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What’s the Deal With Fish Oil?

When it comes to the most commonly used supplements on the market, fish oil supplements (like 1UP Omega-3 Plus) are among the top. This is in large part due to the fact that fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to have a number of appealing benefits.

 

But, what’s the deal with fish oil?

 

Why are they so popular and frequently recommended?

 

Let’s begin our discussion by briefly explaining what exactly fish oil is.

 

What is Fish Oil?

 

Fish oil is a key source of omega-3 fatty acids derived from (you guessed it) -- fish!

 

Fatty fish -- salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies, and tuna -- are the richest sources of fish oil, which contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of essential fatty acids (including EPA and DHA).

 

Our bodies cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids (hence their classification as “essential”), which means they must be obtained through the diet (e.g. fatty fish) or supplements (such as 1UP Omega-3 which supplies 2,000mg of high-strength, omega-rich fish oil, including  720mg EPA and 480mg DHA per serving).

 

Omega-3s are essential components for cell membranes, particularly in the brain and eyes. They also provide anti-inflammatory benefits, which supports joint health (among other things) as well as supply the body with a source of clean energy.

 

The current 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend adults and children consume 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week[1]; however, most individuals fail to meet this recommended intake, which makes the need for omega-3 supplementation all the more necessary.

 

What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil?

 

Supports Cardiovascular Health

 

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and research has found an association between individuals who regularly consume fish and improved cardiovascular markers.[2]

 

Specifically, the consumption of fatty fish or fish oil is known to improve[3,4,5]:

  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Blood pressure
  • Plaque

Supports Weight Loss

 

Some research indicates that, in combination with proper diet and exercise, fish oil supplements may improve weight loss.[6]

 

Moreover, fish oil supplements may improve body composition as well as various risk factors for heart disease in obese individuals.[7]

 

May Help Reduce Inflammation

 

Inflammation often gets a bad rap, but some inflammation is not only necessary, but beneficial (as in the case of intense exercise -- inflammation is part of the recovery and growth process).

 

Where inflammation goes bad is when it’s chronic.

 

This can lead to several adverse effects in the body, including obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease.

 

Fish oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties.[8]

 

Additionally, fish oil has been found to reduce the production and gene expression of inflammatory molecules called cytokines in stressed and obese individuals.[9,10]

 

Supports Joint Health

 

Chronic inflammation is also known to contribute to joint degradation.

 

Fish oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and support joint health.

 

Specifically, research has shown that fish oil supplements may help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis -- an inflammatory condition which causes joint point.[11]

 

Supports Brain Health

 

One of the fatty acids found in fish oil, DHA, is a key structural component of brain cells.

 

Research suggests that supplementing with omega-3s may improve cognitive function and support long-term brain health.[12,13]

 

Supports Healthy Skin

 

Your skin is your body’s largest organ.

 

Unsurprisingly, it also contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Age, poor diet, and excessive sun exposure are all known to contribute to loss of skin elasticity and accelerated wrinkling.

 

Fish oil supplements have been found to improve a number of skin-related conditions, including dermatitis and psoriasis.[14]

 

Should I Supplement With Fish Oil?

 

As is the case with just about any supplement, the answer is “it depends.”

 

If you’re someone who consumes fatty fish regularly each week (2-3 times per week), then you may not need to use a fish oil supplement.

 

However, if you’re someone who doesn’t eat a lot of fish, whether due to limited access to quality fish or a general distaste for fish, the necessity for using a high quality omega-3 supplement increases considerably.

 

It should be noted that you can get omega-3s from plant foods like walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds, but the form contained in plant foods (ALA) has a very low conversion rate in the body (between 5-10%).

 

If you’re currently using a fish oil supplement and looking for ways to include more fatty fish in your diet, here are some meal prep ideas to consider:

  • Bake wild salmon (or trout) with seasonal veggies and serve over a bed of quinoa or wild rice
  • Add canned wild salmon a spinach salad topped with chopped walnuts (for added omega-3s!) and dried cranberries
  • Adding sardines to warm or cold pasta dishes with a squeeze of lemon, minced garlic, and a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

 

The Bottom Line on Fish Oil

 

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimal health and wellness.

