Should You Really Be Taking Fish Oil?

Should You Really Be Taking Fish Oil?

by Chris Kresser

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DmitriyDanilchenko/iStock/Thinkstock

Fish oil might not be the cure-all it’s often advertised to be, and in some cases, it may even cause problems.

Note: This article was originally published in June 2015 and was updated in January 2017 to include the latest research. My original recommendations still stand, and the case for high-dose fish oil supplementation has become even weaker.  

Fish oil supplements continue to gain in popularity, but the research supporting their efficacy is shaky.

For over a decade, fish oil has been touted by doctors, nutritionists, and armchair health enthusiasts alike as a near cure-all for health. Whether you have heart disease, depression, diabetes, or joint or skin problems, or you just want to stay healthy and prevent nutrient deficiencies, somebody has probably told you to take a fish oil supplement.

The general notion was that it might help, and at the very least, it couldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Does Fish Oil Really Prevent Heart Disease?

It’s safe to say that the benefits of fish oil supplementation for heart health have been significantly overstated. As I mentioned earlier, studies initially found that fish oil was beneficial for heart disease, particularly over the short term and for secondary prevention. (1)

But a majority of the evidence available now suggests that fish oil provides no benefits for preventing or improving heart disease.

For example, two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in 2010 found that in adults with preexisting heart disease, long-term supplementation (three-plus years) with fish oil had no significant impact on cardiovascular end points. (2, 3)

A few other trials looked at the effect of short-term fish oil supplementation on atrial fibrillation, and none of them found that fish oil improved patient outcomes. (4, 5, 6)

A meta-analysis of RCTs in 2012, focusing on cardiovascular end-points, found that fish oil did not reduce cardiovascular events or death and concluded that the evidence does not support using fish oil supplements for the secondary prevention of heart disease. (7)

Three other meta-analyses published since then came to similar conclusions. (8, 9, 10)

Some studies do still come up with positive results. For example, one meta-analysis published in 2013 found a protective effect of fish oil for preventing cardiac death, sudden death, and myocardial infarction. (11)

Is it possible that fish oil is beneficial for one person and harmful for another? #fishoil

But there are also studies with negative results. Back in 2010, I wrote an article highlighting one study where long-term fish oil supplementation resulted in an increase in heart disease and sudden death and another that found increased LDL levels and insulin resistance in people who took 3g per day of fish oil. (12, 13)

Overall, the majority of studies show neither benefit nor harm from supplementing with fish oil for heart disease.

Does Fish Oil Improve Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms and biomarkers that often precedes heart disease or diabetes.

On the positive side, a recently published RCT found that in adults with metabolic syndrome, supplementation with 3g/d of fish oil along with 10 mL/d of olive oil for 90 days improved several blood markers. This includes a statistically significant lowering of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, an improvement in LDL/HDL ratio, and improved markers of oxidative stress. (14)

It’s interesting to note that the fish oil plus olive oil group had better results than either the fish oil or olive oil group alone. One possible reason for this is that olive oil is rich in antioxidants and may have protected against the potentially greater risk of oxidative damage from consuming more polyunsaturated fat.

On the negative side, a recent study in women with metabolic syndrome found that 3g/d of fish oil resulted in an increase in LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, and markers for insulin resistance after 90 days, although they did observe a decrease in blood pressure. (15)

And in overweight men, supplementation with 5g per day of krill and salmon oil resulted in increased insulin resistance after eight weeks, compared with a canola oil control. (16)

Finally, an impressively large RCT involving over 12,500 patients with diabetes, elevated fasting glucose, or impaired glucose tolerance found that supplementation with 1g/d of omega-3s for six years did not reduce disease endpoints compared to placebo. Endpoints measured included incidence of cardiovascular events, death from cardiovascular events, and death from all causes. (17)

As you can see, the evidence for fish oil supplementation for metabolic syndrome is mixed, with some studies showing a benefit, others showing harm, and still others showing no significant effect either way.

Can Fish Oil Prevent Cancer? Or Does Fish Oil Cause Cancer?

Many of you probably recall headlines from 2013 proclaiming that fish oil may increase the risk of prostate cancer (18). But despite the extensive media attention garnered by the study, it’s actually one of the weaker cases that have been brought against fish oil.

Believe it or not, the study in question actually had nothing to do with fish oil, or even omega-3 supplements. The researchers simply measured circulating levels of omega-3 fatty acids in men with and without prostate cancer and found that men with prostate cancer tended to have higher concentrations of omega-3s in their blood.

There are several reasons this could be the case; for instance, some evidence indicates that having prostate cancer might itself increase blood levels of omega-3s, or that certain genetic polymorphisms can increase both circulating omega-3s and cancer risk.

It didn’t take long for other researchers to publish a slew of comments pointing out these possibilities, but the media had already taken the “fish oil causes cancer” stance and run with it.

More recently, a meta-analysis found that in general, omega-3 consumption is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer, but that the correlation is too weak to be statistically significant. (19) In 2016, a massive meta-analysis looked at 44 studies and concluded overall that higher omega-3 supplementation had no effect on prostate cancer mortality (20).

A handful of reviews found that fish oil intake was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, although no distinction was made between fish oil supplements and fish consumption. (21, 22) And one RCT published in 2012 found that supplementation with 600mg of omega-3s per day had no effect on cancer risk in men, but increased cancer risk in women. (23)

As with heart disease and metabolic syndrome, the research on omega-3 and fish oil supplementation on cancer is decidedly mixed.

High Levels of Oxidative Products Found in Fish Oil Supplements

Recently, attention has been drawn to the quality of over-the-counter fish oil supplements. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, are especially susceptible to oxidation due to double carbon bonds at multiple locations.  Light, oxygen exposure, and heat can all contribute to oxidation. Oxidized lipids have been linked to a number of health issues, including organ toxicity and accelerated atherosclerosis—the exact opposite outcomes usually desired by those who supplement with fish oil. (24)

In 2016, the top three selling fish oil supplements in the United States were shown to have oxidation levels up to four times higher than recommended “safe” levels. (25) One caveat of this alarming study is that oxidation levels were normalized per 1g of omega-3s in the supplements, instead of the industry standard of normalizing per 1g of fish oil. Although this does inflate their three measures of oxidation, all three fish oil brands were still above acceptable levels of peroxidase and TOTOX levels, while one (instead of the study’s reported two) was above acceptable anisidine levels if instead normalized per 1g of fish oil.

As oxidation level measurements of omega-3 supplements have increased over the last several years, this has been the common finding. Studies examining fish oil supplements available around the world, including in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, consistently show that a vast majority (up to 80 percent!) exceed at least one of the measures of acceptable oxidation levels. (26, 24, 27) Also noteworthy is that most of these supplements contain lower levels of DHA and EPA than the labels claim, probably partly due to oxidation.

Furthermore, the most recent study from 2016 demonstrated that over-the-counter omega-3 supplements had a decreased ability to inhibit small, dense LDL oxidation in a laboratory setting compared to pure omega-3 fatty acids. (25) This means that whatever supposed benefits omega-3 supplements should have on blood lipids could likely be completely counteracted by the oxidized lipids also contained in the pills. Overall, I am quite wary of most over-the-counter products out there.

Should You Take Fish Oil?

To avoid making this article so long that nobody will read it, I haven’t included research on fish oil and other aspects of health, including mental health, skin health, pregnancy, and cognitive function. As you might imagine, the research on fish oil supplementation to prevent or improve these conditions is also somewhat mixed, with some studies showing significant benefit and others showing no change.

This is certainly an important topic, and I’m glad to see such a strong interest in it in the research community. I will continue to follow the literature and update my recommendations if and when new evidence comes to light, but for the time being this is what I would suggest:

If you are generally healthy, the best strategy is to consume about 12 to 16 ounces of cold-water fatty fish or shellfish each week. When possible, whole foods are always my first recommendation. Most studies show an inverse relationship between fish consumption and heart disease and mortality, so while fish oil may not protect you, eating fish does seem to. Perhaps this is because fish and shellfish contain many other beneficial nutrients that fish oil does not, including selenium, zinc, iron, and highly absorbable protein. (Fortunately, most cold-water fatty fish and shellfish are also low in mercury and other toxins, and mercury in fish may not be as big a problem as some have led us to believe.)

If you don’t eat fish (for whatever reason), I’d suggest supplementing with 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil. In addition to about 1.2 g of EPA + DHA, it is rich in the active forms of vitamin A and vitamin D, both of which are difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet. There are very few studies suggesting the possibility of harm from supplementation with 1 gram or less of fish oil per day, and so I think one teaspoon of cod liver oil a day is likely to be safe even for those eating fish regularly—and beneficial for those not eating liver or other foods that contain active vitamin A. My current favorite cod liver oil is Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil, as this company has consistently demonstrated very low levels of oxidative products from independent laboratory testing.

Based on the evidence I’ve reviewed in this article, I would not recommend consuming high doses of fish oil (i.e., more than 3g/day) over the long term. If you do choose to take a higher dose of fish oil, I would make sure to consume plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, like olive oil; blueberries; nuts; dark, leafy greens; and dark chocolate.

I think we still have a lot to learn about this subject. One of the challenges is that the effects of polyunsaturated fats on overall physiology are complex and probably depend on multiple factors that can vary individually, including uncontrolled oxidation, eicosanoid production, cell membrane effects, and signal transduction via specialized fatty acid receptors (i.e., PPAR receptors).

This could explain why we see such a wide variation in study results. Is it possible that 3g/d of fish oil is beneficial for one person and harmful for another? Absolutely. Unfortunately, at this point it’s difficult to predict that individual response with accuracy and certainty, so I think the conservative approach I suggested above is probably the most sensible until we learn more.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you take a fish oil supplement? If so, did this make you rethink your decision? Why or why not? Share your opinion in the comments below!

525 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. Chris, you recommend 1 teaspoon of fish oil a day but state not to exceed 1 gram of fish oil a day. 1 teaspoon of fish oil has 4.6 grams of fish oil. So is 1 teaspoon a day safe even though it has 4.6 grams of fish oil?

  2. Chris, do you also recommend using the EVCLO for young children? I have been using the fermented CLO recently, but I think I’ll be stopping it. Thank you, First time Mom

  3. Time and again, it seems that relying on supplements instead of food is misguided, although of course pills are where the money is.

