Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fish oil is derived from a variety of fish. It is high in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fish oil is derived from a variety of fish. It is high in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Fish oil is derived from a variety of fish. It is high in the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The omega 3 fatty acid content of fish oil appears to be responsible for its health benefits. Mackerel, herring, tuna, and salmon are particularly high in these oils. The body does not produce many omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids relieve pain and swelling while also preventing blood clots.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has approved some fish oil products as prescription medications for lowering triglyceride levels. As a supplement, fish oil is also available. Fish oil supplements do not contain the same amount of fish oil as prescription products and cannot be used in place of them. Fish oil supplements are sometimes used for heart health and mental health, but there isn’t much evidence to back up most of these claims.
Fish oil should not be confused with EPA, DHA, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, krill oil, or shark liver oil. These topics are covered in separate listings.
Sources of Omega 3
Types of fish
- Herring (bloater, kipper and Ilish are types of herring)
- High in long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, which may aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease
- A high-quality source of vitamin D
The white fish
- Low in saturated fat
- A selenium, zinc, iodine, and copper source
Uses & effectiveness
Omega 3 Fish oil serves a variety of purposes.
These are some of them:
- Triglyceride levels in the blood are elevated (hypertriglyceridemia). Certain prescription fish oil drugs, such as Lovaza, Omtryg, and Epanova, reduce extremely high triglyceride levels. These products are typically taken at a dose of 4 grammes per day. While some non-prescription fish oil supplements may be beneficial, they contain fewer omega-3 fatty acids than prescription fish oil products. To achieve the same effect as prescription fish oil, people would need to take up to 12 capsules of fish oil supplements daily.
Although there is little scientific evidence to substantiate these treatments, Omega 3 has also been used for:
- A procedure used to open a blood vessel that has become blocked or narrowed (angioplasty). When taken for at least three weeks before an angioplasty and continued for one month after, taking fish oil by mouth reduces the rate of blood vessel re-blockage by up to 45 percent.
- Involuntary weight loss in terminally ill patients (cachexia or wasting syndrome). A high dose of fish oil taken orally appears to slow weight loss in some cancer patients. Low-dose fish oil does not appear to have this effect.
- The drug cyclosporine causes kidney damage. Taking fish oil appears to protect the kidneys of people taking cyclosporine. In addition, fish oil appears to improve kidney function in people who have recently rejected a transplanted kidney and are taking cyclosporine.
- Cramps during menstruation (dysmenorrhea). Taking fish oil, either alone or in combination with vitamin B12 or vitamin E, can alleviate painful periods and reduce the need for pain relievers for menstrual cramps.
- Failure of the heart. Consuming more fish oil through food has been linked to a lower risk of heart failure. It is recommended to consume 1-2 servings of non-fried fish per week. It is too early to tell whether taking fish oil supplements helps prevent heart failure. However, taking fish oil supplements orally may lower the risk of death or hospitalisation in people who already have heart failure.
- Blood fat levels in HIV/AIDS patients are abnormal. In people with abnormal cholesterol levels caused by HIV/AIDS treatment, taking fish oil supplements by mouth lowers triglyceride levels.
- Blood pressure is too high. Taking fish oil by mouth appears to reduce blood pressure slightly in people with moderate to very high blood pressure. It’s unclear whether it benefits people with mildly elevated blood pressure or those who are already taking blood pressure medications.
- A condition that gradually progresses to kidney disease (IgA nephropathy). In high-risk patients with IgA nephropathy, taking fish oil by mouth for 2-4 years can slow the loss of kidney function. It is unclear whether it is beneficial when taken for a short period of time or in low-risk patients.
There is no scientific proof that 3 Omega treats:
- An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). People who eat fish more than once weekly have a reduced risk of developing age-related vision loss. But taking fish oil by mouth for up to 6 years does not prevent vision loss or slow down its progression.
