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GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240

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180 Mini Softgels

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Description
  • 1240 mg of fish oil in each serving, providing 1000 mg total OMEGA-3 fatty acid EPA and DHA*
  • May reduce the risk of coronary heart disease*
  • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure*
  • Enteric coated 180 Mini Softgels

* 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.

Supplement Facts

As a dietary supplement, take two softgel capsule daily with food.

Serving Size 2 Softgel Capsules
Servings Per Container 90
Amount Per Serving % DV
Calories from Fat 15.00
Calories 15.00
Total Fat 1.50 g 2%
Total Fish Oil 1240.00 mg **
EPA (Eicosapentiaenoic Acid)(Omega-3) 714.00 mg **
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)(Omega-3) 288.00 mg **
** Daily Value (DV) not established

Other Ingredients: Fish Body Oil, Gelatin, Glycerin, Enteric Coating (Cellulose, Sodium Alginate Medium Chain Triglycerides, Oleic & Stearic Acid)

Health Notes

Fish Oil & Cod Liver Oil (EPA & DHA)

Fish Oil & Cod Liver Oil (EPA & DHA)
This nutrient has been used in connection with the following health goals
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

High Triglycerides
Dose: 3,000 mg daily omega-3 fatty acids
Many double-blind trials have shown that fish oil containing EPA and DHA lowers triglycerides levels.(more)
Hypertension
Dose: 3 to 15 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids
EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, have been repeatedly shown to lower blood pressure.(more)
Congestive Heart Failure
Dose: 850 to 882 mg per day
In a double-blind study of people with chronic heart failure, a combination of EPA and DHA for four years resulted in a small but statistically significant protection against death or hospitalization for cardiovascular reasons. (more)
Atherosclerosis
Dose: 3 to 6 grams fish oil daily, containing at least 30% omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil may reduce risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart disease. One trial showed that people who took fish oil had a slowing of the progression of their arterial plaque and had a decrease in cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. (more)
Angina
Dose: Consult a doctor
Fish oil has been shown to reduce chest pain and the need for nitroglycerin. Taking vitamin E with fish oil may protect the oil from undergoing potentially damaging oxidation in the body.(more)
Heart Attack
Dose: 850 to, 1700 mg omega-3 fatty acids
Supplementing with fish oil may reduce the chances of having another heart attack.(more)
High Homocysteine
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Intermittent Claudication
Dose: 200 mg of EPA and 130 mg of DHA daily, plus small amounts of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid
In one study, men with intermittent claudication who drank a milk product fortified with fish oil, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid could walk further without pain than those who drank regular milk.(more)
Cardiac Arrhythmia
Dose: Do not take, or take only with a doctor's supervision, if there is a history of sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
Fish oil has been shown to reduce the frequency of abnormal heartbeats in some trials.(more)
Raynaud's Disease
Dose: 4 grams of EPA per day
Supplementing with fish oil may reduce the severity of blood-vessel spasm.(more)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been linked to reduced risk of COPD.(more)
Depression
Dose: 9.6 grams omega-3 fatty acids per day
Depressed people have been reported to have low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Taking fish oil can replenish stores and stave off depression.(more)
Anxiety
Dose: 3 grams per day
In a double-blind trial, fish oil was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving anxiety levels for substance abusers. (more)
Dysmenorrhea
Dose: Refer to label instructions
A fish oil supplement containing EPA and DHA may help prevent menstrual syndromes.(more)
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Dose: 2.7 to 6.1 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA)
Supplementing with fish oil (providing the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced recurrence of premature delivery, according to one analysis.(more)
Pregnancy and Prenatal Growth
Dose: Refer to label instructions
The DHA found in fish oil is essential for the development of the visual system in infants. (more)
Endometriosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Fish oil may reduce the severity of endometriosis, and it has been shown to improve symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), which may be caused by endometriosis.(more)
Pregnancy
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Follow label directions
In one study, supplementing with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 improved visual function in people with macular degeneration.(more)
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Refer to label instructions
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, especially from fish, has been associated with lower risks of age-related macular degeneration. (more)
Alzheimer's Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Fish oil may help slow the rate of cognitive decline in people with very mild impairment. (more)
Eczema
Dose: Adults: 1,800 mg a day of EPA; children: proportionately less, according to body weight
Supplementing with fish oil can supply anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are missing in many people with eczema.(more)
Psoriasis
Dose: Take orally 10 grams daily oil or 3.6 grams daily EPA, or apply a 10% topical solution twice per day
Fish oil has been found to reduce the severity of psoriasis and improve skin lesions. It also may help prevent increased triglyceride levels that result from certain psoriasis drugs.(more)
Photosensitivity
Dose: redundant
In one trial, supplementing with fish oil reduced photosensitivity in 90% of people suffering from polymorphous light eruptions.(more)
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dose: 3 grams daily of EPA plus DHA
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory effect and may help reduce pain. Many trials have proven that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil partially relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.(more)
Osteoarthritis
Dose: Refer to label instructions
The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, EPA and DHA, have anti-inflammatory effects and may relieve pain.(more)
Tooth Decay
Dose: 3 tsp per day of cod liver oil
One trial showed that children given cod liver oil for an entire school year had over 50% fewer new cavities.(more)
Canker Sores
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Anxiety
Dose: 3 grams per day
In a double-blind trial, fish oil was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving anxiety levels for substance abusers. (more)
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Bipolar Disorder
Dose: Daily omega-3 fatty acids: 9.6 grams for adults, 1,290 to 4,300 mg for children
People with depression may have lower blood levels of omega-3s. Taking fish oil, in addition to prescribed medication, improved symptoms in one study. (more)
Schizophrenia
Dose: 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily of EPA
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids appear to be deficient or improperly used in people with schizophrenia. Supplementing with fish oil may correct an imbalance and improve symptoms.(more)
Osteoporosis
Dose: 6 grams daily
Fish oil combined with evening primrose oil (EPO) may improve calcium absorption and promote bone formation.(more)
Osteoporosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with fish oil may improve calcium absorption and promote bone formation.(more)
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Follow label directions
In one study, supplementing with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 improved visual function in people with macular degeneration.(more)
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Glaucoma
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Inuit people, who eat large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, appear to have a much lower incidence of glaucoma than do Caucasians. One study found that cod liver oil (a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids) reduced intraocular pressure in animals.(more)
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Refer to label instructions
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, especially from fish, has been associated with lower risks of age-related macular degeneration. (more)
Dysmenorrhea
Dose: Refer to label instructions
A fish oil supplement containing EPA and DHA may help prevent menstrual syndromes.(more)
Endometriosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Fish oil may reduce the severity of endometriosis, and it has been shown to improve symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), which may be caused by endometriosis.(more)
Asthma
Dose: Consult a doctor
Research shows that fish oil partially reduces reactions to allergens that can trigger asthma attacks. It has also been shown in one study to prevent exercise-induced asthma attacks.(more)
Ulcerative Colitis
Dose: 5.4 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids
Supplementing with fish oil may help reduce inflammation and prevent relapses.(more)
Crohn's Disease
Dose: 2.7 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids in enteric-coated capsules
Fish oil helps relieve the inflammation of the gut that occurs in people suffering from Crohn's disease. (more)
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Dose: 2.7 to 6.1 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA)
Supplementing with fish oil (providing the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced recurrence of premature delivery, according to one analysis.(more)
Pregnancy and Prenatal Growth
Dose: Refer to label instructions
The DHA found in fish oil is essential for the development of the visual system in infants. (more)
Breast-Feeding Support
Dose: Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Studies have shown that higher breast milk concentrations of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil) are associated with better visual acuity in infants. (more)
Preeclampsia
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Fish oil supplementation may lower the incidence of preeclampsia.(more)
Pregnancy
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
Lupus
Dose: Up to 20 grams fish oil per day after consultation with a doctor
Supplementing with fish oil may improve symptoms and decrease disease activity. (more)
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Dose: 3.3 to 5 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids before and after surgery
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory properties and may improve recovery and prevent infection after surgery.(more)
Immune Function and Critically Ill Patients
Dose: Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
For critically ill and hospitalized patients, supplementing with fish oil appears to increase immune function.(more)
Immune Function and Post-Surgery Patients
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Most studies have reported that supplementing with omega-3s increases immune function in hospitalized post-surgery patients.(more)
Type 2 Diabetes
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with fish oil may improve glucose tolerance and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy(more)
Type 1 Diabetes
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with fish oil may improve glucose tolerance and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy.(more)
Migraine Headache
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Fish oil containing EPA and DHA has been reported to reduce migraine headache symptoms. Fish oil may help because of its effects in modifying hormone-like substances called prostaglandins.(more)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dose: Refer to label instructions
In one study, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome reported an improvement in their symptoms after taking a supplement containing the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.(more)
Kidney Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions
(more)
High Triglycerides
Dose: 3,000 mg daily omega-3 fatty acids

Many double-blind trials have demonstrated that fish oils (also called fish-oil concentrates) containing EPA and DHA (mentioned above) lower TG levels.1 The amount of fish oil used in much of the research was an amount that provided 3,000 mg per day of omega-3 fatty acids. To calculate how much omega-3 fatty acid is contained in a fish oil supplement, add together the amounts of EPA and DHA. For example, a typical 1,000-mg capsule of fish oil provides 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA (total omega-3 fatty acids equals 300 mg). Ten of these capsules would contain 3,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil, do not lower TGs. While flaxseed oil has other benefits, it should not be used for the purpose of reducing TGs.

