Fish Oils supplements, health benefits, side effects, omega-3 epa and dha
Use for depression, heart disease, vision and eyesight, menopause, weight loss, blood pressure and cancer
January 17 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Almost every aspect of our health, physical and mental, is related to the types of fatty acids that make up our cells and tissue, including vision. And it appears that most of us are not ingesting the right kinds. I have discovered that fish oils supplements help with eyesight. I have also discovered a combination of herbs and nutrients, called Eyesight Rx, that improves vision within days. Fish oils are also beneficial for mental and sexual health. There is debate among the medical as to the benefits of fish oils obtained as pills rather than through food. Studies have shown conflicting results. I think the benefits of these supplements could well be enhanced when dietary changes are made that reduce sugar intake or intake of other simple carbohydrates and unhealthy foods.

Fish oil supplements are dietary supplements that contain oil from the flesh of cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon, black cod, albacore tuna, sardines, and herring. The active ingredients are essential fatty acids known as omega-3 fatty acids. They typically include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are converted by the body into the beneficial series 3 prostaglandins.

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Physical benefits
Reduces the risk for heart disease and heart attacks by improving circulation.
Eyesight improvement, better quality of vision.
May be of benefit in those who have high blood sugar levels or have diabetes.
Fish oils may be helpful to people with lupus since fish oils have anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduces the risk of heart arrhythmias.
They may reduce symptoms of arthritis and several autoimmune diseases.
Fish oils are found in sperm, and these oils may support healthy sexual organ function.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish have are more benefeicial than flaxseed and other oils when it comes to cancer prevention.
Mental benefits
Fish oils may be of benefit for depression, either alone, or in combination with natural mood lifters or prescription antidepressants although different studies have shown conflicting results. Dr. Malcolm Peet of the Swallownest Court Hospital in Sheffield, England and his colleague found that depressed patients who received a daily dose of 1 gram of an omega-3 fatty acid for 12 weeks experienced a decrease in their symptoms, such as sadness, anxiety and sleeping problems.
They are beneficial for vision. To improve vision, consider Eyesight Rx. They may also help reduce the risk for macular degeneration, a condition in the eye that could lead to blindness.
Perhaps they may help some children with ADHD symptoms.

Children who consume fish at least once a week have higher intelligence quotients, or IQs, than those who eat very little or none.

Mind Power Rx is a sophisticated cognitive formula containing a dozen herbs and nutrients. It combines a delicate balance of brain circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain chemicals that support healthy:

Memory and Mood
Mental clarity
Alertness and Focus

Why buy all the individual herbs and nutrients separately -- at great expense -- when you can buy this excellent combination? The herbs in Mind Power Rx include: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Fo-Ti, Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng, Mucuna pruriens, Rhodiola, and Reishi.  The nutrients and vitamins in Mind Power Rx include Acetyl l-carnitine, Carnitine, Carnosine antioxidant, Choline bitartrate, DMAE, Methylcobalamin, Pantothenic acid, Trimethylglycine, Tyrosine, and Vinpocetine.

Allergy in child
Fish Oil Supplementation in Pregnancy Modifies Neonatal Progenitors at Birth in Infants at Risk of Atopy or allergy. Pediatr Res. 2004; Fish oil supplementation during pregnancy in atopic mothers alters infant cord blood hemopoietic progenitor phenotype and this may have an impact on development of allergy and atopic disease.

Alzheimer's disease
It appears long-chained omega-3 fatty acids are able to help patients who have mild Alzheimier's disease. Since current drugs used for Alzheimer's disease are not very helpful, and potentially dangerous, perhaps doctors should initially try omega-3 fatty acids in mild cases of AD rather than cholinesterase inhibitors.

Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial.Arch Neurol. 2006.Two hundred four patients with AD whose conditions were stable while receiving acetylcholine esterase inhibitor treatment and who had a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 15 points or more were randomized to daily intake of 1.7 g of docosahexaenoic acid and 0.6 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (omega-3 fatty acid-treated group) or placebo for 6 months, after which all received omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for 6 months more. Administration of omega-3 fatty acid in patients with mild to moderate AD did not delay the rate of cognitive decline according to the MMSE or the cognitive portion of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale. However, positive effects were observed in a small group of patients with very mild AD.

