Salmon oil benefits for skin, hair, brain health, and more

Salmon oil supplements contain a concentrated form of the oil from salmon. They are rich

Salmon oil supplements contain a concentrated form of the oil from salmon. They are rich in healthy fats that have numerous health benefits.

Fish oils, such as salmon oil, may benefit the skin, hair, brain, and general health, largely due to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids.

This article reviews the many benefits of taking salmon oil supplements, plus a few things to consider.

Salmon oil and salmon oil supplements may provide several important health benefits.

Rich in omega-3s

The potential health benefits of salmon oil mainly come from its rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Scientists consider these to be healthy fats and believe they may benefit overall health.

These types of fats come from the diet, largely from seafood.

Taking salmon oil supplements may be a helpful way for those who do not eat much seafood to get these healthy fats. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may have a number of benefits.

Anti-inflammatory

Excessive inflammation is a marker of a number of chronic diseases and may increase the risk of many diseases over time.

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body.

A study posted to Biochemical Society Transactions notes that there are a few different actions of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. They appear to block markers of inflammation and disrupt signaling centers in the cells. These combined effects may help reduce inflammation in the body.

In human trials, omega-3 fatty acids taken orally helped reduce markers of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.

May improve heart health

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help improve markers of overall heart health, though research has found conflicting evidence on this.

It may also help some people manage blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The American Heart Association recommends eating a heart-healthy diet that includes two servings of fish per week, such as salmon. Fish is a rich source of protein that includes omega-3s. It is low in saturated fats compared with red meats.

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements notes that regular omega-3 fatty acid intake lowers blood triglyceride levels, and that the more a person consumes, the lower their blood triglycerides. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower blood pressure.

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids may also improve overall heart health by reducing the risk of major events of heart disease, such as stroke or heart attack.

Omega-3 fatty acids themselves may also reduce the risk of heart disease in certain situations.

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements notes that consuming sources of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of death and other risks of cardiovascular disease. The evidence is strongest for fish and fish oil supplements.

Some animal studies have also found that omega-3 fatty acids help ensure a normal heart rate and sufficient blood flow to the heart.

That said, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that taking omega-3 supplements does not reduce the risk of heart disease.

Instead, it says that people who regularly consume foods, rather than supplements, that contain omega-3s are less likely to die of heart disease.

May promote healthy skin

Fish oils and their omega-3s may also promote healthy skin.

A review posted to Marine Drugs found that fish oil and related fatty acids helped improve the skin in a few ways, including:

  • reducing hyperpigmentation
  • improving the function of the skin barrier
  • reducing dry skin and itching from dermatitis
  • speeding up wound healing
  • preventing skin cancer development

Applying fish oil to the skin and taking fish oil supplements orally may both help provide these benefits.

May promote healthy eyes

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in salmon oil, may also promote healthy eyes and vision.

A review posted to Antioxidants noted that not having enough omega-3 fatty acids in the diet may contribute to retina degeneration. Maintaining a steady supply of omega-3s in the diet may help prevent this.

A study posted to Translational Vision Science & Technology found that omega-3 supplements lowered intraocular pressure, which is a risk factor for glaucoma. The findings, from the first known human study, are consistent with previous animal studies.

May promote brain health

Many people take salmon oil or omega-3 supplements to support brain health.

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements notes that omega-3 fatty acids do appear to be important in brain development and function.

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids may also play a role in healthy brain aging.

A review posted to Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience notes that the aging brain is more prone to inflammation and lower levels of these important fatty acids. Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, show positive effects in otherwise healthy people or those with only mild cognitive impairment.

While rich sources of omega-3s may help with the general upkeep and function of the brain, the effects may take time, and may go away if the person stops taking the supplements.

A review posted to the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease notes that omega-3 supplements may help prevent cognitive decline better when people use them for over 3 years.

It may be best to begin taking supplements early because they may be most effective for preventing disease when the brain is still healthy.

That said, research has found conflicting results about the effects of taking omega-3 fatty acids on major disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists need to do more high quality human trials on these topics.

The benefits of fish oils stem mainly from their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA.

The actual content of these oils in any given supplement will vary based on numerous factors, such as where the salmon came from, what it ate, and temperatures in the region. The supplier and manufacturing process may also make a difference.

Other oils, such as krill oil or algal oil, may be similar in quality to salmon oil.

Check the supplement label to see how much EPA and DHA a supplement contains per recommended dose.

Salmon oil supplements increase the levels of important omega-3s in the body. These are essential nutrients, meaning the body cannot make these compounds — they have to come from the diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids themselves are widely useful. Research posted to Nutrients notes that they can be found in and used by many cell membranes throughout the body.

This includes cells in nervous tissue, the heart, and the retina. Along with other helper compounds, omega-3s even cross the blood-brain barrier.

When inside the body, omega-3 fats help lower triglycerides in the body, become part of cell membranes or incorporate into them, influence cell signaling, and adjust how receptors in cells function.

The dosage of salmon oil supplements varies based on the manufacturer. In many cases, a person can use the product as the label directs.

The dose the labels recommends can vary, and may range from 100 mg to more than 1 g. Doses can go as high as 3 grams, but a person should only use these under a doctor’s direct guidance.

Always work with a doctor and follow any specific instructions they provide on personal dosage limits.

Here is more information about the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids to consume per day.

People generally tolerate salmon oil well when they take it as the product label directs or under the guidance of a doctor.

Some people may experience minor side effects, such as bad breath or bad body odor. Others may experience digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, digestive upset, or loose stools.

Higher doses may interfere with how the blood clots and a person may experience nosebleeds or may bleed easily. This may also cause an interaction with some drugs, such as blood-thinning medications or drugs for high blood pressure.

In sensitive people or at very high doses, salmon oil and omega-3s may lower the body’s immune response.

People with allergies to seafood may need to avoid salmon oil.

There is some concern about the risk of fish becoming contaminated due to environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and pollution. Anyone concerned about this may want to check with the supplier of the salmon oil supplement.

In general, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends eating two to three servings of salmon per week. It says salmon is low in mercury and safe to consume. However, this does not provide information on the safety of salmon oil supplements.

Only use salmon oil supplements as directed under the guidance of a doctor.

Salmon oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it is not the only source. Other sources of these important fatty acids include:

  • other forms of fish oil
  • oily fish themselves, such as salmon, herring, tuna, and anchovies
  • other seafood, including mussels, oysters, and roe
  • seeds, such as flax, hemp, and chia
  • some nuts, such as walnuts
  • seaweed and algae, such as spirulina, nori, and chlorella

The type and potency of omega-3 fatty acids in foods will vary widely.

Salmon oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that can have health benefits when a person takes it regularly.

Some people may benefit from it more than others, such as those who do not have access to rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon oil, may offer a variety of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and supporting heart and brain health. Other sources of omega-3s may offer similar benefits.

Salmon oil may interact with some medications and may have side effects at high dosages. Always talk to a doctor before adding any supplement to the diet.