  4. I just eat BPA free Wild sardines and salmon from Wild Planet. They test for radiation and heavy metals and they also fish from some of the largest populations of sardines so they aren’t taking all the food out of one part of the ocean… its already cooked so no parasites or anything living in there. It doesn’t require refrigeration and when taken hiking and camping, bears and wildlife don’t smell it (until the can is opened)…. I either eat some sardines with lemon and olive oil + a salad or I make salmon patties and eat with anything. By eating the fish you get the proteins, collagen, bones, minerals fats while taking drops of fish oil just seems pathetic in comparison… (don’t mess around with farm raised sea food, and don’t eat fish that aren’t bountiful)

  5. 1.) Canning, steaming, cooking, grilling, frying… etc all heat up the fish. Omega3 is very fragile and easily oxidised. So how are we to eat fish?

    2.) Chris, you keep recommending eating canned fish, but advise against canned foods and drinks because they leach BPA and other nasty chemicals. Can you help me with these contradictions?

    • Canned ALBACORE is especially good….for raising MERCURY levels. Stick to high dose, molecular distilled fish oil from any company who shares their 3rd party analyses with you.

      The studies mentioned here? If you use PLACEBO doses, you get placebo RESULTS. And, even 3 years on placebo doses don’t help subjects who have been sick ALL THEIR LIVES.

      Get your o-3 level to 8%…and go easy on the o-6.

  6. Hi I take fish oils in large doses as it is part of my treatment with my practioner. After reading this o am very concerned and confused to what I should do. I would very much appreciate your help on this. I have ME and fish oils has been part of my treatment for years I also eat oily fish two to three times a week.
    Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

  7. I have psoiratic arthiratis (PsA), and was giving oitment to apply on my wrist and palm and areas where rash would develop. This didn’t work well and only other alternative was to take medication oraly. In return medication would cause side effects, some serious side effects. So, after reading about fish oil and how it’s good alternative to medication, I start taking 1200mg twice per day fish oil/omega3 with 2000mg vitaminD supplements. My rash was gone in one week and no more itching. So, reading your finding will not change my mind about fish supplement & i will keep taking for awhile. I can’t eat fish every day, so taking supplement is better for me. I’m taking to much fish oil supplements that will harm me more then help me?

  8. I would be interested to learn what Dr. Kresser thinks about fish oil versus plant based Parent Essential Oils (the work of Brian Peskin, Dr. Robert Rowan) and also the work of Ray Peat on fish oils and PUFA.

  9. I take fish oils (Natural Factors, salmon oils) primarily because it has a clear and profound impact on my skin. I also eat fish 1-2 times per week, but generally have dry flaky scalp. As long as I take fish oils regularly, my scalp remains in good condition. Does anyone have any insight on this?

  10. Its cherry picking. Theres a reason it was made into a prescribed drug even though you can get it in supplemental form.

    You cant placebo cholesterol, triglycerides numbers and anticlotting. Beneficial to heart.

    If you want the studies gathered and explained then check out examine.com

  11. Thank you for this article. Does the research indicate whether or not the use of fish oil supplementation is beneficial in the treatment and management of chronic dry eye conditions?
    Thank you
    Em

  12. I take fish oil to help with fibromyalgia symptoms, and I have to say, I really do feel like it helps with pain. My son also takes it for a heart condition he was born with. After reading some of this, I’m worried about the effects it might have, but we switched to fish oil from coumadin. I would pick my poison to be fish oil in that case, as coumadin is literally poison and it was causing unbelievable bruising in him and really impacting our lives) I don’t eat meat, and coumadin makes you monitor your vegetable and fruit intake.

      • Check your product fish oil by dropping some onto Styrofoam. If it dissolves, your “fish oil” is not fish oil. Then, what brand are you taking?
        P

          • Thanks for the reply. Nordic Naturals is one of the top brands and their products are mostly rTAG (re-esterified triacylglycerols) and not the ethyl esters. Although these rTAGs are synthetic and most are made from ethyl esters, there will be some residual ethyl esters in the products depending on the method of making the rTAGs.

  13. I was wondering whether persistant organic pollutants (POP) from fish and krill oil was considered in the studies. POPs seem to be associated with metabolic disorders. Is it possible to compare the impact they have on metabolic disorders with the impact oxidized molectules have?

  14. Omega 3 as well as Omega 6 fatty acids are necessary for body to reduce inflammation and also for some diseases namely ADHD, asthma, but supplements must be taken if you have severe health issues. If you not fond of fish oil then you can go with plant sourced supplements which provides these long chain fatty acids. This article really helped me in figuring out whether it is helpful for cardiovascular diseases. Yes, i even agree that low levels of supplements can be taken if you are deficient with fatty acids.

  15. I am almost done with a Quicksilver Scientific Detox protocol so I really need to avoid mercury. Does Rosita Cod Liver Oil contain mercury?

    • I was curious how the Quicksilver Scientific Detox worked for you, did you get a test done once the detox was complete? Did you see an improvement in symptoms?

    • I’m like Nathan… I’d appreciate hearing about before and after testing following the Quicksilver detox. What Quicksilver protocol did you use (exactly, if you don’t mind sharing)

  16. Just wanted to confirm that the recommendation to limit intake to 3 g is for FISH OIL (3 g would be about 2/3 of a teaspoon daily), or for EPA + DHA (i.e., not more than about 2 teaspoons of a fairly typical product).

    Thanks.

    • My naturopath demonstrated to us that a normal flatware soup spoon does not hold a TBS. If you measure a tsp of water and put it in a soup spoon, it fills it with a just little margin around the edge. That is the dosage she recommends for FCLO from Green Pastures. I have been taking that dosage for 5 years and my husband for about 3 years with zero negative effects. I didn’t get sick all winter. But if I had, I would have doubled the dose for a week or so. I know there is controversy re Blue Ice, but judging only from my own health, it seems to be working exactly as it should. Yay!

  17. I have read Dr. Kresser’s prior article on Omega 6 v. Omega 3. I was not sure where to post this comment. I have been a big proponent of fish oils in my patients with mixed results and recommending based on prevention research, etc. with outcomes difficult to monitor in one’s own patients without rigorous follow up, etc. I was speaking with my colleague Dr. Rowen who does not recommend fish oils and referred me to his book, The PEO Solution, as the explanation was a long one. I found the information most enlightening and missed even by the brightest and well read. Consider reading and I would enjoy Dr. Kresser’s comments or even a podcast with one of the authors.

    • The PEO Solution is an article that we recently came across,too! I would like to hear Dr Kresser’s opinion on it. I wasn’t totally convinced and am at a loss on whether to take high quality fish oil or not for my cardio issues. It seems like taking nothing would be best except a few supplements. In my opinion, the fermented cod liver oil is a rancid oil and dangerous.

  18. I have taken fish oil (higher DHA) for the past three and a half years. I felt like I did benefit from it (hair, skin, mood). I have been buying from a very reputable brand (Nordic Naturals). Recently, I have read some things about gelatin that bother me. They use a beef gelatin, so I have started looking for other sources of DHA/EPA. I bought some of their liquid fish oil–but I worry about this going rancid fast….I would love to just eat salmon a few times a week–but worry about mercury and other contaminants with that……not sure what to do….? I wish I had never read about the gelatin risks. I know they are small, but it still bothers me…..Any suggestions or ideas would be great 🙂

    • I take Nordic Naturals in the liquid form and store it in the refrigerator. When the oil in a gelatin capsule goes rancid you cannot tell until it gives you indigestion. I’ve had problems with the capsules so avoid them regardless of the source of the gelatin.

  19. Unfortunately this article makes no distinction in the research to the amounts of EPA/DHA that were given, many of these studies are comparing apples to oranges. 3 grams of fish oil means nothing, the important thing is how much EPA/DHA is being given. 1 gram of a low quality fish oil may only contain 150-200 mg of EPA per gram while a triple strength, pharmaceutical grade product may contain 500-600 mg of EPA per gram. The research that shows that there must be enough EPA/DHA, generally in the 1000-1500 mg range of EPA.

    Fish oil works, just google Lovaza and Omacor. Do you think these would be prescription products if they didn’t. You just have to get enough EPA/DHA. You can get similar products from amazon, search pharmaceutical grade, triple strength fish oil.

    For me, the antidepressant effect of fish oil is life saving. I do not want to take pharma antidepressants. I take 2 enteric coated capsules(2.8 grams) of a triple strength fish oil that totals 1300 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA. I have been on this amount for several years, when I go off of it, depression sets in after about a week. I have cycled off of it several times and felt this happen everytime. My tryglycerides also dropped from 158 to 75 after starting fish oil. I take it with antioxidants (Beta cartotene, Vit C, E, and selenium) with breakfast.

    Check out Dr. Stephen Illardi’s book “The Depression Cure” and TED talk, also the Omega 3 Connection

    • I’m glad you posted this because in my experience of fish oil, I dive into depression about a week after no consumption of the supplement. I switched to krill oil and I’ve noticed even more benefits with even greater mental clarity and sharpness along with overall energy! Trying to make a blanket statement for all to follow is tough because we all have diff DNA. Clearly, my brain benefits from the fat / needs more fat, but I cannot consume a high fat diet because it over works my digestive system, so the supplements help! I also consume extra virgin coconut oil, too.

    • Flaxseed oil is great but as Chris Kresser has commented a number of times “research indicates that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA, and less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of ALA is converted to DHA”

  20. I have worked in the health and fitness industry for about 7 years. Have various PT certs and and two nutrition certs (one precision nutrition).

    I fell on a basketball court once and braces my fall with my left elbow. I had severe pain for about a week then lots of swelling but after a week the pain reduced, butthe swelling stayed and I had occasional pain while working out. This continued for 6 months.

    I then met an RD who told me to take an entire bottle of Omega 3 fish oil. I thought she was nuts but I tried anyway. I woke up the next day and the swelling in my elbow was completely gone and the pain only surfaced if I tried to find it (moving different ways, pressure points, messages).

    I understand the research on fish oil, but it personally helped me reduce inflammation greatly.

