When I was a kid, my father insisted that, like him, I should take a tablespoon full of cod liver oil every day at suppertime. For reasons I never understood my mother did not have to take the abominable stuff.
I can't begin to describe the horrible taste of cod liver oil. It had no effects on my father, but it triggered my gag reflex something awful. In an effort to make it more palatable, my father, bless his heart, began purchasing mint flavored cod liver oil. Honest! You can still buy it.
Mint flavored cod liver oil is infinitely more disgusting than the plain stuff. Being the clever kid that I was, I figured out a way to outwit my father so that I didn't have to take it any more.
Since it always made me gag, I decided to go all the way. I began gagging and jumped up as if to run to the bathroom, but sunk to the kitchen floor on my knees and puked up the stuff. Fact: Mint flavored cod liver oil coming up in the form of puke is enough to induce more vomiting. And, since it was on the kitchen floor at suppertime, it was a disgusting scene for my parents. The bottom line was may father told me, "If it's going to make you sick, you don't have to take it any more." It was a small price to pay for success.
That was a long time ago, but I'm sure that had fish oil capsules even in those days. Fish oil is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements because it's rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are very important for your health.
For 17 science-based benefits of omega-3 fatty acids see THIS article in Helthline.
The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to eat oily fish:
If the idea of eating oily fish is rpugnant and your idea of fish is one of the more popular fish eaten in the U.S. (catfish, cod, Alaska pollock, tilapia, or if you live in my neck of the woods, Lake Erie perch) then taking a fish oil supplement could help you get enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil is the fat or oil that's extracted from fish tissue. I am not sure you want to know how it's done, but in case you do, Mike Reid tells you HERE.
Because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish provide so many health benefits, including protection against a number of diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. Besides omega-3s, fish oil usually contains some vitamin A and D.
The Western diet has replaced a lot of omega-3s with other fats so fish oil does the following:
1. May Support Heart Health
* people who eat a lot of fish have much lower rates of heart disease
* it can increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
However, it does not appear to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol
* it helps reduce blood pressure
* it may prevent the plaques that cause arteries to harden
* it may reduce fatal arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
Note: Although fish oil supplements can improve many of the risk factors for heart disease, there is no clear evidence that it can prevent heart attacks or strokes.
2. May Help Treat Certain Mental Disorders
* research suggests that fish oil supplements can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders.
* it can reduce the chances of psychotic disorders in those who are at risk
it may reduce some symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
3. May Aid Weight Loss
* some studies indicate that fish oil supplements, in combination with diet or exercise, can help you lose weight.
Note: not all studies found the same results
4. May Support Eye Health
* eye health begins to decline in old age, which can lead to age-related macular degeneration. Eating fish is linked to a reduced risk of AMD, but the results on fish oil supplements are less convincing. One study found that consuming a high dose of fish oil for 19 weeks improved vision in all AMD patients. However, this was a very small study.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
* it may help treat conditions involving chronic inflammation of joint pain, stiffness, and medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes painful joints.
6. May Support Healthy Skin
* skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis may benefit from fish oil
7. May Support Pregnancy and Early Life
* Fish oil supplements in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may improve hand-eye coordination in infants.
* it may also improve infant visual development and help reduce the risk of allergies
8. May Reduce Liver Fat
* improves liver function and inflammation
9. May Improve Symptoms of Depression
* studies show that fish oil and omega-3 supplements may improve symptoms of depression
10. May Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Children
* a number of behavioral disorders in children may improve perceived hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, and aggression in children.
11. May Help Prevent Symptoms of Mental Decline
* people who eat more fish tend to experience a slower decline in brain function in old age. However, studies on fish oil supplements in older adults haven't provided clear evidence that they can slow the decline of brain function.
12. May Improve Asthma Symptoms and Allergy Risk
* a number of studies show that fish oil may reduce asthma symptoms, especially in children.
13. May Improve Bone Health
* some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial.
Fish oil supplements come in a number of forms:
* ethyl esters (EE)
* triglycerides (TG)
* reformed triglycerides (rTG)
* free fatty acids (FFA)
* phospholipids (PL).
Your body doesn't absorb ethyl esters very well, so choose a fish oil supplement that comes in one of the other listed forms. Some countries have actually banned the sale of ethyl ester fish oil supplements. Currently, the U.S. still allows the sale of ethyl ester fish oil supplements and does not require that labels state the type of fish oil used. How do you know what type you have? You can test it as described HERE.
For the other side of the coin see this: Fish Oil Ethyl Ester vs Triglyceride – Revisited
Other dietary fats help the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids so it's best to take fish oil supplements with a meal that contains fat.