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Is Fish Oil As Beneficial as Exercise for Certain People?

Is Fish Oil As Beneficial as Exercise for Certain People?

Say what? Fish oil can save me the trouble of exercising, freeing up more time to lounge on the couch while binging on my favourite TV programmes? Not so fast.

Being passionate advocates of health and wellbeing, we will never endorse any routine that fails to encompass exercise. Our bodies were designed to move – that’s non-negotiable.

That said, a fascinating new study has shed light on the benefits of one type of fish oil; benefits that could be very similar to those engendered by aerobic exercise.

When you consider the other myriad benefits of omega-3, the question isn’t why you should you take supplemental fish oil; it’s why wouldn’t you? Read on to learn more about the study…

What the 2020 Fish Oil Study Involved

The study in question was just published in the British Journal of Nutrition, a peer-reviewed publication that encompasses the entire spectrum of nutritional science.

Conducted by researchers from both Bournemouth University and the University of Roehampton, it sought to measure the efficacy of supplementation on parameters such as mobility and cognitive function in elderly females.

The paper opened by acknowledging the “evidence suggesting positive interactions between exercise and omega-3 fatty acids on physical and cognitive function in older 30 adults.”

The study involved three subject groups, each composed of females aged 60 and over:

• One took a high DHA (1,000mg) multi-nutrient supplement coupled with exercise

• One took a placebo supplement coupled with exercise

• The third group took both a high DHA multi-nutrient supplement and a placebo.

You might wonder what other ingredients the multi-nutrient supplement contained. While DHA was the primary component, the capsules also contained 160mg EPA, 20 µg vitamin B12, 245mg folic acid, 124mg phosphatidylserine (PS), 240mg ginkgo biloba standardised leaf extract, and 20mg vitamin E.

The exercise intervention, incidentally, consisted of two weekly group sessions on a Spinner Fit stationary bike, overseen by a qualified trainer. The study ran for 24 weeks.

RelatedDHA Supplement Benefits – Why Use a High DHA Fish Oil?

Fish Oil Effects on Brain Function & Memory

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that the multi-nutrient supplement in question produced similar beneficial effects on brain function, as exercise.

According to lead researcher Dr Simon Dyall, a lecturer in Clinical Neuroscience at Roehampton, “Supplementation may be able to mitigate some of the effects of low physical activity on decline in cognitive function in the elderly.”

The main areas researchers looked at were verbal memory (the ability to recall information) and executive function (the processing of information and subsequent planning), considered two crucial measures of cognitive health.

The take-home? Older people, particularly women, should consider fish oil supplementation, especially if they are unable to exercise regularly.

If exercise isn’t a problem, it might be wise to add fish oil to your routine anyway – particularly given the outcomes of the 2019 Harvard study.

That particular study encompassed a population of over 120,000 adults in 13 randomised trials worldwide, and found that people who took over 840mg of omega-3 fish oil per day enjoyed an 8% reduced risk of heart attack and death from coronary heart disease.

Cognitive Benefits Extend to Youngsters

While the Bournemouth/Roehampton study looked specifically at seniors, considerable research supports the idea that omega-3 can nurture the cognitive health of youngsters.

A recent review of the scientific literature, published in the journal Nutrients, indicated that “a dosage >450mg DHA + EPA per day does lead to improved cognition in typically developing children and adolescents.”

The researchers cautioned that for such a benefit to manifest, the individual’s omega-3 levels, as measured by the Omega-3 Index (O3I), must rise by at least 6%.

33 studies were considered when producing the review.

RelatedOmega-3 Fish Oils Could Boost Children’s Brainpower


When studies like this come across our radar, it really validates our faith in the power of nutrition to enhance health.

If there were a league table of healthy nutrients, there’s no doubt omega-3 would figure highly. In fact, it’s a big part of what makes the Mediterranean diet one of the best in the world.

It’s also a big part of the reason why Japan is famed for its longevity. On average, Japanese people eat around three ounces of fish daily, meaning they enjoy excellent heart health in the main. Indeed, Japan has the lowest coronary heart disease mortality rate in the entire world.

If you’re looking to add a daily fish oil to your diet, give UnoCardio 1000 a try. Independently validated as the world’s best-quality fish oil by independent laboratory Labdoor (for five years running, no less), it’s a highly pure blend of EPA and DHA, sourced sustainably from non-endangered, small-species fish. Third-party tested for quality, it also contains added vitamin D.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.