    Just my input…

  21. Hi,
    Thanks for writing such an informative, engrossing, enticing post for us.
    I am a health enthusiast and I have tried anything to everything under the name of superfood to supplements.
    I firmly believe there are several factors attached to bring a positive and negative when we follow something.
    I have taken this supplement and seen changes in my body, hair, and skin texture.
    The golden rule to follow os moderation and to be on the move so that body can come up with real results.
    No food is entirely good or entirely bad. Rest we must focus on the food and food groups that are from our own soil and locally available. “Eat local and think global”

  22. If you are taking in good amounts of antioxidants I don’t see a problem with taking fish oils. I take fish oils shortly after juicing greens (of course adding most of the fiber back into the diet). There’s no way that fish oils or even an iron supplement could counter the massive release of antioxidants from juicing greens.

  23. I finally read your discussion of fish oil, just not all the comments (yet). I take a tsp/day of FCLO, Green Pastures Blue Ice. I know the jury is still out and different testing labs use different methods so it’s hard to tell exactly what we are getting. But I haven’t been sick all winter so I think the Vit D must be in there. I have been doing GAPS for ~4yrs and take it for general good health. I am concerned about any processed fish oil, especially if it doesn’t taste fishy. My question is, if I am not trying to heal cancer or heart disease, do you recommend NOT taking FCLO for a while, or taking breaks of some interval? I also eat Wild Planet anchovies and sardines and salmon, but not always once/week. I will share your response with my GAPS support group. We are all taking FCLO but of course we all have different health profiles. Thanks.

    • Based on the extensive work of Dr. Raymond Peat and others, some of whom appear in The upcoming documentary ‘On The Back Of A Tiger’ all polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are detrimental for human consumption in any regular concentrated form. The vitamin A and D in those FCLO capsules are probably helpful and unfortunately are also naturally occurring with PUFAs in the fish oil.

      Please check out this extensively referenced article by Dr. Peat along with his other articles about oils

      http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

      Mostly people think in terms of the most mentioned PUFAs; Omega 3 and 6 DHA and EPA
      Here is the content of the FCLO you are using which you can find on their FAQ blog:

      DHA has a typical range of 10% of the FCLO +/-
      EPA has a typical range is 15% +/- of the FCLO. Use the same calculation as above

      Total Omega 3 will typically be in the 30-40% of the FCLO.

      If you are consuming Skate Liver oil, the DHA will make up 14-16% of the oil +/- and EPA will be in the 10-12% of the oil +/-.

  24. Why do you ignore the immense work of Gilbert Ling, Gerald Pollack, Mae-Wan Ho , and Harold Hillman ckesrlyvdhowing ghat cells are complex gels generating boundaries due to the EZ liquid crystalline be state of water in the body. This eliminates most of the arguments in terms of the need for “essential fatty acids whether omega 6 or 3

    • That is to say that crlls have no bilayer membranes . If you have not read their work which has produced NOBEL prizes forbothers, I suggest you take the time to do so. The documentary “On the Back Of A Tiger ” should be coming out soon about this and much more.

  25. I was diagnosed with Von Willebrand Disease this year. It’s a blood clotting disorder where I bleed more than I should. Taking fish oil makes it dramatically worse. So I take a very small dose of a high quality oil once in a while if I’m not eating fish. And not otherwise. Because otherwise I bruise by leaning against a table.

    • You need high dose Vitamin C (maybe also Vitamin K)!

      Forget the name the Allopaths have giving your blood clotting disorder, just look at the symptoms they are almost identical to Scurvy! (I.e massive Vitamin C deficiency)

      Go research Dr Linus Paulings and the other Orthomolecular medicine literature on the wonders of mega dose C

      (Again it could also be a Vit K defiecny but I would be confident Vit c will deal with it)

  26. I’ve taken about 2g of fish oil for almost 10 years with some breaks. I have metabolic syndrome and high morning blood sugar indicating insulin resistance. The resistance seems to be increasing as blood sugar levels have been creeping up. I try to keep a tight rein on carbs and have stopped drinking coffee and dairy which helps. I will probably decrease the amount of fish oil I’m taking, switch to cod liver oil or maybe stop all together for a while. I take a high quality fish oil that I get from health practitioners. I was told to take fish oil after cancer diagnosis to reduce inflammation.

    • You have significant inflammation much of which probably stems from endotoxins in your gut. Look into the use of low dose tetracycline like 1/3 dose per day for several weeks along with decent probiotics 2 hours after antibiotics, and/or eat a carrot salad every day as per Ray Peat, take Floraphage, twice a da and 500 mgs of Aspirin uncoated, add K2 regularly, check your thyroid and consider getting progesterone using it for some Time in the form of Progest E . Maybe some sodium bicarbonate regularly like full teaspoon in 4 ounces of water twice a day, and learn to reduce your breathing as undoubtedly you are over breathing a lot. Begin by training yourself to only breathe through your nose even when exercising. You may have to slow your exercise speed and intensity down for a while to do this and you will build back up. Learn about the importance of sea salt and iodoral from David Brownstein, MD too

  27. I’ve taken fish oil regularly for years ( for multiple benefits) but what I’ve noticed the most is how much it’s helped with my dry eyes. When I run out for a couple days, I notice a significant difference in my eyes feeling dry and scratchy.

  28. Hi Chris, Yay for chocolate endorsements! I think keeping an eye on your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is more important that pumping yourself full of fish oil and nuts and seeds. But everyone is different. Glad you did not make this a black and white conversation.

  29. In 2010 (when I was in my mid 30s) I started taking a reputable fish oil supplement as prescribed by a naturopath. At the end of the year I started getting lots of strong heart palpitations. I was given a Holter monitor to wear for 24 hours to record my heart beat. In the 24 hour period I had 285 extra beats and I was diagnosed with Ectopic beats. My heart palpations continued for at least a month. I stopped taking fish oil incase that was affecting me and my heart palpations went away. I have the odd palpations since then but nothing like during the time I was taking fish oil. I have not taken fish oil since this time.

  30. Hi Chris! I had to stop taking fish oil because I was getting (grain of salt sized) cysts on my face. They were very hard & painful & would come to the surface of the skin. Since I have stopped taking the fish oil, I have stopped getting the cysts. I was taking a supposedly pure form from my Dr.’s office. Maybe it happened because I am histamine sensitive or maybe immpurities in it. Thanks for all your posts!

    • The conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA, and less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of ALA is converted to DHA. Therefore, flaxseed oil and other vegan sources of omega-3 EFAs are not an effective or economical way to get the intended benefit.

  31. This is why it’s so difficult to interpret results like these. For the NEJM article “n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Dysglycemia”, they used 1 gram/day of ethyl esters, and not “real” fish oil. First, they used a small amount per day. Second:

    “A comprehensive review of the scientific literature does indeed provide evidence suggesting that fish oil in triglyceride form is more efficiently absorbed than fish oil in ethyl ester form [7, 8, 14-16].”

    https://www.ascentahealth.com/omega-3-and-you/the-science/fish-oil-triglycerides-vs-ethyl-esters-comparative-review-metabolism-absorption-stability/

    So, what does this mean for someone who tries to get their omega 3s from actual fish (usually sardines/anchovies), and who aims for 2-3 grams of omega 3 per day?

    Probably not a lot, if anything.

    I should note that the ethyl esters were from a drug manufacturer. It’s good to see a negative result from studies like this. (In the past, they used to hide negative results.)

    • I think that the HDL/LDL ratio is in someway misleading. It mostly depends on LDL particle number and oxidized cholesterol. It’s reliable just in some cases, that have been taken as a generalization. I perfectly agree with the article, most omega 3 oils are highly processed and lack of the food sinergy principle that sees food as a complex matrix of nutrients.
      I think that Rosita cod liver food is indeed good since it uses a traditional method.

  32. I really started thinking about taking fish oil since i suffer from eczema and dryness, also cant find good quality meat and eggs all the time, i also thought about taking hemp oil, i ahy away from cod liver since it has a high vitamin a level.. what are your thoughts ?

  33. Hi Chris
    You should go through the studies and discard all those where they did not measure the oxidation levels of the omega3 oil and where they did not track it throughout the study. I am convinced that the contradiction in results are due to oxidation of the oils used during the study. How was it supplied to the participants? How did the participants store it? You correctly pointed out that omega3 is highly susceptible to oxidation and strong light, UV (even from lights) and high temperatures will accelerate oxidation.
    It will be quite interesting to see whether there is a better correlation between results from different researchers after the others have been discarded.

  34. I found your article very interesting. My experience with fish oil is that it ‘seems to’ increase my blood sugar readings. I find I can’t take it for another reason, and that is that my gall bladder definitely does not like it! It can precipitate a gall bladder attack.
    My naturopath who uses muscle testing, tested me for a number of different brands of fish oil, plus krill oil, and found that none of them were good for me, which confirms my own practical results. I have to be very cautious even with eating things like sardines, etc. (plus olive oil.) I do use chia seed, which I’m hoping will provide some Omega 3. I will not use flaxseed, which is still touted as being very healthy, but I believe it is toxic.
    I’ve always felt bad that I can’t seem to tolerate fish oil, which my doctor tells me I should have, and this article seems to indicate that there is or can be a down-side. I’d like to see an article on sources of Omega 3 that the fish themselves feed on, as there seems to be some confusion about this.

  35. Some caveats regarding this fish oil article:
    The authors never name the three supplements they tested. Good scientific research depends upon replication by other scientists; yet concealing the brands that were tested eliminates the possibility of other researchers examining the same products. Red flag one.

    In one section of the article, the authors refer to the tested supplements as “three widely used DS”. In other sections, they refer to the tested supplement as “top selling DS”. Those references could mean the same thing, or not, but it is impossible to know without specifics. Red flag two.

    When the authors refer to the tested supplements as “top selling DS”, not source of the data used to determine the ranking of dietary supplement fish oil is ever presented. Red flag three.

    The authors state the studies were conducted without any grant from any outside source, but the “medical writing assistance” was provided by Peloton Advantage (a PR company) and funded by Amarin Pharma, Inc (a manufacturer of pharmaceutical fish oil). Of course this had no influence on the findings that pharmaceutical fish oil is much preferred over the dietary supplement fish oil. Surprise, surprise. Which brings to question, if there was no outside funding for the research, but only the writing, why was the research done in the first place? Elucida research (for which the authors work) is a contract research facility. Massive red flag.

  36. I have not been able to tolerate even the smallest dose of fish oil since becoming chronically ill 7 years ago. I tried repeatedly and it always made me so sick with nausea, headaches and liver/gall bladder pain. I only recently discovered why. I am amine intolerant, a legacy of mercury toxicity from amalgams. Fish oil is very rich in amines.

