While fish oil is best known for protecting heart health by helping quell the inflammation that drives cardiovascular disease, at the Amen Clinics we have been using fish oil for it’s amazing brain benefits for years! Now there is new research reveals that it may also rev up the immune system, according to a new study published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
Researchers at Michigan State University report that fish oil high in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) appears to increase activity of certain antibodies, as well as B cells, a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in immunity. This discovery suggests that fish oil may have particular benefits for people with weak immune systems.
While the study was in mice, several previous human studies have identified other intriguing benefits of fish oil, including these:
- An aid to weight loss. A recent study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that combining daily fish oil supplements and regular exercise resulted in greater loss of body fat in overweight volunteers than exercise alone.
- Reduces high triglycerides. Elevated levels of these blood fats are linked to both heart disease and diabetes. Research shows that fish oil supplements can cut levels by 20 percent–an effect comparable to medication. In fact, a fish oil supplement called Lovaza has been FDA-approved as a treatment for high triglycerides.
- Arthritis relief. Fish oil has been shown to reduce morning stiffness–and need for pain medication–in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduced risk for vision loss. People who eat fish at least once a week have lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults.
- Decreased cancer risk. Scientists from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studied more than 35,000 postmenopausal women, and reported that those who took fish oil supplements regularly had a 32 percent lower risk for breast cancer. Other studies link omega-3 supplements to lower rates of cancers of the prostate, colon, and uterus.