Cod liver oil, another source of omega-3 fatty acids, has also been found to lower TGs.2 Cod liver oil is less expensive than the fish oil concentrates discussed previously. However, cod liver oil also contains relatively large amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D; too much of either can cause side effects. In contrast, fish oil concentrates have little or none of these vitamins. Individuals wishing to use cod liver oil as a substitute for a fish-oil concentrate should consult a doctor.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and cod liver oil have been reported to affect blood in many other ways that might lower the risk of heart disease.3 However, these supplements sometimes increase LDL cholesterol-the bad form of cholesterol. A doctor can check to see if fish oil has this effect on an individual. Research shows that when 900 mg of garlic extract is added to fish oil, the combination still dramatically lowers TG levels but no longer increases LDL cholesterol.4 Therefore, it appears that taking garlic supplements may be a way to avoid the increase in LDL cholesterol sometimes associated with taking fish oil. People who take fish oil may also need to take vitamin E to prevent the oil from undergoing potentially damaging oxidation in the body.5 It is not known how much vitamin E is needed to prevent such oxidation. The amount required would presumably depend on the amount of fish oil used. In one clinical trial, 300 IU of vitamin E per day prevented oxidation damage in individuals taking 6 grams of fish oil per day.6

References

1. Prichard BN, Smith CCT, Ling KLE, Betteridge DJ. Fish oils and cardiovascular disease. BMJ 1995;310:819-20 [editorial/review].

2. Von Schacky C, Fischer S, Weber PC. Long-term effects of dietary marine omega-3 fatty acids upon plasma and cellular lipids, platelet function, and eicosanoid formation in humans. J Clin Invest 1985;76:1626-31.

3. Leaf A, Weber PC. Cardiovascular effects of n-3 fatty acids. N Engl J Med 1988;318:549-57 [review].

4. Adler AJ, Holub BJ. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:445-50.

5. Haglund O, Luostarinen R, Wallin R, et al. The effects of fish oil on triglycerides, cholesterol, fibrinogen and malondialdehyde in humans supplemented with vitamin E. J Nutr 1991;121:165-9.

6. Oostenbrug GS, Mensink RP, Hornstra G. A moderate in vivo vitamin E supplement counteracts the fish-oil-induced increase in in vitro oxidation of human low-density lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 1993;57:827S.

Hypertension
Dose: 3 to 15 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids

EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, lower blood pressure, according to an analysis of 31 trials.1 The effect was dependent on the amount of omega-3 fatty acids used, with the best results occurring in trials using unsustainably high levels: 15 grams per day-the amount often found in 50 grams of fish oil. Although results with lower intakes were not as impressive, trials using over 3 grams per day of omega-3 (as typically found in ten 1,000 mg pills of fish oil) also reported significant reductions in blood pressure. One double-blind trial reported that DHA had greater effects on blood pressure than EPA or mixed fish oil supplements.2 DHA is now available as a supplement separate from EPA.

References

1. Morris MC, Sacks F, Rosner B. Does fish oil lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled trials. Circulation 1993;88:523-33.

2. Mori TA, Bao DQ, Burke V, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid but not eicosapentaenoic acid lowers ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in humans. Hypertension 1999;34:253-60.

Congestive Heart Failure
Dose: 850 to 882 mg per day

In a double-blind study of patients with chronic heart failure, supplementation with the fatty acids present in fish oil for an average of four years resulted in a small but statistically significant decrease in the number of patients who died or were hospitalized for cardiovascular reasons. The treatment consisted of 850 to 882 mg per day of a mixture of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (as their ethyl esters).1 In another double-blind trial, supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid improved heart function and decreased the number of hospitalizations in patients with heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy.2

References

1. Gissi-HF Investigators. Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with chronic heart failure (the GISSI-HF trial): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2008;372:1223-30.

2. Nodari S, Triggiani M, Campia U, et al. Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on left ventricular function and functional capacity in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;57:870-9.

Atherosclerosis
Dose: 3 to 6 grams fish oil daily, containing at least 30% omega-3 fatty acids

Supplementation with fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has been associated with favorable changes in various risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart disease in some,1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 but not all, studies.7, 8, 9 A double-blind trial showed that people with atherosclerosis who took fish oil (6 grams per day for 3 months and then 3 grams a day for 21 months) had significant slowing of progression of atherosclerotic plaques and a decrease in cardiovascular events (for example, heart attack and stroke) compared with those who did not take fish oil.10 These results contradict the findings of an earlier controlled trial in which fish oil supplementation for two years (6 grams per day) did not promote major favorable changes in the diameter of atherosclerotic coronary arteries.11

References

1. Ando M, Sanaka T, Nihei H. Eicosapentanoic acid reduces plasma levels of remnant lipoproteins and prevents in vivo peroxidation of LDL in dialysis patients. J Am Soc Nephrol 1999;10:2177-84.

2. Olszewski AJ, McCully KS. Fish oil decreases serum homocysteine in hyperlipemic men. Coron Artery Dis 1993;4:53-60.

3. Phillipson BE, Rothrock DW, Connor WE, et al. Reduction of plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and apoproteins by dietary fish oils in patients with hypertriglyceridemia. N Engl J Med 1985;312:1210-6.

4. Haglund O, Wallin R, Luostarinen R, Saldeen T. Effects of a new fluid fish oil concentrate, ESKIMO-3, on triglycerides, cholesterol, fibrinogen and blood pressure. J Intern Med 1990;227:347-53.

5. Haglund O, Luostarinen R, Wallin W, Saldeen T. Effects of fish oil on triglycerides, lipoprotein(a), atherogenic index and fibrinogen. Influence of the degree of purification of the oil. Nutr Res 1992;12:455-68.

6. Haglund O, Luostarinen R, Wallin R, et al. The effects of fish oil on triglycerides, cholesterol, fibrinogen and malondialdehyde in humans supplemented with vitamin E. J Nutr 1991;121:165-9.

7. Leng GC, Lee AJ, Fowkes FG, et al. Randomized controlled trial of gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in peripheral arterial disease. Clin Nutr 1998;17:265-71.

8. Leaf A, Jorgensen MB, Jacobs AK, et al. Do fish oils prevent restenosis after coronary angioplasty? Circulation 1994;90:2248-57.

9. Sacks FM, Stone PH, Gibson CM, et al. Controlled trial of fish oil for regression of human coronary atherosclerosis. HARP Research Group. J Am Coll Cardiol 1995;25:1492-8.

10. von Schacky C, Angerer P, Kothny W, et al. The effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:554-62.

11. Sacks FM, Stone PH, Gibson CM, et al. Controlled trial of fish oil for regression of human coronary atherosclerosis. HARP Research Group. J Am Coll Cardiol 1995;25:1492-8.

Angina
Dose: Consult a doctor

Fish oil, which contains the fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, has been studied in the treatment of angina. In some studies, enough fish oil to provide a total of about 3 grams of EPA and 2 grams of DHA has reduced chest pain as well as the need for nitroglycerin;1 other investigators could not confirm these findings.2 People who take fish oil may also need to take vitamin E to protect the oil from undergoing potentially damaging oxidation in the body.3 It is not known how much vitamin E is needed to prevent such oxidation; the amount required would presumably depend on the amount of fish oil used. In one study, 300 IU of vitamin E per day prevented oxidation damage in individuals taking 6 grams of fish oil per day.4

References

1. Saynor R, Verel D, Gillott T. The long-term effect of dietary supplementation with fish lipid concentrate on serum lipids, bleeding time, platelets and angina. Atherosclerosis 1984;50:3-10.

2. Mehta JL, Lopez LM, Lawson D, et al. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with stable coronary heart disease. Effects on indices of platelet and neutrophil function and exercise performance. Am J Med 1988;84:45-52.

3. Wander RC, Du SH, Ketchum SO, Rowe KE. Alpha-tocopherol influences in vivo indices of lipid peroxidation in postmenopausal women given fish oil. J Nutr 1996;126:643-52.

4. Oostenbrug GS, Mensink RP, Hornstra G. A moderate in vivo vitamin E supplement counteracts the fish-oil-induced increase in in vitro oxidation of human low-density lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 1993;57:827S.