  37. I am currently taking fish oil supplements upon the recommendation of my doctor and am not planning on stopping at this point based on what you have in this article. Here is my reasoning:

    I was diagnosed with T2D about 17 months ago despite not being overweight or having any of the normal characteristics.

    After much frustration with both my PCP and Endocrinologist, I fired them and got a new doctor who tested me for everything under the sun. In short, not only am I not insulin resistant, I actually process carbohydrates better than average. However, I was deficient or borderline in all the B vitamins except B1 as well as in iodine and borderline on magnesium and my Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio was way out of whack.

    I have been continuing to track my BG readings (AM fasting, 2 hrs after every meal and post workout) for the 7 weeks since beginning the supplementation B vitamin complex, iodine and Omega 3 (via fish oil). The results, which I track on an Excel spreadsheet, clearly show a solid down trend in all readings.

    I plan on continuing my current course of action until all of the trend lines level out for a 30 day period. At which time, if they are NOT in an acceptable range, I will look at making other changes. If they are in acceptable ranges, I would expect my A1c to also be acceptable again. If this is the case, I may stop taking the fish oil as an N=1 experiment to see if there is any impact – positive or negative. However, given my current supplementation regimen seems to be producing very good results to point of an average of 15.5 pt drop per category in just 7 weeks, I think it unwise to change anything I am doing right now.

    That said, I also understand I changed multiple things all at once and can therefore not attribute results to any one thing and know that this one item might not be having any effect which is why I am open to the N=1 experimentation down the road.

  38. Hard end points are “hard” to find. From my personal experience, I can say that that the long chin fatty acids in fish oils, sardines and salmon (I eat 2 servings of each, each week) plus supplementation suppressed my immune system and proved their anti-inflammatory biochemistry. Of course, I reduced my intake of supplements. The 2 supplements I use and recommend come with antioxidants (the olive oil the other vitamin E). Also, I recommend taking the fish oil with one’s multi vitamin and other antioxidant supplements. I think we can show evidence for lowering triglycerides with EPE/DHA.

  39. been taking pharmaceutical grade fish oil, 3 grams a day for several years. it has dramatically reduced my triglycerides and LDL. I take the DHA dominant formula.

    • Interesting. I’ve been taking high quality DHA-dominant fish oil supplements for at least three years. My triglycerides have always been good, but total cholesterol and LDLs are still high. Am addressing hypothyroidism now, and I read that this can be a reason for my LDLs and total cholesterol being high. Also, Type A bloodtypes typically have weak gallbladder and difficulty digesting fats, so I sometimes wonder how my body is handling the fish oils.

  40. Natural fish oil is effective at reducing Inflammation if you take about 2 grams of Omega-3 each day and REDUCE your intake of Omega-6

    It is not effective if you only take 1 tiny capsule a day. You have to take at least 2 grams

    I have a friend who had severe pains in his knee joints and his doctors had suggested surgery

    I suggested a double dose of 4 grams a day of Omega-3 for 3 months and then reduce to 2 grams a day

    Within 1 month he called me and told me that his pain had gone and surgery was no longer necessary. That was 2 years ago and he is a much happier person

    It works for most Inflammation, such as early stage Rheumatoid Arthritis, Asthma and especially early stage Endometriosis.
    .

  41. I think a better way to go is to consume cod livers themselves, which you can purchase canned (Amazon has them). The cost is more economical than buying the top-rated cod liver oils like Rosalita, and you are getting a whole food product. I just keep the can in the refrig or freezer and take a spoonful with lunch, or whatever meal is most convenient for you. Taste is not bad….just a very mild fishy taste.

  42. Hello my name is Renee and I’m 62. I’ve been taking cod liver oil for a few weeks now. Currently I’m suffering from a resurgence of severe ME/CFS. I’ve had to move in with my parents and have had to go on disability. I’m so ill, and my brain is floating and foggy and its hard to type this or read much or just stay upward. So I’m taking this for my brain and now I’m stopping after reading this article. So many body systems are affected by this and they know so very little that I’m afraid to put what may help/not help into my system. Thank you very much for your research Chris. I follow you regarding digestive issues which are a part of this disease. I know one sure thing though Thank God for probiotics! You set me on a good path there! You are helpful and I’ve nowhere else to go. Thank you for your knowledge

    • Renee,
      Having had my share of debilitating health issues such as Lyme, and pharmaceutical injuries from CIPRO…
      I have found a few significant things that have made a difference.

      Magnesium Oil Spray – Ancient Minerals
      Vitamin D3 – Thorne Research
      Phosphatidylserine & Phosphatidylcholine

      Trans-dermal Magnesium has been and remains an enormous blessing… and fast working. Applying liberally and then wiping off with warm wash cloth daily has eased so many aches, as well as brought mental calm and even energy. Simply a vital mineral for all, especially those with chronic health conditions that are autoimmune. The Transdermal application allows for a very effective delivery of ” intracellular’ magnesium. This is exactly where you need and want it. Starving for magnesium leads to a host of issues that are vast and far reaching. Oral supplementation cannot answer the needs well enough to address the depletion.

      The Phosphatidylserine & Phosphatidylcholine are super super important to the membrane of the cells for the necessary communication signalling and absorption of nutrients as well as detoxification of the cells.

      Vitamin D levels should be up to 80 for optimal health levels. Not the dismal 50 or below.
      Get tested if havent already.

      God Bless

        • Renee,

          I have struggled with CFS for 20+ years and have researched many supplements. I have found the following to be helpful for me:

          Magnesium Malate (Mg & Malic Acid) Source Naturals – muscle spasms & aches 3x day
          Low Dose Naltrexone (instant release-compounded Rx from Belmar Pharmacy in CO) – pain relief 1x day
          Butterbur w/ Feverfew – NOW Foods – improves tolerance of neurological disturbances ( light, sound, temp, migraines)

          I hope these suggestions might help. Adopting a gluten-free, dairy-free, low sugar lifestyle has also impacted pain and energy levels.

          Best of luck!

  43. IFOS tests for radiation and oxidation and there are a lot of high quality fish oils readily available that are tested. What about the recent publication in Circulation about how EPA and DHA supported cardiac remodeling in people that did have a heart event? A lot of the studies stated above used 3g of fish oil not EPA and DHA. I’d love to see a well designed study that controls for omega 3 and omega 6 consumption in the diet as well as high quality supplementation.

  44. Part of me likes that you frequently suggest specific products that meet the criteria you value. However, I’d find your recommendations much more trustworthy if you would explicitly state whether or not you receive compensation for each recommendation that you make.

  45. Dear Chris
    It would be useful to build into your analysis the following as it could easily be what accounts for such variability between individuals and various trials.
    The delta 5 desaturase conversion enzyme impacts on arachidonic acid production and is controlled by EPA but it is boosted by insulin. If people are not in control of their insulin then EPA is much less effective. Secondly if there is an overload of omega 6 in one person’s diet, (especially arachidonic acid) it will also create less effective results. Thirdly the quality of the omega 3 is vital, as you say, rancid is harmful. Fourthly many tests have different levels of omega 3, some had very low doses. Finally so many people are on drugs which impact the same systems, such as statins it will become hard to get mass studies together. So to evaluate studies we really need all of this information. Looking at the classic Lyon heart study it is interesting to see the ratio of omega 3 to 6 was more significantly different than just the omega 3 difference. Also the trial group only put on 1 kg and the control group 3kg indicating a much better insulin control. In conclusion unless you know and control all these key variables the only certain outcome will be variability. Very high quality omega 3, plus insulin control, and sensible low levels of natural omega 6 intake are required as a minimum to get to get the result people are looking for. Study after study show key omega 6 eicosanoids being antagonistic for so many inflammatory and auto immune diseases and they conclude that a drug should be developed, whereas it can be re-balanced naturally. Unfortunately, insulin control is not easy for the majority of people. But get it right and then add to that good gut condition, low stress and exercise and it all starts fitting together nicely, and heart-warming and numerous success stories emerge.

    • Paul I couldn’t agree more. The real key to the whole Omega 3 debate is the relationship between 6 and 3. It needs to be at least a minimum of 3:1 Omega 6:Omega 3. Also olive oil is proving a key component too. I wonder if it is because olive oil is loaded with polyphenols (antioxidants) which actually help the body absorb the omega 3 fatty acids. Great point Paul.

      • As indicated in this paper (Hibbeln et al, 2006 pp.1489S-1490S) tissue omega-3 levels probably need to be higher than those achieved in these studies to achieve more significant improvements. Also this paper (Lands 2014) highlights that most of the benefits achieved by FOS could probably be achieved by significant reductions in dietary linoleic acid intake.
        Drawing from these two papers it would seem obvious that all further studies into FOS should measure and analyse the effects on cardiovascular disease risk markers of:
        • Current and previous omega-6 intakes,
        • HUFA tissue levels and proportions

      • Actually Paul & I probably disagree on one point. Where he says (especially arachidonic acid) I would say (especially linoleic acid).

  46. Do you have any thoughts about whether fish oil is still a good supplement to take to support good thyroid function? I have Hashimoto’s and have been taking Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil about 4-5 times a week. I believe the connection between fish oil and the thyroid is based on the fact that fish oil provides a good dose of Omega 3 which then, in turn, supposedly supports good thyroid function.

    I’ve also heard that fish oil helps with memory and brain function, is there anything to that?

  47. How concerned should we be regarding radioactive contamination of Pacific salmon, including all of the way up to Alaska? Did Fukushima make my favorite Alaskan Sockeye Salmon something to be avoided, or are the reports I have read all hype?

    What about sardines??

  48. Not all “fish oil” is created equally, which could make the test difference. I would never take a supplement designated “fish oil.” About 20 years ago when I was receiving The Harvard Heart Newsletter, I read a study that tested whether salmon oil prevented second heart attack. It was concluded it did by a high percentage. An offshoot of the study showed it also helped people with irregular heartbeat. Because I had a-fib, I started taking salmon oil, 1000 mg in the morning, 1000 mg in the afternoon… It did help my irregular heartbeat for many many years. Recently, however, it doesn’t seem to be working as well. After researching many companies since I’ve been taking it, I found Vital Choice is the best and purest source of salmon oil. I do not work for the company.

