Various Reasons to Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Pregnancy and Childhood
Early studies suggest that fish oil may decrease the risk of recurrent miscarriages in women with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Also, omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, may improve brain and eye development when taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding or when included in infant formula.
However, keep in mind that some fish (and, therefore, some omega-3 fatty acid supplements) may contain heavy metals and other toxins that are especially dangerous for pregnant women. Do not take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement during pregnancy without checking with your healthcare provider, who can direct you to a supplement that is safe for pregnant women (see Pregnancy and Omega-3).
Early evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other developmental problems, although you should not give a child an omega-3 supplement without the approval of the child's healthcare provider.
There is growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be an effective part of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Studies suggest that it can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as morning stiffness and painful or tender joints. It may be effective used alone or in combination with other medications. Some studies have also shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis who take omega-3 fatty acids may be able to reduce their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS).
(For more information, see Fish Oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis.)
Studies with mice and rats have sometimes shown that omega-3 fatty acids may have a role in weight loss and fat loss, but human studies in this area are lacking. It is too early to tell if taking omega-3 could help people lose weight. Keep in mind that omega-3 fatty acid supplements are not free of calories or fat.