New Research on Physical and Neural Health Supports Higher Adoption of Fish Oil

Feb 04,2020

Fish oil has been a popular product among humans for centuries, being administered topically or orally. It is commonly used for ailments such as gout, aches, and rickets, and the past few decades have witnessed a substantial increase in the hype associated with fish oil. Consequently, microencapsulated fish oil has become one of the most widely used supplements on a global scale.

Producers and certain segments of the health care industry claim fish oil to be a great solution for not only cardiac health, but also renal, mental, bone, cognitive, and joint health. Fish oil is primarily derived from processed fish, comprising of species such as sardines, herring, anchovies, mackerel, and salmon. Such fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA, and is key to healthy levels of functioning in the average person.

Medical bodies such as the American Heart Association have recommended regular consumption of fish. Further, the FDA has also approved select fish oil medications under tight regulations, making it a popular option among people with high levels of triglycerides.

Increased Research on Neural and Mental Health from Seafood

While fish oil has been touted as having multiple health benefits, excess consumption can result in an increased risk of strokes on the whole. On the other hand, the benefits of fish oil to cardiac health has not been proven conclusively. As a result of this, doctors seldom recommend fish oil supplements as a preventative aid.

According to researchers, around 40 per cent of all polyunsaturated fat in the brain comprises omega-3 DHA, which accounts for up to 10 per cent of the total mass of the brain. The compound is considered to be a key part of setting up signals being transmitted between brain cells.

A number of government health care bodies around the world have recommended the consumption of seafood as a key for the development and growth of the brain. Research has indicated that the consumption of fish oil can aid children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It also suggests the fish oil can help to cut down the risk of specific metal ailments, including epilepsy seizures.

Uncertainty over Fish Oil Benefits Fails to Deter Users

Most of the research which is relevant to fish oil, and the impact on human health has been inconclusive owing to poor structure, lack of follow ups, minimal placebo control, and poor accounting of additional factors such as lifestyle and diet habits. Such issues, have left fish oil consumers with a lot of low-quality information.

In addition, most of the fish oil products in the market have different quality standards, with issues of misrepresentation in terms of labelling.  A number of the fish oil products only comprise a very small quantity of omega 3 fatty acids, as producers struggle to keep the production costs low. Despite these issues, the fish oil industry has been able to run a very successful promotion campaign, which has bolstered the fad of fish oil consumption in recent years.

Apart from the impact to health, the demand for fish oil is a key contributor to overfishing, which is responsible for destroying wild seafood stocks, while also impacting the labor market through lower wages.

Consequently, unless a person suffers from heart disease, or if doctors prescribe a product approved by regulators like the FDA, the average person is unlikely to need fish oil. It is essential for consumers to check if the product they are consuming is actually fish oil, and that the product is not tainted by environmental contaminants. While diets which include fish are generally good for people, ultimately most such people are likely to benefit from balanced diets with other omega-3 rich foods.

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