  49. do the negative studies specify the molecular form of the omega-3 fatty acids? Fish oil in fish comes as a triglyceride: the ‘EPA’, ‘DHA’, etc are attached to a glycerol molecule. Very few commercially available fish oil products come in the triglyceride form. Is it possible that differences amongst the study conclusions are due to differences in what was studied?

  50. Hey Chris – Please discuss plant-based alternatives to fish oil. Our oceans are being rapidly destroyed by over-fishing and pollution. It’s time for all of us to cut back on ocean-based nutrition and find alternatives. Mankind lived many centuries in inland locations where fish was unavailable. That’s truly the Paleo way, right? Eat what is near you? Eat local.
    Thanks for your great information!
    Jane Heath

  51. My doctor told me not to take fish oil because it was screwing up my ldl/hdl ratio. He said my hdl was too low for someone of my fitness level.
    I don’t know of it mattered much but I was in ketosis at the time.
    I have since switched to one tablespoon of ground flax a day. I hope it isn’t worse than the fish oil….

    • You could try VCO – Virgin Coconut Oil. I have been in ketosis for almost a decade, and my ldl/hdl ratios stay perfect, with enviably high hdl and very low triglycerides. I follow a low-carb paleo/candida diet and my dietary fats are exclusively VCO and lard from pastured/forested pigs. (very occasional olive/avocado oil). I also eat the natural fats from pastured beef, lamb, poultry and salmon. I stopped taking fish oils because I eat these good dietary fats and cook with anti-inflammatory herbs, spices, plants. I enjoy many health benefits on this diet. Good health to you!

  52. I take one tsp of fish oil daily for pregnancy. This article has me rethinking whether I should be doing this and whether I’m actually exposing my baby to harm…

  53. Fish oil can be rancid when encapsulated. If you’re using the capsules, you would never know. I found out by cutting one in half and tasting the oil. It was awful. I threw the entire bottle away. If you take fish oil, buy it as a liquid, such as Nordic Naturals, and keep it refrigerated. It should not taste fishy at all. Best bet, include fish in your diet instead. Sardines are a good, inexpensive choice.

    • Huh? Fish oil should not taste fishy?? Any fish oil that lacks a fishy taste has been super chemically processed. Choose your poison.

  54. Would it make sense to buy your Krill oil from a reputable firm and then store it in the fridge rather than on say a shelf in the kitchen ?.

  55. I started taking fish oil after hearing a lecture from Dr. Barry Sears, and listening to JJ Virgin’s story about her son’s traumatic brain injury recovery. I do feel better, I have less joint pain, I’m eating less, it makes me feel full, and it helps with my chronic sinus congestion. The biggest benefit is that my hot flashes have been reduced to almost nothing. I’m taking 3,000 mg a day, one with each meal. I am considering switching to the cod liver oil because of the added benefits.

  56. Numerous times too many to count I have seen with my own eyes (and ears) my own wife falling into deep depressions when she neglected to take her fish oil or cod liver oil. And I have seen her come out of those depressions exactly the same number of times after I have stood in front of her with a bottle of cod liver oil and a spoon insisting that she take a spoonful. I do not need nor care about what some studies show.

    Is fish oil a panacea? Of course not. It is only a compensation for people who do not get enough Omega 3 because of our ph[‘]cked-up food system.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with fish oil. I too suffer from terrible depression time to time. I also tried taking fish oil supplements only to gag and throw up after each and every one. I feel bad throwing them out, so I try to give them to my dogs. Would you tell me which brand etc..of oil do you buy? Maybe I could tolerate that one. Thank you so much.

  57. There have been more than 30,000 omega-3 fatty acids studies, with more being published nearly every day.. approximately 80% of those have shown benefit. Undoubtedly some part of this can be attributed to the placebo effect, which is real and not to be discounted. Of studies showing no significant benefit, some can be ascribed to poor study design–dosage and compliance issues, and studies designed and funded by competing interests that were never intended to show benefit…and a variety of other factors. The bottom line is that high quality seafood and fish oil contain critical nutrients (EPA & DHA) that are severely lacking in the standard American diet. Life evolved in the ocean on a diet comprised exclusively of the marine food web. We still require those same nutrients today for optimal brain, eye, skin, immune system, and, indeed, global cellular health. Where are you getting yours?

  58. Quick question- I eat about 20 ounces of tilapia a week, and have been taking three 1000 mg fish oils a day, is this needed with the amount of fish I am already consuming? I also eat a serving of almonds every day as well.

    • Dennis and anybody else,
      In answer to your question, see my previous posts below;
      look for my name “Brad Hershberger”

      I wrote THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR THE HUMAN BODY, 700 pgs. My research saved my friend’s life.

      I’m a self-taught expert; call me 24 hours a day, and I’ll answer all of your questions 316 993 6893 Brad Hershberger

    • Dennis, tilapia is a farm raised fish raised on a diet of cheap, gmo grain-based products lacking omega-3 fatty acids and other micro nutrients that make natural/wild seafood so healthy. Suggest you consider shifting over to some high-quality wild salmon and other seafoods if you want to fully realize the associated nutritional benefits. Check out VitalChoice.com for more information and high-quality options.

  59. Hi Can anyone make comment re; the way the fish oil liquid tends to leave a sticky residue behind on most surfaces. Thanks.

    • My doctor told me that mote than 90% of people have vitamin D deficiency and it is not a big concern.

      Also, for my experience, I was taking for one year DHA and netherr my good cholesterol improved, nor my bad cholesterol when down, now I am going to cut it slowly and after 2 weeks I am going to have a cholestetol test.
      Always I tried to eat avocadp and all those “good fats”it didnt go very well for me.

      • (1) Your doctor sounds like an idiot. Sure you can ‘survive’ while being deficient in many vitamins and nutrients, but nobody THRIVES this way.

        (2) when you say you tried all those good fats and it didn’t go very well, what do you mean? What problems did you encounter? And did you just ‘try’ them while still eating grains, seed oils and other problem foods?

  60. The botanicals:
    Aging-delaying PEs
    0.5% (w/v) PE4 from Cimicifuga racemosa, 0.5% (w/v) PE5 from Valeriana officinalis L., 1.0% (w/v) PE6 from Passiflora incarnata L., 0.3% (w/v) PE8 from Ginkgo biloba, 0.1% (w/v) PE12 from Apium graveolens L. and 0.1% (w/v) PE21 from Salix alba were used [78]. A 20% (w/v) stock solution of each PE in ethanol was made on the day of adding this PE to cell cultures. For each PE, the stock solution was added to growth medium with 2% (w/v) glucose immediately following cell inoculation into the medium.

  61. I’m blessed with excellent health at 70+, and take no meds whatsoever (not even aspirin). Apart from a congenital foot deformity, I have no health issues. No flu shots in the last 30 years — I get a mild case of flu about every 8-10 years. I am fortunate to live in the Pacific NW US, and eat wild-caught salmon, sardines, etc. several times a week, as well as oysters, clams and shellfish (local farmed or wild caught) and shrimp (local wild-caught). I take a wild-caught salmon/krill oil capsule sporadically (averaging three times per week). I farm organically and eat lots of fresh veggies and fruit. However, just to be safe, I am going to increase my currently moderate intake of dark chocolate. One cannot be too careful at my age 😉

    • Great to hear! I get skeptical because of how the liquid oil leaves a sticky residue behind on the plastic spoon. Can anyone make comment about this.

      • Why would it be an issue? After all, all food leaves SOME kind of residue doesn’t it? 🙂

        And if you’re using a plastic spoon (who uses plastic spoons??) then I’d guess possible issues may also arise from the fact that it’s made from oil too.

  62. I have thyroid disease (it is completely dead) and pernicious anemia, etc. Last year, my dr. put me on fish oil caps 2000am and 2000pm stating my cholesterol was a little high. This year, he wants me to start taking Zocor!!! I think I need a new doctor! My weight is steadily climbing while my hair is falling out by handfuls, etc.

    • Elesa, do NOT do this! Read Dr. Brownstein’s blog on statins (and iodine) before you take that step. Your doctor is not interpreting your test results correctly. Good luck!

    • Try taking organic Kelp. It helps with thyroid and overall health. I can’t believe the results when I started staking it. Thyroid symptoms disappeared, hair stopped falling out, fatigue disappeared, lots more too many to list. I get mine from viridian nutrition and take alongside a b12 supplement. Sometimes your Gps don’t know everything and will continue prescribing medication when diet and supplements help enormously.

      Good luck.

      • Kelp contains iodine, and it might help if hypothyroidism is your issue. However, if the problem is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease, almost all sources recommend against taking it as a supplement, because it’s like throwing gasoline onto a fire. I don’t have the time to search my links to post now, but there are plenty of sources that can be found on Google

    • Elesa Turner and anyone reading this,

      All of the people listed below can cure any ailment you can describe. The answer is always the same detoxification and nutrification. Supplementing with marine/fish oils is not an answer. Supplement with parent essential oils [PEO] ONLY as described by Robert Rowen MD and Prof Brian Peskin in their book PEO Solution – Conquering Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease with Parent Essential Oils – 2015. Most doctors with an MD after their name have no knowledge about nutrition or the nutritional requirements of the body; Robert Rowen, Sherry Rogers and Terry Wahls are exceptions to the rule. Buy Sherry Rogers books on Amazon and read customer reivews; read a synopsis on her site https://prestigepublishing.com I would recommend you buy Roger’s books in this order: 1) Detoxify or Die, 2) The High Blood Pressure Hoax!, 3) The Cholesterol Hoax, 4) Is Your Cardiologist Killing You, 5) How to Cure Diabetes…buy all of them, I did…share them with friends.
      I wrote THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR THE HUMAN BODY, 700 pgs. My research saved my friend’s life. Buy your supplements from vitacost dot com and luckyvitamin dot com

      I’m a self-taught expert; call me any time, even just to compare notes 316 993 6893 Brad Hershberger

    • Anyone reading this,
      Search these experts names on YouTube and you can call them:

      Peter Glidden ND 855-347-3696, 630-689-7579
      11811 103rd Ave SW, Vashon, WA 98070
      He is a graduate of The School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. The body is self-healing with detoxification and nutrification. Drugs only mask symptoms. Search “Dr Glidden” on YouTube; watch all of his videos.