Heart Attack
Dose: 850 to, 1700 mg omega-3 fatty acidsFish oil contains the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have led to partial reversal of atherosclerosis in a double-blind trial.1 In another double-blind trial, individuals were given either fish oil (containing about 1 gram of EPA and 2/3 gram of DHA) or mustard oil (containing about 3 grams alpha linolenic acid, another omega-3 fatty acid) 18 hours after a heart attack. Both groups experienced fewer nonfatal heart attacks compared to a placebo group, while the fish oil group also experienced fewer fatal heart attacks.2 The largest published study on omega-3 fatty acids for heart attack prevention was the preliminary GISSI Prevenzione Trial,3 which reported that 850 mg of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil per day for 3.5 years resulted in a 20% reduction in total mortality and a 45% decrease in sudden death. Other investigators suggest that fish oil reduces the amount of heart muscle damage from a heart attack and enhances the effect of blood-thinning medication.4 People wishing to supplement with fish oil should take fish oil supplements that include at least small amounts of vitamin E, which may protect this fragile oil against free radical damage.5
References

1. von Schacky C, Angerer P, Kothny W, et al. The effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:554-62.

2. Singh RB, Niaz MA, Sharma JP, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil and mustard oil in patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction: the Indian experiment of infarct survival--4. Cardiovasc Drugs 1997;11:485-91.

3. [No authors listed]. Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell'Infarto miocardico. Lancet 1999;354:447-55.

4. Landmark K, Abdelnoor M, Urdal P, et al. Use of fish oils appears to reduce infarct size as estimated from peak creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities. Cardiology 1998;89:94-102.

5. Wander RC, Du SH, Ketchum SO, Rowe KE. Alpha-tocopherol influences in vivo indices of lipid peroxidation in postmenopausal women given fish oil. J Nutr 1996;126:643-52.

High Homocysteine
Dose: Refer to label instructionsIn a pooled analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials, supplementation with various amounts of fish oil or the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil resulted in a small but statistically significant decrease in homocysteine levels.1
References

1. Huang T, Zheng J, Chen Y, et al. High consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease plasma homocysteine: a meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Nutrition 2011;27:863-7.

Intermittent Claudication
Dose: 200 mg of EPA and 130 mg of DHA daily, plus small amounts of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid

Men with intermittent claudication consumed a fortified milk product or regular milk daily for one year. The fortified product provided daily 130 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 200 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA, two fatty acids in fish oil), small amounts of supplemental vitamin E, folic acid, and vitamin B6, and additional amounts of oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Compared with regular milk, the fortified milk product significantly increased the distance the participants could walk before the onset of pain.1

References

1. Carrero JJ, Lopez-Huertas E, Salmeron LM, et al. Daily supplementation with (n-3) PUFAs, oleic acid, folic acid, and vitamins B-6 and E increases pain-free walking distance and improves risk factors in men with peripheral vascular disease. J Nutr2005;135:1393-9.

Cardiac Arrhythmia
Dose: Do not take, or take only with a doctor's supervision, if there is a history of sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation

In a double-blind trial, people with a type of arrhythmia known as ventricular premature complexes were supplemented for 16 weeks with either 15 ml (1 tbsp) per day of fish oil or a similar amount of safflower oil as placebo. Patients taking the fish oil had a significantly reduced frequency of abnormal heartbeats compared with those receiving placebo, and 44% of those receiving fish oil experienced at least a 70% reduction in the frequency of abnormal beats.1 In a separate study, however, men given 20 ml (4 tsp) of cod liver oil per day for six weeks, beginning one week after a heart attack, had the same frequency of irregular heart beats as did men given no supplemental oil.2 In a double-blind study, people who had a history of certain potentially life-threatening arrhythmias-sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation-had an increase in the recurrence rate of these arrhythmias when they took fish oil.3 A similar study found no adverse effect of fish oil supplements in people with these serious arrhythmias.4 Because of these conflicting findings, people with a history of either of these arrhythmias should consult a doctor before taking fish oil.

References

1. Sellmayer A, Witzgall H, Lorenz RL, Weber PC. Effects of dietary fish oil on ventricular premature complexes. Am J Cardiol 1995;76:974-7.

2. Hardarson T, Kristinsson A, Skuladottir G, et al. Cod liver oil does not reduce ventricular extrasystoles after myocardial infarction. J Intern Med 1989;236:33-7.

3. Raitt MH, Connor WE, Morris C, et al. Fish oil supplementation and risk of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in patients with implantable defibrillators. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005;293:2884-91

4. Brouwer IA, Zock PL, Camm AJ, et al. Effect of fish oil on ventricular tachyarrhythmia and death in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: the Study on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Ventricular Arrhythmia (SOFA) randomized trial. JAMA2006;295:2613-9.

Raynaud's Disease
Dose: 4 grams of EPA per day

In a double-blind trial, supplementation with 12 large capsules of fish oil per day (providing 4 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] per day) for 6 or 12 weeks reduced the severity of blood-vessel spasm in 5 of 11 people with Raynaud's phenomenon.1 Fish oil was effective in people with primary Raynaud's disease, but not in those whose symptoms were secondary to another disorder.

References

1. Digiacomo RA, Kremer JM, Shah DM. Fish-oil dietary supplementation in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon: a double-blind, controlled, prospective study. Am J Med 1989;86:158-64.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions

A greater intake of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils has been linked to reduced risk of COPD,1 though research has yet to investigate whether fish oil supplements would help people with COPD. In a double-blind trial, people with COPD received a fatty acid supplement (providing daily 760 mg of gamma-linolenic acid, 1,200 mg of alpha-linolenic acid, 700 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid, and 340 mg of docosahexaenoic acid) or a placebo (80% palm oil and 20% sunflower oil) during an eight-week rehabilitation program. Compared with the placebo, the fatty acid supplement significantly improved exercise capacity.2 While two of the fatty acids supplied in this supplement (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic [DHA] acid) are found in fish oil, is not known which components of the supplement were most responsible for the improvement. Gamma-linolenic acid is found in evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, and borage oil; alpha-linolenic acid is found in flaxseed oil and other oils.

References

1. Shahar E, Folsom AR, Melnick SL, et al. Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study Investigators. N Engl J Med 1994;331:228-33.

2. Broekhuizen R, Wouters EFM, Creutzberg EC, et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids improve exercise capacity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thorax 2005;60:376-82.

Depression
Dose: 9.6 grams omega-3 fatty acids per day

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, particularly DHA, are needed for normal nervous system function. Depressed people have been reported to have lower omega-3 fatty acid levels (for example, DHA) than people who are not depressed.1, 2, 3, 4 Low levels of the other omega-3 fatty acid from fish, EPA, have correlated with increased severity of depression.5 In some double-blind trials, supplementation with various amounts of fish oil was beneficial for the treatment of depression in both children and adults,6, 7 but fish oil was ineffective in other double blind trials.8, 9

EPA alone has also been reported to be beneficial. There is one case report of a man with a long history of severe depression who showed clear improvement within one month of starting a purified EPA supplement (4 grams per day of the ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid [E-EPA]).10 In a double-blind study, supplementation with E-EPA for 12 weeks was significantly more effective than a placebo at relieving symptoms of depression.11 E-EPA was beneficial, even though the participants in the study had failed to respond adequately to conventional antidepressant drugs. The conventional medications were continued during treatment with E-EPA or placebo. An effective level of intake was 1 gram per day, whereas larger amounts of E-EPA resulted in little or no benefit. The authors of the study suggested that taking too much E-EPA might cause an imbalance with other essential fatty acids, which could reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

References

1. Edwards R, Peet M, Shay J, Horrobin D. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the diet and in red blood cell membranes of depressed patients. J Affect Disord 1998;48:149-55.

2. Maes M, Smith R, Christophe A, et al. Fatty acid composition in major depression: decreased omega 3 fractions in cholesteryl esters and increased C20: 4 omega 6/C20:5 omega 3 ratio in cholesteryl esters and phospholipids. J Affect Disord 1996;38:35-46.

3. Peet M, Murphy B, Shay J, Horrobin D. Depletion of omega-3 fatty acid levels in red blood cell membranes of depressive patients. Biol Psychiatry 1998;43:315-9.

4. Maes M, Christophe A, Delanghe J, et al. Lowered omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum phospholipids and cholesteryl esters of depressed patients. Psychiatry Res 1999;85:275-91.

5. Adams PB, Lawson S, Sanigorski A, Sinclair AJ. Arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid ratio in blood correlates positively with clinical symptoms of depression. Lipids 1996;31:S157-S161.

6. Nemets H, Nemets B, Apter A, et al. Omega-3 treatment of childhood depression: a controlled, double-blind pilot study. Am J Psychiatry 2006;163:1098-100.

7. Su KP, Huang SY, Chiu CC, Shen WW. Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder. A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2003;13:267-71.

8. Grenyer BFS, Crowe T, Meyer B, et al. Fish oil supplementation in the treatment of major depression: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2007;31:1393-6.

9. Rogers PJ, Appleton KM, Kessler D, et al. No effect of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (EPA and DHA) supplementation on depressed mood and cognitive function: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr 2008;99:421-31.

10. Puri BK, Counsell SJ, Richardson AJ, Horrobin DF. Eicosapentaenoic acid in treatment-resistant depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002;59:91-92 [Letter].

11. Peet M, Horrobin DF. A dose-ranging study of the effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in patients with ongoing depression despite apparently adequate treatment with standard drugs. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002;59:913-9.

