Both fish oil and vitamin E come highly recommended for the benefits they offer to human health. Fish oil, or actually the Omega-3 fatty acids it contains, benefits heart health while vitamin E, an antioxidant is beneficial for cancer along with the heart. New research indicates that taking the two in combination can offer even more advantages, not least because high doses of fish oil may reduce serum levels of vitamin E.
High levels of triglycerides in the body are known to lead to diabetes and heart disease and Omega-3s are linked to lowering the levels of triglycerides. The specific Omega-3s, DHA and EPA are also associated with elevating mood, cognitive function in addition to reducing the risk of premature death according to latest research.1
Vitamin E protects healthy cells against free radicals, products of various functions of the body that upon collecting in the body promote cancer and heart diseases. According to The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin E blocks the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), from becoming unstable (oxidizing), thereby averting atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which arteries become hard and can lead to stroke or heart attack.2
As a matter of routine, the body uses the fats in the cells and produces inflammation causing products called eicosanoids. The eicosanoids made from Omega-3 fats are much less inflammation causing than eicosanoids produced when other types of fats are used. Reducing consumption of other fats and increasing amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids in the body can help to bring down the total inflammation levels. Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in the body, but it does so by reducing the pro-inflammatory compounds found in the body.
Collagen is a protein essential for healthy skin, which is destroyed by the sun’s rays. Omega-3s protect collagen from damage and keep skin wrinkle free and radiant. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil also minimize skin irritation and relieve redness. Vitamin E also protects the skin from sun’s harmful rays, while neutralizing the free radicals and aiding in healing wounds.
Fish oil and vitamin E both benefit the brain also. Omega-3 fatty acids constitute a major part of the brain cells walls while vitamin E protects them against oxidative damage. Low levels of vitamin E are also associated with faulty memory. It has been found that women who have increased serum Omega-3 levels decrease their potential for brain atrophy as they grow older.3
While both vitamin E and Omega-3s offer numerous benefits, there are also some concerns associated with them. There is concern in some quarters that due to the highly unsaturated nature of Omega-3s, they have a tendency to oxidise with speed. This in turn may add to body’s oxidant stress and instigate diseases like atherosclerosis. In a U.S Department of Agriculture study it was found that taking vitamin E supplements with fish oil helped to minimize the negative effects of fish oil.4, 5
- Nair, Padmanabhan P., et al. Dietary fish oil-induced changes in the distribution of alpha-tocopherol, retinol, and beta-carotene in plasma, red blood cells, and platelets: modulation by vitamin E. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 58, July 1993, pp. 98-102