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Omega 3

Omega 3

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Fish oil is FDA approved to lower triglycerides levels, but it is also used for many other conditions. It is most often used for conditions related to the heart and blood system. Some people use fish oil to lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Fish oil has also been used for preventing heart disease or stroke, as well as for clogged arteries, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, bypass surgery, heart failure, rapid heartbeat, preventing blood clots, and high blood pressure after a heart transplant.

Fish oil is also used to for many kidney-related problems including kidney disease, kidney failure, and kidney complications related to diabetes, cirrhosis, Berger's disease (IgA nephropathy), heart transplantation, or using the drug called cyclosporine.

Fish may have earned its reputation as "brain food" because some people eat fish to help with depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's disease, developmental coordination disorder, migraine headache, epilepsy, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental impairment.

Some people use fish oil for dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a very common condition in older people that can lead to serious sight problems.

Fish oil is taken by mouth for stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, an inherited disorder called phenylketonuria, allergy to salicylate, Crohn's disease, Behcet's syndrome, and Raynaud's syndrome.

Women sometimes take fish oil to prevent painful periods; breast pain; and complications associated with pregnancy such as miscarriage (including that caused by a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome), high blood pressure late in pregnancy, early delivery, slow infant growth, and to promote infant development.

Fish oil is also taken by mouth for weight loss, exercise performance and muscle strength, muscle soreness after exercise, pneumonia, cancer, lung disease, seasonal allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, and for preventing blood vessels from re-narrowing after surgery to widen them.

Fish oil is also used for diabetes, prediabetes, asthma, a movement and coordination disorder called dyspraxia, dyslexia, eczema, autism, obesity, weak bones (osteoporosis), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, psoriasis, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, gum disease, Lyme disease, sickle cell disease, and preventing weight loss caused by some cancer drugs.

Fish oil is used intravenously (by IV) for scaly and itchy skin (psoriasis), blood infection, cystic fibrosis, pressure ulcers, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Fish oil is applied to the skin for psoriasis.

How does it work?

A lot of the benefit of fish oil seems to come from the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Interestingly, the body does not produce its own omega-3 fatty acids. Nor can the body make omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids, which are common in the Western diet. A lot of research has been done on EPA and DHA, two types of omega-3 acids that are often included in fish oil supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling. This may explain why fish oil is likely effective for psoriasis and dry eyes. These fatty acids also prevent the blood from clotting easily. This might explain why fish oil is helpful for some heart conditions.

Traditionally used for

High triglycerides.
Heart disease.
Preventing re-blockage of blood vessels after angioplasty, a procedure to open a closed blood vessel.
Miscarriage in pregnant women with an autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Bipolar disorder.
Cancer-related weight loss.
Coronary artery bypass surgery.
Dry eye.
High blood pressure caused by the drug cyclosporine.
Damage to the kidneys caused the drug cyclosporine.
Developmental coordination disorder (DCD).
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea).
Movement disorder in children (dyspraxia).
Heart failure.
Heart transplant.
Abnormal cholesterol caused by HIV/AIDS treatment.
High blood pressure.
A certain kidney disease called IgA nephropathy.
Weak bones (osteoporosis).
Raynaud's syndrome.
Abnormal cholesterol following a kidney transplant.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Chronic kidney disease.
Abnormal cholesterol caused by clozapine.
Colorectal cancer.
Thinking problems (cognitive impairment). Cystic fibrosis.
Advanced kidney disease (end stage renal disease).
Preventing blockage of grafts used in kidney dialysis.
Muscle strength.
Swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Phenylketonuria (PKU).
Pregnancy complications.
Salicylate intolerance.
Sickle cell disease.
Behcet's syndrome.



By Mouth:

For high triglycerides: 1-15 grams of fish oil daily for up to 6 months, or fish oil providing 1.45 to 2.70 grams of EPA and 1.05 to 1.80 grams of DHA daily for 2 to 12 weeks, has been used.

For heart disease: Fish oil containing 0.6-10 grams of DHA and/or EPA daily has been taken for one month to 9 years.