Anxiety
Dose: 3 grams per day In a double-blind trial, fish oil was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving anxiety levels in a group of substance abusers (alcohol, cocaine, and/or heroin).1 The fish oil used in this study provided 3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids and was given for three months.
References

1. Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease anxiety feelings in a population of substance abusers. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2006;26:661-5.

Dysmenorrhea
Dose: Refer to label instructionsDiets low in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been associated with menstrual pain.1 In one double-blind trial, supplementation with fish oil, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, led to a statistically significant 37% drop in menstrual symptoms. In that report, adolescent girls with dysmenorrhea took an unspecified amount of fish oil that provided 1,080 mg of EPA and 720 mg of DHA per day for two months to achieve this result.2 A double-blind trial found that the same amount of EPA and DHA plus 7.5 mcg per day of vitamin B12 led to a greater than 50% decrease in menstrual symptoms, but a group taking only fish oil did not obtain as much relief.3 Six grams of fish oil per day provides the approximate levels of EPA and DHA used in these trials. In another double-blind trial, 1 gram per day of fish oil significantly decreased pain intensity, compared with a placebo, in women with dysmennorhea.[REF]
References

1. Deutch B. Menstrual pain in Danish women correlated with low n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. Eur J Clin Nutr 1995;49:508-16.

2. Harel Z, Biro FM, Kottenhahn RK, Rosenthal SL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of dysmenorrhea in adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1335-8.

3. Deutch B, Jorgensen EB, Hansen JC. Menstrual discomfort in Danish women reduced by dietary supplements of omega-3 PUFA and B12 (fish oil or seal oil capsules). Nutr Res 2000;20:621-31.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Dose: 2.7 to 6.1 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA)

Supplementation with fish oil (providing either 2.7 g or 6.1 g per day of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced recurrence of premature delivery, according to data culled from six clinical trials involving women with a high risk for such complications.1 Fish oil supplementation did not prevent premature delivery of twin pregnancies, nor did it have any preventive effect against intrauterine growth retardation or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Fish oils should be free of contaminants, such as mercury and organochlorine pesticides. Women who eat substantial amounts of certain types of seafood (e.g., swordfish, tuna) may be consuming contaminants that can increase the risk of brain and nervous system abnormalities in their offspring. Exposure to mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was found to be increased in relation to maternal intake of seafood. Higher exposure to these toxic contaminants has been linked to an increased risk of deficits in the developing brains and nervous systems of the children.2

References

1. Olsen SF, Secher NJ, Tabor A, et al. Randomised clinical trials of fish oil supplementation in high risk pregnancies. Fish Oil Trials In Pregnancy (FOTIP) Team. Brit J Obstet Gynecol 2000;107:382-95.

2. Steuerwald U, Weihe P, Jorgensen PJ, et al. Maternal seafood diet, methylmercury exposure, and neonatal neurologic function. J Pediatr 2000;136:599-605.

Pregnancy and Prenatal Growth
Dose: Refer to label instructionsThe DHA found in fish oil is essential for the development of the visual system in infants.1 In one double-blind study, 103 term infants were randomly assigned to receive either formula with no docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or arachidonic acid (ARA) or formula supplemented with DHA and ARA at concentrations similar to those found in human milk, starting when they were six days old. Visual maturation was assessed by measuring sweep visual evoked potential at ages 6, 17, 26, and 52 weeks. At each age, the supplemented group measured better, which led researchers to conclude that long-term supplementation of infant formula with DHA and ARA in amounts typical in human milk may help enhance visual development during the first year of life.
References

1. Birch EE, Castaneda YS, Wheaton DH, Birch DG, Uauy RD, Hoffman DR. Visual maturation of term infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented or control formula for 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:871-9.

Endometriosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Animal research suggests that fish oils may reduce the severity of endometriosis,1, 2 and fish oils have been shown to improve symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation),3 which may be caused by endometriosis. Therefore, while no specific research has been done on the effects of fish oils in women with endometriosis, some health practitioners recommend several grams of fish oil per day for this condition.

References

1. Yano Y. Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Nippon Sanka Fujinka Gakkai Zasshi 1992 Mar;44(3):282-8 [in Japanese].

2. Covens AL, Christopher P, Casper RF. The effect of dietary supplementation with fish oil fatty acids on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Fertil Steril 1988;49:698-703.

3. Harel Z, Biro FM, Kottenhahn RK, Rosenthal SL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of dysmenorrhea in adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1335-8.

Pregnancy
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Follow label directions

In a double-blind study, supplementation with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 for 12 months resulted in an improvement in both visual function and in objective findings on eye examination (a decrease in the drusen-covered area on the retina).1

References

1. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica2005;219:154-66.

Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Macular Degeneration
Dose: Refer to label instructionsAn assessment of 3,654 Australians aged 49 years or older found an association between a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids from fish and a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.1
References

1. Chua B, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Wang JJ, Smith W, Mitchell P. Dietary fatty acids and the 5-year incidence of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2006;124:981-6.

Alzheimer's Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions

In a double-blind trial, supplementing with the fatty acids present in fish oil (0.6 grams per day of EPA and 1.7 grams per day of DHA) for six months was not beneficial in people with Alzheimer's disease. However, in the subgroup of people with very mild cognitive impairment, supplementation with these fatty acids slowed the rate of cognitive decline compared with a placebo.1

References

1. Freund-Levi Y, Eriksdotter-Jonhagen M, Cederholm T, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial. Arch Neurol 2006;63:1402-8.

Eczema
Dose: Adults: 1,800 mg a day of EPA; children: proportionately less, according to body weight

Ten grams of fish oil providing 1.8 grams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) per day were given to a group of eczema sufferers in a double-blind trial. After 12 weeks, those using the fish oil experienced significant improvement.1, 2 According to the researchers, fish oil may be effective because it reduces levels of leukotriene B4, a substance that has been linked to eczema.3 The eczema-relieving effects of fish oil may require taking ten pills per day for at least 12 weeks. Smaller amounts of fish oil have been shown to lack efficacy.4

One trial using vegetable oil as the placebo reported that fish oil was barely more effective than the placebo (30% vs. 24% improvement).5 As vegetable oil had previously been reported to have potential therapeutic activity, the apparent negative outcome of this trial should not dissuade people with eczema from considering fish oil.

References

1. Bjorneboe A, Soyland E, Bjorneboe GE, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Br J Dermatol 1987;117:463-9.

2. Bjornboe A, Soyland E, Bjornboe GE, et al. Effect of n-3 fatty acid supplement to patients with atopic dermatitis. J Intern Med Suppl 1989;225:233-6.

3. Soyland E, Rajka G, Bjorneboe A, et al. The effect of eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. A clinical Study. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 1989;144(Suppl):139.

4. Berth-Jones J, Graham-Brown RAC. Placebo-controlled trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in atopic dermatitis. Lancet 1993;341:1557-60.

5. Soyland E, Funk J, Rajka G, et al. Dietary supplementation with very long-chain n-3 fatty acids in patients with atopic dermatitis. A double-blind multicentre study. Br J Dermatol 1994;130:757-64.

Psoriasis
Dose: Take orally 10 grams daily oil or 3.6 grams daily EPA, or apply a 10% topical solution twice per day

In a double-blind trial, fish oil (10 grams per day) was found to improve the skin lesions of psoriasis.1 In another trial, supplementing with 3.6 grams per day of purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, one of the fatty acids found in fish oil) reduced the severity of psoriasis after two to three months.2, 3 That amount of EPA is usually contained in 20 grams of fish oil, a level that generally requires 20 pills to achieve. However, when purified EPA was used in combination with purified docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, another fatty acid contained in fish oil), no improvement was observed.4

Additional research is needed to determine whether fish oil itself or some of its components are more effective for people with psoriasis. One trial showed that applying a preparation containing 10% fish oil directly to psoriatic lesions twice daily resulted in improvement after seven weeks.5 In addition, promising results were reported from a double-blind trial in which people with chronic plaque-type psoriasis received 4.2 g of EPA and 4.2 g of DHA or placebo intravenously each day for two weeks. Thirty-seven percent of those receiving the essential fatty acid infusions experienced greater than 50% reduction in the severity of their symptoms.6

Supplementing with fish oil also may help prevent the increase in blood levels of triglycerides that occurs as a side effect of certain drugs used to treat psoriasis (e.g., etretinate and acitretin).7

References

1. Bittiner SB, Tucker WFG, Cartwright I, Bleehen SS. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil in psoriasis. Lancet 1988;i:378-80.

2. Kojima T, Terano T, Tanabe E, et al. Long-term administration of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid provides improvement of psoriasis. Dermatologica 1991;182:225-30.

3. Kojima T, Ternao T, Tanabe E, et al. Effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid on psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1989;21:150-1.

4. Soyland E, Funk J, Rajka G, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with very-long-chain n-3 fatty acids in patients with psoriasis. N Engl J Med 1993;328:1812-6.

5. Dewsbury CE, Graham P, Darley CR. Topical eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the treatment of psoriasis. Br J Dermatol 1989;120:581-4.

