Many thousands of people are enthusiastic users of fish oil supplements. There is no shortage of testimonials to the changes they have experienced.
They believe in the products they are taking, but what is the real evidence for fish oil health benefits. Let's look at some of the claims for fish oil.
It is said to be good for:-
- Heart health
- Cholesterol reduction
- cognitive faculties
- Joint health
- Skin and hair health
It is even claimed that omega-3 can help to prevent or fight cancer and diabetes. Is there any evidence for these claims.Well, yes and no. The problem is that we are dealing with scientists here. Put two of them in a room together and you get three opinions.
You can make a name for yourself by coming up with a theory but it is easier to challenge someone else's.
So it is just a question of piling up the evidence on both sides and seeing who has the most votes. And the evidence is piling up fast.
The benefits of omega-3 for heart health have long been accepted. The American Heart Association believes that it is good for those with or without a history of heart disease.
It is also recommended for those who need to reduce cholesterol or triglycerides. This is beneficial for the heart and for some other conditions.
It is also accepted that fish oil helps to repair or maintain the joints. It is said to ease inflammation and discomfort in some types of arthritis.
But users have also reported improvements in their mental faculties. Memory, concentration, mood and even balance have been boosted.
These claims have been more likely to be challenged by the scientific community. Until recently that is.
More and more studies have been bearing out what users have said, and even going further.
There has recently been shown to be a link between depression and reduced levels of omega-3 in the brain.
Some have even suggested that this can also contribute to dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency towards violence.
A study is now being set up at an American university into whether fish oil could be a factor in preventing child bipolar disorder.
Far from being dismissed, the effects of fish oil on the brain is becoming one of the most heavily researched areas.
Those who question fish oil's health benefits are in danger of being overwhelmed by the weight of evidence.