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Does Fish Oil Work?

Does Fish Oil Improve Mental Health?
Researchers have noticed that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, but low in omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish oil), may increase the risk of depression or other mental health problems. The typical American diet fits this description, with a low intake of fish. Early studies suggest that taking fish oil may help antidepressants work better and that fish oil may improve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, fish oil seems to only be helpful for the depression symptoms of bipolar disorder (not mania symptoms) and may actually increase the risk of mania symptoms.
 
Does Fish Oil Work for Weight Loss?
It is too early to tell. Studies with mice and rats have sometimes shown that fish oil (or at least the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil) may have a role in weight loss and fat loss, but human studies in this area are lacking. It is too early to tell if taking fish oil can help people lose weight. It is important to remember that fish oil supplements are not free of calories or fat.
 
Is Fish Oil Beneficial During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Childhood?
Very early evidence suggests that fish oil may help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other developmental problems, although you should not give a child fish oil supplements without the approval of the child's healthcare provider.
 
Early studies also suggest that fish oil may decrease the risk of recurrent miscarriages in women with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Also, fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be important for brain and eye development when taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, keep in mind that some fish (and some fish oil supplements) may contain heavy metals and other toxins that are especially dangerous for pregnant women. Do not take fish oil during pregnancy without checking with your healthcare provider, who can direct you to a supplement that is safe for pregnant women (see Pregnancy and Fish Oil for more information).
 
Does Fish Oil Work for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The evidence to suggest that fish oil is effective for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is growing but is not yet considered to be completely conclusive. Studies suggest that fish oil (or other forms of omega-3 fatty acids) may help reduce some rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, such as morning stiffness and joint pain or tenderness. Studies also suggest that people who take fish oil may be able to reduce their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
 
Fish oil seems like a promising natural (and inexpensive) treatment for RA, but more research is necessary to see how exactly it fits in with other treatments and how it should best be used.
 
Does Fish Oil Slow or Reverse Aging?
Fish oil certainly will not stop aging or make you instantly young again, but it may help with some of the problems related to aging. Fish oil may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, osteoporosis, strokes, and heart attacks. However, it is not clear if fish oil is useful for preventing Alzheimer's disease or cancer.
 
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