Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to good nutrition and provide wonderful fish oil benefits. Modern diets do not contain enough Omega 3s and the richest source of these nutrients is wild fish. These dietary supplements have proven health benefits and have been recommended by doctors in the treatment of heart disease, coronary artery disease and macular degeneration. Clinical studies on the effects of omega 3 on organic brain disorders like ADHD, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are being conducted.
The benefits for heart health have been known since the 1960s. This supplement is a mild blood thinner which improves circulation and Omega 3s help lower both cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. For people who are healthy this protects against the degenerative changes seen in heart disease and for those who have had a heart attack there is evidence that omega 3 can reduce the chances of a second heart attack by improving the condition of the heart and blood vessels.
Macular degeneration is an age related eye disease that can ever result in blindness. Doctors often prescribe fish oil and lycopene as nutritional supplements for patients who suffer from this disease. There are currently US government studies to determine the effectiveness of the treatment with the intention to cover fish oils as a medication under government health insurance programs like medicare. Currently patients have to pay for the supplements themselves.
There is evidence that Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish may play a role in preventing certain types of cancers like prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancers. Like heart disease, these cancers are reliably rare in populations that consume a lot of fatty fish in their diets. Clinical studies have been produced on lab animals, but at this time there are no clinical trials being pursued on humans. Further studies are being planned.
Organic Brain Disorders
One of the relatively unknown benefits, are those associated with improving brain disorders. Scientists believe that Omega 3 fatty acids exert a neuroactive action and may be responsible for neuronal growth in the frontal cortex which controls behavior. A controlled study on youth at high risk for schizophrenia was conducted and after a year 3% of those who received fish oil developed schizophrenia compared to 28% of the control group. Studies of fish oil as a treatment are being conducted on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ADHD.
Omega 3 has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to aspirin but without some of the side effects like stomach upset or bleeding. There is evidence that osteoarthritis patients taking fish oil suffer less joint pain and have a greater range of motion than those who are only taking pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. There is no comprehensive clinical evidence at this time to support fish oil as a treatment for osteoarthritis, but it is being investigated.
Many claims have been made for nutritional supplements and while some may be unfounded there is evidence that many of the claims are true. The Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants found in fish oil may actually retard the aging process and allow people to live longer healthier lives. It is important to follow dosing directions when taking nutritional supplements since more is not necessarily better. However, taken properly, the benefits of fish oil are many and can improve health and extend life.