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Fish Oil: What You Need to Know


Fish Oil and Skin Health

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­The health-promoting qualities of essential fatty acids can be good for the body's largest organ, the skin. Omega-3 fats improve the health and beauty of human skin in several ways. They improve cellular health and functioning, and help skin maintain a smooth, elastic texture. Some research has found that they prevent wrinkles and work against the aging process.

The deficiency of omega-3 in the diet of most North Americans probably contributes to skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis, as well as plain old dry skin. Without the essential fatty acids, too much moisture leaks out through the skin. In short, taking fish oil internally as a supplement may be as good as or better than applying cosmetic moisturizers [source: Healthy Oil Planet].

Again, fish oil's key mechanism appears to be the reduction of inflammation. Scaly, red skin, acne and eczema are all symptoms of inflamed tissue, so it sounds logical that these conditions may be helped by restoring the balance of fats in your system through fish oil supplementation. In fact, several European studies found fish oil to be an effective intervention against psoriasis [source: Healthy Oil Planet]. However, there are other studies that indicate fish oil supplements have no real effect on psoriasis [National Psoriasis Foundation].

In many countries, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, due to overexposure to UV radiation. UV is known to degrade the skin's immune response, allowing cancerous cells to multiply and develop into tumors. Some research done on animals suggests that fish oil supplementation can protect against immune suppression due to UV radiation, and, thus, against contracting skin cancer. In early 2009, British scientists initiated what may be the first human study to test for this effect [source: University of Manchester].

Another demonstrated benefit of fish oil is reduced blood pressure. Read on for more information.