Fish Oil Whats in it for you 1260x542
01 Apr 2010
blackmores naturopath

Blackmores

Fish oil: What's in it for you?

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Only 24 per cent of Australians eat enough fish for adequate omega-3 intake1 , so supplementing your diet with fish oil can redress the balance. Information surrounding benefits can be confusing, so here are some key reasons to have fish.

Fish oil and pregnancy

Expectant mothers taking fish oil have been shown to give birth to babies with enhanced eye and hand coordination.

According to the Deakin University's Professor Andrew Sinclair, a University of Western Australia study involving 98 pregnant women found significant advancement in hand-eye co-ordination across toddlers whose mothers took fish oil supplements during pregnancy.

"The research also demonstrated some improvements in brainpower and vocabulary," said Sinclair. "The last three months of pregnancy are thought to be a key time for intake of fish oil because there is a growth spurt in the human brain during this time. Omega-3s are an essential part of our diet to maintain good overall health and there are so few people eating enough fish or taking omega-3 supplements."

Similarly, a recent study from Canada reported that increased intake of the omega-3 DHA during pregnancy could produce improved motor function in the offspring in later life.

In the same study, increased levels were also linked to better visual, cognitive, and motor development in the offspring.  

Heart health

Fish oil has been shown to help promote healthy blood flow. It also helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and support healthy blood triglyceride levels.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids have also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and improved heart rhythms.

Brain function

Fish oil has been strongly linked to improved cognitive performance and reducing the rate of age-related cognitive decline.

Two studies published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that regular consumption of omega-3-rich food could prevent age-related cognitive decline.

Joint health

Omega-3 fatty acid EPA has been shown to help reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.

Mood regulation

Research into omega-3s has also reported that fish oil supplementation may result in improvements in behaviour and learning of children.

Published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a French study linked EPA and DHA with benefits in treating low mood.

About DHA:

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) occurs in high amounts within the brain. DHA comprises 40-50 per cent of brain tissue and 60 per cent of the retina. DHA is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid in the adult brain, and it is essential for healthy neurodevelopment.

About EPA:

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plays a role in the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances involved in the inflammatory pathways of the body. This is thought to be the reason that EPA is an effective agent for conditions such as arthritis. It also benefits heart health.

References available on request