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Fish Oil: Yay or Nay?

by Pragati Singh

Fish oil originates from a variety of sources. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two key omega-3 fatty acids found in it (DHA).

The omega-3 fatty acid concentration of fish oil appears to be the source of its advantages. Mackerel, herring, tuna, and salmon are among the fish that are particularly high in these oils. The body does not create much omega-3 fatty acids on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids help to relieve discomfort and swelling while also preventing blood clotting.

The FDA has authorised several fish oil products as prescription drugs for lowering triglyceride levels.

Supplements containing fish oil are also available. Because fish oil supplements do not contain the same quantity of fish oil as prescription medicines, they cannot be substituted for them. Fish oil supplements are occasionally used for heart health and mental health, although most of these claims are based on a lack of evidence.

EPA, DHA, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, krill oil, and shark liver oil are not to be confused with fish oil. These subjects are listed in their own section.

Mechanism behind it?
Effective for triglyceride levels in the blood that are too high (hypertriglyceridemia). Taking prescription fish oil medicines by mouth, such as Lovaza, Omtryg, and Epanova, lowers extremely high triglyceride levels. The most common dosage for these products is 4 grammes per day. While certain over-the-counter fish oil pills may be beneficial, they contain less omega-3 fatty acids than prescription fish oil supplements. To have the same impact as prescription fish oil, people would need to consume up to 12 capsules of fish oil supplements every day.

Possibly Effective for:

  • A technique to open a blood artery that has been clogged or constricted (angioplasty). When taken for at least 3 weeks before an angioplasty and continued for one month thereafter, fish oil reduces the risk of blood artery re-blockage by up to 45 percent.
  • Involuntary weight reduction in terminally sick patients (cachexia or wasting syndrome). In some cancer patients, taking a large dosage of fish oil by mouth appears to halt weight loss. Fish oil at low amounts does not appear to have this impact.
  • The medication cyclosporine causes kidney damage. Fish oil appears to protect those on cyclosporine against kidney injury. In persons who have recently rejected a donated kidney and are receiving cyclosporine, fish oil appears to enhance kidney function.
  • Cramps during menstruation (dysmenorrhea). Fish oil, alone or in combination with vitamin B12 or vitamin E, can help with uncomfortable periods and minimise the need for pain relievers.
  • Heart failure is a serious condition. Higher levels of fish oil in the diet have been related to a decreased incidence of heart failure. It is suggested that you eat 1-2 portions of non-fried fish each week. It’s too early to say whether taking fish oil supplements will help you avoid heart failure. In patients who already have heart failure, however, taking fish oil supplements by mouth may minimise the chance of mortality or hospitalisation.
  • Blood fat levels in HIV/AIDS patients are abnormal. In those with abnormal cholesterol levels induced by HIV/AIDS medication, taking fish oil supplements by mouth lowers triglyceride levels.
  • Blood pressure that is too high. In patients with moderate to extremely high blood pressure, taking fish oil by mouth appears to drop blood pressure modestly. It’s unclear if it benefits folks who have slightly elevated blood pressure or those who are currently using blood pressure drugs.
  • A disorder that leads to renal damage over time (IgA nephropathy). In high-risk individuals with IgA nephropathy, taking fish oil by mouth for 2-4 years can help reduce the loss of kidney function. It’s unclear if it benefits in low-risk people or when used for a short period of time.
  • Fat accumulation in the liver in those who consume little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). Taking fish oil by mouth, either alone or in combination with the medicine naproxen, appears to help alleviate RA symptoms. Swollen and sensitive joints in persons with RA can be reduced by taking fish oil by IV, however this can only be done by a healthcare expert.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • In elderly individuals, this is an eye illness that causes vision loss (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). People who eat fish more than once a week have a lower risk of visual loss as they age. However, consuming fish oil by mouth for up to 6 years does not prevent or decrease the course of eyesight loss.
  • Pain in the chest (angina). In those with chest discomfort, taking fish oil supplements by mouth did not lower the risk of mortality or improve heart health.
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (atherosclerosis). Taking fish oil by mouth does not reduce the course of atherosclerosis or improve symptoms.
  • Eczema is a skin condition that affects millions of people (atopic dermatitis). Supplementing with fish oil does not help cure or prevent eczema. However, from the age of 1-2 years, children who consume fish at least once a week appear to have a decreased chance of acquiring eczema.
  • Irregular heartbeat is a condition in which the heartbeat is irregular (atrial fibrillation). Taking fish oil supplements or eating fatty fish does not lessen the risk of an irregular heartbeat. In fact, some persons who take fish oil supplements may have a higher chance of having an irregular heartbeat.
  • Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects both men and women In persons with bipolar illness, taking fish oil by mouth in addition to traditional therapies did not alleviate symptoms of despair or mania.
  • A illness that damages babies’ lungs (bronchopulmonary dysplasia). Giving fish oil to preterm infants by mouth does not appear to lower their chance of acquiring this lung illness.
  • Problems with long-term blood flow in the brain (cerebrovascular diseases). Consumption of fish may lower the risk of cerebrovascular illness. Taking fish oil supplements by mouth, on the other hand, has no such impact.
  • Memory and reasoning abilities (cognitive function). In elderly persons, young adults, and children, taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not improve mental performance.
  • An infection of the gastrointestinal system that can develop to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori). When compared to traditional medicines, taking fish oil supplements by mouth does not appear to help H. pylori infections.
  • Kidney transplantation is a procedure in which a person receives People who take fish oil by mouth do not survive longer following a kidney transplant. It also appears to have no effect on the body’s rejection of the transplant.
  • Breast discomfort (mastalgia). Fish oil used orally does not appear to help with long-term breast discomfort.
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects people (MS). Fish oil used orally does not shown to help patients with MS symptoms.
  • Osteoarthritis. In persons with osteoarthritis, taking fish oil by mouth does not enhance pain or function. However, it may benefit obese patients suffering from osteoarthritis-like symptoms.
  • Having high blood pressure during pregnancy is a common occurrence. Fish oil used orally does not appear to lower blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure and protein in the urine are symptoms of this pregnancy problem (pre-eclampsia). Pre-eclampsia does not appear to be prevented by taking fish oil by mouth.
  • Muscle loss as people become older (sarcopenia). In older individuals, taking fish oil supplements by mouth while doing physical exercise or strength training does not enhance muscular strength.
  • Rhythms of the heart that are abnormally fast (ventricular arrhythmias). Fish oil taken orally had no effect on the risk of abnormal heart rhythms or mortality in persons with abnormally fast heart rhythms.

