Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Because omega-3 fatty acids are needed for children's brains to develop properly, researchers have examined whether fish oil might reduce ADHD symptoms. So far, results have been mixed. One study showed fish oil might help, but many patients dropped out of the study before it was completed.
Some studies have shown that fish oil reduces symptoms of depression. Other studies suggest it may be EPA (and not DHA) that has the positive effect on depression.
Fish oil appears to have positive effects on existing heart disease. It also may lower the risk for developing heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque, which narrows arteries and causes heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly fatty fish, at least two times a week. Fatty fish include salmon, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna. People with existing heart disease may need fish oil supplements in addition to adding more fish to their diet. Ask your doctor if fish oil supplements would be right for you.
Babies need a balance of omega-3 fatty acids for normal growth and development. Nutrition experts have issued recommendations for each type of omega-3 fatty acid in infant formulas and diets. According to these recommendations, intake of EPA for infants on formula diets should be less than 0.1%.
Several small studies indicate that fish oil may help reduce symptoms and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it does not stop joint damage from getting worse.
Fish oil appears to reduce the pain of menstrual cramps when taken on a regular basis (not just when menstruating).
Several studies show that high doses (12 g) of fish oil can reduce sensitivity of the fingers and toes to cold in Raynaud syndrome. Doses this high should be taken only under a doctor's supervision.
Two small studies suggested that fish oil reduced fatigue and joint pain from lupus.
Omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA, may also have positive effects on lung and kidney diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, anorexia nervosa, burns, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and early stages of colorectal cancer.
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