The effects of low dose n-3 fatty acids on serum lipid profiles and insulin resistance of the elderly: a randomized controlled clinical trial.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2010.
A 6-month randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was carried out in 124 elderly residents of Kahrizak Charity Foundation. The intervention group was supplemented with 1 g/day fish oil capsule (with 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA; and 120 mg docosahexaenoic acid, DHA; a total of 300 mg n-3 fatty acids as effective constituents). Supplementation with low dose n-3 fatty acids for 6 months could significantly protect elderly Iranians from a rise in serum triglycerides.

Depression, mood
Taking fish oil supplements may have a role to play in improving mood. They can also be used in combination with natural or prescription anti-depressants. Over the years, different studies have reported conflicting results. Some of the confusion is due to the fact that some studies have looked at omega-3 as a stand-alone therapy; others have tested it in combination with antidepressants and the formulations often vary, too. Some of the strongest evidence of benefit has come from supplements rich in EPA -- which, along with DHA, is one of the two main forms of fish oils.

Omega-3 fish oil supplements improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. Researchers reviewed the findings of eight clinical trials worldwide, as well as other evidence, and concluded that the supplements appear to help battle depression in people already on medication. Victor Fornari, M.D., director, division of child and adolescent psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y., and Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; University of Melbourne, 2016.

The current study tested a fish-oil capsule with a high ratio of EPA to DHA, providing 1,050 milligrams per day of the former and 150 mg per day of the latter. Some patients in the study, but not all, got relief. All 432 patients in the study had been diagnosed with at least moderate depression. About 40 percent were already on antidepressants. Dr. Francois Lesperance, of the University of Montreal in Canada, who directed the study, randomly assigned patients to take either the fish-oil capsules or a placebo containing vegetable oil every day for eight weeks. Among anxiety-free patients, symptoms improved significantly more with treatment than with the placebo. Taking anti-depressants, or not taking them, did not affect the results. The fatty acids are involved in the function of certain brain chemicals linked to depression. It's also possible that the anti-inflammatory effects are at work. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2010.

Comparison of therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and fluoxetine, separately and in combination, in major depressive disorder.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008.
Sixty outpatients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder were randomly allocated to receive daily either 1000 mg EPA or 20 mg fluoxetine, or their combination for 8 weeks. EPA and fluoxetine had equal therapeutic effects in major depressive disorder. EPA plus fluoxetine combination was superior to either of them alone.

Eyesight and vision enhancement
The rods and cones of the retina in the eyes are very rich in DHA, one of the fatty acids found in fish oils. Hence, a deficiency in dietary fish oils will reduce the photoreceptor activity of retinal cells, and thus reduce visual acuity. On the other hand, supplementation with fish oils (or flaxseed oil) could lead to visual improvement with enhanced color perception.
   Since levels of DHA in the brain decline with age, it is likely that the levels of DHA also decline in the retina. Is it possible that daily intake of fish oils can improve
eyesight in older individuals? Do the types of fats and oils we consume have an influence on how well we see as we age? An epidemiological research study completed in Australia and published in Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that the incidence of age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is reduced in those who consume fish. ARMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 50 and this eye disease is currently incurable. In this condition, central vision is lost, but peripheral vision almost always remains intact.
   The retina lies in the back of the eye and is composed of cells called rods and cones. The retina gathers light and visual information from the outside world. This information is then transmitted through a special nerve bundle, called the optic tract, to an area in the back of the brain called the visual cortex. The visual cortex, in turn, interprets this information. The macula is the special central area in the retina used for fine focus such as reading, driving, watching television, and recognizing people. There is a gradual loss of visual acuity as the macula degenerates with age, eventually leading to blindness.
   Why would eating fish be beneficial to the macula? The answer is not fully understood. Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements That Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood, says, "We do know that the retina is chock full of omeg-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid). Those who eat little fish or whose dietary intake is deficient in omega-3 oils may, over time, develop a shortage of these fatty acids in their macula." He adds, "I often recommend fish oil supplements to individuals whose fish intake is very low. Clinically, I have noticed that they improve focus, color perception and clarity of vision." Dr. Sahelian also recommends his patients consume adequate amount of fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids and flavonoids, nutrients with antioxidant properties.
Reference: Dietary fat and fish intake and age-related maculopathy. Archives Ophthalmology 2000.

I've been taking fish oil supplements for a few weeks now and I notice visual clarity and more pronounced colors like you said in the book.

