While we have our daily 3 meal for nutrition and energy, some of us would like to supplement our food intake with food supplement pills. There are quite a number of food supplements on the market currently. They include pills such as vitamins, multi-vitamins, minerals, herbs etc. One of the more beneficial food supplements which I would like to introduce is fish oil.
Fish oil is extracted from deep-sea oily fish such as salmon. It consists of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA which is of particular benefit to our health. Fish-oil soft gels as a product have been on the market for quite some time and many studies have been made regarding the impact it has on our body ecosystem. It’s one of the few food supplements that have been proven to be highly beneficial to our body. Benefits of fish oil include examples such as reduced inflammation on our body. However, for this article, I would like to concentrate on and focus on the benefits of fish oil for the brain. I shall quote scientific studies made previously on the efficacy of this product.
For the Elderly
Deficiency in DHA, which is a component of fish oil, is often related to memory and cognitive decline. According to a Louisiana State University study, DHA may help protect the brain from cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities in Scotland have found that people who eat oily fish or take fish oil supplements score 13% higher on IQ tests and are less likely to show early signs of Alzheimer. Researchers found that the omega-3 oil slows down the brain’s ageing process – by up to two years. Fish oils slow the brain’s ageing process by reducing inflammation, which in turn reduces damage to the blood vessels that supply the brain. Laurence Whalley, a Professor of Mental Health at Aberdeen University and head of the research team, said: “The brains of fish oil users seemed to be faster. The results suggest to me that they have younger brains than the nonusers.”
For the Infant
The human brain develops rapidly during the last trimester (13 weeks) of pregnancy and the first months following birth. Norwegian researchers completed a study of the effect of maternal fish oil supplementation on IQ (intelligence quotient) in the child at 4 years of age. A total of 341 pregnant women took part in the study. They were randomized to receive 2 teaspoons (10 ml) per day of cod liver oil or the same amount of corn oil from the 18th week of pregnancy to 3 months after delivery. At 4 years of age, 84 children had their IQ tested. The children whose mothers had supplemented with fish oil and who had been breastfeed for at least 3 months after birth scored an average of 4 points higher. The researchers point out that this increase is highly significant in overall terms and would be difficult to attain through normal teaching procedures.
For the Depressed
According to The American Journal of Psychiatry, low blood levels of EPA are seen in depressed patients. The study was conducted on seventy patients with persistent depression despite ongoing treatment with a normal dose of a standard antidepressant. Patients were given EPA at various dosages for 12 weeks in addition to unchanged background medication. Patients were then assessed.
The vast majority completed the 12-week study with no serious adverse events. The 1 gram per day group showed a significantly better outcome than the placebo group on all scales. All rating scales scores improved with the 1 gram dosage of EPA vs placebo, with strong beneficial effects on items rating depression, anxiety, sleep, lassitude, libido, and suicidality. Other dosages produced mixed results. Some had lesser effect. Some showed no measurable benefit.
For the Schizophrenic
A study from the Orygen Research Centre in Melbourne suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could also help delay or prevent the onset of schizophrenia. The researchers enlisted 81 ‘high risk’ young people aged 13 to 24 who had previously suffered brief hallucinations or delusions and gave half of them capsules of fish oil while the other half received placebo. One year on, only three percent of those on fish oil had developed schizophrenia compared to 28 percent from those on placebo. A study conducted at Sheffield University in England reported positive results with fish oil on patients suffering from schizophrenia. Participants of the study had previously taken anti-psychotic prescription drugs that were no longer effective. After taking fish oil supplements, participants in the study experienced progress compared to others who were given a placebo.
For the Suicidal
Can fish oil help curb suicides? That’s the startling finding in a new study just published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. It links suicides by military personnel to low level of docosahexaenoic acid — found in fish oil — and finds that troops with higher levels of DHA in their blood were less likely to take their own lives.
Men with depressed DHA levels were 62% more likely to have committed suicide than those with the highest levels. The DHA found in fish oil seems to provide psychiatric benefits. DHA supplements boost the impact of antidepressant medications and reduce attention deficit disorder. They’re just preliminary findings, but they could lead to new ways to shield troops from the mental ravages of war.
Mom always says fish is brain food and she’s right! Personally, after taking fish-oil soft gels, my health has improved. Previously, I frequently have sore throat and mental fatigue. After taking the soft gels, the 2 symptoms are relieved! I couldn’t be happier.