- Chest pain (angina). Taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not reduce the risk of death or improve heart health in people with chest pain.
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Taking fish oil by mouth doesn’t slow the progression or improve symptoms of atherosclerosis.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Taking fish oil supplements has no effect on the treatment or prevention of eczema. However, children as young as 1-2 years old who eat fish at least once a week appear to have a lower risk of developing eczema.
- Heartbeat irregularity (atrial fibrillation). Eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements does not lower the risk of an irregular heartbeat. In fact, some people who take fish oil supplements may increase their risk of irregular heartbeat.
- Bipolar disorder. Taking fish oil orally in addition to conventional treatments for bipolar disorder does not improve symptoms of depression or mania.
- A lung disease that primarily affects newborns (bronchopulmonary dysplasia). Giving fish oil to premature infants by mouth does not appear to reduce the infant’s risk of developing this lung disease.
- Brain blood flow issues have persisted for a long time (cerebrovascular diseases). Consuming fish may lower the risk of cerebrovascular disease. However, taking fish oil supplements by mouth has no such effect.
- Memory and reasoning abilities (cognitive function). Fish oil supplements taken orally have no effect on mental function in older people, young adults, or children.
- An infection of the digestive tract can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori). When compared to standard medications, taking Omega 3 fish oil supplements by mouth does not appear to improve H. pylori infections.
- Transplantation of a kidney. Taking fish oil orally does not help people live longer after receiving a kidney transplant. It also appears to have no effect on the body’s rejection of the transplant.
- Breast discomfort (mastalgia). Taking fish oil orally does not appear to reduce long-term breast pain.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Fish oil taken orally does not appear to improve symptoms in people with MS.
- Osteoarthritis. Taking fish oil orally has no effect on pain or function in people with osteoarthritis. However, it may benefit obese people suffering from osteoarthritis-like pain.
- Pregnancy-related hypertension. Taking fish oil orally does not appear to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- High blood pressure and protein in the urine are symptoms of a pregnancy complication (pre-eclampsia). Taking fish oil orally does not appear to prevent pre-eclampsia.
- Muscle loss as we age (sarcopenia). Taking fish oil supplements orally while engaging in physical activity or strength training does not increase muscle strength in older adults.
- Abnormally fast heartbeats (ventricular arrhythmias). Taking Omega 3 fish oil orally has no effect on the risk of abnormal heart rhythms or the risk of death in people who have abnormally rapid heart rhythms.
- Diabetes. Taking Omega 3 fish oil orally has no effect on blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also does not reduce the risk of certain diabetes complications, such as heart attack and stroke. In people with diabetes, however, taking fish oil by mouth may help lower blood fats called triglycerides.
There is interest in using fish oil for a variety of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable data to say whether it will be beneficial.
Omega 3 supplements are taken orally. Omega 3 fish oil is probably safe for most people in doses of 3 grammes or less per day. Taking more than 3 grammes per day may increase the risk of minor side effects including bleeding. Heartburn, nosebleeds, unpleasant taste, bad breath, bad-smelling sweat, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and diarrhoea are some of the side effects of fish oil. These problems can be alleviated by taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them.
Consuming large amounts of fish oil from dietary sources may be hazardous. Mercury and other chemicals have contaminated some fish. These chemicals are not typically found in fish oil supplements.
Several large studies have linked higher levels of long-chain omega 3 in the blood with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
When applied to the skin. There is insufficient reliable information to determine whether fish oil is safe or what the potential side effects are.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this page. In the UK you can also report side effects directly to the Yellow Card Scheme By reporting side effects you can help provide vital information on the safety of this medical supplement.
Is this medicine suitable for you?
- Pregnant and breastfeeding. When taken orally, Omega 3 fish oil supplements are most likely safe. Taking Omega 3 fish oil does not appear to have any negative effects on the foetus during pregnancy or the baby while breastfeeding. Sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, on the other hand, should be avoided during pregnancy, by those who may become pregnant, and by those who are breastfeeding. These fish may contain high levels of mercury as well as other toxins. Limit your intake of other fish to 12 ounces per week (about 3 to 4 servings per week). Excessive consumption of fatty fish may be harmful.