Thank you very much for the great information about fish oil. I give my son eye Q? It seems to be very good for him. He had a couple of episodes of psichosis, although there has not been a proper diagnosis from the specialists. He is taking Zyprexa 2.5 mg daily. He was taking fish oil capsules before but, it seems that the liquid Eye Q work better. Please can you write about it?
   Eye Q contains EPA, DHA, evening primrose oil and vitamin E. We can't see how Eye Q would be that much better than regular fish oil or krill oil.

Hypertension, high blood pressure
Fish oil supplements could lower blood pressure in slightly overweight teenage kids, and their hearts may reap the benefits years later. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2010.

Let me compliment you very highly on Mind Boosters. It has been wonderful to read and implement your research. I realized after reading it that I didn't eat any fish. After taking 3 fish oil capsules per day (1000mg) for two weeks I have found my blood pressure is reduced from 140/90 to 125/80. I take this myself and have very structured measurements, due to having worked with many different blood pressure meds (and unwanted side effects) over the years. Have you seen this effect elsewhere? If this is long term I am VERY happy. Live long & prosper.
I am surprised that a small dose of fish oils within two weeks could have made such a difference in your blood pressure. I usually don't see such a dramatic response in my patients.

Heart rhythm disturbances, reduce the risk of sudden death, heart disease, heart attack, myocardial infarction
An editorial in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that increasing dietary omega-3 fatty acids, and decreasing omega-6 fatty acids, found in plant seed oils such as corn, safflower, and sunflower, is a way to reduce the risk of sudden death from irregular heart rhythms or heart attacks.
   One cause of sudden death is ventricular fibrillation, in which the heart contracts in a fast and chaotic rhythm that makes it unable to pump blood to the rest of the body. A number of factors including cigarette use, fasting, diabetes, hyperthyroidism or heart attack can trigger the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue. Fats that we eat are stored in adipose (fat) tissue. When these fats are released from their storage sites, they become free fatty acids. But not all fatty acids are equal in their propensity to cause arrhythmias. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids may encourage arrhythmias if their levels aren’t balanced by omega-3 fatty acids.

Nihon Rinsho. 2013. Fish and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease. A reason for low rate of heart disease in Japan has been considered due to high consumption of fish/w-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids among Japanese. Yet, there are growing concerns that Japanese has not consumed much fish compared with 10 years ago, based on the national statistics. Meanwhile, the incidence of myocardial infarction has been increasing among middle-aged men in some urban communities. In this review, we summarized several epidemiological studies which focused on fish/w-3 fatty acids and risk of cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac death and heart failure.

Fish oil could potentially save more lives than cardiac defibrillators. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 2006, tried to estimate the potential public health impact of raising adults' omega-3 levels with fish oil supplements. Using a computer-simulated community of 100,000 Americans and data from past medical studies, the researchers calculated that raising omega-3 levels would save 58 lives each year. This amounts to a 6 percent total death reduction -- mostly by preventing sudden cardiac death in apparently people, according to the study authors, led by Dr. Thomas E. Kottke of the Heart Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even if automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were available in every home and public area, the devices would lower a community's annual death rate by less than 1 percent. If fish oil is as effective against fatal heart arrhythmias as evidence suggests, it would have more widespread benefits than either AEDs or implanted defibrillators.

Heart attack patients who took high doses of fish oil supplements for six months showed improved heart function and less scarring, as reported in the August 2, 2016 issue of the journal Circulation.

Multiple sclerosis help
Some studies have shown beneficial results in multiple sclerosis, flaxseed may also help.

Osteoarthritis, arthritis
J Med Assoc Thai. 2015. Efficacy and Safety of Fish Oil in Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis. Fish oil 1,000-2,000 mg daily supplementation had significant efficacy to improve knee performance and also are safe in mild to moderate stages of knee osteoarthritic patients.

Could you describe the proper dosage of 1000 mg fish oil tablets to treat arthritis, that you may have experience with? I am taking three 1000mg capsules daily, but I have read that you need much more than that, perhaps 6 to 12 per day. Is that safe? What might be the max number per day before you need to think of safety?
   A. Each person is different in their response to fish oils and therefore we are not in a position to give a specific number of fish oil pills or dosage since there is a very wide range of response but 3 to 5 pills a day seems reasonable.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. We undertook this study to assess the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (administered at ≥2.7 g/day) for a minimum duration of 3 months on clinical outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The use of fish oils at dosages >2.7 g/day for >3 months reduces NSAID consumption by RA patients.

