Why would anyone suggest that you take fish oil for skin health?
There are actually several reasons. Let’s take a look at them.
Fish oil is basically fat, but it has a high concentration of good fats, known as omega3 fatty acids. Whereas other dietary fats can cause inflammation, omega3s modulate or lessen inflammatory responses. Inflammation plays a role in acne, psoriasis, eczema and cellular aging.
If it becomes chronic, it can eventually damage the elastic fibers responsible for the skin’s strength and firmness. In other words, inflammation makes you look older. In one study, researchers found that after three months of supplementation, volunteers had a 10% improvement in the skin’s firmness. Improved firmness means fewer wrinkles.
The better supplements provide natural vitamin E, as well. Vitamin E is important to the skin’s health. Low levels in the bloodstream are associated with acne. The antioxidant activity of vitamin E and the omega3 fatty acids fight another cause of cellular aging. That cause is free radical damage. That means that the fish oil skin benefits include a reduction of aging caused by overexposure to the sunlight.
When you go out in the sun, UV radiation causes increased production and activity of free radicals. If there are not enough antioxidants present in the skin’s cells, the radical molecules will eventually damage membranes and fibers. That leads to wrinkling, sagging and the other signs of age.
Now, suppose you just have a problem with dryness or itching. Those are common problems, particularly during cold winter months. The skin’s natural moisturizer is produced by the sebaceous glands. It is called sebum. Sebum is primarily composed of fat. One of the first symptoms of fatty acid deficiency is excessive dryness, flaking and itching skin.
So, replenishing the skin’s moisture content is one of the benefits of taking fish oil for skin, but not all of the supplements on the market will provide the same amount of benefits. Some oils have more anti-inflammatory activity than others. Some supplements do not contain vitamin E. In some cases, there is a very low concentration of omega3 fatty acids. Low DHA content is another issue.
Contamination is a problem with many supplements. Manufacturers are not required to test each batch for purity or freshness. Most of them don’t.
The contaminants that may be present include mercury, lead and cancer-causing chemicals. The fish oil skin health benefits are great, but we are exposed to enough contaminants on a daily basis. We don’t want them in our dietary supplements.
Many people complain because they experience fishy tasting burps after taking a supplement. The cause of that is oxidation. If the oils are not handled properly, a high degree of oxidation (spoilage) can occur.
The manufacturer should guarantee freshness and purity. They should promise that there will be no fishy tasting burps. If they don’t, just choose another brand.
There are some excellent supplements on the market; it just takes a little research to find them.
Once you do, you can take fish oil for skin and enjoy the many other benefits, as well. That’s what I do.