So… What Exactly Is It?
Fish oil is a dietary supplement that you should be able to find at most of your local grocery stores or pharmacies. It comes in capsules, liquid form, and pill form, and contains a level of omega-3 fatty acids that you would typically find in fattier fish like salmon or trout.
These two omega-3 fatty acids are known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). While they may sound like something you’d say when a person sneezes, these two acids are extremely beneficial to the body when taken in appropriate amounts.
It may sound a little far-fetched to take a supplement for something found in a good salmon filet, but it has many health benefits. Fish oil supplements can help prevent – or even improve – many chronic conditions such as the following:
Reduce High Blood Pressure and Aid in Heart Health
Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in general are believed to help lower blood pressure, which can help prevent many different types of heart disease. It does this by assisting in increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, slowing the buildup of plaque in arteries, and reducing the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
Of course, taking fish oil is not the only way to help prevent or improve heart health. Being active, eating healthy, and exercising regularly also play vital roles. For your senior here at Bayshire Carlsbad’s assisted living Oceanside community, there are many opportunities to get up and get active in addition to taking fish oil supplements. Every bit can help.
Boost Brain Development and Mental Health
Your brain is made up of nearly sixty percent fat, and a lot of that fat is actually omega-3 fatty acids. So, while it may seem a little odd, making sure that you have a daily dose of these fatty acids actually assists in maintaining regular brain function and boosting brain development.
Some research as well suggests that fish oil can also assist with symptoms such as memory loss. While this isn’t proven, the chance that something so easily accessible in both supplements and your day to day food intake can assist you with something as important as brain development can only be beneficial.
Plus, fish is tasty! So why not?
Helps With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fish oil is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. So, while you should definitely not ignore inflammation if it should crop up unawares, chronic inflammation from conditions such as arthritis can actually be helped by taking fish oil supplements.
Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce joint pain, stiffness, and even maybe pain medication needs for people with rheumatoid arthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of all ages, joint pain and joint inflammation most often occurs in the more senior members of the population, when they may already be beginning to struggle more and more with mobility.
If you’re looking for a cure-all, though, this is not it. Any kind of supplements you take should always be in addition to a normal active and healthy lifestyle. On top of your morning fish oil supplements, try taking a walk on one of the many walking paths in our lovely Bayshire Carlsbad assisted living Oceanside facility. Or, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, take a walk to the ocean!
With every new kind of supplement you take, there are also potential risks involved. After all, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing,” and fish oil is no exception. Before you decide to jump in with both feet on something new, here are some of the drawbacks that you may need to consider:
A Fishy Aftertaste
The first thing that people will notice when taking fish oil supplements is – notably – the fishy taste. The omega-3 fatty acids that comprise the supplements are found in fish, and thus retain the flavor of what they were drawn from.
If you are not a fan of fish or simply can’t stomach the smell, then these supplements may not be the right fit for you.
While fish oil can help with heart health, this is one of those instances where too much of a good thing is a bad thing. The same properties fish oil has that can assist with clearing plaque may also lead to thinner blood, causing an excess of bleeding. If you’re concerned about any kind of excessive bleeding you may have when taking these supplements, be sure to consult your doctor.
As with trying anything new, there is always the possibility that you may be allergic to one or more ingredients in the fish oil supplements. Always do a test run before you start taking them in earnest. Also if you have a seafood allergy, you may want to be doubly careful when trying fish oil supplements. While fish oil does not typically contain shellfish, the concentration of the omega-3 acids may have a different affect than when dining on a normal fish filet.
Additionally, one or more of your current medications may react negatively with certain fish oil supplements, resulting in a rash. As with most vitamins, no two fish oil supplements are alike. There may be some trial and error involved to find the right fit for you.
Should I Start Taking Fish Oil Supplements?
That is entirely up to you! If your senior loved one doesn’t quite find the kind of healthy fish dish that they’re looking for here at our assisted living Oceanside facility, then it might be a good bet. If taken in moderation, fish oil can be a healthy and beneficial addition to anyone’s daily regimen, especially if you’re looking to prevent or improve many chronic illnesses.
For seniors, this could potentially be the difference between a more healthy and active lifestyle or a more sedentary one. This may be the boost you need to start feeling more empowered to go outside and get more active. If you’re interested in potentially starting fish oil supplements in your daily vitamin intake, you should talk to your doctor and see if it’s right for you.