"I've never been much of a believer in supplements. However, after repeated invitations from my wife I started taking Omega 3 Fish Oil. Consequently, my cholesteral levels have improved and I've never felt so healthy."
- Eric B.
"Since I started supplementing with high-dose fish oil nearly 8 months ago my skin has not been nearly so dry, my allergies have almost entirely gone away and my general health appears to be improving."
"After one month of taking fish oil, my husband starting noticing positive changes in the texture of his hair, and his blood sugar levels were dramatically stabilizing, as he is a type 1 diabetic (for the past 27 years)."
General Dosage Recommendations
There are several forms of fish oil supplements. The most common form is natural fish oil, usually produced from the body of cold-water fish. These fish oils are, typically, 30% EPA and DHA with a ratio of EPA to DHA of 1.5. A typical 1 gram softgel capsule of fish oil contains 180 milligrams of EPA and 120 milligrams of DHA. Natural EPA and DHA are chemically triacylglycerols. Natural fish oil capsules containing 50% EPA and DHA in a 1.5 ratio are now available. Some natural fish oil supplements contain EPA and DHA in a higher ratio, i.e. higher EPA. There are also fish oil supplements with a lower ratio, i.e. higher DHA.
A more concentrated form of fish oil is the semi-synthetic ethyl ester product containing 85% EPA/DHA. One such product contains 490 milligrams of EPA ethyl ester and 350 milligrams of DHA ethyl ester per 1 gram capsule.
Enteric coated EPA and DHA as the free fatty acids are also available. These capsules are more concentrated in EPA and DHA. Emulsions of fish oils are now available that can be used as constituents for salad dressings and other foods. Functional foods, including bars containing fish oil, are becoming available. Infant formulas containing DHA are available in Europe and Japan. Certain interal supplements contain EPA and DHA as well as other immune-modulating nutrients such as L-arginine, L-glutamine and RNA.
Recommended fish oil products must contain antioxidants such as tocopherol to protect against their oxidation. Further, fish oil products that contain high quantities of vitamin A and D, which could be toxic, should not be used.
The usual oral dose of fish oil for use in hypertriglyceridemia is about 5 grams of combined EPA/DHA daily. The values expressed in this section refer to the amounts of EPA plus DHA. The actual weight of the capsule is typically much higher. Labels should be checked in order to determine the actual EPA/DHA content. The daily intake should be taken in divided doses; the supplements are best tolerated with meals. The usual dose for hypertensives who have not previously been treated is about 3 grams of EPA/DHA daily. About 3 grams daily is also the usual dose for those with rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Those who have had successful angioplasty and are trying to prevent restenosis might use 4 to 5 grams daily. Based on the GISSI-Prevenzione trial, a dose of 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA might have protective value for those who have had an MI.
Condition Specific Fish Oil Dosages
Aging 1,000 mg twice a day
Angina 2,000 mg fish oils 3 times a day
Arrhythmia 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Asthma 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Cancer 3 capsules twice a day
Crohn's Disease 2,000 mg twice a day
Diabetes 2,000 mg 3 times a day
Eczema 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Gout 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Heart Disease Prevention 1,000 mg 3 times a day
High Blood Pressure 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Lupus 2,000 mg 3 times a day
Psoriasis 2,000 mg 3 times a day
Raynaud's disease 1,000 mg 4 times a day
Rheumatoid Arthritis 1000 mg (2 capsules) containing 600 mg EPA/DHA, twice a day
Skin Health 1,000 mg a day with food
Stroke 1,000 mg 3 times a day
Note: Because omega-3s inhibit blood clotting, avoid taking fish oil supplements two weeks before and one week after surgery. Consult a doctor before taking the supplements if you have a chronic blood disorder.