Due to the many incredible benefits of fatty fish, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1 to 2 portions of fish per week. In some parts of the world, especially in the far East, this is not a problem since fish and other kinds of seafood are part of the staple diet. That said, for many of us in the West, observance of this recommendation can be an issue due to several factors including – the high cost of fatty fish and seafood, lack of availability, or simply a lack of knowledge on how to properly prepare and cook them. This is where fish oil comes in. Used as a dietary supplement it not only eliminates the above mentioned issues, but it also provides us with the much needed omega 3 fatty acids for proper bodily function and possible protection from a number of illnesses including cancer, arthritis, and much more. But how does fish oil specifically help men? In this article we shall be explaining fish oil benefits for men and showing you how this simple supplement could work wonders for your sex life.
What Is Fish Oil?
According to Healthline and Medical News Today, this is the fat or oil that comes from fish tissue. While this fat can come from all kinds of fish, most fish oil found in the market today is extracted from fatty/oily fish species such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, anchovies, and herring.
Adding fish oil to your diet is a good way to get the essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that our bodies cannot make. These omega 3 fatty acids found predominantly in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
What Are The Benefits Of Fish Oil Pills?
Before delving into the potential benefits of fish oil, we must first note that around only 30 percent of the fat found in fish oil is made up of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. What this simply means is that while this oil is a great dietary supplement, it is still important for you to consume actual fatty fish in your weekly or even bi-weekly diet as you will get more omega 3s plus protein from actual fish.
That aside, here are some reasons why you might want to add some fish oil supplement pills to your shopping list.
May Support And Improve Heart Health
According to a World Health Organization fact sheet published in 2020, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic class (20). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further states that in the United States alone, one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease and that 1 in every 4 deaths is due to heart disease (13).
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have a protective and preventive effect on heart disease (1). These fatty acids may do this by
- Reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increasing good (HDL) cholesterol levels (8)
- Lowering elevated triglycerides levels (3, 7)
- Reducing high blood pressure (4, 6)
It should be noted that while women might tend to succumb to cardiovascular diseases faster than men – the disease tends to develop seven to 10 years earlier in men. With this in mind, as a man, taking fish oil supplements might be helpful for delaying, or even altogether evading heart disease (12).
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May Help Prevent And Even Treat Certain Mental Health Conditions
Mental illnesses do not choose which gender to affect more or less. However, our gender might make us more prone to certain mental disorders than others. According to one study by the American Psychological Association, women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, while men tend toward substance abuse or antisocial disorders (17).
So how do fish oil and omega 3s help with brain and mental health?
Improved brain function – The brain is said to be nearly 60 percent fat with a large portion of this being made up of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega3 support blood flow to the brain which in turn may improve the performance of cognitive tasks and support memory (10).
Reduced risk of mental illness – Several studies have shown that low intakes of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with an increased risk of various psychiatric disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (18, 15, 14).
Better Eye Health
Some research suggests that fish oil might support and even improve eye health as like our brains, the eyes are heavily reliant on these fats.
One review published in 2017 revealed that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in fish oils may help with the treatment of dry eye disease and age-related macular degeneration – two very common inflammatory eye diseases (19).
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What Are Some Omega 3 Fish Benefits For Men?
Yes, fish oil and omega 3s have a range of benefits that positively affect everyone from children to adults. But what are some male specific benefits of consuming fish oil?
Fish oil benefits for testosterone is probably the biggest reason why men may choose to add this supplement to their multivitamin-supplement collection. Testosterone is the main sex hormone found in men.
This hormone plays a large role not only in sex drive but also in other factors like the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, bone mass, as well as the production of red blood cells and sperms (21).
Over the years, several studies have shown a link between fish oil and improved testosterone levels and sexual health in men.
In early 2020, one published study showed how fish oil supplementation was associated with more sperm production and increased sperm count in men. Later the same year in November, another study was published and showed how supplementing a diet with docosahexaenoic acid rich fish oil helped increase testosterone levels in men (2, 5).
Aside from possibly boosting sperm count and testosterone levels, other fish oil benefits for men include
- May help better manage ED – Erectile dysfunction also known as impotence, is a condition that occurs when a man can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. This issue can be contributed to by many factors including heart disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure, stress, obesity, diabetes, clogged blood vessels and much more.