For preventing and reversing the progression of hardening of the arteries after angioplasty: 6 grams of fish oil daily starting one month before angioplasty and continuing for one months after, followed by 3 grams daily for 6 months thereafter has been used. Also, 15 grams of fish oil has been taken daily for 3 weeks before angioplasty and for 6 months thereafter.

For preventing miscarriage in women with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome and a history of past miscarriage: 5.1 grams of fish oil with a 1.5 EPA:DHA ratio taken daily for 3 years has been used.

For attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A specific supplement containing 400 mg of fish oil and 100 mg of evening primrose oil (Eye Q, Novasel) six capsules daily for 15 weeks has been used. Also, 250 mg of a omega-3 fatty acids that have been complexed with phosphatidylserine have been used daily for 3 months.

For bipolar disorder: Fish oil providing 6.2 grams of EPA and 3.4 grams of DHA taken daily for 4 months has been used. Also, 1-6 grams of EPA for 12-16 weeks or omega-3 fatty acids containing 4.4-6.2 grams of EPA plus 2.4-3.4 grams of DHA for 4-16 weeks have been used.

For colorectal cancer: Fish oil (Omega-3, Phytomare, Governador Celso Ramos, SC, Brazil) 2 grams daily containing 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA for 9 weeks has been used alongside chemotherapy.

For slowing weight loss in patients with cancer: 30 mL of a specific fish oil product (ACO Omega-3, Pharmacia, Stockholm, Sweden) providing 4.9 grams of EPA and 3.2 grams of DHA daily for 4 weeks has been used. 7.5 grams of fish oil daily providing EPA 4.7 grams and DHA 2.8 grams has been used for about 6 weeks. In addition, two cans of a fish oil nutritional supplement containing 1.09 grams of EPA and 0.96 grams of DHA per can have been used daily for up to 7 weeks.

For keeping veins open after coronary bypass surgery: 4 grams of fish oil containing 2.04 grams of EPA and 1.3 grams of DHA has been used daily for one year.

For dry eye: Fish oil supplements providing EPA 360-1680 mg and DHA 240-560 mg have been used for 4-12 weeks. Some people used the specific product (PRN Dry Eye Omega Benefits softgels). A specific combination product containing EPA 450 mg, DHA 300 mg, and flaxseed oil 1000 mg (TheraTears Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition Research) has been used once daily for 90 days.

For high blood pressure caused by the drug cyclosporine: 3 to 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for 6 months after a heart transplant has been used. 2-18 grams of fish oil daily for 1 to 12 months after a kidney transplant has also been used.

For kidney problems related to using cyclosporine to prevent organ transplant rejection: 12 grams of fish oil daily for 2 months has been used after liver transplant. Also, 6 grams of fish oil daily for up to 3 months after kidney transplant has been used.

For painful menstrual periods: A daily dose of 1080 mg of EPA and 720 mg DHA along with 1.5 mg of vitamin E daily for 2 months has been used. Also, 500-2500 mg of fish oil has been used daily for 2-4 months.

For heart failure: 600 to 4300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily for up to 12 months has been used. Also, 1 gram of fish oil daily for about 2.9 years has been used.

Heart transplant: 4 grams of fish oil containing 46.5% EPA and 37.8% of DHA daily for one year has been used.

For abnormal cholesterol caused by HIV/AIDS treatment: Two capsules of a specific fish oil supplement (Omacor, Pronova BioPharma, Norway) containing 460 mg of EPA plus 380 mg of DHA twice daily for 12 weeks has been used.

For high blood pressure: 4 to 15 grams of fish oil daily, taken in single or divided doses, for up to 36 weeks has been used. Also, 3-15 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for 4 weeks has been used.

For preserving kidney function in patients with severe IgA nephropathy: 1-12 grams of fish oil daily for 2-4 years has been used. Also, 3 grams of fish oil in combination with a drug called renin-angiotensin system blocker (RASB) daily for 6 months has been used.

For weak bones (osteoporosis): Four 500 mg capsules of a mixture of evening primrose and fish oil, taken three times daily with meals along with 600 mg of calcium carbonate for 18 months, has been used.