- Children. When taken orally, Omega 3 fish oil supplements may be safe. Fish oil has been used safely in doses of up to 2.2 grammes per day for 12 weeks in adolescents. Young children, on the other hand, should not consume more than two ounces of fish per week. Large amounts of fish oil from dietary sources may be hazardous. Toxins such as mercury can be found in fatty fish. Eating contaminated fish on a regular basis can have serious consequences for children.
- Bipolar disorder. Some of the symptoms of this condition may be exacerbated by taking Omega 3 fish oil.
- Liver disease. Fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding in people who have scarring of the liver as a result of liver disease.
- Diabetes. High doses of fish oil may make controlling blood sugar levels more difficult.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis. There is some concern that Omega 3 fish oil may increase the risk of cancer in people who already have it.
- Conditions that reduce the immune system’s response (including HIV/AIDS). Higher doses of fish oil can suppress the immune system. This could be a problem for people who already have a weakened immune system.
- A device that is implanted to prevent irregular heartbeats. Omega 3 fish oil may increase the risk of irregular heartbeat in patients who have a defibrillator implanted. To be on the safe side, avoid taking fish oil supplements.
- An allergy to fish or seafood. Some people who are allergic to seafood, such as fish, may be allergic to Omega 3 fish oil supplements as well. There is no reliable data on how likely it is for people with seafood allergies to have an allergic reaction to fish oil. Patients who are allergic to seafood should avoid or use fish oil supplements with caution until more is known.
Consult your doctor
If you are taking any of the following medicines please consult your doctor:
- High blood pressure medications (Antihypertensive drugs). Fish oil has been shown to lower blood pressure. Taking fish oil with blood pressure medications may cause blood pressure to drop too low. Keep a close eye on your blood pressure.
- Pills for birth control (Contraceptive drugs). Triglyceride levels are sometimes reduced by taking fish oil. If combined with fish oil, birth control pills may reduce this effect.
- Orlistat (alli) (Xenical, Alli). Orlistat may prevent the body from absorbing the beneficial fatty acids found in fish oil. Taking fish oil and orlistat at least 2 hours apart may help prevent this.
- The antibiotic cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). Omega-3 fish oil may increase the amount of cyclosporine in the body. Taking fish oil with cyclosporine may increase its effects and side effects.
- Sirolimus is a type of antibiotic (Rapamune). Fish oil may increase the amount of sirolimus in the body. This could amplify the effects and side effects of sirolimus.
- Tacrolimus is a type of medication that is used to treat (Prograf). Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the amount of tacrolimus in the body. Tacrolimus’s effects and side effects may be exacerbated as a result.
- Anticoagulant / antiplatelet drugs (medications that slow blood clotting). Fish oil has been shown to slow blood clotting. Taking fish oil in conjunction with medications that slow blood clotting may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
- The anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin). Warfarin is a medication that is used to prevent blood clots. Omega 3 fish oil may also help to slow blood clotting. Taking fish oil with warfarin may cause excessive blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Use caution in conjunction with warfarin until more is known. Have your blood checked on a regular basis, as your warfarin dose may need to be adjusted.
- Cancer medications (Platinum agents). Some Omega 3 fish oil products contain a fatty acid that may mitigate the effects of certain chemotherapy drugs known as platinum agents. However, the amount of this fatty acid in most fish oil products is likely to be insignificant. There is no need to discontinue your use of fish oil if you are also taking platinum agents.
How much fish should we consume?
A healthy, balanced diet should include at least two servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily. Most of us don’t consume this much food. A portion weighs about 140g (4.9oz).
However, there are recommendations for the maximum amount of fish you should eat for certain types of fish. Learn more here.