What Is Fish Oil & Why Do We Need It?

Fish oil is oil from fish, quite simple!

Fish oil is taken as a supplement due to its rich concentration of omega 3 fats, which are otherwise found in low amounts in most diets. Omega 3’s from fish oil are rich in two types of fatty acids:

eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The fatty acids EPA and DHA are involved in regulating various biological processes such as the inflammatory response, various metabolic signaling pathways, and brain function. They can be synthesized in the body from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but in small amounts for most people.

EPA and DHA fats are important in the body for many different reasons, including:

Managing inflammation

Providing structure to the eyes, brain, and nervous system

Keeping cell membranes healthy, which allows cells to behave and communicate properly

Improved blood triglycerides

Reduced blood pressure

It improves mood in people with major depression

Fish oils can be sourced from different fish or a combination of fish. Common sources include:

sardine, mackerel, anchovy, herring, and salmon. Sometimes fish oil is derived from fish livers, such as cod liver oil or halibut liver oil. Fish oil can also be sourced from a variety of other sea life, such as fish roe, krill, shark, tuna, and squid.

Smaller fish like sardine, mackerel, and anchovy are often preferred sources for fish oil because they are more environmentally sustainable and are lower on the food chain, and therefore are less likely to accumulate environmental toxins such as heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins.

Fish oil is an oily liquid that, depending on the source, can be colorless or have a subtle yellow tinge. Fresh fish oil generally smells and tastes only slightly fishy.

If fish oil smells or tastes strong, it is usually because of excess oxidation, meaning it has gone rancid.