Does Fish Oil Work?

Many people may wonder, "Does fish oil work?" There is evidence that fish oil works for several conditions. When taken in high doses, fish oil is effective at lowering high triglycerides. Fish oil is also effective at preventing cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure, and improving certain mental health conditions. However, if you decide to take fish oil, you should only do so under the supervision of your healthcare provider.

Does Fish Oil Really Work?

Fish oil is one of the most studied dietary supplements. There is good evidence that fish oil works for a variety of conditions. In fact, it seems like researchers have studied fish oil for just about every conceivable use. Some of these uses include:
 
  • Heart health
  • Mental health
  • Weight loss
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childhood development
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Anti-aging.
     
Does Fish Oil Work for Heart Health?
Fish oil often works quite well for lowering high triglycerides (known medically as hypertriglyceridemia). As a result, the American Heart Association does recommend fish oil for this use. An adequate fish oil dosage may decrease triglyceride levels by as much as 25 to 30 percent (with lower dosages being less effective). However, it takes a high dosage of fish oil to lower triglycerides. If you choose to take fish oil for this use, you should be under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
 
In addition, fish oil may slightly increase HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") by 1 to 3 percent, although it can also increase LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol") by 5 to 10 percent. Research suggests that fish oil may prevent cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and strokes). In people who have already had a heart attack, fish oil may decrease the risk of another heart attack and may also lower the risk of death (from repeat heart attacks or other causes). Additionally, taking fish oil after an angioplasty procedure or bypass surgery can help to keep the blood vessels from closing back up. The American Heart Association recommends fish oil (under a healthcare provider's supervision) for people with documented heart disease, particularly in people who cannot consume enough fish through dietary means.
 
Fish oil tends to modestly lower blood pressure, a beneficial attribute since high blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart disease. Some researchers think that fish oil may also help treat certain irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), but the evidence at this point is inconclusive.
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