In an animal study published in 2016, researchers found that the supplementation of a diet with omega 3 fatty acids could help improve atherosclerosis-induced erectile dysfunction (ED caused by clogged blood vessels) (9). While humans are certainly very different from rats, this study offers some hope that with time and further research, these findings could be replicated in human beings.
- May lead to increased sex drive – A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2018 found that couples who consumed more seafood – and thus had a higher omega 3s intake – had sex more frequently and took less time to become pregnant than those who consumed less omega 3s and seafood (16).
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What Does Fish Oil Do To Your Testicles?
If the question that brought you here is ‘Does fish oil make your balls bigger?’ then the answer is maybe slightly.
These findings come from a study published in the JAMA Network Open in 2020. This cross-sectional study involved 1679 young military men in Denmark who reported their intake of fish oil supplements for three months. After the 3 month period, researchers found that among those who took fish oil supplements, not only was their semen volume and total sperm count higher, but also had more free testosterone in their bodies and their testicles were very slightly larger (1.5 ml for those in the highest supplement intake category) than those with no fish oil supplement intake (2). Whether this would be noticeable to the naked eye is unclear.
What Happens If You Take Fish Oil Daily?
For the most part fish oil is generally a safe supplement for most people to take on a daily basis. However, despite its numerous benefits, some people may experience some undesired side effects from taking them.
According to WebMD, fish oil should be taken in doses of 3 grams or less daily. Taking more than this can increase the chances of bleeding as it can react and interact with anticoagulants. It could also lead to heartburn, loose stools, nausea, bad breath headaches, diarrhea, and nosebleeds. To prevent some of these, you can either freeze your supplements or always ensure to take them with meals.
With that being said, fish oil supplements are not a perfect substitute for actual fatty/oily fish. Remember that these supplements only contain a small amount of the useful omegas 3 fatty acids that we are all looking for – the largest amount of these fatty acids comes straight from the fish.
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What Is The Recommended Fish Oil Dosage For The Elderly?
Fish oil supplements have plenty to offer older adults, especially in relation to heart, brain and eye health – particularly concerning age-related macular degeneration.
But how much of this supplement should an elderly person take?
There is no specific answer to this. According to WebMD, because fish oil, like many other supplements in the market, is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it is difficult to pinpoint an umbrella dosage for the elderly.
Furthermore, one study published in 2013, also found it hard to give an exact answer to this question. In the review, the researchers found that the reason behind this is that (11)
- The adverse effects of this supplement administration in older adults is either too varied for any clinical significance
- Research on this specific issue if very little and thus any finding available can’t be deemed as conclusive for all dosages and populations
- There aren’t enough reported cases or documented data to help figure out the right dosage.
It’s best to talk to your doctor for specific and personalized recommendations.
The Bottom Line
Fish oil benefits for men are mostly linked to omega 3 fatty acids and how they affect their testosterone levels and other markers of health. Remember that while fish oil can certainly increase how much omega 3s you consume in a week, this supplement should not be used as a replacement for fish and other omega 3 rich foods. Because supplements are not regulated by the FDA, please be sure to speak to your doctor and ask for safe fish oil pills to take and in what dosage.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Associations of Fish Oil Supplement Use With Testicular Function in Young Men (2020, jamanetwork.com)
- Benefits of fish oil supplementation in hyperlipidemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Consumption of Fish Oil Providing Amounts of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid That Can Be Obtained from the Diet Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults with Systolic Hypertension: A Retrospective Analysis (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid rich fish oil increases circulating levels of testosterone in overweight and obese men (2020, plefa.com)
- Does fish oil lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled trials (1993, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of fish oil supplementation on serum triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and LDL subfractions in hypertriglyceridemic adults (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of fish oil versus corn oil supplementation on LDL and HDL subclasses in type 2 diabetic patients (2002, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Erectile Dysfunction in a Rat Model of Atherosclerosis-induced Chronic Pelvic Ischemia (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Essential fatty acids and human brain (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fish oil administration in older adults: is there potential for adverse events? A systematic review of the literature (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Gender differences in coronary heart disease (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Heart Disease Facts (2022, cdc.gov)
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for indicated prevention of psychotic disorders: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Seafood Intake, Sexual Activity, and Time to Pregnancy (2018, academic.oup.com)
- Study Finds Sex Differences in Mental Illness (2011, apa.org)
- The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Role of Fish Oil in Inflammatory Eye Diseases (2017, karger.com)
- The top 10 causes of death (2020, who.int)
- Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men (2013, nih.gov)