There’s so many different types of supplements out there, each screaming “buy me!” How do you know what works and what doesn’t?
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What Does Fish Oil Do?” as well as cover the benefits of taking fish oil. I’ve also linked to a brand that I use if you’re interested in taking it as a daily supplement.
In the Body: What Does Fish Oil Do?
First off, it’s important to know that your body cannot manufacture Omega-3 fatty acids (that’s the nutrient that fish oil supports).
Any fish oil that you eat or take as a supplement is used in cell membranes of your body. The cell membrane contains transport proteins, which as you can tell from their name, facilitate the transfer of nutrients. The thing is, these transport proteins don’t move any and all nutrients. Some move proteins and some move insulin.
If you don’t have enough Omega 3s, it’s likely that you have too many Omega 6’s. The American diet leans heavily toward Omega 6 fatty acids, which means that the fatty cell membrane probably has a lot of Omega 6’s. A high ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 means you probably have a higher level of inflammation.
A higher level of inflammation means that things don’t move easily in and out of your cells. Things going in (protein and insulin) have a harder time getting in to the cell, while waste products have a hard time getting out. And who wants their cellular trash to sit around? It’s like leaving that stinky trash in the kitchen instead of taking it to the dumpster!
TLDR: Fish oil is like greasing a door for your cells. It makes it easy for things to come in and things to get out.
Weight Loss: What Does Fish Oil Do?
It’s not the miracle pill you’re looking for, but fish oil has shown to be helpful in weight loss. This is because it improves insulin sensitivity.
Remember how we discussed that Omega 3s help protein and insulin move throughout a cell? Well, insulin’s purpose is to move glucose (read: energy) in to the muscles. If it can’t do that, cortisol levels go up and we all know that high cortisol levels is tied to higher belly fat.
Omega 3’s from fish oil also have muscle building properties. There’s studies that suggest this, though it isn’t taken as fact yet. Something significant to note, the NCAA has banned distribution among it’s athletes. Why? To prevent an unfair advantage from richer schools giving this supplement to their athletes. If the NCAA considers it beneficial for muscle building and athletic performance, that has some merit.
How is muscle building helpful for weight loss? Muscle helps regulate your blood sugar, it requires more calories than fat, and it changes the look of your body (instead of just making you a smaller version of yourself).
Incorporating strength training to your routine can get you to your goal body much faster than dieting alone.
Which is why adding fish oil to help you build muscle faster is a great idea. So to the original point, taking fish oil for weight loss is a great idea when combined with a healthy diet and strength training.
Conditions: What Does Fish Oil Do?
1. Lowers Cholesterol. Taking fish oil is effective for lowering triglycerides. This promotes a good ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol. Having good cholesterol levels leads to a healthier heart and lowered risk of heart disease.
2. Strengthens Bones. Omega 3 fatty acids can help maintain an appropriate calcium balance in menopausal women. Consuming too much Omega 6 can actually put you at risk for low bone density. This is why it’s really important to get enough Calcium and Vitamin D, then add an Omega 3 fish oil supplement.
3. Lowers Asthma Symptoms. Studies have shown taking a fish oil supplement reduces asthma-related symptoms and lowers the need for medication in some children. Other research has also shown that pregnant and nursing mothers on an Omega 3 supplement lower the occurence of asthma in children.
4. Depression and Mood Support. There’s been 20 studies in the last decade linking fish oil to improved mental health. Studies support fish oil improving conditions like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder especially when combined with medication.
5. Psoriasis, Dry Skin, and Brittle Hair/Nails. There is some evidence that taking fish oil can decrease severe psoriasis symptoms and perpetual dry skin. While there aren’t studies to confirm improving brittle nails and hair, it’s been reported that people taking fish oil notice improvements.
6. Hardening Arteries. Fish oil appears to slow or slightly reverse the hardening of the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis is common among those with heart disease or high cholesterol.
This is the fish oil supplement I choose because it has the highest concentration of EPA/DHA for the lowest price per gram ($.10). There’s definitely some other great brands out there, but it’s important to choose one that’s trusted and gets you the most for your money.