 

Supplementation may be necessary for individuals who don’t consume fatty fish regularly. If you’re looking for a high-quality fish oil supplement, we recommend our Omega-3 supplement, which supplies 2,000mg of high-strength, omega-rich fish oil, including 720mg EPA and 480mg DHA.

 

If you consume fatty fish fairly regularly (2-3 times per week), the necessity for supplementation is reduced.

 

If you need help tracking your food intake to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients everyday, it may be beneficial to use a nutrition tracking app, such as the 1UP Fitness App, which is 100% FREE!

 

The 1UP Fitness App also allows you to enter our FREE Transformation Challenge and compete for $50,000 in total cash prizes between 10 total winners (5 female, 5 male).

 

References

  1. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
  2. Chowdhury R, Stevens S, Gorman D, et al. Association between fish consumption, long chain omega 3 fatty acids, and risk of cerebrovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. 2012. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109966/
  3. Oelrich B, Dewell A, Gardner CD. Effect of fish oil supplementation on serum triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and LDL subfractions in hypertriglyceridemic adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Apr;23(4):350-7. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Sep 15. PMID: 21924882.
  4. Ras RT, Demonty I, Zebregs YE, Quadt JF, Olsson J, Trautwein EA. Low doses of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid from fish oil dose-dependently decrease serum triglyceride concentrations in the presence of plant sterols in hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr. 2014 Oct;144(10):1564-70. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.192229. Epub 2014 Aug 13. PMID: 25122648.
  5. Miller PE, Van Elswyk M, Alexander DD. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Hypertens. 2014 Jul;27(7):885-96. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu024. Epub 2014 Mar 6. PMID: 24610882; PMCID: PMC4054797.
  6. Hill AM, Buckley JD, Murphy KJ, Howe PR. Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1267-74. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1267. PMID: 17490962.
  7. Krebs JD, Browning LM, McLean NK, Rothwell JL, Mishra GD, Moore CS, Jebb SA. Additive benefits of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and weight-loss in the management of cardiovascular disease risk in overweight hyperinsulinaemic women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Oct;30(10):1535-44. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803309. Epub 2006 Mar 21. PMID: 16552404.
  8. Calder PC. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jun;83(6 Suppl):1505S-1519S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.6.1505S. PMID: 16841861.
  9. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011;25(8):1725-1734. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229
  10. Haghiac M, Yang XH, Presley L, Smith S, Dettelback S, Minium J, Belury MA, Catalano PM, Hauguel-de Mouzon S. Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Reduces Inflammation in Obese Pregnant Women: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Clinical Trial. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 4;10(9):e0137309. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137309. PMID: 26340264; PMCID: PMC4560373.
  11. Fortin PR, Lew RA, Liang MH, Wright EA, Beckett LA, Chalmers TC, Sperling RI. Validation of a meta-analysis: the effects of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis. J Clin Epidemiol. 1995 Nov;48(11):1379-90. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(95)00028-3. PMID: 7490601.
  12. Bauer I, Hughes M, Rowsell R, Cockerell R, Pipingas A, Crewther S, Crewther D. Omega-3 supplementation improves cognition and modifies brain activation in young adults. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Mar;29(2):133-44. doi: 10.1002/hup.2379. PMID: 24470182.
  13. Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D, Nelson EB, Ryan AS, Blackwell A, Salem N Jr, Stedman M; MIDAS Investigators. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement. 2010 Nov;6(6):456-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013. PMID: 20434961.
  14. Kragballe K, Fogh K. A low-fat diet supplemented with dietary fish oil (Max-EPA) results in improvement of psoriasis and in formation of leukotriene B5. Acta Derm Venereol. 1989;69(1):23-8. PMID: 2563604.