Most people who take fish oil know it’s good for their heart. It makes blood less likely to form clots that cause a heart attack, and protects against irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden death.
But there’s more to it than that! Because fish oil has body-wide anti-inflammatory effects, it’s proving to be a good natural treatment for a wide range of health problems. Here are some of the newer ways fish oil has been found to improve health.:
1. Prolongs life in people with congestive heart failure.
When the heart is too weak to pump blood effectively, people who take 1,000 mg of fish oil a day in addition to the standard drug treatment for heart failure live longer than those who don’t get it, according to one large study.
2. Lowers blood levels of C-reactive protein.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker for inflammation in the body, and fish oil reduces inflammation. A rise in CRP levels indicates damage to arteries from cardiovascular disease. High levels also predict diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer. In one study, men who took 3,000 mg a day of DHA, a component of fish oil, saw their CRP levels drop by 15% after 90 days. That reduction was almost as much as the 15% – 25% seen with the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
3. Protects against advanced prostate cancer.
Men who consumed the most fish oil had a 63% reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men getting the least. Researchers found that men with a so-called “inflammatory” gene had a more than five-fold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, but when they took fish oil, that risk was substantially reduced.
4. Improves asthma symptoms.
In children, especially, supplemental fish oil can improve peak air flow and reduce medication use and cough. Fish oil can reduce airway reactivity without suppressing immune function, like some asthma medications do.
5. Relieves dry eyes.
Lots of women develop dry eyes as they get older. Their eyes hurt and are easily irritated by air pollutants because the eye’s natural washing process is impaired. An increased intake of fish oil can help. Consuming more of the essential omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil keeps your tears oily which improves lubrication and slows evaporation in the eye.
6. Prevents painful cold hands.
Fish oil supplements can help improve tolerance to cold and delay the onset of vasospasm in people with primary Raynaud’s syndrome, a condition where the blood vessels in the hands don’t respond properly to exposure to cold.
Note: Treatment of these conditions often requires 1,000 to 3,000 mg of fish oil a day. Getting even 1,000 mg a day is often more than can readily be achieved with diet. We recommend supplemental fish oil. Talk with your doctor first if you have existing cardiovascular disease. People taking more than 3,000 mg of fish oil from supplements should do so only under a doctor’s care, as high intakes can cause excessive bleeding in some people.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Rarely has one supplement been so extensively researched and had so many benefits conclusively attributed to it. If you aren’t taking a top notch fish oil supplement, we strongly recommend that you start now!