      Robert Rowen, MD 707-578-7787 http://www.docrowen.com
      Author of PEO Solution – Conquering Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease with Parent Essential Oils – 2015
      https://www.amazon.com/PEO-Solution-Conquering-Diabetes-Essential/dp/0988278030
      Written for physicians and their patients. Understand why the supplement industry promotes the seemingly “irrational madness” that leads so many health providers to unwittingly prescribe or recommend pharmacological overdoses of marine and other oils. Find out how these overdoses can produce a critical imbalance resulting in the collapse of a patient’s health. It explains the science of Parent Essential Oils (PEOs) that allows one to resolve health issues instead of aggravating them. It gives you the tools to avert the potential damage, which results from ignoring human physiology. As a bonus, it shows how to spot manipulated statistics.

      Sherry A Hammond-Rogers MD 315-488-2856
      2800 W Genesee St Syracuse, NY 13219
      [email protected]; at your request your email will be forwarded to her.

      Terry Wahls M.D. 800-637-0128 ext 6080; http://terrywahls.com
      Iowa City Veterans Affairs Hospital, 601 Highway 6 West, Iowa City, Iowa 52246 Terry Wahls M.D. had MS and was confined to a wheel chair. Three months after she changed her diet she was walking with a cane. After six months she no longer needed a cane and rode her bike for the first time in six years. After nine months she able to go on an 18 mile bike ride. Watch her testimonial videos on YouTube.

      Ben Fuchs [former Pharmacist] 303-817-7665 Now he is a nutritionist with a radio show at gcnlive.com. He is just as knowledgeable as Sherry Rogers and Peter Glidden.

      Prof. Brian Peskin http://brianpeskin.com , [email protected] He will reply. Co-author with Robert Rowen, MD of the book PEO Solution. Watch Peskin YouTube videos. Read his PDFs at brianpeskin.com

    • A Holistic good Doctor helped me with my Thyroid condition ( Hashimoto’s).
      My Chiropractor referred me and after 6 months I’m back to teaching exercise classes at 54 yrs old. I’m balance and feeling more focused!
      I just went on website:
      http://Www.goseeDr.cloud.com
      Also a friend gave me a sample of PEO
      Parent Essential Oils: wake up call on Oils! I have literature and the book I can email you!
      Regina A

    • To Elesa Turner: the Stop the Thyroid Madness book and website (stopthethyroidmadness.com) are an excellent resource to help you understand hypothyroidism. Weight gain, hair falling out and high cholesterol are all part of severe hypothyroid condition. Hair can also fall out because of low ferritin (iron), and often both thyroid health and iron levels need to be addressed at the same time. The Stop the Thyroid Madness book and website are an excellent guide to helping you understand the tests you need to get, how to make sense of the results and how to find a good doctor (and work with him or her). The role of fish oil will have to be examined in the context of the bigger picture of what’s going on in you. Good luck to you – I hope you’re finding good medical help.

    • YES, you do!
      And have your THYROID checked, but not just with the standard blood test! (There is a more elaborate test that many MDs do not do.)
      “Hair loss” is a classical symptom of hypothyroidism. Also, take a look at your eyebrows…if half of them are missing – as often is the case in women past menopause – its another sign that your thyroid is not functioning as it should!
      Alas, thyroid deficiency is very often not recognized by health care providers. YOU, yourself, have to be figilant and make yourself knowledgable about its symptoms.

  63. Hello…. Very interested in the general view on additional Omega 3 supplementation in the short term to reduce inflammation of a herniated disc? And if so – how much. I already take various supplements including turmeric and boswellia, drink a lot of matcha loaded with collagen hydrolysate every day, paleo diet for 3+ years. Have been eating sardines / mackerel or wild salmon for breakfast for a couple of years – in theory providing around 1.2g of omega 3 per portion. Thanks for any thoughts

    • Comfrey herbal baths are good for inflammation.
      To 2 qts. water taken off heat after boiling, stir in 2c. dried cut comfrey leaf and steep covered for min. 30 mins. Strain into hot bath. Adjust temp. to as hot as not painful. Climb in and soak for 30 mins. and better is closer to 60 mins. or more, adding hot water as necessary to stay very warm. Keep affected area submerged as much as possible. Do some mild stretching if comfortable. Repeat daily if acute. Should feel improvement quickly in one or two days. Do not do this with any open cuts, sores or wounds, just to be safe.
      For smaller extremities, can soak in hand/foot in small container nearly full strength. When too cool, store in sealed container in fridge and reheat, resoak and repeat for several days.

  64. All my life people have said dont eat that and then years later eat that and dont eat that but eat that, does anybody know what the hell we should eat, i am sick of this, i give up.i battle with high blood pressure, and its in my jeans, so i am going to die before my time, so what the hell.

    • Go listen to Dr. Pompe’s 5 Rs lectures on u tube or search and find his website and read. It will change your mind and you will have hope. Genetics doesn’t mean you have to die young. Read his articles.

    • I think I might understand your frustration!
      Until mid 1950’s almost no laboratory could differentiate. different fats. Any “data” before 1950’s & 1960’s is very suspect.
      See Susan Allport’s book OMEGA 3 THE QUEEN OF FATS.
      This book and FAT CHANCE by Lustig explain the dietary suggestion reversals of the past 50+ years in the media and by the medical profession.

      So try to maintain a cool head. It’s not hopeless if you can avoid eating junk, especially sugary stuff and never-goes-bad-on-the-shelf oils/fats. Don’t have to define it, we all know what is junk. If it doesn’t come pre-packaged & pre-prepared, it’s probably real food.

      There’s no silver bullet, one single cure-all. That’s why they talk about lifestyle changes. Also move around and avoid sitting all the time. Give it a good try, whatta ya got ta lose?

  65. Hello
    I have taken fish oil for over 15 years – 4-6grams daily. Over the last decade my thyroid has slowly been destroyed by rising Antibodies, thus Hashimoto’s. I recently (by shear accident) stopped taking fish oil for about 6weeks. On the six ish week I went for my scheduled blood test knowing I was very close to starting Thyroxine. My previous Antibody levels had risen dramatically as opposed to the slow progress of deterioration over the years.
    My Gp rang two days post blood to say how shocked she was to see my Thyroid level normal and no evidence at all of any Antibodies. I had purposefully stopped eating linseed over cereal each morning and by accident stopped taking fish oil caps. I believe these two have been responsible for my dying thyroid. Time will tell when I do the next blood test however for the moment my GP is looking forward to speaking with me as she said she has never in her practicing years seen since happen to any of her other patients in my position. Life is good. Regards Therese

    • Very interesting story Therese! There are quite a few who say that omega fatty acids could be detrimental to thyroid health – but evidence is slim. I don’t know either way…
      Don’t rule out the mercury or oxidized fats… almost all fish oil is high in both of these – and other toxic pollutants – even when they say it has been filtered. Mercury has an affinity for the thyroid, especially when people are deficient in selenium – so it’s a big issue for many thyroid patients. It might actually cause thyroid tissue damage, which could well raise antibodies over time.

      Well done on finding the solution!

    • Antibodies don’t rise and fall overnight. It actually takes time to bring them down. Hashimotos comes from many issues. Are you taking Selenium and then iodine. ? Selenium is know to bring down these antibodies.

    • Therese,
      Pls update after you have additional thyroid panels!
      I am close to starting Thyroid medication…slightly hypothyroid but subclinical symptoms. I have been taking high doses of Fish Oil for 10+ years and just tripped across info that suggests that could be causing my hypothyroidism.
      Going to take a break from Fish oil.
      Thanks!

    • The only relevant word here is: cereals. You can’t paint over the sword in your side with supplements! You need to remove problematic foods AND supplement wisely. Nobody needs to be eating cereal for breakfast. Especially someone with thyroid issues!

  66. The benefits of natural fish oil products can not be overestimated. However, synthetically derived fish-oil products cause more problems, and they have marginal positive effects. For example, many studies found that multivitamin products are actually more harmful than beneficial. But these studies are talking about synthetic cheap products, which even fail to dissolve and then absorb!! Nobody will argue that food-derived vitamins and minerals are harmful if they are consumed in appropriate amounts. When you read/ hear something about dietary supplements, always determine whether the product is synthetically- derived, or it is a natural product coming from foods! Ethnic groups who consume sea foods (free of mercury and other contaminants of course) are the healthiest on Earth. People in those groups have the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer and other serious diseases. This is simply not scientifically proved on short-term basis. This is a long-term careful observation of those groups. This is the key! In addition, do not immediately jump to conclusions when you hear/read that something is supported/refuted by clinical trials etc. Many clinical trials are poorly designed and carried out. Many studies do not eliminate confounding variables effectively, or they do not carefully establish ( possibly on purpose) their inclusion/exclusion criteria. Remember that those who design, implement trials will often have financial reasons to produce false negative/positive outcomes, and present it as truthful. Therefore, only well trained healthcare professionals who specialize analyzing clinical trials can give you relatively accurate information. And that’s only if they do not have a financial reason to mislead you!! The more this world becomes capitalistic (all about money), the more skeptical I am!!

    • The benefits of fish oil are overstated. Most recent study shows per oxidation products in mice tissue even when absolutely freshly consumed and no amount of antioxidant prevented it. You should only be using fresh, unadulterated seed oils, and leave our poor, overfished oceans alone. Otherwise, the rest of your post is quite correct.

      • Seed oils? SEED OILS?? What are you even doing here if you think seed oils have ANY benefit whatsoever? What kind of Doctor doesn’t know by now that seed oils are dangerous, industrial junk food? For those who don’t know, ‘seed oils’ are things like canola oil, sunflower oil etc. and turn to TRANSFATS as soon as you heat them).

        Please explain yourself ‘Dr’ Jeff! I’m flabbergasted by your post!

      • Dr. Jeff

        I do agree with you on unadulterated seed oils. I think Activation Products, Inc. that Ian sells are one of the best oils out there but they are pricey. I have tried a few of them and are planning on buying their Flax Seed Oil soon. According to the Gerson Tapes I purchased this is the only oil she recommends for Cancer and prevention. I am not sure if I agree on that 100% because do like the Black Seed oil and there are so many wonderful benefits in taking this oil.

