People who consume a lot of oily fish may get enough of these fatty acids. Those who do not or only occasionally eat fish may benefit from taking a fish oil supplement to ensure adequate intake.
This article investigates the potential benefits and risks of fish oil for men. It also suggests ways for people to increase their omega-3 levels.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is derived from various oily fish species, including mackerel, tuna, and herring. Manufacturers can harvest fish oil in various ways, but most techniques involve a four-stage process that includes cooking, pressing, filtering, and centrifuging the resulting oil.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in fish oils. These are essential fatty acids, which the body cannot produce. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two of the most well-known omega-3 fatty acids (DHA).
Consuming fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids may provide some health benefits and aid in treating various medical conditions.
Fish Oil Benefits for Men
1. Sexual Health and Fertility
A 2017 animal study looked at omega-3 fatty acids and erectile dysfunction caused by atherosclerosis. The blood vessels narrow in this condition, which can interfere with erections. The rats in the omega-3 fatty acid treatment group had significantly better erection quality.
It is critical to remember that animal studies do not yield the same results in humans. However, an earlier study found that omega-3 could help men with erectile dysfunction.
A 2020 study of 1,694 young male participants found that those who used fish oil supplements had larger testes and higher semen volume and quality.
They also had a better-looking follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone profile. These are two important hormones that control sperm production.
2. Mental Health
According to research, people who suffer from depression may have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In a small study of 23 people published in Psychiatry Research, omega-3 supplementation helped improve depression symptoms within 3 weeks.
Depression and memory problems have been linked. Some adult groups may benefit from DHA supplementation alone or in combination with EPA.
While research indicates that omega-3 supplementation may help prevent cognitive decline, particularly in older adults, a 2019 review notes that more research is needed.
3. Heart Health
Every year, heart disease kills one in every four people in the United States. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Eating fish may benefit heart health by lowering some risk factors for heart disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and while the body requires them, high levels can increase the risk of heart disease.
Fish oil may aid in the reduction of high triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Eating fish may also help to significantly lower LDL cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol.
4. Eye Health
Some evidence suggests that getting enough fish oil may help protect your eyes. According to a 2017 review, fish oil may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye disease.
According to a 2019 study, people who eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish on a regular basis are less likely to develop AMD than those who do not.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends fish oils to alleviate dry eye symptoms. However, some evidence suggests that they are ineffective. A 2018 study found no evidence that taking fish oil supplements was more beneficial than a placebo for dry eyes.
Optometrists may advise patients to take omega-3 supplements or increase their dietary fish consumption to improve eye health, even though some scientific evidence suggests that fish oils are ineffective for this purpose.
5. Healthy Skin
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, containing many omega-3 fatty acids.
Skin health can decline throughout your life, especially during old age or after too much sun exposure.
That said, fish oil supplements may be beneficial in a number of skin disorders, including psoriasis and dermatitis.
How to Increase Your Omega-3 Level
EPA, DHA, and alpha-linolenic acid are the three primary omega-3 fatty acids (ALA). While the first two are found in fish oil, ALA is found in plant oils like flaxseed, soybean, and canola.
ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means it cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet. Although the body can convert small amounts of ALA into EPA and then DHA, the most practical way to get more omega-3 fatty acids is through food or a nutritional supplement.
Because ALA is the only essential omega-3, it is the only one with a recommended adequate intake. According to research, males should aim for 1.6 grammes.
Because EPA and DHA are not essential nutrients, there are no official daily dosages. The British Dietetic Association, on the other hand, recommends a daily dose of about 450 mg EPA and DHA for adults.
Because the amounts of fish oil vary, judging the intake from nutritional supplements can be difficult. For example, 1,000 mg of fish oil from one supplement brand may have less or more EPA and DHA than the same amount of oil from another.
People can get enough omega-3 fatty acids by eating the following foods:
- fish and seafood, especially sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring
- nuts and seeds such as chia seeds and walnuts
- plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil
- fortified foods such as some types of eggs, yoghurt, and soy beverages
To boost levels, people may benefit from a fish or vegetarian algae oil supplement. Some research suggests that taking a fish oil supplement with a fat-containing meal may aid absorption.
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients. Eating oily fish in your diet or taking a fish oil supplement can help ensure you get enough.
Consuming more fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids may provide some health benefits for men. This could include improving heart health and increase fertility. Men, on the other hand, should weigh the benefits against the increased risk of prostate cancer.
Anyone considering taking supplements should consult with a healthcare provider first to ensure that they are safe.
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Mohammad Javad Zibaeenezhad, December 2017; Comparison of the effect of omega-3 supplements and fresh fish on lipid profile: a randomized, open-labeled trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5865539/
Walter Alexander, September 2013; Prostate Cancer Risk And Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake From Fish Oil - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828934/
Theingi Aung, March 2018; Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease Risks -https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2670752
Jeimmy Rocío Bonilla-Méndez, Methods of extraction, refining and concentration of fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids - http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/ccta/v19n3/0122-8706-ccta-19-03-645.pdf
Maria Alessandra Gammone, December 2019; Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357022/
Kevin C Maki, March 2019; Strategies to improve bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids from ethyl ester concentrates - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30550388/
Amelia Martí Del Moral, August 2019; Omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive decline: a systematic review - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31215788/