Major therapeutic interest

  • Preventing the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders;
  • Preventing death attributable to heart attack;
  • Lowering blood lipid levels (reduces blood triglyceride levels [hypertriglyceridemia]);
  • Lowering blood pressure;
  • Lowering high blood pressure related to cyclosporine treatment;
  • Decreasing swelling pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Other therapeutic interest / Traditional Use

  • Preventing strokes;
  • Relieving menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea);
  • Preventing coronary shrinkage following angioplasty;
  • Preventing obstruction of grafted blood vessels following coronary bypass surgery;
  • Treating depression;
  • Treating dyslexia (persistent difficulty reading and writing);
  • Treating endometriosis;
  • Preventing the development of macular degeneration (a severe visual impairment) related to aging.

Important Notice

  • Fish oil should not be consumed prior to or after surgery, except by physician’s recommendation after angioplasty or a heart bypass;
  • Prolonged use of fish oil products in the form of supplements requires periodic monitoring of the lipid profile and should be limited to those at risk for heart disease. In people with an initial lipid profile showing very high triglyceride levels, these omega-3s can lower these levels, but paradoxically, an increase in total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) is frequently observed;
  • The FDA recommends that total intake should not exceed 3 g a day of EPA + DHA consumed in food and 2 g a day in the form of supplements. Massive intake (food + omega-3 enriched food + supplements) is not recommended and consumption of fish oil omega-3 over a long period should only be done under medical supervision.

Drug Interactions

Known human interactions

  • Oral contraceptives reduce the beneficial effects of fish oil on blood lipid levels (Alesse, Diane-35, Marvelon, Min-Ovral, Ortho 0.5/35, Triphasil, etc.);
  • Decreases side effects of Sandimmune and Neoral (nephrotoxicity, high blood pressure);
  • Increases blood sugar levels at high doses (3 g or more a day in the form of supplements);
  • Heightens the effect of various categories of drugs used to treat high blood pressure (Hydrochlorothiazide, Inderal, Lopresor, Adalat, Cardizem [Diltiazem], Norvasc, Accupril, Altace, Capoten, Monopril, Vasotec, Cozaar, etc.)

Suspected interactions

  • May reduce the absorption of vitamin E;
  • May heighten the effect of anticoagulant/antithrombotic drugs (Coumadin, Lovenox, heparin, etc.), antiplatelets (Plavix, Ticlid), as well as salicylic acid derivatives (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA, Aspirin, Entrophen, etc.) and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Voltaren, Ibuprofen [Advil, Motrin], Naprosyn, etc.)

Main constituents

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids belonging to the omega-3 fatty acids family (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).
  • Source: The fatty flesh of wild cold-water ocean fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardine, and trout.