For psoriasis: Fish oil capsules containing 3.6 grams of EPA and 2.4 grams of DHA daily for 15 weeks along with UVB therapy have been used.

For psychosis: Fish oil capsules containing 700 mg of EPA and 480 mg of DHA mixed with tocopherols and other omega-3 fatty acids daily for 12 weeks has been used.

For Raynaud's syndrome: A daily dose of 3.96 grams of EPA and 2.64 grams of DHA for 12 weeks has been used.
For abnormal cholesterol levels following a kidney transplant: 6 grams of fish oil daily for 3 months has been used.

For rheumatoid arthritis (RA): 10 grams of fish oil daily for 6 months, or fish oil containing 0.5-4.6 grams of EPA and 0.2-3.0 grams of DHA, sometimes along with vitamin E 15 IU, daily for up to 15 months has been used.

Applied to the Skin:

For psoriasis: Applying fish oil under a dressing for 6 hours daily for 4 weeks has been used.


By Mouth:

For developmental coordination disorder in children: Fish oil providing 558 mg of EPA and 174 mg of DHA in three divided doses daily for 3 months has been used in children aged 5-12 years.

For improving movement disorders in children with poor coordination (dyspraxia): A specific supplement containing fish oil in combination with evening primrose oil, thyme oil, and vitamin E (Efalex, Efamol Ltd), taken daily for 4 months, has been used.

Possible Side Effects

Fish oil is SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in low doses (3 grams or less per day). There are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Taking more than 3 grams per day might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding.

High doses of fish oil might also reduce the immune system's activity, reducing the body's ability to fight infection. This is a special concern for people taking medications to reduce their immune system's activity (organ transplant patients, for example) and the elderly.

Only take high doses of fish oil while under medical supervision.

Fish oil can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, and nosebleeds. Taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them can often decrease these side effects.

Fish oil is SAFE when injected intravenously (by IV) in the short-term. Fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid solutions have been safely used for 1 to 4 weeks.

Consuming large amounts of fish oil from some DIETARY sources is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Some fish meats (especially shark, king mackerel, and farm-raised salmon) can be contaminated with mercury and other industrial and environmental chemicals. Fish oil supplements typically do not contain these contaminants.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Children: Fish oil is SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Fish oil has been used safely through feeding tubes in infants for up to 9 months. But young children should not eat more than two ounces of fish per week. Fish oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when consumed from dietary sources in large amounts. Fatty fish contain toxins such as mercury. Eating contaminated fish frequently can cause brain damage, mental retardation, blindness and seizures in children.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Fish oil is SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Taking fish oil during pregnancy does not seem to affect the fetus or baby while breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant, and nursing mothers should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (also called golden bass or golden snapper), as these may contain high levels of mercury. Limit consumption of other fish to 12 ounces/week (about 3 to 4 servings/week). Fish oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when dietary sources are consumed in large amounts. Fatty fish contain toxins such as mercury.

Bipolar disorder: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.

Liver disease: Fish oil might increase the risk of bleeding in people with liver scarring due to liver disease.

Depression: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.

Diabetes: There is some concern that taking high doses of fish oil might make the control of blood sugar more difficult.

Familial adenomatous polyposis: There is some concern that fish oil might further increase the risk of getting cancer in people with this condition.

High blood pressure: Fish oil can lower blood pressure and might cause blood pressure to drop too low in people who are being treated with blood pressure-lowering medications.

HIV/AIDS and other conditions in which the immune system response is lowered: Higher doses of fish oil can lower the body's immune system response. This could be a problem for people whose immune system is already weak.

An implanted defibrillator (a surgically placed device to prevent irregular heartbeat): Some, but not all, research suggests that fish oil might increase the risk of irregular heartbeat in patients with an implanted defibrillator. Stay on the safe side by avoiding fish oil supplements.

Fish or seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood such as fish might also be allergic to fish oil supplements. There is no reliable information showing how likely people with seafood allergy are to have an allergic reaction to fish oil. Until more is known, advise patients allergic to seafood to avoid or use fish oil supplements cautiously.

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