Fish Oil Supplements: Heart-Healthy or Hoax?

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About half of Americans use nutritional supplements each year. One of the most common is fish oil. They generate $1.2 billion in sales annually, according to Nutrition Business Journal. One claim made by manufacturers is that these fish oil products can help lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, it is claimed that these products can improve immunity and boost athletic performance. But what does the science say? The article looks at research into the effects of fish oil supplements on key health indicators in your body, with a focus on triglycerides, cholesterol, and testosterone.

What exactly is fish oil?

Fish oil supplements contain oils derived from the skin and liver of the following fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for protecting against heart disease and other health conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids come in three varieties. The first omega-3 fatty acid is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and is found in vegetable oils such as soybean, canola, and walnut. The other two omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can only be found in fatty fish and fish-derived supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to humans, but the body can’t produce them. You need to get them through food or supplements. Most Americans don’t get enough of these omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. Many people take fish oil supplements to get their recommended daily value of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been linked to heart health.

What effect do fish oil supplements have on health, according to research? Do lifestyle changes such as diets high in olive oil lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by lowering biomarkers such as triglycerides and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol? Inflammation is a major cause of heart disease. Do anti-inflammatory drugs lower indicators of inflammation, such as C-Reactive protein (CRP)? Since inflammation is a major cause of heart disease, this could be beneficial. Can they maximize strength by boosting your testosterone? We have compiled a list of the highest-quality research studies and our key takeaways and recommendations from them. This information is valuable, but the best way to know the impact of fish oil supplements on your health is to regularly monitor your internal biochemistry.

Why it’s time to talk about fish oil?

In the late 1990s, doctors discovered that fish oil contains beneficial fatty acids not easily found in the food supply. They started recommending oily fish and fish oil supplements to their patients. In twenty years, fish oil became the most popular dietary supplement in America. Almost one in ten American adults are now taking fish oil supplements, which is remarkable given that 25 years ago, hardly anybody had heard of fish oil, and virtually no one was taking it.

Other supplements that have the same benefits as fish oil are krill oil, DHA/EPA, algae oil, and cod liver oil. These supplements can have the same drawbacks as fish oil.

Why would anyone want to take fish oil?

People take fish oil for the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. The letters EPA and DHA stand for the chemical names for two specific kinds of omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need in order to help control inflammatory reactions, prevent blood clotting, and build healthy cells, especially in our nervous system.

Marketing claims around fish oil include:

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Brain-building effects.
  • Help for dry eyes.
  • Helps to prevent AMD (the most common cause of blindness).
  • Helps people with fatty liver.
  • Helps reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Reduces triglycerides.
  • Prevents heart attacks.
  • Prevents strokes.
  • Prevents the onset of mental disorders in those at risk.
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s.

That’s a lot of wonderful things! Is it possible that one small capsule could have all of these benefits?

Fish oil: Hype or Scam?

A good question that I have seen many people ask on Google is whether supplements are just as bad as drugs in terms of how companies profit off of them. We are learning that the supplement industry is full of greedy companies that take advantage of people, just like the pharmaceutical industry. Let’s take a clear-eyed look at whether the claims made about this company are true or if it’s a scam.

The bottom line is it’s not just hype.

Some of the benefits of fish oil are not completely fraudulent claims.

Omega-3 fats are nutrients that our body needs but cannot produce on its own. We need to consume these nutrients through food, drink, or supplements to be healthy. We will be lacking in nutrients and therefore malnourished if we don’t consume enough of them. If we do not have enough nutrients or if our diet is poor, our health can suffer in many ways.

If we lack the omega-3 family of fatty acids, we can develop many medical problems. However, if we suddenly start getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, that one change can reverse many medical problems. The many health claims made by fish oil supplement companies are based on incomplete information.

Although fish oil supplementation has many potential benefits, the reality is that it does not live up to its potential.

Fish oil’s impact on measures of heart health:


Blood fat molecules called triglycerides to store extra energy for later use. Having high levels of triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases. Do fish oil supplements lower levels and protect your heart?

Many reports suggest that taking fish oil supplements daily can help improve your heart health. A meta-analysis of 68 studies that included more than 2,800 subjects found that consuming 3-4 grams of fish oil daily lowered triglyceride levels. The researchers ensured that each study lasted for a minimum of two weeks and was either a parallel or crossover study. The average length of the studies was nine weeks, and there were an average of 41 subjects. After analyzing the data, researchers discovered that subjects who consumed fish oil on a daily basis experienced a 25% decrease in triglyceride levels compared to those with normal triglyceride levels. Subjects who had high levels of triglycerides, to begin with, experienced a 34% reduction after taking fish oil every day. Although researchers aren’t sure how fish oil supplements work, they say smaller doses have a significant and likely clinically important effect on levels of triglycerides, especially for people with elevated triglyceride levels. They also say that larger doses resulted in greater reductions in triglyceride levels.

