According to research conducted at Harvard University omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is officially one of the top 10 causes of death in America claiming the lives of up to 96,000 people each each year. Out of the 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors examined in the study, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency ranked as the sixth highest killer of Americans. (1) These deaths are considered preventable since getting enough omega 3-fatty acids in your diet can ward off this now common cause of death.
The benefits of fish oil’s omega-3s include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke while also helping to reduce symptoms of depression, hypertension, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain, arthritis, and chronic skin ailments like eczema. (2) Fish oil intake has also been associated with aiding the body in weight loss, fertility, pregnancy, and increased energy. Prescription fish oil has even been approved by the FDA to lower unhealthy triglyceride levels. (3)
Most of the fish oil benefits are because it is one of nature’s richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. While fish oil benefits are numerous there are some false claims on how to use this incredible supplement, but in this article we will go over the proven scientific evidence to demonstrate the true benefits of fish oil.
What Is Fish Oil?
Fish oil comes from the tissues of oily fish. The best sources are cold-water, fatty fish. When it comes to human consumption of fish oil, you can get it from fish themselves or from a fish oil supplement.
Fish oil is a concentrated source of omega-3 fats, which are also called ω-3 fatty acids or n-3 fatty acids. To get more scientific, omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. Our bodies are able to make most of the fats we need need, but that is not true for omega-3 fatty acids. When it comes to these essential fats, we need to get them from omega-3 foods or supplements.
Fish oil contains two very important omega-3 PUFAs. I’m talking about docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are sometimes called the marine omega-3s because they mainly come from fish. Some of the best fish to eat to obtain fish oil from your diet include wild caught salmon, herring, white fish, sardines, and anchovies.
Fish Oil Nutritional Background
The main nutritional value of fish oil is its high fatty acid content. As I just mentioned, fish oil benefits come from the fact that fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA.
Wondering about the specifics of fish oil nutrition? 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of fish oil from sardines, for example, contains approximately: (4)
- 40.6 calories
- 4.5 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat)
- 0 milligrams sodium
- 0 grams fiber
- 0 grams sugar
- 0 grams protein
- 14.9 international units vitamin D (4 percent DV)
- 1084 milligrams omega-3 fatty acids (DV varies by age and gender)
- 90.6 milligrams omega-6 fatty acids (DV varies by age and gender)
Nutritional information will vary by product and fish source. Check supplement labeling for specific details.