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What is FISH OIL? (The 101)

The consumption of lipids is considered an important part of a healthy dietary pattern. In this context, fish oil is an excellent source of important omega-3 fatty acids, such as the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains significant amounts of the vitamins A and D.

Fish oil is a combination of lipids naturally present in cold-water fatty fish and other seafood.It is obtained by pressing cooked fish and centrifuging the extracted liquid.

What is FISH OIL good for?

More research is needed to completely clarify the properties, effects and potential benefits of the regular consumption of omega-3s as a dietary supplement. Nonetheless, studies have consistently shown that eating fish and other seafood implies lower risk of several chronic diseases.

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies suggest consumption of higher amounts of omega-3s from foods may lead to lower risk of developing AMD, which is a major cause of vision loss among older adults.
  • Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive function. Some research shows that people who consume more omega-3s from food may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other problems with cognitive function.
  • Baby health and development. EPA and DHA rich meals during pregnancy may improve the baby’s health by slightly increasing the baby’s weight at birth and the length of time the baby is in the womb, both of which may be advantageous.
  • Cancer prevention. Some studies suggest people who consume omega-3s from foods and supplements may have a lower risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Eating fatty fish and seafood in general as part of your diet helps keeping your heart healthy. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends omega-3 rich meals and considers supplements as an option under the guidance of a health care provider.
  • Dry eye disease. EPA and DHA help reduce eye discomfort and vision problems due to tears not providing enough moisture.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Some clinical trials have shown that taking omega-3 supplements together with standard RA medications and other treatments may have benefits.
  • Other conditions. Researchers are studying if taking omega-3 supplements may help lessen some of the symptoms of attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder, childhood allergies. and cystic fibrosis.

Is FISH OIL safe?

Fish oil is believed to be safe when taken in appropriate amounts. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, omega-3 rich supplements are unlikely to cause any severe adverse effects.

If taken in large amounts, some fish oil supplements that are high in vitamin A, such as cod liver oil, can cause hypervitaminosis A.

Don't use fish oil if you're allergic to fish or shellfish: you may be at risk.

Potential Risks of FISH OIL

You should always consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements. Consider the following before taking fish oil:

  • Contamination. Be sure to research fish oil manufacturers to consume brands that are certified free from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and from heavy metals.
  • Gastrointestinal problems. Fish oil consumption can sometimes trigger minor gastrointestinal problems such as belching ("fish burps"), halitosis (bad breath), gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux or heartburn), dyspepsia (indigestion) and/or diarrhea.
  • Medication Interference: blood pressure. Fish oil may thin out the blood and slightly reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor first if you take blood pressure medication.
  • Medication Interference: coagulation. Fish oil diminishes blood clot formation increasing the risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor first if you have clotting or bleeding disorders, or if you take anticoagulant medication.

Can pregnant and lactating women take FISH OIL?

The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is important and encouraged both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most of the time, the daily goals are met from a balanced diet. Supplementation may be needed, in specific cases. In those cases, look for a quality product from a reputable fish oil manufacturer.

Don't forget that you always need the approval of a physician before taking a supplement, especially during pregnancy or lactating.

Is FISH OIL Safe for Children?

Most of the time, children get enough omega-3 fatty acids from a balanced diet. Giving them omega-3 supplements when not needed might prevent children from developing healthy eating behaviors.

When a child cannot eat a balanced diet or absorb nutrients properly, fish oil supplementation may be helpful, with the approval of their doctor. In those cases, look for a quality product from a reputable fish oil manufacturer.

Is FISH OIL vegan?

No. It’s sourced primarily from fish (mainly cold-water fatty fish such as cod, herring, mackerel, menhaden, pilchard, salmon and tuna).

Is there a vegan substitute for FISH OIL?

Yes, there are various alternatives.

Omega-3 fatty acids are present in a variety of plant foods. Sources include nuts (such as walnuts), seeds (such as canola seed, chia seed, flaxseed and hemp seed), leafy vegetables (such as Brussels sprout, kale and spinach), beans (such as soybean), and algae (such as chlorella, nori and spirulina).

Most vegan sources, such as nuts and seeds, contain mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a different kind of omega-3 fatty acid that can only be partially converted to DHA and EPA in our bodies.

Algal oil is considered to be the best fish oil alternative, as it contains the best fatty acids profile, including EPA and DHA in abundance.

How much FISH OIL do you need?

The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) of omega-3s has been established by the National Academy of Medicine based on the adequate intake (AI, assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy, due to lack of better data) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the only essential omega-3. For a healthy adult this value varies from 1.1 g/day for females to 1.6 g/day for males.

The National Academy of Medicine has not established specific intake recommendations for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Experts estimate the ideal consumption might vary from 100 to 250 mg/day.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers up to 3 grams of fish oil per day to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a food.

When should I take my FISH OIL?

You can take it at any time of the day, as most of the benefits are achieved over long-term usage. It is recommended to take the fish oil supplement with a meal as taking supplements on an empty stomach can cause nausea.

To reduce the chance of side effects such as acid reflux and/or "fish burps", you can choose to freeze the capsules before taking them or to split your daily dose in two smaller doses, one in the morning and one at night.

As alternatives, you may prefer to consume the enteric-coated capsules that only dissolve in the small intestine, or the fruit flavoured gummies as they tend to have a more agreeable taste.

How to store my FISH OIL?

Keeping your fish oil fresh requires proper storage. Most brands design their packaging with optimum conservation in mind, so all you have to do is to seal it well and to keep it in a cool, dark and dry environment.

You should always observe its "best before" or expiration date. The content of the bottle should be consumed in 90 days once it is opened. If you want to slow down the inevitable oxidation process, it is a smart move to keep the bottle refrigerated (below room temperature) and in the dark (completely away from light is ideal) to gain maximum shelf life.

Labdoor is not a medical source. Don’t take supplements before talking to your physician.


Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Fact Sheet for Consumers

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals

Dietary Reference Intakes for DHA and EPA

Marine Oils

FAQ - Use And Safety Of Dietary Supplements

Learn How To Eat Healthy With My Plate

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28)

Nutrients: 18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) (g)

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28)

Nutrients: 22:6 n-3 (DHA) (g)

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28)

Nutrients: 20:5 n-3 (EPA) (g)