Likely InEffective for

Diabetes: In persons with type 2 diabetes, taking fish oil by mouth did not reduce blood sugar. It also doesn’t lower the risk of some diabetic complications like heart attack and stroke. Taking fish oil by mouth, on the other hand, may help diabetics decrease blood fats called triglycerides.
Fish oil is being considered for a variety of additional uses, but there isn’t enough trustworthy research to indicate whether it would be beneficial.

Side Effects

When administered orally: When used on the skin, There isn’t enough solid data to determine whether fish oil is safe or what the potential adverse effects are. In dosages of 3 grammes or less per day, fish oil is probably safe for most individuals. Taking more than 3 grammes of magnesium per day may raise the risk of bleeding. Heartburn, loose stools, and nosebleeds are all adverse effects of fish oil. These problems can be alleviated by taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them.

When applied to the skin: It is possible that consuming large amounts of fish oil from DIETARY sources is dangerous. Mercury and other toxins have been found in some fish. These compounds are seldom seen in fish oil supplements.

Precautions and Warnings

  • When taken by mouth, fish oil supplements are probably safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Taking fish oil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding appears to have no effect on the foetus. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, on the other hand, should be avoided by pregnant women, those who may become pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding. These fish might have high amounts of mercury and other poisons in them. Other fish should be limited to 12 ounces per week (about 3 to 4 meals). It’s possible that eating a lot of fatty fish is dangerous.
  • When taken by mouth, fish oil supplements may be safe for children. Fish oil has been used safely at amounts of up to 2.2 grammes per day for 12 weeks in teenagers. Young children, on the other hand, should not consume more than two ounces of fish every week. It’s possible that consuming significant amounts of fish oil from DIETARY sources is dangerous. Toxins such as mercury can be found in fatty fish. Children who consume tainted seafood on a regular basis may suffer catastrophic consequences.
  • Fish oil supplementation may exacerbate some of the symptoms of bipolar illness.
  • Fish oil may raise the risk of bleeding in those who have liver scarring as a result of liver illness.
  • High amounts of fish oil may make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  • Fish oil may raise the risk of cancer in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, according to certain studies.
  • The immune system’s reaction is decreased in the following conditions (including HIV/AIDS): Fish oil in higher dosages can suppress the immune system’s reaction. This might be an issue for persons who already have a compromised immune system.
  • An implanted device to prevent irregular heartbeat: Fish oil may raise the risk of irregular heartbeat in those who have a defibrillator implanted. To be safe, avoid using fish oil supplements.
  • Allergy to fish or seafood: Some persons who are sensitive to fish or shellfish may also be allergic to fish oil supplements. There is no good evidence on the likelihood of an adverse response to fish oil in those who have a seafood allergy. Patients allergic to seafood should avoid or take fish oil supplements with caution until further information becomes available.


Adults have traditionally taken fish oil supplements in amounts of up to 6 grammes per day by mouth for up to 12 weeks. Each pill of fish oil normally contains 180-465 mg of EPA and 120-375 mg of DHA. Prescription medications containing fish oil include Lovaza, Omtryg, and Epanova. Fish oil supplements cannot be used in place of prescription fish oil medications. Consult a healthcare expert to determine the optimal product and dosage for a specific ailment.

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