Omega 3 Supplements: Can They Keep You Looking and Feeling Younger?
Omega-3 fish oil supplements have enjoyed considerable popularity in recent years. According to recent figures, sales of Omega-3 supplements comprise a fifth of the UK’s substantial £700 million dietary supplement industry.
Omega-3s have been touted as one of the most effective supplements available on the market; offering a wide range of physical and mental benefits, to supposedly help us feel better and look better too. But what are the facts about this ‘miracle’ product?
The Benefits of Omega 3 Supplements
In remote fishing communities, such as that of the Inuit people, fish oil has been an integral part of their diet for centuries. However, it’s only in recent years that scientists have become interested in the perceived health benefits of a diet rich in fish oil.
In the 1960s, scientists studying the Inuit people noticed that, despite their diet being so high in fat, they were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. Research seemed to indicate that this was due to regular consumption of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, which helps protect the heart.
Further research proved that these Omega-3 oils helped to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise ‘good’ cholesterol in the body, and also make the blood less likely to clot, improving blood flow.
Additional Health Benefits?
In addition to this, it’s also thought that Omega-3 supplements may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, help to reduce symptoms associated with inflamed bowels and prevent the onset of dementia.
It’s also thought to improve the condition of skin and hair, helping to make you appear younger. According to a study conducted at the University of California and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Omega-3’s can also help combat cellular aging, particularly in ‘patients with coronary disease.’
The study concluded that this ‘raises the very real possibility that an abundance of omega-3s in the diet could offer protection from cellular aging for all people – whether they have heart disease or not.’
However, other research has emerged, indicating that Omega-3 supplements may actually be detrimental to your health. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle discovered links between taking Omega-3 supplements and increased risk of prostate cancer, leading them to conclude that: ‘There really is no evidence that taking dietary supplements is beneficial to health, and there is increasing evidence that taking high doses is harmful.’
In addition to this, a study carried out by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore found no correlation between use of Omega-3 supplements and prevention of dementia.
Should You Take Them or Not?
At present, there is no definitive research available that concludes whether Omega-3 supplements are beneficial to helping you look and feel younger and healthier, or actively detrimental. However, scientists do seem to unanimously agree that eating Omega-3 fatty acids in their natural state, for example, in oily fish, do offer health benefits.
It’s currently recommended that you eat oily fish, such as salmon, no more than once or twice a week.