fish oil

Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and have other health benefits. The fish used as sources do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids, together with a high quantity of antioxidants such as iodide and selenium, from microalgae, where these antioxidants are able to protect the fragile polyunsaturated lipids from peroxidation. Fatty predatory fish like sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and albacore tuna may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to their position at the top of the food chain, these species may also accumulate toxic substances through biomagnification. For this reason, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends limiting consumption (especially for women of childbearing age) of certain (predatory) fish species (e.g. albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish) due to high levels of toxic contaminants such as mercury, dioxin, PCBs and chlordane. Fish oil is used as a component in aquaculture feed. More than 50 percent of the world’s fish oil used in aquaculture feed is fed to farmed salmon. Marine and freshwater fish oil vary in contents of arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA. The various species range from lean to fatty and their oil content in the tissues has been shown to vary from 0.7% to 15.5%. They also differ in their effects on organ lipids. Studies have revealed that there is no relation between total fish intake or estimated omega−3 fatty acid intake from all fish, and serum omega−3 fatty acid concentrations. Only fatty fish intake, particularly salmonid, and estimated EPA + DHA intake from fatty fish has been observed to be significantly associated with increase in serum EPA + DHA. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are thought to be beneficial in treating hypertriglyceridemia, and possibly beneficial in preventing heart disease. Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in a wide variety of other conditions, such as clinical depression, anxiety, cancer, and macular degeneration, yet benefits in these conditions have not been verified.