Schizophrenia, preventing psychosis in adolescents
Dr. G. Paul Amminger of The University of Melbourne in Australia thinks there's evidence that abnormal fatty acid metabolism may contribute to the development of schizophrenia.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for indicated prevention of psychotic disorders: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010.
To determine whether omega-3 PUFAs reduce the rate of progression to first-episode psychotic disorder in adolescents and young adults with subthreshold psychosis. Eighty-one individuals at ultra-high risk of psychotic disorder. A 12-week intervention period of 1.2-g/d omega-3 PUFA or placebo was followed by a 40-week monitoring period; the total study period was 12 months. By study's end 2 of 41 individuals (5%) in the omega-3 group and 11 of 40 (27%) in the placebo group had transitioned to psychotic disorder. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids also significantly reduced positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and general symptoms and improved functioning compared with placebo. The incidence of adverse effects did not differ between the treatment groups. Long-chain omega-3 PUFAs reduce the risk of progression to psychotic disorder and may offer a safe and efficacious strategy for indicated prevention in young people with subthreshold psychotic states.

Prostate cancer
Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the risk of prostate cancer.
Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004.
We prospectively evaluated the association between intakes of alpha-linolenic (ALA; 18:3n-3), eicosapentaenoic (EPA; 20:5n-3), docosahexaenoic (DHA; 22:6n-3), linoleic (LA; 18:2n-6), and arachidonic (AA; 20:4n-6) acids and prostate cancer risk. A cohort of 47,866 US men aged 40-75 years with no prostate cancer history in 1986 was followed for 14 years During follow-up, 2965 new cases of total prostate cancer were ascertained, 448 of which were advanced prostate cancer. ALA intake was unrelated to the risk of total prostate cancer. EPA and DHA intakes (fish oils) were related to lower prostate cancer risk. Increased dietary intakes of ALA may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer.

A New England Journal of Medicine report in May in 2013 found that men with a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a higher rate of advanced prostate cancer. This conflicts with results of prior studies. I caution readers not to base one's understanding of cause and effect results based only on one study since the results of others could show a different outcome.

Semen volume
I am not sure, but from what I know so far, fish oils may increase semen or sperm volume.

Smell and olfactory health
Br J Nutr. 2015. Dietary intakes of fats, fish and nuts and olfactory impairment in older adults. It is unclear whether lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, should be advocated to prevent olfactory dysfunction. We investigated the association between dietary intakes of fats (saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and cholesterol) and related food groups (nuts, fish, butter, margarine) with olfactory impairment. Older adults with the highest consumption of nuts and fish had reduced odds of olfactory impairment.

Fish oils are made in the body from a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid found predominantly in flaxseed oil (also known as linseed) and hemp seed oil. Green leafy vegetables, soybeans, walnuts, and canola oil have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial because they provide fluidity to cell membranes and improve communication between brain cells. Omega-3s also reduce the clotting ability of platelets, thus potentially decreasing the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. Two very important omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) which together are found in fish oils. These fatty acids are found in seafood, especially mackerel, salmon, striped bass, rainbow trout, halibut, tuna, and sardines.

How are they available?
Supplements of fish oils that contain EPA and DHA are sold over the counter. DHA is also sold by itself. In the body, DHA is found mostly in the brain, retina, and in sperm. At this time I don't see a need to take DHA by itself. It's much cheaper and perhaps better to take both together. Fish oil pills come in a variety of dosages. Common fish oil capsules include about 100 to 300 mg each of DHA and EPA.

Passion Rx
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Interactions with medicines
A diet high in oily fish like salmon, halibut, and mackerel may help improve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. A key anti-inflammatory fat in humans is derived from a fatty acid found in fish oil. The researchers, from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, found the diet worked best when combined with low aspirin doses. The inflammatory response protects the body against infection and injury, but when it goes wrong it can lead to conditions such as arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. The Harvard team identified a new class of fats in the human body, called resolvins, which they showed can control inflammation. They do this both by stopping the migration of inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation, and the turning on of other inflammatory cells. Resolvins are made from the omega-3 fatty acids, found in high concentration in oily fish. Their production also appears to be stimulated by taking aspirin.
Taking fish oil capsules can thin the blood even more when taken along with warfarin (Coumadin)... see study below.