6. Mayser P, Mrowietz U, Arenberger P, et al. W-3 Fatty acid-based lipid infusion in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998;38:539-47.

7. Ashley JM, Lowe NJ, Borok ME, Alfin-Slater RB. Fish oil supplementation results in decreased hypertriglyceridemia in patients with psoriasis undergoing etretinate or acitretin therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1988;19:76-82.

Photosensitivity
Dose: redundant

In a small preliminary trial, supplementation with fish oil (10 grams per day for three months) reduced photosensitivity in 90% of people suffering from polymorphous light eruptions.1

References

1. Rhodes LE, Durham BH, Fraser WD, Friedmann PS. Dietary fish oil reduces basal and ultraviolet B-generated PGE2 levels in skin and increases the threshold to provocation of polymorphic light eruption. J Invest Dermatol 1995;105:532-5.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dose: 3 grams daily of EPA plus DHA

Many double-blind trials have proven that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, called EPA and DHA, partially relieve symptoms of RA.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 The effect results from the anti-inflammatory activity of fish oil.8 Many doctors recommend 3 grams per day of EPA and DHA, an amount commonly found in 10 grams of fish oil. Positive results can take three months to become evident. In contrast, a double-blind trial found flaxseed oil (source of another form of omega-3 fatty acid) not to be effective for RA patients.9

References

1. Kremer JM, Jubiz W, Michalek A, et al. Fish-oil fatty acid supplementation in active rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Int Med 1987;106(4):497-503.

2. Kremer JM, Lawrence DA, Jubiz W, et al. Dietary fish oil and olive oil supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical and immunologic effects. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:810-20.

3. Geusens P, Wouters C, Nijs J, et al. Long-term effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in active rheumatoid arthritis. Arthrit Rheum 1994;37:824-9.

4. Van der Tempel H, Tulleken JE, Limburg PC, et al. Effects of fish oil supplementation in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 1990;49:76-80.

5. Cleland LG, French JK, Betts WH, et al. Clinical and biochemical effects of dietary fish oil supplements in rheumatoid arthritis. J Rheumatol 1988;15(10):1471-5.

6. Kremer JM, Lawrence DA, Petrillow GF, et al. Effects of high-dose fish oil on rheumatoid arthritis after stopping nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Arthritis Rheum 1995;38:1107-14.

7. Galarraga B, Ho M, Youssef HM, Hill A, McMahon H, Hall C, et al. Cod liver oil (n-3 fatty acids) as an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sparing agent in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology 2008;47:665-9.

8. Lee TH, Hoover RL, Williams JD, et al. Effect of dietary enrichment with eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids on in vitro neutrophil and monocyte leukotriene generation and neutrophil function. N Engl J Med 1985;312(19):1217-24.

9. Nordstrom DC, Honkanen VE, Nasu Y, et al. Alpha-linolenic acid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. A double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized study: flaxseed vs. safflower seed. Rheumatol Int 1995;14:231-4.

Osteoarthritis
Dose: Refer to label instructions

The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, EPA and DHA, have anti-inflammatory effects and have been studied primarily for rheumatoid arthritis, which involves significant inflammation. However, osteoarthritis also includes some inflammation.1 In a 24-week controlled but preliminary trial studying people with osteoarthritis, people taking EPA had "strikingly lower" pain scores than people who took placebo.2 However, in a double-blind trial by the same research group, supplementation with 10 ml of cod liver oil per day was no more effective than a placebo.3

References

1. Altman R, Gray R. Inflammation in osteoarthritis. Clin Rheum Dis 1985;11:353.

2. Stammers T, Sibbald B, Freeling P. Fish oil in osteoarthritis. Lancet 1989;ii:503 [letter].

3. Stammers T, Sibbald B, Freeling P. Efficacy of cod liver oil as an adjunct to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug treatment in the management of osteoarthritis in general practice. Ann Rheum Dis 1992;51:128-9.

Tooth Decay
Dose: 3 tsp per day of cod liver oil

One older controlled trial found that children given 3 teaspoons of cod liver oil per day (containing roughly 800 IU of vitamin D) for an entire school year had over 50% fewer new cavities.1 These promising results have not been followed up with modern placebo-controlled trials.

References

1. McBeath EC, Zucker TF. The role of vitamin D in the control of dental caries in children. J Nutr 1938;15:547-64.

Canker Sores
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Anxiety
Dose: 3 grams per day In a double-blind trial, fish oil was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving anxiety levels in a group of substance abusers (alcohol, cocaine, and/or heroin).1 The fish oil used in this study provided 3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids and was given for three months.
References

1. Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease anxiety feelings in a population of substance abusers. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2006;26:661-5.

Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Bipolar Disorder
Dose: Daily omega-3 fatty acids: 9.6 grams for adults, 1,290 to 4,300 mg for children

People diagnosed with depression may have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids.1, 2 A double-blind trial found that bipolar patients taking 9.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil per day in addition to their medications had significant improvements compared with those taking placebo.3 Similar benefits were reported in a preliminary trial that used 1.5 to 2 grams per day of pure eicosapentaenoic acid, a component of fish oil.4However, in another double-blind trial, 8 grams per day of fish oil taken for 4 months was of no benefit for patients with bipolar disorder.5In a preliminary trial, children with bipolar disorder saw benefits from omega-3 fatty acids (1,290 to 4,300 mg per day) from fish oil given for eight weeks.6

References

1. Adams PB, Lawson S, Sanigorski A, Sinclair AJ. Arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid ratio in blood correlates positively with clinical symptoms of depression. Lipids 1996;31:S157-S161.

2. Maes M, Christophe A, Delanghe J, et al. Lowered omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum phospholipids and cholesteryl esters of depressed patients. Psychiatry Res 1999;85:275-91.

3. Stoll AL, Severus WE, Freeman MP, et al. Omega 3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder. A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Gen Psychiatr 1999;56:407-12.

4. Osher Y, Bersudsky Y, Belmaker RH. Omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid in bipolar depression: report of a small open-label study. J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66:726-9.

5. Murphy BL, Stoll AL, Harris PQ, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment, with or without cytidine, fails to show therapeutic properties in bipolar disorder: a double-blind, randomized add-on clinical trial. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2012;32:699?703.

6. Wozniak J, Biederman J, Mick E, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid monotherapy for pediatric bipolar disorder: a prospective open-label trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2007;17:440-7.

Schizophrenia
Dose: 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily of EPA

There are two different classes of essential fatty acids: omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. There is considerable evidence these fatty acids are deficient, or are not used properly, in people with schizophrenia.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Some investigators suggest this altered fatty acid metabolism may be involved in the increased need for niacin seen in some schizophrenic patients.7 A case has been reported in which a man with schizophrenia had dramatic and sustained improvement while being supplemented with 2 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids.8 In a preliminary trial, schizophrenic patients receiving omega-3 fatty acids showed improvement in symptoms, as well as a reduction in adverse effects from their anti-psychotic medications.9 Another study found that people with schizophrenia had lower blood levels of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, compared with non-schizophrenic people, even though both groups were consuming similar amounts of these fatty acids.10 In a separate preliminary study, higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with less severe disease, and supplementation with 10 grams of concentrated fish oil, a source of omega-3 fatty acids, led to significant improvement in symptoms over a six-week period.11 In addition, a double-blind trial found that supplementing with 1.2 g per day of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil prevented the development of psychosis in adolescents and young adults who were at very high risk of developing a psychotic disorder.12

In a double-blind trial that included 87 patients with chronic schizophrenia or a related illness (schizoaffective disorder), supplementation with 3 grams per day of eicosapentaenoic acid (one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) was ineffective.13 The patients in this negative study were older and had been ill for longer, compared with patients in earlier studies who improved with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

Several clinical trials have examined the effects of supplementation with essential fatty acids in people with schizophrenia, with inconsistent results.14, 15, 16, 17 While the results of trials using omega-3 fatty acids are promising, further double-blind trials are needed to establish whether fatty acid supplementation is an effective therapy for schizophrenia. Trials of omega-6 fatty acids (like GLA from borage oil) have yielded predominantly negative results.18

References

1. Horrobin DF. The relationship between schizophrenia and essential fatty acid and eicosanoid metabolism. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1992;46:71-7 [review].

2. Horrobin DF. Schizophrenia as a membrane lipid disorder which is expressed throughout the body. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1996;55:3-7 [review].

3. Warner R, Laugharne J, Peet M, et al. Retinal function as a marker for cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid depletion in schizophrenia: a pilot study. Biol Psychiatry 1999;45:1138-42.

4. Mahadik SP, Mukherjee S, Horrobin DF, et al. Plasma membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition of cultured skin fibroblasts from schizophrenic patients: comparison with bipolar patients and normal subjects. Psychiatry Res 1996;63:133-42.

5. Vaddadi KS, Gilleard CJ, Soosai E, et al. Schizophrenia, tardive dyskinesia and essential fatty acids. Schizophr Res 1996;20:287-94.

6. Peet M, Laugharne J, Rangarajan N, et al. Depleted red cell membrane essential fatty acids in drug-treated schizophrenic patients. J Psychiatr Res 1995;29:227-32.