        Yes, leave our ocean’s alone especially Krill. Leave it for the whales. Their is an excellent Marine Phytoplankton product from Activation Products called Ocean’s Alive 2.0 that I would recommend. No Krill for me though I do take Nordic Naturals liquid lemon-flavored Cod Liver Oil with no added Vitamin A or D. I have tried many and this is the best tasting oil out there.

      • Dr Jeff,

        What about seed oils combined with a small amount of algae? I was told I need a little fish oil for dry eyes,

        and what is your recommendation for kids? They need these fats for brain, too many studies, and results too dismiss!

        • Your pathways work fine. You only need the seed oils with proper Omega6 (LA) and Omega-3 (ALA) and that is it. Kids do fine with just these.

      • Yes – your Omega-6/3 Ratio should be <3:1
        You need this level to reduce Inflammation

        The results from over 5,000 tests show that most people have an Omega-6/3 Ratio between 10:1 and 25:1, which is a sure indicator of high Inflammation

        Increasing your Omega-3 is easy, by eating more oily fish, walnuts, chia & flax seeds.

        REDUCING your Omega-6 is more difficult, since it involves changes in your diet and lifestyle. You need to cut down the Sunflower oil (Omega-6 = 64%), Corn oil (52%) and especially Soybean oil (51%).

        Better to cook with Rapeseed oil (19%), olive oil, coconut oil & butter.

        Soybeans are a major part of the feed given to animals, so reduce your consumption of meat, unless it is grass-fed. I only have the data for Germany, but if you compare the tonnage of soybeans fed to animals with the population it seems that the average person eats 700 grams (1.5lbs) of soybeans a WEEK !

        Also, read the label on any processed food you buy, as these oils are widely used.

        .

      • There is no concern of ratio, on average the body is 11:1 omega-6 to Omega-3 but it varies within different tissues and a blood test won’t give you the answer. It is most important to avoid the processed oils Canola, corn and soy oil and margarine. They are a source of adulterated Omega-6 that causes inflammation. Only cook with animal fat, coconut oil, or olive oil or even organic butter (at low temperature, like the french). Never cook with vegetable oils, they are way too unstable and form aldehydes at high temperatures, very dangerous.

        • There is a blood test to tell you the ratio

          In the USA, check: OmegaQuant
          Outside USA, check: GreenVits

          Contact me at GreenVits and I will send you some sample reports.

          Some show Omega-6/3 ratio as 25:1 & some show 1.5:1

          The person with 25:1 has high Inflammation and is probably high depressed

          The person with 1.5:1 has low Inflammation and is probably full of happiness and the joy of life

          .

          • It’s not the ratio in the blood, it’s the ratio in the tissues that are important. Skin for example is 1000 to 1 Omega-6 to Omega-3. Muscle is 6.5 to 1. The blood test is meaningless.

            • Tell the 500 German doctors who are using this test to determine the levels of Inflammation in their patients that the test is useless.

              You might ask a few questions before you dismiss the test out of hand

              The test measures Erythrocytes from the dried blood spot, and is a good guide to the amounts of various Fatty Acids eaten in the previous 60-90 days

              To watch my short video about this, go to YouTube and search for: GreenVits HQT Fatty Acids

              If you let me have your email I can send you examples of the reports. Just search for me at: GreenVits

              .

              .

              • CRP also gives you the same info. You probably don’t need a blood test to know you are eating wrong. It’s the type of Omega-6 you are eating that causes inflammation (along with environmental pollutants etc.). The ratio is not the issue, it never has been. You can message me at my website, just click on my name.

    • I believe it’s about the ratio’s of omega 3’s and 6’s.
      I also believe the source is important and some companies use chemicals to clean the oil, like Hexane, these chemicals cannot be good for us.

  67. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the (as usual) well-informed article! I still think there are specific conditions like arthritis where fish oil is worth trying. I also generally treat it as a shorter-term intervention since long-term safety hasn’t been established.

    One thing most reviews of the literature on omega-3’s don’t seem to differentiate between is the form of omega 3’s in the supplement. For example, this study on how when they are not in their traditional triglyceride form they do not act in the same was as the synthetic ethyl-esters: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2015/07/fitzgerald/
    I think any examination of fish oil shouldn’t ignore the difference in format. If I am going to recommend a fish oil I often go with Nordic Naturals, but honestly I am not confident that the re-triglycerized form is that much better because it is still different than what we would get from fish.

  68. Chris, Do you find it problematic if one is low in Omega 6 and high in Omega 3? Because I had the Ion profile done and that is what mine showed. I eat no processed foods, and a lot of sardines, but still I was surprised and my Doctor advised taking evening primrose oil to increase my Omega 6. What’s your take? Thank you.

  69. I am taking fish oil to hopefully thin my blood. I had a blood clot and was finally taken off Xerelto. I do not want to stay on that.

    • I TOO WENT TROUGH THAT, WITH MULTIPLE BLOOD CLOTS IN MY LUNGS, AFTER THE CANADIAN FIRE SMOKE CAME DOWN TO MPLS MN AND COMBINED WITH THE JET FUEL THAT FALS FROM THE SKY OVER MY HOUSE IN LINDEN HILLS… ( OUTRAGED NEIGHBORS ABOUT THEIR LOW LEVEL AND FREQUENCIES OVER OUR PATH GOT ONTO NPR RADIO, AND FOR FOUR DAYS – NOT A FLIGHT CAME OVER… LOVE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JET FUEL AND REPERTORY COMPLICATIONS LEADING TO BLOD CLOTS IN THE LUNGS ) ( DOEN’T HELP I HAD TWO HIPS REPLACED AND A KNEE CLEAN OUT ~ BUT THEY LAST WAS 8 ‘MONTHS’ BEFORE THE BLOOD CLOTS ~ AND MY BREATHING GOT WORSE AND WORSE BEING IN THE CITY- THEN COMPOUNDED BY THE CANADIAN FIRES SMOKE TRAIL FALL OF ’15) ANYWAY – OFF THE HORRID XERALTO AFTER 7 MONTHS- NOW IT’S 7 MONTHS FREE- WITH HELP FROM CHINESE MEDICINE AND ACUPUNCTURIST AND HERBS TO HELP CLEAN MY LIVER, SPLEEN, KIDNEYS AND HEAET AND BLOOD AND SPRING FOREST QIGONG HEALINGS AND PT EXERCISE. FIND A REALLY GREAT ACUPUNCTURIST WHO ALSO KNOWS CHINESE MEDICINE WELL, GREAT HERBALIST AND APPLIED KINEIOLIGY CHIROPRACTOR TO MUSCLE TEST WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS. AND BREATH AND MOVE YOUR LYMPHATICS, CLEAR OUT YOUR BOWELS, DO A LIVER DETOX, AND CHANGE DIET TO ‘CHOISE 30’. YOU WILL BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY AND LIVE LONG.. BUT KEEP UP THE MEDICINE. HERB PHARM HAS A COMBO FOR INFLAMMATION WITH MEADOWSWEET THAT ACTS LIKE ASPIRIN BUT IS KIND TO THE STOMACH LINING,WILLOW BARK, TOO , BUT YOU NEED TO TAKE ENOUGH : THE ISSUE IS NOT THINNING THE BLOOD, IT IS MAKING IT LESS ‘STICKY’ SO IT WILL NOT COAGULATE INTO LUMPS ON THE WALLS. IT HAS TO DO WITH STAYING ACTIVE AND MOVING AND OXYGENATING THE BLOOD AND NOT STAYING SEDENTARY: GET UP EVERY 30 MINUTES AND MOVE A LOT. PUMP YOUR ANKLES WHEN SITTING,,, YO GO GIRL !!!!(-*L-)!!!!

  70. I started taking high strength fush oil 5mgs daily at the beginning of our southern winter on the advice of my naturopath after DNA testing.
    I will be having my usual checkup bloodtests in a month or so. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in cholesterol levels. They have been stable and quite good for a couple of years after sorting out thyroid issues.

  71. I’ve been taking fish oil for about 3 years now. My sister had been taking it a lot longer (she is severely dyslexic) – she began taking it during school on the advice of a highly regarded learning disability expert, and her relative “reading age” improved by two years in less than one year. What got me taking it was when I found out (far too late – I thank the education system for that!) that I had ADHD. After a couple of months on it I found I was more alert, more positive (I used to have bouts of mild depression), less “hazy” in my head, less hyperactive, better able to concentrate and far, far more productive than I had ever known myself to be. I am a very sceptical person but they have changed my life – at 27. I only wish I had known when I’d been in school because I would have aced it (as opposed to underachieving), because since leaving school I’ve learned far more than I did while I was there. Studies come and go but the change I’ve seen in myself and others I know is a genuine phenomenon, particularly for those who have learning and behavioural difficulties. So I say everybody should try it with a sceptical mind and see what happens.

  72. Q: Does this article change my view on taking fish oil supplements or eating fish?

    A: No, it does not. I do not change my habits on a whim. I do what I know is good for me and has been working.

  73. A few months after using fish oil or eating daily fish (fish oil on non-fish days), I noticed light sensitivity and “eye fatigue.” I also started to get occasional numbness in fingers during sleep (I noticed upon waking). I didn’t notice any benefits and am not sure how it affected my labs.

    There is research that talks about n-3 antioxidant role (particularly DHA), but I can’t see how there is a net gain, seeing as how they are intrinsically sensitive to temperature, light, oxygen. It reminds me of research showing antioxidant activity of walnuts (also highly sensitive). The results appear beneficial on the surface, but they don’t make theoretical sense, and long term support is non-existent.

    Lastly, it is common to talk about n-3 depletion, yet n-3s actually seem to increase with age, particularly in the retina (other areas I think are inconsistent).

    • Now you are starting to see the flaws in the whole Omega-3 from fish oil argument. You are right, with 6 double bonds DHA is way to unstable to survive the journey through the stomach or survive being cooked in fish to be of any benefit. We make all we need from proper, unadulterated, more stable plant-based Omega’s.

      • Well I wouldn’t go out of my way to consume any unsaturated fat. Whatever is needed (being controversial anyway) is easily met from low pufa whole foods. Immunity and inflammation seem to be optimal with as low as peroxidation index as possible.

      • Eating vegetables for omega-3s is not wise. You will need to eat a lot. The body’s conversion rate of ALA into DHA is very inefficient.