Fish oil side effect, safety, danger
Besides bad breath, there is a possibility that very high doses could excessively thin the blood and cause bleeding. It's also possible that high doses could interfere with the optimal functioning of natural killer cells, white blood cells, or other cells in the immune system. It is probably best not to take more than 3 capsules a day for prolonged periods until we determine how fish oil supplements influence the immune system. Another possible adverse reaction is increased alertness which could cause shallow sleep or insomnia if more than 5 fish oil capsules are taken daily for a week or longer.
We have seen no evidence that reasonable amounts, one to three a day, cause liver problems or are toxic.

Fish oil interaction with warfarin.
Ann Pharmacother. 2004.
We report a case of elevated international normalized ratio (INR) in a patient taking fish oil and warfarin. A 67-year-old white woman had been taking warfarin for 1(1/2) years due to recurrent transient ischemic attacks. Her medical history included hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia, osteopenia, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Prior to the interaction, her INR was therapeutic for 5 months while she was taking warfarin 1.5 mg/d. The patient admitted to doubling her fish oil dose from 1000 to 2000 mg/d. Without dietary, lifestyle, or medication changes, the INR increased from 2.8 to 4.3 within 1 month. The INR decreased to 1.6 one week after subsequent fish oil reduction, necessitating a return to the original warfarin dosing regimen.

It is possible that fish oil side effects of blood thinning could accentuate the blood thinning properties of Coumadin and aspirin. Taking fish oil capsules can thin the blood even more when taken along with warfarin Coumadin.
   High doses could cause trouble sleeping and if you have sleep problems this article on insomnia cures could help.

Omega 3 Fish oil for dog
Dogs and cats may also benefit from fish oils if their diet does not have enough alpha linolenic acid or other sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Fish oils and antioxidants
Q. I had read an article where it stated that individuals who take a lot of antioxidant supplements are in fact reducing the effectiveness of fish oil and its cancer-fighting abilities.
   A. We have not come across any long term human studies regarding this issue. Cancer takes years and decades to develop. We don't see how the statement regarding antioxidants and fish oils can be made without such research being done.

Can someone allergic to shellfish take fish oil supplements?
    Omega 3 fish oil supplements are obtained from the meat of fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, cod liver and halibut, not from shellfish. We have no reason to believe those with shellfish allergy would have problems taking fish oil supplements. However, your doctor is the final decision maker as to the appropriateness of taking fish oil supplements in your particular condition. If someone is allergic to certain fish, such as the ones mentioned above, then they need to contact the manufacturer to find out the fish source of the fish oil supplements.

Almost every vitamin company sells fish oils. Some of the major players are Carlson, Nordic Naturals. Carlson fish oils are advertised in many health magazines. Nordic Naturals carries a wide list of different types of fish oil supplements, including those for children.

Mother's fish oil intake influences breast milk
The Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation in Pregnancy on Breast Milk Fatty Acid Composition Over the Course of Lactation: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.
Pediatr Res. 2007.
Ninety-eight women received fish oil supplements that had 2.2 grams docosahexaenoic acid and 1.1 grams eicosapentaenoic acid from 20 weeks of gestation until delivery. Supplementation with fish oils in pregnancy was associated with increased n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast milk, particularly in early lactation, and this was positively associated with infant DHA status at 1 year.

Need for extra vitamin E or C?
Do you think fish oil supplement use increases your need to take vitamin E?
    It's difficult to say for sure, but if a person takes 1 to 3 fish oil pills a day there would not be a need to take extra vitamin E, and perhaps if more than 3 pills are used 10 to 20 iu more of the vitamin may be helpful.

How much Vitamin E is needed with Omega-3 at doses of 1500-2000mg EPA / DHA ....there are many different recommendations by health experts ranging from as low as 30IU to 800 IU of Vitamin E. Also is Vitamin C needed when taking Fish oil or Vitamin E is sufficient?
    The dosage of vitamin E as an antioxidant to protect fish oil fatty acids such as EPA and DHA is not fully known but does not appear to be high. Even 5 to 10 units should be sufficient and 30 units is plenty. I am not as sure about vitamin C since it is not fat soluble, but it does not hurt to take some of this vitamin supplement.

Dietary supplements of fish oil may be helpful to people with lupus. Copper supplements, however, make no difference. Dr. Aubrey L. Bell, of Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland, studied 52 lupus patients. The participants were randomly assigned to take various combinations of fish oil capsules and extra copper -- both, one or the other, or none -- for 24 weeks. Those given fish oil supplements took three capsules a day of MaxEPA. The researchers measured disease activity using a scale called the revised Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM-R). Those taking fish oil experienced a significant decline in SLAM-R score. Journal of Rheumatology, 2004.