HDL cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat molecule that is essential for building cell membranes and hormones. Lipoproteins are molecules that transport cholesterol and come in two varieties: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). High levels of HDL cholesterol are beneficial for your cardiovascular health overall. These “scavengers” remove cholesterol that isn’t being used and take it to the liver to be recycled and eliminated. They do this in order to lower the risk of heart and blood vessel-related diseases by preventing the buildup of plaque in arteries. Do fish oil supplements also elevate HDL levels in addition to lowering triglycerides?

Research suggests that fish oil supplements do not have a large impact on increasing levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol but may have a moderate impact.

LDL cholesterol

High levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to cardiovascular illnesses, in contrast to HDL cholesterol. Do fish oil supplements help improve levels?

A lot of research suggests that fish oil supplements don’t have a big effect on LDL production. A meta-analysis of 47 research studies found that fish oil supplementation only caused a very minimal increase in LDL cholesterol levels on average. After looking at the results of various studies, researchers have determined that fish oil does not have a significant impact on LDL cholesterol levels.

If you regularly take fish oil supplements, your LDL cholesterol might increase by a small amount.

C-reactive protein & inflammation

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance that is produced by the liver in response to inflammation. CRP is a very sensitive marker of inflammation and is used by doctors to detect it in the body. Since high levels of homocysteine can cause cellular tissues to age, resulting in various diseases, we include it in our InnerAge and Ultimate panels alongside other well-known biomarkers such as Vitamin D and cortisol. Do fish oil supplements reduce CRP levels?

Fish oil supplements lower CRP levels in men who are in good shape and healthy, but it’s not clear if it lower CRP levels in populations that are considered high-risk.

Testosterone & strength

Testosterone is known to improve strength and give a more “manly” appearance, but it is actually crucial in regulating the growth and development of tissues and maintenance of mental health for both genders.

While it’s still unclear how exactly it works, a small number of studies suggest that fish oil supplements may help to boost strength in healthy, older women.

The reason you should NOT take MOST fish oil supplements.

Most fish oil supplements are not good for you.

Fish oil supplements are filled with toxins, based on multiple studies. I’m not just talking about environmental toxins like PCBs and mercury. There are also omega-3s in fish, but that is not what I am talking about. The toxins I’m referring to are more dangerous than heavy metals and PCBs.

We have to consider that fish oil is a processed food product and not a natural food. The beneficial omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are not as prevalent when taking fish oil supplements as they are when consuming oily fish. The impact of processing on omega-3 fats is not yet known.

Numerous toxins develop during fish oil processing.

The toxins don’t come from the environment, and they’re not in fish. The toxins present in fish oil are more of a threat to your health than any environmental pollutants.

If fish oil supplements contain fish oil in their natural form, it could potentially alleviate many different ailments. The vast majority of fish oil supplements are in a form that nature did not intend, which is why they usually don’t work and can even be harmful.

What do I mean by that?

Fish oil undergoes a chemical change during processing. This means that the benefits of omega-3s are not fully realized when fish oil is taken as a supplement. The process of extracting oil from fish damages the oil, which means that the benefits of omega-3s are not fully realized when the fish oil is taken as a supplement. The chemical fragility of omega-3 fatty acids makes them difficult to manufacture, and only a few companies currently appear to make an effort to mitigate these challenges. Some fish oil supplements may actually be harmful to your health.

If Your Metabolism is Healthy, Your Body Can Make “Fish Oil.”

Not all omega-3 is created equal. -There are two forms of omega-3, a common one and a very special one. Omega 3 can be either short, medium, or long chain. Many plant and animal foods contain shorter omega-3 fatty acids, but fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that are unusually long. We need both the shorter, 18-carbon form and the longer, 20-carbon-plus form of fat in our bodies.

If you have a healthy metabolism, you can turn any 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acid into a 20-plus-carbon omega-3 fatty acid, effectively making your own fish oil. If your metabolism is not functioning properly, the enzymes that elongate omega-3 fatty acids will not be functional either.

A blood test can determine if your body can elongate omega-3 fatty acids. I discuss the simple blood test you have probably had to see if your metabolism is healthy enough to make its own “fish oil” from food containing omega-3s.

How to choose the right fish oil supplement?

There are hundreds of choices of fish oil supplements. However, not all are created equal. Labdoor states that only half of the supplements sampled contained the recommended intake of 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, some are contaminated with mercury and other toxins. When choosing a supplement brand, it is best to make sure that it is third-party tested for heavy metals and is transparent about where the fish oil is sourced. Each manufacturer provides recommended daily dosages. You should speak to a nutrition or healthcare professional to decide how much of this supplement you should take based on your individual health markers.


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