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The Possible Benefits of Fish Oil

By Jacob Mabille Published 09/4/2006 | Health

Fish was always recommended by the Church during Lent. Studies have shown that this may have been a very good idea in fact, that it is a good idea to eat certain types of oily fish at any time of the year. The fats found in some varieties of oily fish, omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to have many possible benefits. Here is a list of some of these:

The Heart

The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish, preferably oily fish, at least twice a week. Studies have shown that diets rich in omega-3 fats decrease the levels of triglyceride a type of fat linked to heart disease and decrease the risk of irregular heart rhythms thus lowering the possibility of sudden cardiac arrests or strokes. These diets have also been linked to lowering blood pressure.

Doubts have arisen about this recently because a new British study showed that fish oil may not be any use at all in preventing heart disease. However, many more tests need to be done.

Greenland Eskimos and the Japanese have very low rates of heart disease and this may be because of the high quantity of oily fish in their diet.

The Brain

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may be very important for foetal development of the brain and the eyes. Oily fish can contribute to the health of brain tissue and the retina.


Greenland Eskimos have virtually no incidence of depression while the Japanese have very low rates. New Zealanders, who eat the highest amounts of omega-6 or harmful fatty acids, have the highest rates of depression. This may be because Eskimos and Japanese consume a lot of oily fish.

Studies have also shown that fish oil may help to control mood swings in people with depression.


Consuming a high quantity of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to the increase in the West of two eye diseases: dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration. Eating more oily fish may help to prevent these diseases.


A few studies have shown that fish oil may lessen the risk of developing cancers of the breast, prostrate and lung. However, a recent review of studies involving more than 700,000 patients, found that it probably doesnt help to prevent cancer. Studies are continuing, however.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Fish oil can reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and may lessen the need for patients to take NSAIDS which can have harmful effects.


Although the best way to obtain fish oil is by eating fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, there have been recent reports about high levels of mercury in fish. Pregnant women and those with young children should avoid eating fish with high mercury levels.

Some doctors, such as Doctor Judith Reichman in her article "Fish Oil Better than Risk of Polluted Fish" at MSNBC, conclude that taking fish oil supplements is a better idea it is best to ask the doctor before considering a radical change in diet or taking supplements.

Jacob Mabille writes for Health Guides & Articles where you can find more health tips and related articles. You may republish this article only if you retain resource box and active hyperlinks.