Smart Eating for a Smarter Baby 
Women who are pregnant may consider eating more fish, taking cod liver oil or fish oil supplements in consultation with their obstetrician.

Fish oil supplements contain no mercury
A concern with fish oil products has been potential contamination with mercury. ConsumerLab dot com purchased 20 dietary supplements containing EPA and/or DHA and tested them for their claimed levels of these ingredients as stated on the label, as well as for mercury contamination and evidence of decomposition. Although six of the products had lower levels of EPA/DHA as stated on the label, none of the twenty products showed evidence of decomposition and none were found to contain detectable levels of mercury.

Fish oil versus flaxseed oil
What is your opinion on fish oil supplements, and why not just take flaxseed oil since it has omega 3s? How much is needed to take daily?
   There are several Omega 3 fatty acids. They are named ALA (alpha linolenic acid ), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid).
ALA is found in flaxseed oil whereas EPA and DHA are found in fish oils. ALA is able to convert into EPA and then into DHA, but this takes several enzymatic steps in the body, and not everyone efficiently converts ALA into EPA and DHA, particularly with aging. So, the bottom line, I prefer fish oils to flaxseed oil, although a small amount of flaxseed oil is also good to take. For those of you who don't want to take any fish products, DHA, extracted from algae, is sold by itself.

Fish oils vs cod liver oil
Fish oil supplements are dietary supplements that contain oil from the fatty flesh of cold water fish such as mackerel, anchovy, and sardines. Cod liver oil is derived from the livers of white fish, such as cod and sometimes halibut. Cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D and has a different concentration of EPA and DHA than fish oils derived from the fat of cold water fish. Cod liver oil has a higher ratio of DHA to EPA, while fish oils have a higher ratio of EPA to DHA. But, overall, fish oils have almost twice the amount of total EPA plus DHA than cod liver oil per same size capsule or teaspoon. To summarize, cod liver oil has additional Vitamins A and D, a higher ratio of DHA to EPA, but almost half the total EPA plus DHA content than fish oils. Practically speaking, they are both healthy to ingest, but if you want a more concentrated form of EPA and DHA per capsule, you would go with fish oils.

For pets, dogs, cats testimonial
Email - Your April 2017 newsletter briefly discusses vitamins and minerals for pets. I would just like to tell you a little story about a friend's dog. I hadn't seen her for a few weeks, and when I visited I was surprised to be greeted by her frisky spaniel, who was all excited to see me. This was an elderly dog, quite deaf, who usually mooched around and generally acted dopy. The difference was so noticeable, I asked what she had given it.. She told me all she had done was to give him fish oil capsules. I have since heard of other dog owners who swear by these.

Is there a blood test that I can take to see how much epa or dha is in my blood?
   There is, but it is not routinely available. We don't see the need to take this test since blood levels vary depending on diet. Just eat more fish or take fish oil supplements if you don't get enough fish in the diet.

I have bipolar disorder. I have tried fish oil and found it useful.

I can't take fish oil because prolonged administration supresses my immune system. Then i read something on your informative website and i started to take 100 IU of vitamin E (D-alpha tocopherol) every alternate day. Guess what its been 6 months and i haven't got a single outbreak of throat infection or flu. I also take 500 mg of Vitamin C ...although Vitamin C protects to certain extent ...but you are right ...if we are taking fish oil then a fat soluble vitamin like natural E may save the day! I can say that your website cured me in a way.
   This is interesting, we will see if others notice the same.

Dr. Udo Erasmus (author of Fats That Heal, And Fats That Kill) claims that there are no fish oils that have acceptable levels of contaminants, and he states that based upon his research, plant-derived omega-3s are just as effective (in producing DHA and EPA in the body) as the long chain omega3s found in fish. But Dr. Barry Sears says that fish oil is much more effective, but he states that it has to be pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, which he says has most of the contaminants removed. He also states that eating fish is not a good option, because he says that almost all seafood is contamintated with pollutants. So he says you have to remove the contaminants. He sells his own brand of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, and LEF sell one too. But as stated, Dr. Udo Erasmus recently claimed that NO fish oils have acceptable levels of contaminants.
   There are a number of opinions on this topic. My opinion is that one or two fish oil capsules are safe when the source is wild caught oily fish such as salmon, halibut, anchovies, etc. Omega3s from plants may not be easily metabolized to the longer chain epa and dha as easily as some people think. Eating fish in reasonable amounts from various sources is a healthy thing to do, and hardly any of the food we eat or air we breathe is completely free of contaminants, so we really can't strive for perfection. The body is able to detoxify certain toxins we ingest.