7. Rudin DO. The major psychoses and neuroses as omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency syndrome: substrate pellagra. Biol Psychiatry 1981;16:837-50.

8. Puri BK, Richardson AJ, Horrobin DF, et al. Eicosapentaenoic acid treatment in schizophrenia associated with symptom remission, normalisation of blood fatty acids, reduced neuronal membrane phospholipid turnover and structural brain changes. Int J Clin Pract 2000;54:57-63.

9. Peet M, Laugharne JD, Mellor J, Ramchand CN. Essential fatty acid deficiency in erythrocyte membranes from chronic schizophrenic patients, and the clinical effects of dietary supplementation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1996;55:71-5.

10. Laugharne JD, Mellor JE, Peet M. Fatty acids and schizophrenia. Lipids 1996;31 Suppl:S163-5.

11. Laugharne JD, Mellor JE, Peet M. Fatty acids and schizophrenia. Lipids 1996;31 Suppl:S163-5.

12. Amminger GP, Schafer MR, Papageorgiou K, et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for indicated prevention of psychotic disorders: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2010;67:146-54.

13. Fenton WS, Dickerson F, Boronow J, et al. A placebo-controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acid (ethyl eicosapentaenoic acid) supplementation for residual symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:2071-4.

14. Vaddadi KS, Courtney P, Gilleard CJ, et al. A double-blind trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in patients with tardive dyskinesia. Psychiatry Res 1989;27:313-23.

15. Mellor JE, Laugharne JDE, Peet M. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in schizophrenic patients. Hum Psychopharmacol 1996;11:39-46.

16. Shah S, Ramchand CN, Peet M. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) as an adjunct to neuroleptic therapy in the treatment of schizophrenia. Presented at the 9th Schizophrenia Winter Workshop, Davos, Switzerland, February 7-13, 1998.

17. Mellor JE, Peet M. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, trial of omega-3 fatty acids as an adjunct to the treatment of schizophrenia. Presented at the 9th Schizophrenia Winter Workshop, Davos, Switzerland, February 7-13, 1998.

18. Fenton WS, Hibbeln J, Knable M. Essential fatty acids, lipid membrane abnormalities, and the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry 2000;47:8-21 [review].

Osteoporosis
Dose: 6 grams daily

A preliminary trial found that elderly women with osteoporosis who were given 4 grams of fish oil per day for four months had improved calcium absorption and evidence of new bone formation.1 Fish oil combined with evening primrose oil (EPO) may confer added benefits. In a controlled trial, women received 6 grams of a combination of EPO and fish oil, or a matching placebo, plus 600 mg of calcium per day for three years.2 The EPO/fish oil group experienced no spinal bone loss in the first 18 months and a significant 3.1% increase in spinal bone mineral density during the last 18 months.

References

1. Van Papendorp DH, Coetzer H, Kruger MC. Biochemical profile of osteoporotic patients on essential fatty acid supplementation. Nutr Res 1995;15:325-34.

2. Kruger MC, Coetzer H, de Winter R, et al. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis. Aging 1998;10:385-94.

Osteoporosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions

A preliminary trial found that elderly women with osteoporosis who were given 4 grams of fish oil per day for four months had improved calcium absorption and evidence of new bone formation.1 Fish oil combined with evening primrose oil (EPO) may confer added benefits. In a controlled trial, women received 6 grams of a combination of EPO and fish oil, or a matching placebo, plus 600 mg of calcium per day for three years.2 The EPO/fish oil group experienced no spinal bone loss in the first 18 months and a significant 3.1% increase in spinal bone mineral density during the last 18 months.

References

1. Van Papendorp DH, Coetzer H, Kruger MC. Biochemical profile of osteoporotic patients on essential fatty acid supplementation. Nutr Res 1995;15:325-34.

2. Kruger MC, Coetzer H, de Winter R, et al. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis. Aging 1998;10:385-94.

Macular Degeneration
Dose: Follow label directions

In a double-blind study, supplementation with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 for 12 months resulted in an improvement in both visual function and in objective findings on eye examination (a decrease in the drusen-covered area on the retina).1

References

1. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica2005;219:154-66.

Dry Eye Syndrome
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Glaucoma
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Surveys have shown that Inuit people, who consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, have a much lower incidence of some types of glaucoma than do Caucasians. Although there have been no studies on the use of omega-3 fatty acids to treat glaucoma, one study found that cod liver oil (a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids) reduced intraocular pressure in animals.1

References

1. McGuire R. Fish oil cuts lower ocular pressure. Med Tribune 1991;Sept 19:25.

Macular Degeneration
Dose: Refer to label instructionsAn assessment of 3,654 Australians aged 49 years or older found an association between a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids from fish and a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.1
References

1. Chua B, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Wang JJ, Smith W, Mitchell P. Dietary fatty acids and the 5-year incidence of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2006;124:981-6.

Dysmenorrhea
Dose: Refer to label instructionsDiets low in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been associated with menstrual pain.1 In one double-blind trial, supplementation with fish oil, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, led to a statistically significant 37% drop in menstrual symptoms. In that report, adolescent girls with dysmenorrhea took an unspecified amount of fish oil that provided 1,080 mg of EPA and 720 mg of DHA per day for two months to achieve this result.2 A double-blind trial found that the same amount of EPA and DHA plus 7.5 mcg per day of vitamin B12 led to a greater than 50% decrease in menstrual symptoms, but a group taking only fish oil did not obtain as much relief.3 Six grams of fish oil per day provides the approximate levels of EPA and DHA used in these trials. In another double-blind trial, 1 gram per day of fish oil significantly decreased pain intensity, compared with a placebo, in women with dysmennorhea.[REF]
References

1. Deutch B. Menstrual pain in Danish women correlated with low n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. Eur J Clin Nutr 1995;49:508-16.

2. Harel Z, Biro FM, Kottenhahn RK, Rosenthal SL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of dysmenorrhea in adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1335-8.

3. Deutch B, Jorgensen EB, Hansen JC. Menstrual discomfort in Danish women reduced by dietary supplements of omega-3 PUFA and B12 (fish oil or seal oil capsules). Nutr Res 2000;20:621-31.

Endometriosis
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Animal research suggests that fish oils may reduce the severity of endometriosis,1, 2 and fish oils have been shown to improve symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation),3 which may be caused by endometriosis. Therefore, while no specific research has been done on the effects of fish oils in women with endometriosis, some health practitioners recommend several grams of fish oil per day for this condition.

References

1. Yano Y. Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Nippon Sanka Fujinka Gakkai Zasshi 1992 Mar;44(3):282-8 [in Japanese].

2. Covens AL, Christopher P, Casper RF. The effect of dietary supplementation with fish oil fatty acids on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Fertil Steril 1988;49:698-703.

3. Harel Z, Biro FM, Kottenhahn RK, Rosenthal SL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of dysmenorrhea in adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1335-8.

Asthma
Dose: Consult a doctor

Double-blind research shows that fish oil partially reduces reactions to allergens that can trigger attacks in some asthmatics.1 Another double-blind study showed that fish oil supplements prevented exercise-induced asthma attacks in people with asthma.2 A few other researchers have reported small but significant improvements when asthmatics supplement with fish oil,3, 4 but reviews of the research concluded that most fish oil studies showed little or no benefit.5, 6 It is possible that some of these trials failed to show an improvement because they did not last long enough to demonstrate an effect. There is evidence that children who eat oily fish may have a much lower risk of getting asthma.7 Moreover, in a double-blind trial, children who received 300 mg per day of fish oil (providing 84 mg of EPA and 36 mg of DHA) experienced significant improvement of asthma symptoms.8 It should be noted that these benefits were obtained under circumstances in which exposure to food allergens and environmental allergens was strictly controlled. Though the evidence supporting the use of fish oil remains somewhat conflicting, eating more fish and supplementing with fish oil may still be worth considering, especially among children with asthma.

References

1. Arm JP, Horton CE, Eiser NM, et al. The effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil on asthmatic responses to antigen. JAllergy Clin Immunol 1988;81:183 [abstract #57].

2. Mickleborough TD, Lindley MR, Ionescu AA, Fly AD. Protective effect of fish oil supplementation on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. Chest2006;129:39-49.

3. Broughton KS, Johnson CS, Pace BK, et al. Reduced asthma symptoms with n-3 fatty acid ingestion are related to 5-series leukotriene production. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:1011-7.

4. Dry J, Vincent D. Effect of a fish oil diet on asthma: results of a 1-year double-blind study. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 1991;95:156-7.

5. Thien FC, Woods RK, Waters EH. Oily fish and asthma-a fishy story? Med J Aust 1996;164:135-6 [editorial].

6. Fogarty A, Britton J. The role of diet in the aetiology of asthma. Clin Exp Allergy 2000;30:615-27.

7. Hodge L, Salome CM, Peat JK, et al. Consumption of oily fish and childhood asthma risk. Med J Austral 1996;164:137-40.

