Fish oil is a common dietary supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests they could be beneficial for health and protection from certain diseases. Additionally, there may also be specific benefits for men, as fish oil might help with erections and fertility.
People who eat lots of oily fish may get enough of these fatty acids from their diet. For those who do not, or only occasionally, eat fish, taking a fish oil supplement could ensure they get sufficient amounts.
This article explores the potential benefits of fish oil for men and the possible risks. It also suggests how people may increase their levels of omega-3.
Fish oil comes from various species of oily fish, such as mackerel, tuna, and herring. Manufacturers can use many different methods to harvest fish oil, but most techniques typically involve a four-stage process that includes cooking, pressing, filtering, and centrifuging the resultant oil.
Fish oils contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids that the body cannot make itself. Two of the most well-known types of omega-3 are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Consuming fish oils and omega-3 may bring some health benefits and help with a number of health conditions.
Fish oil may have an impact on different areas of health and be a
Sexual health and fertility
Although not widely reported, fish oil supplements may have benefits for sexual health and fertility.
It is essential to bear in mind that animal studies do not indicate the same results in humans. However, an earlier review also indicates that omega-3 could help men with erectile function.
They also had a healthier-looking profile of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. These are two key hormones that regulate sperm production.
Although the study cannot conclude that the fish oil is causing the improvement, it suggests that it may play a role.
Research suggests that individuals with depression may have
Heart disease accounts for
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and although the body needs them, if levels are too high, they can increase the risk of heart disease.
While many sources promote the potential benefits of fish oil for cardiovascular health, clinical studies do not consistently support them. For example, an analysis published in
Some evidence suggests that an adequate intake of fish oil may help protect eye health. A 2017 review notes that fish oil may play a role in the treatment of inflammatory eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye disease.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommend fish oils to reduce the symptoms of dry eye. However, some evidence suggests they have no effect. A
Before deciding to supplement their diets with fish oils, people should also consider the possible risks.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note that the link between omega-3 and different types of cancer, such as prostate, currently remains unclear.
The three primary omega-3 fatty acids are EPA, DHA, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). While the first two are present in fish oil, ALA comes from plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils.
ALA is an essential fatty acid, meaning that the body cannot make it, and it must come from a dietary source. Although the body can convert small amounts of ALA into EPA and then to DHA, the most practical way to increase these omega-3 fatty acids is from food or a nutritional supplement.
ALA is the only omega-3 that is essential, so it is the only one with a recommended adequate intake. Research suggests that males should aim for roughly 1.6 grams.
Both EPA and DHA do not have official recommended daily dosages as they are not essential nutrients. However, the British Dietetic Association suggest a daily dose of about 450 mg EPA and DHA for adults.
It can be difficult to judge the intake from nutritional supplements, as the amounts of fish oil may vary. For example, 1,000 mg of fish oil from one brand of supplement may contain less or more EPA and DHA than the same amount of oil from another brand.
People can get enough omega-3 by including the following foods in their diet:
- 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, yogurt, and soy beverages
Alternatively, people may benefit from a fish or vegetarian algae oil supplement to boost levels.
Fish oil is rich in omega-3, which is an essential nutrient. Eating a diet containing oily fish, or taking a fish oil supplement, can ensure someone has an adequate amount.
Consuming more fish oil and omega-3 may offer some health benefits for men. This may include increasing fertility and improving heart health. However, men should weigh up the benefits with a potential increased risk of prostate cancer.
Anyone who is considering taking supplements should first check with a healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe.