This submit was written by Meagan Ellinger, PharmD, and Jennifer Sposito, PharmD, BCPS, Parkview Well being.
Fish oil is a typical identify for a product which comprises eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and/or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are typically known as omega-3 fatty acids. Our our bodies should not in a position to make omega-3 fatty acids on their very own. As a result of we should receive these by way of our weight-reduction plan, they’re referred to as important fatty acids.
Now that we’ve got a basic concept of what fish oil is, let’s discover a few of the most typical questions round supplementing with EPA and/or DHA to guard our coronary heart well being.
What meals comprise fish oil?
Fatty fish are wealthy in omega-3 fatty acids. The American Coronary heart Affiliation recommends that adults eat 2 servings of fatty fish every week. A serving is 3 ounces of cooked fish. The fish needs to be baked or broiled, not fried. Salmon, herring, lake trout, albacore tuna, sardines and mackerel are thought-about fatty fish.
For most individuals, consuming fatty fish is a greater supply of omega-3 fatty acids than taking fish oil dietary supplements.
What drugs comprise fish oil?
Fish oil may be bought with out a prescription. The standard and quantity of omega-3 fatty acids might fluctuate between completely different merchandise. It’s useful to test the product label for the omega-3 content material. The omega-3 content material is the EPA quantity plus the DHA quantity.
Within the product label beneath, there’s 1,000 mg of fish oil focus. Nevertheless, this product solely comprises 300 mg (180 mg + 120 mg) of EPA and DHA.
Fish oil can also be accessible with a prescription out of your healthcare supplier. Prescription fish oil may be costlier, nonetheless might require much less capsules to be taken per day.
What’s the good thing about fish oil?
Fish oil can be utilized to decrease triglycerides. There’s small proof that it could assist to forestall coronary heart illness and stroke.
Who ought to take fish oil?
Individuals who have excessive triglycerides could also be prescribed fish oil by their physician to assist decrease triglycerides. Fish oil can cut back triglycerides by 20%-50%.
The American Coronary heart Affiliation doesn’t suggest taking fish oil to forestall coronary heart assault or stroke. For individuals who have already had a coronary heart assault or stroke, the American Coronary heart Affiliation states that fish oil use could also be useful, however knowledge is restricted. General, there is no such thing as a robust proof to help taking fish oil to forestall coronary heart assault or stroke.
How a lot fish oil ought to I take?
To decrease triglycerides, it’s endorsed to take 2-4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. The one merchandise indicated to decrease triglycerides are prescription drugs (Lovaza® and Vascepa®).
The American Coronary heart Affiliation states that 1 gram per day of omega-3 dietary supplements is the beneficial dose for individuals who have already had a coronary heart assault or stroke. For non-prescription fish oil, it isn’t beneficial to take greater than 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.
What are frequent unwanted side effects of fish oil and the way ought to they be managed?
Fish oil might trigger nausea, heartburn or diarrhea. It may additionally depart a fish style within the mouth. Taking the fish oil with meals might assist with these signs. Refrigerating or freezing the fish oil capsules may assist to lower the fishy style, nonetheless the prescription drugs (Lovaza® and Vascepa®) shouldn’t be refrigerated or frozen.
Fish oil can enhance the chance of bleeding or bruising. Sometimes, doses higher than 3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids have the best danger of bleeding. Individuals who presently take a blood thinner, equivalent to aspirin or warfarin, ought to communicate with their healthcare supplier earlier than taking fish oil.
People who find themselves allergic to seafood may be allergic to fish oil dietary supplements and may keep away from use or communicate to their physician earlier than they take fish oil.
What are different methods to enhance my coronary heart well being?
Consuming a nutritious diet filled with entire grains, greens, fruits and protein may help enhance coronary heart well being. The American Coronary heart Affiliation recommends getting at the least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio train or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise every week. Smoking cessation additionally lowers the chance of coronary heart assault and stroke.
Listed here are extra suggestions, from the workforce on the Parkview Coronary heart Institute.