8. Nagakura T, Matsuda S, Shichijyo K, et al. Dietary supplementation with fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with bronchial asthma. Eur Respir J 2000;16:861-5.

Ulcerative Colitis
Dose: 5.4 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids

Preliminary1 and double-blind trials2, 3, 4 have found that fish oil supplementation reduces inflammation, decreases the need for anti-inflammatory drugs, and promotes normal weight gain in people with UC. However, fish oil has not always been effective in clinical trials for UC.5 Amounts used in successful clinical trials provided 3.2 grams of EPA and 2.2 grams of DHA per day-the two important fatty acids found in fish oil.

In a preliminary trial, people with UC significantly improved on a sugar-free, low-allergen diet with additional nutritional supplementation that included a multivitamin-mineral supplement (2-6 tablets per day); a fish oil supplement (400 mg per day); borage oil (400 mg per day); flaxseed oil (400 mg per day); and a probiotic formula containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and other species of beneficial bacteria.6 Some participants received slight variations of this regimen. Since so many different supplements were given and since the trial was not controlled, it is not possible to say which, if any, of the nutrients was responsible for the improvement observed by the researchers.

References

1. Salomon P, Kornbluth AA, Janowitz HD. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with fish oil n--3-omega-fatty acid: an open trial. J Clin Gastroenterol 1990;12:157-61.

2. Stenson WF, Cort D, Rodgers J, et al. Dietary supplementation with fish oil in ulcerative colitis. Ann Intern Med 1992;116:609-14.

3. Hawthorne AB, Daneshmend TK, Hawkey CJ, et al. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with fish oil supplementation: a prospective 12 month randomised controlled trial. Gut 1992;33:922-8.

4. Aslan A, Triadafilopoulos G. Fish oil fatty acid supplementation in active ulcerative colitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Am J Gastroenterol 1992;87:432-7.

5. Dichi I, Frenhane P, Dichi JB, et al. Comparison of omega-3 fatty acids and sulfasalazine in ulcerative colitis. Nutrition 2000;16:87-90.

6. Edman JS, Williams WH, Atkins RC. Nutritional therapies for ulcerative colitis: literature review, chart review study, and future research. Altern Ther Health Med 2000;6:55-63.

Crohn's Disease
Dose: 2.7 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids in enteric-coated capsules

Inflammation within the gut occurs in people suffering from Crohn's disease. EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory activity. Though research is conflicting, there is some evidence that fish oil improves Crohn's disease symptoms. A two-year trial compared the effects of having people with Crohn's disease eat 3.5 to 7 ounces of fish high in EPA and DHA per day or having them eat a diet low in fish.1 In that trial, the fish-eating group had a 20% relapse rate compared with 58% among those not eating fish. Salmon, herring, mackerel, albacore tuna, and sardines are all high in EPA and DHA.

In a double-blind trial, people with Crohn's disease who took supplements providing 2.7 g of EPA/DHA per day had a recurrence rate of 26% after one year, compared to a 59% recurrence rate among those taking placebo.2

References

1. Mate J, Castanos R, Garcia-Samaniego J, Pajares JM. Does dietary fish oil maintain the remission of Crohn's disease: a case control study. Gastroenterology 1991;100:A228 [abstract].

2. Belluzzi A, Brignola C, Campieri M, et al. Effect of an enteric-coated fish-oil preparation on relapses in Crohn's disease. N Engl J Med 1996;334:1557-60.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Dose: 2.7 to 6.1 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA)

Supplementation with fish oil (providing either 2.7 g or 6.1 g per day of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced recurrence of premature delivery, according to data culled from six clinical trials involving women with a high risk for such complications.1 Fish oil supplementation did not prevent premature delivery of twin pregnancies, nor did it have any preventive effect against intrauterine growth retardation or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Fish oils should be free of contaminants, such as mercury and organochlorine pesticides. Women who eat substantial amounts of certain types of seafood (e.g., swordfish, tuna) may be consuming contaminants that can increase the risk of brain and nervous system abnormalities in their offspring. Exposure to mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was found to be increased in relation to maternal intake of seafood. Higher exposure to these toxic contaminants has been linked to an increased risk of deficits in the developing brains and nervous systems of the children.2

References

1. Olsen SF, Secher NJ, Tabor A, et al. Randomised clinical trials of fish oil supplementation in high risk pregnancies. Fish Oil Trials In Pregnancy (FOTIP) Team. Brit J Obstet Gynecol 2000;107:382-95.

2. Steuerwald U, Weihe P, Jorgensen PJ, et al. Maternal seafood diet, methylmercury exposure, and neonatal neurologic function. J Pediatr 2000;136:599-605.

Pregnancy and Prenatal Growth
Dose: Refer to label instructionsThe DHA found in fish oil is essential for the development of the visual system in infants.1 In one double-blind study, 103 term infants were randomly assigned to receive either formula with no docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or arachidonic acid (ARA) or formula supplemented with DHA and ARA at concentrations similar to those found in human milk, starting when they were six days old. Visual maturation was assessed by measuring sweep visual evoked potential at ages 6, 17, 26, and 52 weeks. At each age, the supplemented group measured better, which led researchers to conclude that long-term supplementation of infant formula with DHA and ARA in amounts typical in human milk may help enhance visual development during the first year of life.
References

1. Birch EE, Castaneda YS, Wheaton DH, Birch DG, Uauy RD, Hoffman DR. Visual maturation of term infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented or control formula for 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:871-9.

Breast-Feeding Support
Dose: Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid present in cod liver oil and other fish oils, is important for normal development of the brain and eyes. Studies have shown that higher concentrations of DHA in mothers' milk are associated with better visual acuity in the infants.1 Other studies have suggested that DHA improves the development of infants, although not all research agrees.2 Because DHA in the mother's diet passes into the breast milk,3 some doctors advise nursing mothers to supplement their diet with cod liver oil or another fish-oil supplement. Women wishing to use this or any supplement while breast-feeding should consult their doctors and use only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

References

1. Jorgensen MH, Hernell O, Hughes E, Michaelsen KF. Is there a relation between docosahexaenoic acid concentration in mothers' milk and visual development in term infants? J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2001;32:293-6.

2. Gibson RA, Makrides M. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast milk: are they essential? Adv Exp Med Biol 2001;501:375-83.

3. Harris WS, Connor WE, Lindsey S. Will dietary w-3 fatty acids change the composition of human milk? Am J Clin Nutr 1984;40:780-5.

Preeclampsia
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Fish oil supplementation has been proposed to lower the incidence of preeclampsia.1, 2 However, controlled clinical trials suggest that fish oil does not reduce symptoms3 or protect against preeclampsia.4, 5

References

1. Sibai BM. Prevention of preeclampsia: A big disappointment. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1998;179:1275-8 [review].

2. Williams MA, Zingheim RW, King IB, Zebelman AM. Omega-3 fatty acids in maternal erythrocytes and risk for preeclampsia. Epidemiology 1995;6:232-7.

3. Laivuori H, Hovatta O, Viinikka L, Ylikorkala O. Dietary supplementation with primrose oil or fish oil does not change urinary excretion of prostacyclin and thromboxane metabolites in pre-eclamptic women. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1993;49:691-4.

4. Onwude JL, Lilford RJ, Hjartardottier H, et. al. A randomised double blind placebo controlled trial of fish oil in high risk pregnancy. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1995;109:95-100.

5. Salvig JD, Olsen SF, Secher NJ. Effects of fish oil supplementation in late pregnancy on blood pressure: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1996;103:529-33.

Pregnancy
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Lupus
Dose: Up to 20 grams fish oil per day after consultation with a doctor

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil-eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-decrease inflammation. Supplementation with EPA and DHA has prevented autoimmune lupus in animal research.1 In a double-blind trial, 20 grams of fish oil daily combined with a low-fat diet led to improvement in 14 of 17 people with SLE in 12 weeks.2 Other studies also found that supplementing with 10 to 15 grams of fish oil per day,3 or with the amount of EPA and DHA provided by 10 grams per day of fish oil,4 is beneficial for people with SLE. People wishing to take such a large amount of fish oil should first consult with a doctor.

References

1. Kelley VE, Ferretti A, Izui S, Strom TB. A fish oil diet rich in eicosapentaenoic acid reduces cyclooxygenase metabolites, and suppresses lupus in MRL-1pr mice. J Immunol 1985;134:2914-9.

2. Walton AJE, Snaith ML, Locniskar M, et al. Dietary fish oil and the severity of symptoms in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis 1991;50:463-6.

3. Westberg G, Tarkowski A. Effect of MaxEPA in patients with SLE. Scand J Rheumatology 1990;19:137-43.

4. Wright SA, O'Prey FM, McHenry MT, et al. A randomised interventional trial of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids on endothelial function and disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis 2008;67:841-8.

Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Dose: 3.3 to 5 grams daily omega-3 fatty acids before and after surgery

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties,1 and animal studies suggest that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may improve recovery and prevent infection after surgery.2, 3 A controlled human trial found that intravenous nutritional formulas containing omega-3 fatty acids given post-operatively lowered the production of inflammatory chemicals compared with standard nutritional formulas.4 Other human studies of omega-3 fatty acid-supplemented nutritional formulas used in surgery patients have included other supplemental nutrients as well and are discussed below.5

References

1. Gerster H. The use of n-3 PUFAs (fish oil) in enteral nutrition. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1995;65:3-20 [review].

