What are the potential fish oil side effects?
Fish is brain food but are there fish oil side effects? We’ve all heard the buzz on the benefits of fish oil for the battle against depression even to the extent of bipolar disorder.
While eating a tuna salad for lunch or salmon would be good for you, this alone will not provide you with the required amounts of fish oil your body needs. It is the high dose fish oil that you should take. In the Mayo Clinic’s February 2004 newsletter, doctors encourage taking a high dose fish oil.
But, are there any fish oil side effects?
There are fish oil side effects if taken improperly or if a low grade supplement or contaminated source is used. However, many argue that the side effects of fish oil are more agreeably than most side effects of anti-depressants.
Precautions on fish oil side effects: "Omega-3 fatty acids should be used cautiously by people who bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood-thinning medications because excessive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may lead to bleeding. In fact, people who eat more than three grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (equivalent to 3 servings of fish per day) may be at an increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke, a potentially fatal condition in which an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures. Fish oil can cause flatulence and diarrhea. Time-release preparations may reduce these side effects, however." (Source: Omega 3 Fatty Acids / University of Maryland Medical Center, 2006)
Here is an example of possible fish oil side effects taken from the Letter Regarding Dietary Supplement Health Claim for omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease dated from the 1970s mind you. (Much has been done since then to insure quality.) Anyway, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements noted that…
‘Suspected risks of omega-3 fatty acids may include’: increased bleeding (if over 3 grams/day is taken), hemorrhagic stroke, increase in LDL cholesterol in diabetics, reduced glycemic control among diabetics, and decreased immunity to infections.
More recently, there are some Omega 3 supplements, especially those made from liver - yes liver, that can contain large amounts of vitamins A and D, which can be toxic when taken in large amounts. Some fish oils are high in cholesterol as well. (Source: Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need - From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine by Victor Herbert M.D. 1995)
So, how do you choose a quality fish oil supplement for the battle against depression or other health problems and avoid any possible side effects?
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"How to Choose a Quality Fish Oil Supplement”
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Omega-3 fatty acids decreased irritability of patients with bipolar disorder in an add-on, open label study / Nutrition Journal http://www.nutritionj.com/content/4/1/6 accessed May 26-06/
Omega-3 fatty acid. (2006, May 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:43, May 27, 2006, from / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#Health_risks
Omega-3 Fatty Acids / University of Maryland Medical Center - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsSupplements/Omega3FattyAcidscs.html / accessed May 26-06