It is a staple in most medicine cabinets and chances are that when you were a child, your parents might have offered or even insisted that you take one, but besides their curiously shiny appeal, cod liver oil pills were never nice to take. And was it actually good for your health?
Well, according to a new research, the answer is in the affirmative, as it has been noted that consuming fish oils actually prolongs your life. According to a research conducted by the University of Aberdeen, the combination of light exercise, and the consumption of oily fish fatty acids, staves off elderly immobility.
The main benefit of consuming fish oils is the presence of omega-3. A research has already shown that the women above the age of 65 who have an omega-3-rich diet can actually increase their muscle strength almost twice. Omega-3 has also been linked to reducing coronary heart disease and may also keep muscle deterioration at bay.
Known as Sarcopenia, the process of muscle deterioration kicks off the minute you are born, decreasing by around 0.5-2% per year. Of course, in the elderly, this is even more pronounced, but in the present study, it was seen that a diet of oily fish, such as mackerel and sardines, which contained high levels of omega-3 actually helped to lessen the effects of sarcopenia.
Initial studies done by the Aberdeen team showed that there was a lower level of lean mass loss in mice that were given fish oil supplements than in those that had a normal diet. This study was then repeated with 14 women over the age of 65 and in which they were put on a 12-week exercise routine with half of the sample being put on omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, while the others were put on an olive oil placebo.
The results showed that those on the omega-3 diet had a 20 percent increase in their muscle mass, while those on the olive oil placebo had only half of that, at 11 percent.
Of course, the study did caution that not all fish oil supplements contain the right amount of omega-3 and that those interested should take supplements which had the highest EPA and DHA levels. The researchers also added that a follow up study was to be conducted to see the effects in both men and women.