Fish Oil: Facts and Health Benefits

Fish oil is the oil extracted from the tissues and fats of oily fish. It is considered one of the healthiest oil because it contains a good amount of essential fatty acids.

Fish Oils
Fish oils

The human body can not produce fatty acids because we lack the enzyme required for making fatty acids. So it needs to be supplied to our body, and fish oils are one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids. (1)

The most critical factor for extracting high-quality crude fish oil is the condition of raw materials at the beginning of the processing. (2) It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). (3)

The oil also contains vitamins like D, E, K, folate, choline, and other minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. They are high in protein and calories. These nutritional components and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil benefit our health.

It reduces inflammation, balances cholesterol levels in the blood, and keeps the heart healthy. (3)

Fish oil is extracted from fish high in fats like menhaden, salmon, sardine, herring, bearded seal, spotted seal, cod, and white whale.

Cod, haddock, and plaice were well-known as the diet of coastal areas, while salmon and trout were taken as a healthy diet in many island areas. (2)

It is packed in a capsule and swallowed with water. It is added to salads as dressing. The flavor of fish oil is rancid and fishy. Fish oil is suggested not to use as cooking oil as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. (4) 

Types of Fish Oil With High Fatty Acids

Fish oil is high in essential fatty acids, which are beneficial for human health. This post further discusses types of fish, and the amount of DHA and EPA present (5,6)

Name of FishDHAEPA
Salmon oil18.2 g13 g
Bearded seal oil12.4 g9.71 g
Cod liver oil11 g6.9 g
Sardine fish oil10.7 g10.1 g
Menhaden oil8.56 g13.2 g
Spotted seal oil6.52 g3.93
Herring oil4.216.27 g
Beluga whale oil3.942.8 g
Caviar3.8 g2.74 g
Mackerel fish2.96 g1.62 g

Human bodies don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources; that’s why fish and fish oil are supplied. EPA and DHA are necessary for the proper growth of fetal and also boost neuronal, retinal, and immune function. (7)

Health Benefits

Fish oil is high in essential fatty acids and has several health benefits. Oil extracted from the fish mentioned above helps reduce inflammation, balance cholesterol levels, and benefit our heart health. This post further discusses the health benefits of the oil for human health.

  1. Can maintain heart health: Fish oil, high in omega-3 fatty acids, lowers the triglyceride level and increases the high-density lipoprotein, which balances the cholesterol level in the blood. Balance in cholesterol levels protects the heart by decreasing the abnormal rhythm of the heart and protects the heart from stroke and heart attack. (8)
  1. Can support eye health: DHA and EPA as omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil benefits eye health. Consumption of fish oil reduces age-related macular degeneration (blurry vision) and eye dryness. This oil also improves vision and is beneficial for the ophthalmic patient. (9)
  1. Can help reduce inflammation: In fish oil, EPA and DHA produce resolvins (pro-resolving mediators) and cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes. Resolvins and the enzymes in the pathway control inflammation and reduce the risk of tissue damage, which can lead to cancer. (10)                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Can balance blood pressure: The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduces the blood’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and balances the cholesterol level. Balanced or lower cholesterol level promotes the rhythm of the heart and the balanced flow of blood. A controlled blood flow from the heart supports balanced blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular risks. (11)
  1. Can maintain mental health: Lower intake of omega-3 fatty acid directly impacts brain health by increasing the risk of anxiety and depression. DHA and EPA present in these oils play an important role in developing the retina and brain. Fish oil can prevent psychiatric issues and ischemic stroke (clotting of blood in arteries leading to the brain) and accelerates the progress of dementia. It can also improve memory and maintain mental health. (12)

DHA and EPA are beneficial for our overall health. Despite all these benefits, they still have some health risks. The fishy after-taste of this oil can cause nausea and bloating in some people. Allergic reactions like itchiness, swelling, and dizziness can also be seen. Pregnant females and the ones with bleeding issues are suggested to consult their doctor about the dosage of DHA and EPA before consumption. (13)

  1. Das, Suchismita & Paul, Baidya & Sengupta, J. & Datta, A.. (2009). Beneficial effects of Fish oil to Human Health- A review. Agricultural Reviews. 
  2. Moffat, Colin & McGill, Alister. (1993). Variability of the composition of fish oils. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 52. 441-56. 10.1079/PNS19930085. 
  3. Balwan, Wahied & Saba, Neelam. (2021). Study of Role of Fish Oil in Human Health. 10.36348/gajms.2021.v03i01.002.  
  4. Panoff L. 4 healthy cooking oils (and 4 to avoid) [Internet]. Healthline. Healthline Media; 2021 [cited 2023Feb19]. Available from: 
  5. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2023Feb19]. Available from: 
  6. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2023Feb19]. Available from: 
  7. Swanson, Danielle & Block, Robert & Mousa, Shaker. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: Health benefits throughout life. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 3. 1-7. 10.3945/an.111.000893. 
  8. Chaddha A, Eagle KA. Omega-3 fatty acids and heart health. Circulation. 2015;132(22).  
  9. Zhang AC, Singh S, Craig JP, Downie LE. Omega-3 fatty acids and eye health: Opinions and self-reported practice behaviors of optometrists in Australia and New Zealand. Nutrients. 2020;12(4):1179.  
  10. Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):355–74.  
  11. George M, Gupta A. Blood pressure–lowering effects of omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Are these the missing link to explain the relationship between omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular disease? Journal of the American Heart Association. 2022;11(11).  
  12. Schacky, Clemens. (2021). Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function. Nutrients. 13. 1074. 10.3390/nu13041074. 
  13. Omega-3 fish oil supplements: Benefits, side effects, and uses [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; [cited 2023Feb19]. Available from: 

Diksha Koirala

Diksha Koirala is a recent graduate student in Food Technology. During her study, she developed an interest in the science behind the food used in industries for further product development. Through her writing, she hopes to educate others to create products that not only taste good but also promote a healthy lifestyle.

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