I have been taking fish oils to assist with a dry eye condition. It has helped greatly. A pharmacy friend of mine mentioned that there may be contraindications to taking oral contraception and fish oils together. Are there any studies that show the impact of this and will taking fish oils lessen the effectiveness of the pill?
   We have not seen any studies regarding fish oil use and birth control pills. However, taking more than 5 fish oil capsules a day could have effects that we are not yet aware of. It's best to limit fish oil use to 1 to 3 capsules a day.

I would like to try fish oil, but i noticed that the vitamin e content is very small, is that enough to prevent oxidation.
   It takes tiny amounts of vitamin E to protect the fish oils, it is only when massive amounts of fish oils are consumed that vitamin E levels become of concern.

Much appreciation for your medical website in educating the public about a number of health issues and supplements. This will surely help us make better decisions on getting suitable health products for our consumption. I'm thinking of getting some fish oil supplements, and would like to ask which is more effective for cognitive functions -- the capsule or the liquid forms?
   Either the liquid or the capsules would be fine as long as the dosage is the same.

I've noticed that by taking fish oil, 3-6 capsules a day that it has helped the weaning process of getting off Prednisone for my auto-immune disorder-(hemolytic anemia) - This isn't the first time I've tried weaning from the steroid medicine, so I know that the fish oil supplement is helping some with the withdrawal symptoms. One of the biggest setbacks from weaning from Prednisone is the lack of energy. I find fish oil supplements keep me stable. This could be yet another interesting effect from fish oil and maybe could be used in the future for other patients that need to wean off medicines.  I read in another post about allergies and fish oil. I can tell you that fish oil supplements definitely helps with making my eyes feel better. All in all, fish oil has been great for me.
   The improvement of your hemolytic anemia with fish oil supplements is interesting. We will see if studies confirm this benefit.

After about 2 months of beginning fish oil supplements, I started getting a blistery type rash which won't heal quickly. I did go to a dermatologist but he couldn't tell me what was causing it & put me on a steroid for 5 days along with Betamethasone cream every day. So far, it's not helping. Could it be because of my taking a baby aspirin every day too? I've been taking the fish oil for about 7 months. I do have high cholestrol and a mild leaky heart valve. I take Crestor every day too and It keeps my cholestrol under 200 but my trigs stay on the high side. But, since starting the fish oil, the trigs and cholestrol numbers have improved a lot. I really didn't want to stop the fish oil because it has helped my cholestrol numbers but I do think that the fish oil is causing the rash. I stopped the fish oil today so the sores will heal. Do you think the fish oil can cause the rash along with the aspirin. I was taking 2 -1200 mg of fish oil daily.
    A. Rashes have many causes and it is not possible for me to know based on this brief medical history. Sometimes medications (statin drugs) that have been used for a while can suddenly begin to cause dermatological problems. The only way to know for sure is to not take any pills for a week or two and then introduce each one separately to know which one is responsible. There are a number of environmental exposures, including through food, that could cause skin conditions.

A friend told me she heard a report on ABC News that some fish oil supplements may cause cancer. That is the only information given to me. Should I be concerned since I take this product pills daily?
    A. There are potential cancer causing agents in just about everything we consume and even every time we inhale if we live in a city. I find it best not to be concerned about such matters since one can get crazy and paranoid if they listened to the news all the time, it seems there is something not right with just about everything we eat or take. Just eat a diet with lots of variety and avoid junk food and things should be fine.

Source Naturals, Arctic Pure, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Ultra Potency, 850 mg, 60 Softgels
Buy Fish oil high potency

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Softgel
  Amount Per Serving %DV
Calories 10  
Calories from Fat 10  
Total Fat 1 g <1%*
Saturated Fat 0 g <1%*
Trans Fat 0 g †
Cholesterol 5 mg 2%
Arctic Pure Fish Oil Concentrate 1.25 g †
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) 450 mg †
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) 340 mg †
Other omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids 60 mg †
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
†Daily Value not established.

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