Fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is commonly taken as a dietary supplement as it has various health benefits. If you do not consume oily fish, then fish oil supplements like capsules will help you get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help our hearts in several ways. They also curb inflammation in the blood vessels and in the rest of the body. They also lower the level of blood fats called triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids can also slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.
What is fish oil?
Fish oil is the fat or oil that is extracted from fish tissue. It is usually found in oily fish like herring, tuna, anchovies, rohu, mackerel, etc. Fish oil is sometimes produced from the livers of fish like cod liver oil. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have many health benefits. It makes our immune system strong and protects us from many diseases. If you do not take fish every week, then you can take fish oil capsules to get enough omega-3 fatty acids. While 30% of fish oil is made up of omega-3 fatty acids, the remaining 70% is made up of other fats. Fish oil also contains vitamins A and D.
Fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids for strong immunity
Several studies have proved that omega-3 fatty acids help boost the immune system as they can enhance the functioning of immune cells. Our immune system is also called the lymph system made up of complex lymph nodes and cells called lymphocytes. The lymph system’s role is to destroy pathogens that cause infections in our body. Here the role of lymphocytes comes in—it guards the body against viruses and bacteria. These lymphocytes are called T-cells and B cells. This is where the omega-3 fatty acids come in. They enhance the function of T cells and B cells and make our immune system strong.
A study suggested that omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) enhance the function of immune B cells. The study noted that DHA and EPA help in preventing diseases by reducing inflammation, thus proving the immune-enhancing effects.
Our immune system fights infections and treats injuries. Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases like obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease. If we can reduce inflammation we can treat the symptoms of these diseases. As fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps in treating chronic inflammation. For example, in people suffering from obesity or stress, fish oil can reduce the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
Fish oil supplements can also reduce joint pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis.
Another study, which has suggested that DHA in fish oil facilitates the immune system, has suggested that DHA has immense immunomodulatory properties that are fruitful for healthy immune systems, especially in middle-aged obese people. According to the researchers, omega-3 fatty acids improve various aspects of immunity, including inflammation.
Also read: How eating fish can improve intelligence?
Supports heart health: Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fish or take fish oil supplements have much lower rates of heart disease. It is found that multiple risk factors for heart disease get reduced by the consumption of fish oil. Fish oil can also increase levels of good HDL cholesterol. However, it cannot reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Fish oil can also help reduce blood pressure in people with high levels.
Reduces liver fat: Our liver processes most of the fat. Fish oil supplements can improve liver function and inflammation, which may help reduce symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Improves asthma symptoms and allergy risk: Symptoms of asthma, which cause swelling in the lungs and shortness of breath, can be reduced with fish oil. It is found that fish oil supplements taken by pregnant mothers have reduced the risk of allergies in infants.
Treats mental disorders: Our brain is made up of about 60% fat, which is mostly omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function. Some studies have suggested that people with certain mental disorders have lower omega-3 blood levels. Studies have suggested that fish oil supplements can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders.