Concentrated fish oil is a supplement, generally available in pill form, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Such fats, as found in these supplements, have several possible health benefits, particularly on the circulatory system and the nervous system. It is believed that cognitive function may also be improved by taking concentrated fish oil. Negative effects associated with these supplements include the possibility of its containing mercury, an element that may be harmful to health. Standard unconcentrated fish oil, however, may pose more of a risk of containing mercury, and may additionally have less of a chance of improving health.
Most of the benefits associated with the consumption of concentrated fish oil are due to its amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the two main types of omega-3 fats. Both aid in lowering cholesterol, reducing unnecessary blood clotting, and fighting against both heart attacks and strokes.
Scientific studies have confirmed the benefit of maintaining a diet rich in such fats on the circulatory system, cardiovascular system, and even on brain health. Taking concentrated fish oil, as a means of obtaining such fats, may also aid in relieving aches and pains typical of arthritis, inflammation, and joint stiffness. Cosmetic benefits have also been associated with taking foods or supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as enhancing both the appearance and texture of skin, hair, and nails.
Those who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also benefit from taking concentrated fish oil. This disorder is associated with insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Such fats are necessary both for the development of the nervous system and for brain cell repair.
There are some possible negative effects associated with taking fish oil. As cold water fish are susceptible to mercury pollution, there is a chance that the element may be present in fish oil supplements. Mercury may be detrimental to the nervous system, circulatory system, and to heart function. Some studies also suggest that mercury may also have a carcinogenic effect.
Risks factors associated with fish oil supplements, however, are generally perceived as lower when such oil is concentrated through molecular distillation. This processing of concentrated fish oil removes most mercury and other potential contaminants. Some sources state that standard unconcentrated fish oil has little to no health benefit, as the levels of omega-3 fatty acids could be too little to have much effect.