Today fish oil has become a popular dietary supplement for its many health benefits. Some nutritionists and doctors recommend including a daily fish oil supplement as it often helps boost the immune system. The oil also helps improve cardiovascular health.
Many people do not realize that fish oil can also be beneficial to oral health. A diet rich in omega-3 could keep your gums healthy and teeth strong.
It is important to note that fish oil is a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Our body needs omega-3 fatty acids for several metabolic activities, from cell growth to muscle activity. We, humans, derive omega 3 fatty acids from food.
Here we talk about the benefits of a fish oil supplement for a healthy mouth.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is typically extracted from oily fish like sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel. The nutritional value of this oil lies in its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Do you know fishes themselves do not actually produce the fatty acids in the fish? Instead, they accumulate in the bodies of these fishes through the consumption of microalgae and plankton. Similarly, humans cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids either. Hence the only option is to acquire them from our daily diet. You can only acquire it from the fish that eat these microalgae that contain EPA and DHA.
You can consume fish oil as they are usually available in liquids, capsule, or tablet form. Moreover, it is best consumed along with food items to minimize all kinds of digestive side effects.
Your diet should be rich in fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, herring, and sardines. These fishes are an excellent source of DHA and EPA omega-3s. But many people find fish oil supplements to be a convenient option to meet their daily recommended dose.
Why Consume Fish Oil?
To your knowledge, this oil is the fat or oil extracted from fish tissue. The oil comes from oily fishes such as herring, anchovies, tuna, and mackerel. Yet the oil is at times produced from the livers of other fish, as could be the case with cod liver oil.
The World Health Organization or WHO recommends that you should eat 1 to 2 portions of fish every week. It is because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish often provide many health benefits. The oil is beneficial in protecting against other diseases.
For people like you who do not eat 1 or 2 servings of fish every week, fish oil supplements might be a good option as they can help you get enough omega-3s.
You need to know that around 30 percent of fish oil comprises omega-3s. Whereas the remaining 70 percent make up other types of fats. Interestingly, the oil is a rich source of vitamin D and A.
These types of omega-3s found in fish oil have greater health benefits than the omega-3s usually derived from plant sources.
The main omega-3s found in this oil are DHA and EPA, while the omega-3 in plant sources is mainly ALA or alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is an essential fatty acid. Whereas experts say, EPA and DHA have more health benefits.
It is important to get enough omega-3s in your regular diet. Over the years, the Western diet has replaced a lot of omega-3s with other fats like omega-6s. This change in the ratio of fatty acids may contribute to numerous other severe diseases.
How Does Fish Oil Improve Oral Health?
EPA and DHA have many potential health benefits, including balancing LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. They can also boost your immune system, reverse macular degeneration, and treat AIDS. However, many of the claims regarding the curative properties of this oil have not been proven in clinical trials. In addition, the oil has strong evidence of its anti-inflammatory effects on the human body.
You should know that periodontitis, chronic inflammation of the gums, could be harmful to your gums. The condition may cause your teeth to deteriorate and the gums to recede. In the end, exposing deep pockets of tissue in which harmful bacteria thrive. The consequences could be wrong as it may cause severe infections and tooth loss.
Research has confirmed a strong link between the increased consumption of omega-3s and a reduction in periodontal disease. Interestingly, omega 3 can help reduce the inflammation of the gums. It is a condition that affects up to half of the population. Hence the implications of reducing it through a dietary supplement are huge.
A 2014 Harvard study confirmed that when dietary DHA supplements were paired with low doses of aspirin could significantly reduce gum disease. These supplements could reduce substantially in-depth pockets in the gums of people with periodontitis. The supplement may also help improve the support of the teeth and lessen the chances of gum infection.
Whether you suffer from gum disease, adding a fish oil supplement to your diet might be a simple way to meet the recommended intake of EPA and DHA omega-3s. The benefits to your teeth and gums can directly improve your oral health. It can also prevent the development of periodontal disease.
Other Health Benefits of Fish Oil
1. Fish Oil Supports Heart Health
Today heart disease has become one of the leading causes of death all over the world. Studies show that people who eat a lot of fish may have much lower rates of heart disease.
Multiple risk factors for heart disease may diminish by consuming fish oil or natural fish. There are several benefits of fish oil which include:
- Cholesterol levels: The supplement can help increase your “good” HDL cholesterol levels. But it is important to note that it does not reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
- Blood pressure: If used in small doses, the oil helps reduce blood pressure in people with high pressure.
- Triglycerides: It can lower problems by about 15 – 30 percent.
- Plaque: It may prevent the plaques that often cause your arteries to harden. In addition, it can make arterial plaques more stable and safer in individuals who already have them.
- Fatal arrhythmias: In those at risk, it might reduce fatal arrhythmia events. These are abnormal heart rhythms in such people that may cause heart attacks in some instances.
It is indeed true that these supplements help improve many of the risk factors for heart disease. However, no clear evidence confirms that the supplement can prevent heart attacks and strokes.
3. Fish Oil Aids Weight Loss
As you might be knowing, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) which is greater than 30. About 39 percent of adults today are overweight, while 13 percent are obese globally. These weight gain figures are alarming.
These stats are higher in countries having high incomes like the US. Remember that obesity also increases your risk of other diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Fish oil supplements might improve body composition for heart disease people, especially if they are obese. Moreover, some studies indicate that these supplements if accompanied with the proper diet or exercise could help weight loss.
However, 2021 studies confirmed that fish oil supplements did not reduce weight in obese people. Instead, it reduced the waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio in such people.
4. Fish Oil Supports Eye Health
Do you know that your eyes rely too much on omega 3 fats like your brain? Evidence proves that people who do not get enough omega-3s may have a greater risk of eye diseases.
As you are aware, eye health begins to decline when you grow older. It finally leads to age-related macular degeneration or AMD. But eating fish is closely linked to a reduced risk of AMD. However, the results of taking fish oil supplements are less convincing. Though severe studies have been carried out, the results are still unclear.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
You might be aware that inflammation is your immune system’s way to fight infection and treat injuries. However, chronic inflammation could be linked to serious illnesses such as obesity, depression, diabetes, heart disease, etc. You can treat most of the symptoms of these diseases by reducing inflammation.
Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Hence it can help treat chronic inflammation conditions. For example, in stressed and obese people, fish oil can reduce the production and gene expression of inflammatory molecules commonly known as cytokines.
Furthermore, fish oil supplements are beneficial as they reduce joint pain and stiffness. Taking the supplement fulfills medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which often cause painful joints.
Do you know that IBD or inflammatory bowel disease is also triggered by inflammation? But no evidence suggests whether fish oil can improve its symptoms.
6. Fish Oil Supports Healthy Skin
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Your skin contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. Skin health will decline throughout your life, especially during old age or after too much sun exposure.
In such a scenario, fish oil supplements may be beneficial for several skin disorders, including dermatitis and psoriasis. The oil can help reduce signs of aging. Taking these supplements may help maintain healthy skin.
The Bottom Line
Fish oil rich in omega-3s often contributes to the average eye and brain development. They may help fight inflammation, prevent heart disease, and decline in brain function. As the oil from fishes contain a lot of omega-3s, those people at risk of these disorders may benefit from taking it.
However, eating healthy, whole foods is always preferred over taking supplements. Eating two portions of oily fish every week can provide you with much-needed omega-3s required for your body.
Fish is as effective as its oil at preventing many diseases. But fish oil supplements are an excellent alternative if you do not get or eat fish.