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Fish oil may help prevent range of diseases

January 27, 2014

Scientists have been studying the effects of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, commonly found in fish oil, for years. They learned that this compound can have a significant effect in preventing the formation of several life-threatening diseases, such as fatty liver disease, stroke and heart failure.  

Researchers at Oregon State University have been conducting trials on the effectiveness of the acid on preventing diseases and persistent health conditions, and have found that both omega-3 fatty acid supplements and fish consumption can lead to better overall health.

Liver damage
The most recent study released from the university examined the effect of DHA on the liver, specifically how the compound interacts with fatty build-ups on the organ. Researchers from OSU and several other institutions found that the acids had a prolific impact on preventing the build-up of harmful substances. Supplementation with the drug allowed for the partial or full blocking of metabolic damage caused by the overconsumption of red meat, sugar and saturated fat.

Donald Jump, researcher and professor at the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, said they were shocked to see how many organs the acid had the potential to affect.

"A lot of work has been done on fatty liver disease, and we are just beginning to explore the potential for DHA in preventing or slowing disease prevention," Jump said in a release. 

Jump emphasized that the study not only showed DHA could positively impact the liver, but it could help prevent diabetes as well.

"Our studies suggest that DHA may reduce the formation of harmful glucose metabolites linked to diabetic complications," Jump explained.

Healthy heart
In 2012, OSU conducted research that concluded omega-3 fatty acids and fish consumption could help prevent heart disease. Scientists emphasized that there existed no research on the effects of the compound in those already suffering heart complications, but its ability to prevent heart disease could not be denied. 

Jump, who was also an investigator in this study, stressed that fish oil would still deliver health benefits, but it may not be as potent as fresh fish or prescription drugs. 

To maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may be key to preventing health complications. However, researchers warn that too much of a good thing can lead to problems. While its positive effects on heart and liver health have been proven, excessive amounts of the acid can produce adverse consequences, such as inflammation and weakened immune system health. Always consult a doctor before trying a new medication.