When it comes to fish oil, there may not be more than meets the eye, but it definitely meets the eye.
You’ve probably already heard several of the benefits to popping a fish oil tablet once a day:
- Heart health, as fish oil promotes a good blood cholesterol profile
- Bone health, part of which can include improving joint pain
- Stroke prevention
- Wrinkle prevention
- Hair thickening
Now, you can add eye health to that list.
Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): omega-3 fatty acids that produce better tears. And tears play an important role in our eye health.
Go Ahead, Cry
Usually, when we think of tears, we think of emotional tears — the kind caused by pain, grief or watching Brian’s Song.
But tears play an even broader role for our vision.
Tears keep our eyes wet and nourished. When we blink, tears cover our cornea, ensuring our cornea is always wet and nourished.
Tears flush out unwanted substances. During family vacation this summer, did you end up with suntan lotion in your eyes? It probably resulted in you tearing up. Or have you ever touched your eyes after handling a jalapeño? Definitely resulted in tears.
Some people, however, don’t have the luxury of readily available tears. These people suffer from dry eye syndrome.
Dry Eye Syndrome: The Nemesis of Tears
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which a person either
- doesn’t produce enough tears or
- produces tears that evaporate too quickly.
Not only can this be uncomfortable, it can lead to irritation, infection or — worse — future vision problems.
Dry eye syndrome is often a result of growing older — it affects about 70 percent of older people — but other culprits could include allergies, or chronic pink eye from tobacco smoke exposure.
Although fish oil may not be a cure-all for dry eye syndrome — other treatments like artificial tears may be required — it can certainly facilitate recovery.
How much fish oil you take depends on your condition. Generally, 500 mg to 1,000 mg a day is sufficient, though the dosage may be upped depending on dry eye severity. Many grocery stores offer supplements with 1,200-mg to 1,350-mg softgel tablets, so getting the recommended dosage probably won’t be too difficult to find.
Celebrate See-food Month
This October, to celebrate seafood month, go ahead and give fish oil a try.
If you want the benefits of fish oil, but don’t want to take a softgel tablet, you can grill it in your diet. At least three times a week, schedule grilled salmon, tuna, halibut or cod. If none of those options sound good, you have tons of fish to choose from.
It just might leave you crying tears of joy.