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Health Benefits and Concerns of Fish Oil Use

Health Benefits and Concerns of Fish Oil Use

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Health Benefits and of Fish Oil

Health Benefits and of Fish Oil


What is fish oil?

Fish oil is a well-known healthy fat with numerous health benefits. The most important and abundant components of fish oil are called omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 fatty acids)/n-3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the two major ω-3 fatty acid forms available in fish oil. DHA and EPA in fish oil offer promising health benefits to improve and maintain human health.

What do scientists say about fish oil?


Scientific evidence suggests that consumption of fish oil, along with reduced consumption of saturated fats and ω-6 fatty acids, can significantly improve human health. This improvement is mainly due to the scientific evidence that EPA and DHA can lower harmful triglycerides and bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein/LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein/HDL). Moreover, fish oil is known to provide multifunctional health benefits to overcome cardiovascular disease (CVD), inflammation, signs of aging, arthritis, depression and various cancers. There has been a marked increase of fish oil-related scientific studies as well as commercial interest during the past few years. Improved versions of fish oil products backed by proven scientific evidence are now available on the market.

How to get fish oil

Consumption of fish such as anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, mullet, sardines, salmon, sturgeon, tuna, and trout can enrich our bodies with fish oil. In addition, fish oil supplements are commercially available as soft gel capsules. Some of these supplements contain added vitamins, antioxidants, and various attractive flavors.

What are the concerns?

It is always a concern that heat, light, and oxygen can promote the degradation of fish oil supplements and thus cause production of harmful compounds. However, with recent advances in science, incorporation of antioxidants into fish oil and effective storage and packaging methods have been developed to assure quality. However, it is important to follow the storage guidelines provided with the products and simply avoid, as much as possible, exposing the supplement to heat, light, and oxygen. When it comes to cooking fish, extended cooking time and higher temperatures can reduce the beneficial effects of fish oil and even make fish oil unhealthy.

The quality and source of the fish oil is also highly important. Some fish and fish oil supplements may have unhealthy levels of heavy metals such as mercury and selenium. Especially during pregnancy, when eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, it is always good to carefully read the product labels and select the fish oil


Nalin Siriwardhana, PhD

Sean Perera, PhD

Misty R. Bailey, MA, ELS

Health benefits and concerns of Soy Isoflavones

Health benefits and concerns of Soy

Both soy beans and soy products contain soy isoflavones. Soy isoflavones are also available asextracts and capsules. Soy
isoflavones are well studied bioactive compounds dueto promising health benefits. Daidzein and Genistein are the main bioactive soy isoflavones andthey are well known for their bioactivities similar to human estrogen thus,called as phytoestrogens. Also, phytoestrogenic soy isoflavones are known to improve health in postmenopausal women by providing estrogen-like effects. There are scientific evidence that soy isoflavones provide health benefits against cancer,diabetes, cardio vascular diseases (CVD), aging, viral infections and manyother disease conditions. Specifically, they are promising preventive naturalalternatives for prostate and breast cancer. In general they are strong anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Moreover, Equol,an isoflavan produced by intestinal bacteria in response to isoflavone intake,exhibits a wide range of biological properties. Here we provide the most recentscientific evidence regarding the health benefits and concerns of soy isoflavones.

Nalin Siriwardhana Ph.D.

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