More Benefits of Fish Oil: Plus a Few Surprises
Almost everybody knows that omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for heart conditions and helping to manage their triglyceride levels. But have you ever thought to yourself, “What does omega-3 do besides boost heart functioning?” If so, you will be interested to know that this oil can do a lot more than help prevent serious heart problems.
The Lesser Known Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-3s help reduce the desire to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- These fatty acids are very helpful for individuals struggling with mental disorders like Bipolar disorder and depression.
- They can reduce inflammation1 and pain.
Omega-3 and Alcohol
While most people are aware of the fact that alcoholism is a serious disease and researchers have been searching for effective treatments for alcoholism for years. Little was known about the positive benefits fish oil may offer for people struggling with addiction to alcohol.
Now there is preliminary evidence that supplementing people’s diets with omega-3s may help them to feel less inclined to drink heavily.2
The exact mechanism behind fish oil’s ability to reduce the desire to drink excessive amounts of alcohol is not known, but it is likely to be due to the fact that omega-3 can help modulate mood-governing chemicals in the brain.
All of our feelings and moods have a basis in our brain chemistry. Brain chemistry generally fluctuates all the time but most people tend to have either high or low levels of critical mood-affecting neurotransmitters in their brains. What does omega-3 do to brain chemistry?
While a lot more research needs to be done, omega-3 likely helps smooth out fluctuations in neurochemistry and make it less likely for people to abuse alcohol in a (usually) futile attempt to make themselves feel better.
Omega-3 and Mental Health
Many people suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, and it’s an unfortunate fact that standard psychiatric treatments don’t always work for all mental illness sufferers. While not a cure, there is a growing body of evidence that supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids every day can help make you more capable of handling stress and recovering from mental illness.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help in the treatment of depression3 as well as bipolar disorder. Depression is a common mental condition that a lot of people experience at some point during the course of their lives.
Bipolar disorder is much rarer than depression but often has worse effects. Both depression and bipolar disorder are usually treated with counseling and psychiatric drugs, but in the future, it is likely that more and more doctors will recommend the use of fish oil as part of the treatment for these debilitating conditions because of the research that has been conducted relatively.5
Helping in the Fight Against Inflammation and Pain
Many individuals develop chronic pain for various reasons, and being constantly on medication is not any normal person’s idea of fun, not to mention the side effects and risk of addiction. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to better manage pain, of course with the supervision and direction of a qualified physician.
While a lot more research needs to be done to explain why exactly omega-3s are able to help reduce physical pain – these oils have so few side effects (most of which are entirely harmless) that there is no reason for pain patients not to take them.
Inflammation is often, but not always, related to chronic pain. Usually individuals experience inflammation for a brief period of time following an acute injury. Sometimes, however, inflammation persists long after most of the original injury is resolved, and in these cases omega-3 could prove helpful.
The evidence that these fatty acids can help reduce inflammation is quite good5. Exactly what does omega-3 do to combat inflammation? The answer to this is not yet known.
There is no simple answer to the question, “What does omega-3 do?” Instead, there are multiple answers. Omega-3s have more positive effects on many conditions than almost any other single drug or dietary supplement. Taking a good fish oil supplement remains the easiest and quickest way of reaping these benefits.