- Health

Can taking fish oil capsules lower my cholesterol?

          Living in the modern world may be convenient to most people when it comes to food as food is easily available anywhere at any time. However, it also contributes to the many diseases caused by bad eating habits such as high levels of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol may not seem a big deal at first but it definitely will be the precursor of many diseases such as heart disease and obesity. Taking care of heart health means to emphasise on healthy food consumption. Some might wonder “does taking fish oil capsules lower cholesterol?”.

            Before answering that, we need to really know what fish oil is. Fish oil is made with oily fish or fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, trout and mackerel. Fish oil contains mainly Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA. These acids are part of omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish oil available in the market is added with calamari oil, krill oil or microalgae oil to increase DHA content. DHA is the most preferred form of omega-3 as compared to EPA. This is because DHA is easily utilised in the body as compared to EPA. It means that the human body does not need to process EPA into DHA which would require more effort.

       The question of whether fish oil lowers cholesterol, the answer is quite ambiguous. To better understand this, we have to know more about cholesterol. Cholesterol is divided into types, LDL which is the bad cholesterol and HDL the good cholesterol. Studies show that there is no concrete evidence of fish oil lowering the high LDL cholesterol. However, there are also studies that show that HDL cholesterol increases in the body. Hence, if a person already has high levels of cholesterol, there is no good evidence denoting that fish oil will actually fix this cholesterol imbalance. Plus, it may actually place the person at higher risk for developing higher LDL cholesterol levels. Since the studies show conflicting evidence, those concerned about cholesterol level should ask for doctor’s advice on other ways to lower it safely and evidently.

       If you are looking for ways on lowering cholesterol, there are actually ways on reducing it. Most common one is taking medication such as statin. Statin is one of the most tolerable medications available to treat high levels of cholesterol. It is best to talk with your doctor about this and if you are prescribed other medication to lower the high cholesterol level, it probably be because of other considerations as evaluated by your doctor. Getting your blood cholesterol checked regularly is important so that you can take control of your health. Ask your healthcare provider on how often you should get screened.

       People take fish oil for many health reasons. The main benefit of taking fish oil is to enhance brain function. Omega-3 in the form of DHA is naturally available in high numbers inside the human brain. The human brain needs DHA to perform the many brain functions efficiently. Ensuring that the level of DHA in the brain is always at optimum level is the key for preservation of the brain function as the cell death is inhibited. Omega-3 possibly helps to reconnect the damaged brain cells and continue to perform all brain activity as usual. Another benefit of fish oil is to improve brain function by improving mood in those struggling with mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia. Apart from the benefits for the brain, fish oil does have many other benefits such as reducing pain from joints or bone. This kind of pain is common in those with osteoarthritis and arthritis. Some even say fish oil helps to respiratory function and reduce inflammation in people with asthma.

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       The many benefits of fish oil shows that it does help to improve a person’s general health. Supplementation of fish oil should be in moderation. Always use supplements as instructed on the product’s label or as directed by healthcare professionals. People already on other medications such as blood thinner or diabetes should always discuss with their healthcare provider first before taking fish oil supplements. Making lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise, maintaining healthy body weight and to stop bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol, can definitely help lower cholesterol level.

       In essence, fish oil does have many benefits but there is no strong evidence on reducing cholesterol. People looking for ways on lowering the high number of cholesterols should always talk with their healthcare provider first before taking any supplements apart from their current medication. It is not wrong for a person to obtain omega-3 from food but it should always be in moderate amounts. Eating food containing omega-3 which is almost similar in what can be found in fish oil, can actually provide many other nutrients for the body. Eating proper food as a meal can help you get all the nutrients your body needs. Practising healthy and balanced eating habits not only helps to lower the level of cholesterol but also helps to nourish the body and mind since most nutrients are contained in a full complete proper meal.

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