Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish, such as herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for health. According to research conducted at Harvard University, an 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 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. These deaths are preventable to take more omega-3 fatty acid in the diet.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil can be obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements. Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, and seal blubber. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from food. They can’t be manufactured in the body. Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Health Benefits of Fish Oil:
The health benefits of fish oil include its ability to aid in weight loss and healthy pregnancy. It also promotes fertility and skin care. It is beneficial in the treatment of various heart diseases, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, ADHD, weak immune system, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, IBD, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, macular degeneration, ulcers, and other health issues which are explained in detail below.
1. Boosts Heart Health: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), clinical trials have shown that omega-3 is effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 and therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the level of good cholesterol (HDL).
2. Improves Immunity: Regular consumption of fish oil aids in boosting the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil bolster the immune system by affecting the activity and amount of cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. Researchers have also studied the effect of a fish meal and fish oil on the immune system of pigs and found that fish oil aided in the growth of the animals. Similar research conducted on mice at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, also gave positive results.
3. Weight Loss: Research conducted by Professor Peter Howe at the University of South Australia has shown that fish oil improves the efficacy of exercise in attempts to reduce weight. Volunteers who were given fish oil in their diet showed greater weight loss as compared to those who did not regularly consume it.
4. Reduces Inflammation: Regular consumption of fish oil supplements, tablets, pills, and capsules is helpful to those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases. Fish oil is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders, Celiac disease, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, which are both typical disorders of the intestine. Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease often find it difficult to absorb vitamins, fats, and essential supplements. Fish oil supplements are an effective diet for such patients.
5. Helps Treat Arthritis: Fish oil is useful in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, Raynaud’s symptoms, and similar conditions.  The Royal Adelaide Hospital and the University of Newcastle, located in Australia, have reported that fish oil has shown positive effects in the treatment of arthritis. 
6. Relieves Depression & Anxiety: Due to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil has been promoted for relieving depression, sadness, anxiety, restlessness, mental fatigue, stress, decreased sexual desire, suicidal tendencies, and other nervous disorders. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, in their research publication titled “Fish Oils and Bipolar Disorder: A Promising but Untested Treatment”, state that fish oil can be useful in mood stabilization and the treatment of bipolar disorders. It is unsurprising, therefore, that countries where fish is frequently eaten, have a low incidence of depression. Similarly, research conducted on prisoners has shown that when prisoners were given seafood containing a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids, there was a significant drop in the homicide rate and the frequency of violence.  Intake of fish is also a good remedy for depression. Findings of a research study suggest that fish consumption may be beneficial for women’s mental health and reduces the risk of developing depression in women. 
7.Eye Care: Fish oil has the ability to improve vision. It also helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration. In March 2014, French researchers evaluated 290 patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and they discovered that dietary oil fish and seafood intake were significantly lower in AMD patients. Due to the high EPA and DHA levels in fish oil, it was concluded that this kind of nutritional intervention could especially benefit those at high risk for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. 
8. Prevent Cancer: Scientific studies have found that fish oil can help to prevent and kill various cancers, including colon, prostate, and breast. Not only has research proven that it makes conventional cancer drugs more effective, but it’s also an effective stand-alone therapy in natural cancer treatment. Intravenous fish oil lipid emulsions, in particular, are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which exhibit anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.  A scientific review published in 2013 looked at omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostate cancer prevention. Researchers concluded that there’s a great deal of evidence suggesting that omega-3s have antiproliferative effects – which means they inhibit cancer cell growth – in cancer cell lines, animal models and humans. In addition, the “direct effects on cancer cells” and indirect anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system fighting cancer likely contribute to the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to inhibit tumor growth. 
9.Control Diabetics: Researches found that fish oil can help reduce the risk of diabetics from developing cognitive deficit because it protects the hippocampus cells from being destroyed. The study also showed that fish oil could help reduce oxidative stress, which plays a central role in the development of diabetes complications, both microvascular and cardiovascular.  Another recent study shows that fatty fish consumption can cut the risk of eye-diabetes complications. The researches tracked the seafood consumption of about 3,600 diabetic men and women between the ages of 55 and 80 for nearly five years. The researchers found that people who regularly consumed 500 milligrams each day of omega-3 fatty acid in their diets were 48 percent less likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than those who consumed less.
10. Helps in ADHD Treatment: Fish oil has the ability to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) due to its high concentration of fatty acids. For children suffering from hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, inability to complete tasks, emotional instability, wavering attitude, poor coordination, short attention span, short-term memory weakness, low concentration, tendency to interrupt others, recklessness, hastiness, impetuosity, impulsiveness, low IQ, or learning disorders, fish oil is a proven remedy. Research conducted at the University of South Australia and CSIRO has shown that when children suffering from ADHD were given doses of fish oil and evening primrose capsules for 15 weeks, they showed significant improvements in their behavior. 
11. Aids in Treating Alzheimer’s Diseases: Research conducted at Louisiana State University has shown that fatty acids are effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.  Since fish oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, it helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. More research conducted at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) validates the usefulness of fish oil as a possible remedy for the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends fish containing a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids to patients since it acts as a defense against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
12. Support Healthy Pregnancy: Fish oil is very beneficial for pregnant women because the DHA present in it helps in the development of the eyes and brain of the baby. It also helps to avoid premature births, low birth weight, and miscarriages. Research conducted in Denmark, which involved 8,729 pregnant women, concluded that a diet with low amounts of fish resulted in a higher risk of premature or preterm babies. It is also believed that women who do not have a sufficient intake of EPA and DHA in their diet suffer from depression after childbirth, as there is a transfer of some amount of brain mass from the mother to the child in the last stages of pregnancy. Thus, it is very beneficial to consume fish oil either by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, tablets, capsules, or pills during pregnancy for the overall development of the child and the well-being of the mother. However, it should be noted that fish oil obtained from the liver of the fish, example – cod liver oil, should not be consumed during pregnancy as cod liver oil is high in retinol and vitamin A, which are usually known to cause birth defects.
13. Skin and Hair Care: It is useful in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, itching, skin redness, skin lesions, and rashes. In terms of psoriasis, the EPA present in fish oil restricts the growth of pro-inflammatory agents by producing arachidonic acid. Therefore, fish oil can also be applied topically to get relief from psoriasis. Fish oil helps maintain a good luster of the hair because omega-3 has growth stimulating properties since it provides nourishment to the follicles. It aids in the development of hair and in preventing hair loss.
Side Effect: An excessive dosage of fish oil can have adverse allergies and side effects on the body. Furthermore, fish oil can be problematic if you have certain conditions so it is necessary to consume fish oil supplements cautiously. Moreover, it can be consumed in various forms. These include eating the fish directly by baking, roasting, frying, grilling, broiling, or smoking it. It can also be consumed in the form of concentrated dietary supplements like liquid, tablet, capsule, pill, or soft gels. Also, there are various pharmaceutical grades of oil. It is not necessary to constantly consume pharmaceutical-grade oil or even supplements. You should also consult your doctor to confirm the mode of consuming fish oil and the overall need for it in your diet.
Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to our health, but our bodies cannot make them so we must get them from the diet. If the diet is not enough to meet our needs, then a high-quality fish oil supplement is the next best option.