What Is Fish Oil?

What Is Fish Oil?You’ve heard a lot about it, especially its health benefits, so you may be wondering “What is fish oil, anyway?”

Well, it’s an incredible nutrient derived from fatty fish such as salmon and tuna that promotes heart and brain health and fights multiple diseases, mainly through the Omega 3 fatty acids it contains.

Why is Fish Oil Healthy?

Fish oil is healthy because it contains Omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA may sound like government agencies, but they are actually “essential fatty acids” that your body requires but, ironically, cannot produce. You must ingest them through the food you eat or by taking a fish oil supplement.

What Is Fish Oil Used To Treat?

Heart Health

Fish oil, very high in Omega-3 fats, has been shown to help preserve and enhance heart health.

Clinical studies suggest that EPA and DHA help reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure. And fish oil lowers triglycerides, which are fats in the blood.

Fish oil lowers the risk of death, heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms in people who have already had a heart attack.

Moreover, fish oil also appears to help prevent and treat atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries, by slowing the development of plaque and blood clots which can clog arteries.

Brain Health

Fish oil is also used for brain health because deficiencies in Omega-3 fats have been linked to depression, anxiety, mood swings, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Other Conditions That Fish Oil Is Used For

In addition, fish oil is also used to benefit people with arthritis, Crohn’s disease & other inflammatory bowel disorders (IBDs).

Pregnant or nursing mothers use fish oil since it’s well established that for the fetus’ brain to develop properly it needs a great deal of DHA and EPA.

Fish oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, is also used to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, acne, and other skin disorders which result from inflammation.

Studies have also shown that fish oil can benefit diabetes, lupus, osteoporosis, asthma, macular degeneration and even some forms of cancer, although more study is needed on this subject.

Is The Oil From All Fish Healthy?

What Is Fish Oil?Healthy fish oil is not extracted from just any fish, but from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, herring, halibut, sardines and hoki.

How Do Certain Cold Water Fish Produce Valuable Fish Oil?

Actually, while fatty fish get all the credit for Omega 3-rich fish oil, the fish do not actually produce Omega 3s! Instead they accumulate them by consuming the microalgae that actually produce the fatty acids. (Sorry, but fair is fair. We had to blow the whistle on the credit-stealing fatty fish.)

How Is Fish Oil Extracted From Fish To Make Sure It Is Pure?

In most instances, extraction is a three step process.

First, the fish are steam heated at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celcius. This makes the fish sterile and alters the cell membranes to aid in the extraction of the oil.

Next, the fish are pressed to remove the liquid from the raw fish.

Finally, the liquid is put through a separator which extracts the oil from the mixture.

It is critically important that the fish oil be pure and free of undesirable materials such as heavy metals, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, man-made chemicals that have been banned but still exist in the environment) and dioxins.

There are at least four sets of international standards for fish oil purity, International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), Council For Responsible Nutrition (CRN) standards, European Pharmacopoeia standards and Norwegian Medicinal Standard. The best fish oil producers exceed these purity standards.

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