2. Kollman KA, Lien EL, Vanderhoof JA. Dietary lipids influence intestinal adaptation after massive bowel resection. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1999;28:41-5.

3. Johnson JA 3d, Griswold JA, Muakkassa FF. Essential fatty acids influence survival in sepsis. J Trauma 1993;35:128-31.

4. Wachtler P, Konig W, Senkal M, et al. Influence of a total parenteral nutrition enriched with omega-3 fatty acids on leukotriene synthesis of peripheral leukocytes and systemic cytokine levels in patients with major surgery. J Trauma 1997;42:191-8.

5. Gianotti L, Braga M, Fortis C, et al. A prospective, randomized clinical trial on perioperative feeding with an arginine-, omega-3 fatty acid-, and RNA-enriched enteral diet: effect on host response and nutritional status. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 1999;23:314-20.

Immune Function and Critically Ill Patients
Dose: Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner

Research on the effect of the omega-3 fatty acids that are abundant in some fish, fish oils, and flaxseed oil is conflicting. Liquid diets containing omega-3 fatty acids used in hospitals for critically ill people have been shown to improve immune function and reduce infections.12 However, in one controlled study in healthy people, a low-fat diet improved or maintained immune function, but when fish was added to increase omega-3 fatty acid intake, immune function was significantly inhibited.3

Supplementation with DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil) in healthy young men has been shown to decrease the activity of immune cells, such as natural killer (NK) cells, and to inhibit certain measures of inflammation in the test tube.4 The anti-inflammatory effects of DHA may be useful in the management of autoimmune disorders; however, such benefits need to be balanced with the potential for increased risk of infections. Other studies suggest that increased oxidative damage might be the reason for the negative effects on the immune system sometimes caused by fish oil, and that increased intake of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, could correct the problem.5

References

1. Tashiro T, Yamamori H, Takagi K, et al. n-3 versus n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in critical illness. Nutrition 1998;14:551-3.

2. Gerster H. The use of n-3 PUFAs (fish oil) in enteral nutrition. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1995;65:3-20 [review].

3. Meydani SN, Lichtenstein AH, Cornwall S, et al. Immunologic effects of national cholesterol education panel step-2 diets with and without fish-derived n-3 fatty acid enrichment. J Clin Invest 1993;92:105-13.

4. Kelley DS, Taylor PC, Nelson GJ, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid ingestion inhibits natural killer cell activity and production of inflammatory mediators in young healthy men. Lipids 1999;34:317-24.

5. Wu D, Meydani SN. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and immune function. Proc Nutr Soc 1998;57:503-9 [review].

Immune Function and Post-Surgery Patients
Dose: Refer to label instructions
Type 2 Diabetes
Dose: Refer to label instructionsGlucose tolerance improves in healthy people taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements,1 and some studies have found that fish oil supplementation also improves glucose tolerance,2 high triglycerides,3 and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.4 And in one trial, people with diabetic neuropathy and diabetic nephropathy experienced significant improvement when given 600 mg three times per day of purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-one of the two major omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements-for 48 weeks.5 However, other studies have found that type 2 diabetes worsens with fish oil supplementation.6, 7, 8, 9 Until this issue is resolved, people with diabetes should feel free to eat fish, but they should consult a doctor before taking fish oil supplements.
References

1. Zak A, Zeman M, Hrabak P, et al. Changes in the glucose tolerance and insulin secretion in hypertriglyceridemia: effects of dietary n-3 fatty acids. Nutr Rep Int 1989;39:235-42.

2. Popp-Snijders C, Schouten JA, Heine RJ, et al. Dietary supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improves insulin sensitivity in non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Diabetes Res 1987;4:141-7.

3. Albrink MJ, Ullrich IH, Blehschmidt NG, et al. The beneficial effect of fish oil supplements on serum lipids and clotting function of patients with type II diabetes mellitus. Diabetes 1986;35 (suppl 1):43A [abstract #172].

4. Wei I, Ulchaker M, Sheehan J. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids (FA) in non-obese non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). Am Clin Nutr 1988;47:775 [abstract #70].

5. Okuda Y, Mizutani M, Ogawa M, et al. Long-term effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and serum lipids in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. J Diabetes Complications 1996;10:280-7.

6. Vandongen R, Mori TA, Codde JP, et al. Hypercholesterolaemic effect of fish oil in insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Med J Aust 1988;148:141-3.

7. Schectman G, Kaul S, Kassebah AH. Effect of fish oil concentrate on lipoprotein composition in NIDDM. Diabetes 1988;37:1567-73.

8. Stackpoole PW, Alig J, Kilgore LL, et al. Lipodystrophic diabetes mellitus. Investigations of lipoprotein metabolism and the effects of omega-3 fatty acid administration in two patients. Metabolism 1988;37:944-51.

9. Glauber H, Wallace P, Griver K, Brechtel G. Adverse metabolic effect of omega-3 fatty acids in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Ann Intern Med 1988;108:663-8.

Type 1 Diabetes
Dose: Refer to label instructionsGlucose tolerance improves in healthy people taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.1 And in one trial, people with diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) and diabetic nephropathy experienced significant improvement when given 600 mg three times per day of purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-one of the two major omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements-for 48 weeks.2 However, controlled studies have found that fish oil supplementation increases cholesterol in people with type 1 diabetes.3, 4 Until the risk-benefit ratio of using fish oil is clarified, people with diabetes should feel free to increase their fish intake, but they should consult a doctor before taking fish oil supplements.
References

1. Zak A, Zeman M, Hrabak P, et al. Changes in the glucose tolerance and insulin secretion in hypertriglyceridemia: effects of dietary n-3 fatty acids. Nutr Rep Int 1989;39:235-42.

2. Okuda Y, Mizutani M, Ogawa M, et al. Long-term effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and serum lipids in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. J Diabetes Complications 1996;10:280-7.

3. Mori TA, Vandongen R, Masarei JR, et al. Comparison of diets supplemented with fish oil or olive oil on plasma lipoproteins in insulin-dependent diabetics. Metabolism1991;40:241-6.

4. Mori TA, Vandongen R, Masarei JR. Fish oil-induced changes in apolipoproteins in IDDM subjects. Diabetes Care 1990;13:725-32.

Migraine Headache
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Fish oil containing EPA and DHA has been reported to reduce the symptoms of migraine headache in a double-blind trial using 1 gram of fish oil per 10 pounds of body weight.1, 2 Fish oil may help because of its effects in modifying prostaglandins (hormone-like substances made by the body).

References

1. McCarren T, Hitzemann R, Allen C, et al. Amelioration of severe migraine by fish oil (omega-3) fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41:874 [abstract].

2. Glueck CJ, McCarren T, Hitzemann R, et al. Amelioration of severe migraine with omega-3 fatty acids: a double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr 1986;43:710 [abstract].

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dose: Refer to label instructions

In a preliminary study, four patients with chronic fatigue syndrome reported an improvement in their symptoms after taking an essential fatty acid supplement daily for at least 12 weeks.1 The amount used was 10 to 18 capsules per day, and each capsule contained 93 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 29 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and 10 mg of gamma-linolenic acid. Because there was no placebo group in this study and, because fatigue often improves after treatment with a placebo, additional research is needed to confirm this report.

References

1. Puri BK. The use of eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2004;70:399-401.

Kidney Disease
Dose: Refer to label instructions

Oil from fish contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); both are omega-3 fatty acids.

Copyright 2014 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com

The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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Ratings and Reviews

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GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240
 
4.5

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      5.0

      Great Fish Oil

      By thyrdwyrld

      from Chicago, IL

      About Me Health Conscious

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      Pros

      • No Aftertaste

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Daily Use
        • Heart Health

        Comments about GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240:

        I've tried many different fish oils, and after doing some research, I've settled on these. Once daily for a healtier heart.

         
        5.0

        Essential supplement

        By mo6581

        from MA

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        Pros

        • Effective
        • No Aftertaste

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          • Daily Use

          Comments about GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240:

          The size works great for easy swallowing. I've been taking 3/day and it has helped my skin problems.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          works wonderful

          By jstovall6

          from plano, Texas

          About Me Budget Buyer

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          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Effective
          • Good Value

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            • Daily Use
            • Women

            Comments about GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240:

            Like any fish oil tabs it took 2 months to get fully in my system and then it continues to work amazing.

            • My Beauty Routine Takes:
            • 30 Minutes

            (0 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Jury Still Out

            By info8637

            from Saginaw, MI

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            Pros

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            • Good Value
            • No Side Effects
            • Size

            Cons

            • Not Effective

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              Comments about GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 1240:

              Usually take one in the morning with breakfast, and one again during dinner. Noticed a slight change (reduction) in bone/joint pain/soreness after workouts. Wish there was something even more effective though.

              • My Beauty Routine Takes:
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