Fish oil has been tested in humans and animals and the results have been varied. The most common use of fish oil is as a treatment of hypertriglyceridemia by lowering triglyceride levels in the body. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates in your bloodstream and stores excess calories for later use. High triglyceride levels mean that your heart may be unhealthy. Regular ingestion of the combination of docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic fatty acids in fish oil has been associated with lower levels of triglycerides. Although the effects of fish oil are still being tested, it has been known to help people with the following conditions:
- Secondary cardiovascular disease (such as heart attacks) or high blood pressure. Combined with heart medication, fish oil seems to lower mortality rates in people with heart conditions.
- Heart and kidney transplant. People taking cyclosporine to help prevent transplant rejection reported less high blood pressure and better kidney function when given fish oil supplements.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Combined with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, fish oil is thought to reduce joint stiffness and tenderness.
- Atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries”,
- Cardiac arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms. Fish oil is believed to help regulate heartbeat, which can prevent conditions such as heart attacks.
- Colon cancer. Fish oil intake has been linked with reduced growth of cancer cells in the body, although its overall effects are unknown.
- Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation. Research is being done on how fish oil may benefit women with painful menstruation.
As the effects of fish oil on the body are still being tested, it may be used to treat other conditions. Ask your doctor about other possible benefits of fish oil.