditioner companies and find yourself envious of the models they feature? Are you looking for a way to have skin that’s smooth, shiny, and flawless? Well, taking a fish oil supplement might help you reach your hair and skin goals, according to certified personal trainer Jamie Hickey. “Taking fish oil every day will make you more nourished, especially when it comes to the health of your hair and skin,” Hickey revealed to The List. He continued, explaining, “Low omega-3 fatty acid levels can cause dry skin and brittle hair.” That’s something no one wants to deal with, for sure.
In this case you’ll want to study the label carefully, as there are certain omega-3 fatty acids that will do the trick, added Hickey. “Taking a fish oil supplement high in DHA and EPA will prevent any deficiencies, and will make your hair and skin stronger and healthier,” the certified personal trainer explained.
Your bones may thank you if you take fish oil every day
Taking a fish oil supplement every day could help strengthen your bones, according to some experts.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals that are important for bone health, what pops to mind? You probably thought of calcium, which is indeed very important for your skeletal health. But the omega-3s found in fish oil are also important — though you’re probably not be getting enough of them, according to registered dietitian Cynthia Sass. “In the typical American diet, it’s common to consume far more omega-6 fatty acids — which are found in plant oils, like corn and sunflower oils — than omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA,” Sass wrote for Health. That imbalance is the reason that so many folks struggle with lower bone density, both male and female.
So, if you’re concerned about protecting your bone health as you age, taking a fish oil supplement isn’t a bad idea. “The good news is that older adults with higher omega-3 intakes have been shown to maintain greater bone density, making fish oil a potential mediator of age-related bone loss,” Sass added.
Your brain health will be happy if you take fish oil every day
Fish oil is brain food — and, believe us, your brain is hungry.
You brain is responsible for so many things: It keeps your heart beating, your breath flowing, holds onto your memories, processes vision and language, and so much more (via Live Science). So, if you want to keep your noggin in tip-top shape, registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller suggests taking a fish oil supplement every day. “Fatty fish and fish oil contain two types of omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA,” Kostro Miller explained to The List. She continued, saying, “Both DHA and EPA are important for proper brain health throughout all stages of life.”
It’s not just adult brains that need the nourishment that fish oil provides either, notes Kostro Miller. “DHA is essential for baby’s brain development, so it’s important for pregnant mothers to get enough DHA,” she added. However, Kostro Miller also notes that getting your omega-3 fatty acid from food sources is preferable to supplements — something that Harvard University affirmed. However, a supplement is generally safe as long as your doctor is on board with that method.
If you take fish oil every day, your cognitive function will improve
When you take a fish oil supplement in order to promote brain health, you might notice that you feel a bit sharper and are quicker to pick up on things — and that’s no accident.
“Your cognitive function will improve because the brain is made of 60 percent fat, and getting in these healthy fats are critical for brain function and development,” registered dietitian Trista Best told The List. She continued, explaining, “These fats are contained within the cell membranes of the brain’s cells and are responsible for preserving their health.”
It doesn’t take very long for the difference to make itself apparent, either, as noted by registered dietitian Cynthia Sass. “In one study, fish oil improved cognitive performance in healthy adults between the ages of 51 and 72 in just five weeks, compared with the effects of a placebo,” Sass wrote in an article for Health. Now, that’s pretty impressive!
Taking fish oil may help you if you struggle with mental illness
Taking a fish oil supplement every day could help relieve some symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you have a history of mental illness in your family, or are looking for ways in which to stave off the potential emergence of conditions that can have a tremendous impact on your well-being, Dr. Ruairi Robertson suggests taking a fish oil supplement daily. “Interestingly, research suggests that fish oil supplements can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders,” Dr. Robertson wrote in an article in Healthline. He continued, writing, “For example, it can reduce the chances of psychotic disorders in those who are at risk.” Given how tricky those illnesses are, it’s wonderful that a natural remedy can help prevent their onset.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with severe mental illness, fish oil supplements can still help, according to Dr. Robertson. “Supplementing with fish oil in high doses may reduce some symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” the doctor added. In other words, taking fish oil could be one of the ways to care for your mental health if you can’t afford therapy.
Do you have fatty liver disease? Take fish oil every day
Fish oil can help improve your liver health — and there’s nothing fishy about that!
While your brain has a multiplicity of functions that is has to execute, your liver also has an incredible amount of vital work it has to do. In fact, according to Medical News Today, your liver is responsible for 500 essential tasks. Unfortunately, it can be impaired or rendered unable to properly function for a variety of reasons — including fatty liver disease. “Liver disease is increasingly common — particularly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in which fat accumulates in your liver,” Dr. Ruairi Robertson penned in an article in Healthline.
If you’ve received a diagnosis of fatty liver disease from your doctor, taking a fish oil supplement may be a good idea, according to Dr. Robertson. “Fish oil supplements can improve liver function and inflammation, which may help reduce symptoms of NAFLD and the amount of fat in your liver,” the doctor added. Hey, when it comes to your liver, it’s always a good idea to try and promote and protect its health whenever and however you can.
Taking fish oil every day may help you lose weight
Taking fish oil every day could help you drop those pesky extra pounds.
According to the CDC, nearly half of all American adults are trying to shed unwanted body fat. Not only are we more sedentary than ever, thanks to how we’re entertained (on our phones and in front of the television), but we’re also more likely to eat dinner at restaurants as opposed to cooking and eating at home. Add to the equation the increasing stress levels that make us want to eat more, and you have a perfect storm of obesity on the rise.
However, there are things that you can do to combat weight gain — in addition, of course, to eating healthier and exercising more. Certified personal trainer Jamie Hickey told The List, “Taking fish oil everyday can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite.” He continued, explaining, “Studies have shown that people taking fish oil feel 20 percent fuller after eating a balanced meal than people were taking a placebo.” Of course, if you end up eating less thanks to your fish oil supplement, chances are you’ll lose more weight and hit your goals.
Don't take fish oil every day if you're on this medication
Taking a fish oil supplement clearly has plenty of benefits, according to many health professionals. However, there are certain medications that can interact with fish oil, and not in a positive way, as noted by registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller.
“Some people are recommended to take fish oil supplements or eat more omega-3s in the diet to help thin the blood,” Kostro Miller shared with The List. She continued, saying, “However, if you are on blood thinners and a fish oil supplement, this may lead to thinning the blood too much.”
In order to avoid any potential damage that fish oil supplements may cause, Kostro Miller advises that you check-in with your healthcare professional before you start taking the supplements. “Always ask your doctor about your medications and always tell them any supplement, herb, or extract you are using,” she continued. That way, you can be sure you’re not putting yourself in any unnecessary danger. Safety first, fish oil second.
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