Fish Oil: Benefits And Harms

There are so many benefits of fish oil. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits of fish oil:

ADHD (attention deficit disorder)

Many members of the medical community believe that reduced levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body may contribute to the symptoms of ADHD and related developmental problems, as well as many other mental health issues throughout life.

A 2012 study included children ages 6 to 12 with ADHD who were treated with methylphenidate and standard behavioral therapy for more than six months. Parents of these children reported no improvement in behavior or academic learning using these standard treatments. The researchers gave some of the children omega-3 and omega-6 as a placebo. They found a “statistically significant improvement” for the omega group in the following categories: aggressiveness, concentration, and academic performance.

Alzheimer’s disease

For several years, research on fish oil and Alzheimer’s disease has been studied with consistent results. Essential fatty acids, vital for brain function, and found in fish oil, can not only slow cognitive decline but also prevent brain atrophy in older adults. The study, published in the FASEB Journal, looked at the health effects of four to 17 months of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. The results further support the potential of using fish oil as a weapon to prevent the onset of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.


The European Journal of Neuroscience published a study in 2013 showing that fish oil reduces all anxiety and depressive behavioral changes induced in rats. This is an interesting study because it emphasizes the importance of fish oil supplementation during “critical periods of brain development”. That is why it is recommended to give fish oil to our children from an early age to help them reduce the development of anxiety or depression later in life.


A study published in 2013 examined omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for the prevention of prostate cancer. The researchers concluded that there is a huge amount of evidence that omega-3s have antiproliferative effects, meaning they inhibit the growth of cancer cells, in cancer cell lines, animal models, and humans. In addition, the “direct effect on cancer cells” and indirect anti-inflammatory effects help the immune system in the fight against cancer.

A scientific review in 2014 evaluated the research on omega-3 intake in relation to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, the most common cancer among women. The review showed that they can differentially inhibit breast tumor development. According to this review, there is strong evidence that omega-3s can be used as a “nutritional intervention in breast cancer treatment to improve the effectiveness of therapeutic agents”. In addition, in 2016, it was found that “very high fish consumption in early adulthood and through middle age reduces the risk of breast cancer.”

Cardiovascular diseases

Studies have also found that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are associated with improved survival rates for heart attack victims. In a study published in the medical journal Circulation, it was found that people who took high doses of fish oil every six months after the onset of a heart attack actually improved overall heart function and also reduced biomarkers of systemic inflammation.


A study published in Brain Research shows how fish oil affects people with diabetes. Scientists have shown that fish oil can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cognitive deficits because it protects hippocampal cells from being destroyed. The study also showed that fish oil may help reduce the oxidative process, which plays a central role in the development of diabetes complications such as microcirculatory disorders and atherosclerosis.

Another recent study shows that eating fatty fish may reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. The researchers tracked the seafood consumption of approximately 3,600 men and women with diabetes aged 55 to 80 for nearly five years. The researchers found that people who regularly consumed 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid in their diet (which equals two servings of oily fish per week) were 48 percent less likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) than those who consumed less.

Eye disorders

There’s even more good news when it comes to fish oil and eye health, and it’s not just for diabetics this time around. Increasing the amount of fish oil in the diet prevents the development of age-related disorders such as age-related macular degeneration.

Skin and hair

The health benefits of fish oil are very significant for the largest organ of the body, the skin. This source of vital fats improves the health and beauty of human skin in several ways. Fish oil improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which help the skin maintain a smooth, supple texture. There is also evidence that fish oil prevents wrinkles and works against aging.

A deficiency of omega 3 in the diet contributes to dandruff, hair softening, eczema, and psoriasis, as well as the appearance of age spots and freckles. Without essential fatty acids, the skin loses too much moisture.
One of the biggest reasons why fish oil leads to healthy skin is certainly that it reduces inflammation. Studies have shown that fish oil supplements can even reduce the appearance of sunburn.

Fertility and pregnancy

Recent studies have shown that consuming fish oil (or more specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) can improve fertility in both men and women. Omega-3s play a key role in sperm motility and sperm health in men.

Fish oil has also been shown to increase fertility in women by reducing inflammation, balancing hormones, and regulating their cycles. In addition, fish oil has been found to be effective in treating conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, which can cause infertility.

Fish oil is also extremely beneficial for pregnant women and their babies. Throughout pregnancy, as well as while breastfeeding, a woman’s need for omega-3s are even higher than usual. Omega-3 is a building block for the development of the fetal brain, eyes, and nervous system. Once the baby is born, omega-3 continues to be vital for a healthy brain and immune system development.

Weight loss

Australian researchers published the results of a study examining the effects of fish oil on weight loss in combination with diet and exercise in May 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The results show that the combination of fish oil supplementation and regular exercise can reduce body fat, as well as improve heart function and metabolism. Overall, adding fish oil to your current exercise program (and overall healthy lifestyle) can reduce body fat, as well as your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another study was conducted. Volunteers consumed six grams of fish oil daily for three weeks. They found that body fat mass decreased with fish oil consumption. The researchers concluded that fish oil helps to reduce total body fat and stimulates the use of fatty acids for energy production in healthy adults.

Nutritional value of fish oil in 4 grams (one spoonful):

  • 40.6 calories.
  • 4.5 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat).
  • 0 grams of sugar.
  • 0 grams of protein.
  • 14.9 international units of vitamin D (4 percent of the daily value).
  • 1084 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • 90.6 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

Fish oil or fish oil?

Fat can be fish and fish oil. Fish oil is a lower-quality product obtained from fish liver. It should be understood that harmful components accumulate in the liver in the course of fish life, so the benefits and harms of fish oil are comparable – as a result, the question arises of the advisability of taking this product.

Fish oil is obtained from fish meat, so it has the same beneficial properties but does not contain harmful substances. It is more expensive, but you can find it.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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