Humans are currently getting essential fish oil nutrient Omega 3 from the tissues of oily fish.
However, the fish itself does not produce the famous fatty acids contained in the fish oil.
Rather, they accumulate them by consuming microalgae, the original holder of omega-3’s EPA and DHA (too bad we cannot synthesize it by ourselves!).
Together with a high quantity of antioxidants, these compounds prevent the oxidative degradation of lipids that results in cell damage.
Predictably, the health effects of fish oil supplementation seem to be broad and diverse…
Supposedly fish oil can act as a sort of prevention against these medical problems:
- Cardiovascular health
- Developmental disorders
- Mental health
This all sounds fantastic, sadly however, there is poor evidence to prove the potential benefits aforementioned – the results of the clinical trials being generally inconclusive.
While the animal evidence available in regard to cognitive functioning is rather uniform (for example, it seems that fish oil significantly attenuates reactivity to mental stress in dogs, cats, and mice), the one directed to healthy humans is still controversial.
Studies that advocate for the benefits of fish oil
Schoolchildren have shown improvement in cognitive function after consuming a bread spread containing fish flour.
Also subjects with mild cognitive impairment who showed improvement in their memory function.
However, the latest studies challenge these results , arguing that potential target populations who would more likely benefit from omega-3 fatty acids would be just Alzheimer’s disease patients.
No real benefits for healthy adults without brain impairment issues.
As with any current brain supplement, ideally, further research has to be done until reaching consensus.
Strange considering how many stores stock and sell fish oil supplements.