        • According to this article http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Omega-3-ALA-intakes-enough-for-EPA-DPA-levels-for-non-fish-eaters

          ‘Much attention has been paid to the conversion of ALA to the longer chain EPA, with many stating that this conversion is very small. According to an article in Nutrition Reviews (Vol. 66,pp.326-332), between eight and 20 percent of ALA is converted to EPA in humans, and between 0.5 and nine percent of ALA is converted to DHA.
          Dr Welch and her co-workers analysed intakes of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and correlated with blood levels of ALA, EPA, and DHA in fish-eaters and non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, or vegans. The researchers included 14,422 men and women aged between 39 and 78 participating in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Blood levels of fatty acids were measured in 4,902 people.
          Results showed that Omega-3 intakes were between 57 and 80 percent lower in the non-fish-eaters, compared with fish-eaters. However, for plasma levels of DHA and EPA between the groups the differences were much smaller. Indeed, the average EPA level in fish eaters was 64.7 micromoles per liter, compared with 57.1, 55.1, and 50 micromoles per liter for non-fish-eating meat eaters, vegetarians, or vegans. Furthermore, the average DHA level in fish eaters was 271 micromoles per liter, compared with 241.3, 223.5, and 286.4 micromoles per liter for non-fish-eating meat eaters, vegetarians, or vegans.
          “One explanation for this observation may be due to increased conversion, and our data suggest that the precursor-product ration from plant-derived ALA to circulating long chain n-3 PUFAs was significantly greater in non-fish eaters than in those who ate fish”, wrote the researchers. ‘

  74. Hello, so the article about not taking fish oil has confused my thought process. I have slightly higher cholesterol but more concerning is my Hdl is only around 40-45. My ldl is around 125-150. My doc does a crp test regularly with great results. I do not want to go on statins so I have been taking fish oil and trying to eat healthy for years. So I will follow the advice in the article but there was no supplement brand recommendation of 1.2g of dha and epa? Also, your Paleo Code book recommends Salmon Oil. So why the change in the nofish oil recommendation. Also, in articles if you are making a new recommendation is it possible to recommend the supplement and food replacement? Thanks Confused.

    • Michael,
      Be aware that salmon oil is from farmed salmon nowadays. That means the EPA and DHA from Salmon is not from the salmon eating fish who are eating algae, it is from the salmon eating fish feed, which consists of fish oil from wild fish. This is where economics will affect your nutrition: as fish meal and fish oil (for aquaculture) increases in price, salmon farmers use less due to the costs. The typical result is lower amounts of EPA and DHA in salmon (essentially because it is farmed).

  75. Why doesn’t some public-spirited chemist just test the fish oil in a common brand (e.g., the Kirkland one from Costco that so many people take) and tell us whether or not it’s rancid?

    • Consumer Labs is an independent lab that tests many supplements (including fish oil products) and vitamins. Some of the result reports are available free to anyone, but most of the reports are for subscribers only. CL accepts no advertisements.

      I’ve subscribed on and off for the past 5-6 years. In recent years the selection of products tests has widened and improved (not just chain drugstore and supermarket products), so I’ve renewed annually.

      It’s beneficial to know at the very least when a product is out of compliance of regulations, is contaminated with toxic or unlabeled substances, or doesn’t contain the full amount of the claimed content of the active ingredient.

      CL doesn’t test everything on the market, and sometimes I think their view of some health conditions is way too mainstream/conventional, but for anyone who takes/spends lot of money on supplements, a trial subscription to CL could worthwhile for at least a year or two, both for product test results and the archived reports.

    • dr. J, according to prof. Peskin and Dr. Ray Peat there is no such thing as non-rancid fish oil. Even if you catch and juice the fish yourself by the time it hits your blood, it’s already rancid. DHA (a component of fish oil) oxidizes 320 times faster than monounsaturated oils. It starts oxidizing at room temperature and the temp inside your body is higher than room temp.

  76. Fish oil is old news. Krill oil sustainability is improving as the various Oceanic organizations begin to step in and increase the red tape.. This is a good thing. I’m all for human health, but we do need to consider the rest of the planet.

    Most of the fish oils are rancid by the time they hit store shelves anyway. If they smell extremely fishy, stay away.

    • Krill oil for folks with severe health issues is beneficial. However, I put my pretty healthy husband on the lowest dose and it brought his cholesterol down to 120- Dr. Mercola says under 150 increases risk of depression, suicide, violence and death, so I took him off. I think it brought me too low also and interfered with my ability to process bile. I would take it if I could get it in lower doses, say 50 mg. But the lowest I have found is 300 mg.

      • Hi Whisperingsage, have you tried opening one of Dr Mercolas krill oil caps? be careful, you have to peirce it with a pin and it stains pretty bad. Then, take a smell and taste it if you’re game! It’s so bad you will never consume them again. I tried contacting them about it’s rancid nature, but they ignored me.

        • All Krill Oil tastes and smells nasty. Mercola’s don’t smell as bad as others while inside the capsule at least.

          I eat one can of wild salmon and tongol tuna every week so I just take one Standard Process Cod Liver Oil capsule per day

    • For me fish oil is very effecrive. Ive been taking this a year now
      last month i took blood test and luckily all thr result were pretty good. Thanks to fish oil. I would rather suggest to people not to mislead informations. Help others to be informed those who positively benefits when taking fish oil. Others only took only month but want immediete result. Result can be seen a little longer because this is not a synthetic drugs in which we can see results immediately after taking.

  77. Another interesting article Chris. Since going on a healthy foods diet, I take far fewer supplements than I used to. I do take 1 gm of Krill oil once a week because I’m not a big fish eater.

  78. Great info! I personally rotate my EFA during the year. I came to the conclusion that there are so many great supplements out in the world the best way to include is to rotate. I do this with 5 different oils for 60 days each. I think this also matches seasonal availability. I use my CLO of course in the wintertime!

    • Just remember when you use the term EFA, you are referring to Linoleic Acid (LA) and Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA) only. Those are the only Essential Fatty Acids.

  79. I would strongly advise you to measure ferritin levels if you are going to take Cod Liver Oil. I took the Vitacost Cod Liver Oil for a year, and my iron levels went through the roof. After trying to pinpoint it for months, I finally figured out that it was the Vitacost Cod Liver Oil that caused my iron levels to skyrocket. Once I discontinued it, my ferritin levels dropped from 500+ to well below 100 and in the normal range within a couple weeks only.

    Regards,
    Erik

    • Erik, it makes sense. Ferritin is a marker of inflammation. Your body was in oxidative stress from consuming oxidized Cod liver oil.

      • Actually ferritin is a marker of inflammation but it’s LOW ferritin that results. As your inflammation reduces, your ferritin will go back up.

        • Helene, high ferritin (not low) is a marker of inflammation. Low ferritin is a sign of iron deficiency.
          Iron levels on the other hand, may be low due to chronic infections and once you treat them the iron stores will go up. Iron levels and ferritin levels are not the same thing.

          • My functional MD says otherwise. I also checked his claims with available research becuz it sounded absurd to me too. Hes rite.
            In taking iron for low ferritin, in spite of hematocrit and hemoglobin levels that are good, after 3 months my ferritin reduced almost in half…it was quite low to begin with too. Im reducing my inflammation at the same time and he says stay on the iron, my ferritin will start to rise soon as the inflammation further leaves.

  80. I take I gm of fish oil daily with other supplements.
    It does keep my triglycerides down. However, I first started taking it years ago when I started having PVC’s every time I went out in cold weather. (Yes I have been evaluated by cardiology). It seems to help a lot. Even if it’s placebo, it works.

  81. Chris,
    Why the change in preferred fish oil. You once recommended the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver & Butter Oil or the Vital Salmon Oil. Now you recommend Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil. Just a curious on looker. Did you find out bad things about the previous recommended products?

    • Chris answered this question via another commenter: “I now recommend either the FCLO, or Rosita’s EVCLO, which I have started using more myself and with my patients. I really like the transparency around their manufacturing process and the nutrient/fatty acid content of the oil.”

    • Chris answered this question via another commenter: “I now recommend either the FCLO, or Rosita’s EVCLO, which I have started using more myself and with my patients. I really like the transparency around their manufacturing process and the nutrient/fatty acid content of the oil.

  82. I am a Nurse Educator for Chronic Disease self management. What I can agree with (from 25 years experience) is that different people respond differently to various things. This is what drew me, in part, to Kris’s book because he recognized that one size diet (as in combinations of foods we eat) does not fit all. Figuring out the proper diet is essential to restoration of the body. And I agree with those who say that a large trigger to the rise in chronic disease that we have today is a result of inflammation/toxins/foods. Once I get patienter on a healthier diet, it’s amazing how not only does blood sugar improve but high blood pressure goes away (my own husband has high blood pressure for 20 years and eliminated it and the meds with establishing routine exercise), cholesterol improves, reflux goes away (after years), joint pain resolves, neuropathy improves, sleep improves, energy improves and so on. All that, because of what we put in our mouths and how we use our body!
    Also, I can tell you that elevated Triglycerides are nearly always about a consistently bad food habit such as sweets, chips, ice cream and the like. Stop the habit and your triglycerides will be normal in less than 3 months ( only once have see this not hold true). And total Cholesterol takes into account all the cholesterol readings, so if one category is throwing you off and you get that resolved, total cholesterol will improve too..
    No one mentioned here how key exercise is. Exercise reduces peripheral vascular resistance, stickiness of blood cells, inflammation, blood sugar, LDL and many other things. So rather than always pop something more in our mouth, don’t forget to include exercise in your plan of health. I can tell you from experience, it’s not just something you read in magazines and you think….ya, ya tell me something new. And never once has a study proven that exercise (done correctly) is bad for you. It really makes a concrete difference in many, many ways. I have Diabetic patients who completely control their Diabetes by exercise (along with a high quality carb controlled diet), some even their lab values and blood glucose numbers to the point that look like they look like they are not Diabetic anymore.

    • Exactly. No one doesn’t have time to at least go for a walk. Reduces your waistline, reduces stress, grab some Vitamin D, and meet your neighbors.

      I too agree that there is no one diet, but eating as close to whole and the unprocessed, drinking lots of water, and moving, is a prescription anyone can, and should, follow.

      I did it, just based on my own research years ago, and my doctors and nurses were asking me how I did it. I wanted to ask them, shouldn’t you folks be telling me how to do it?

      • Exactly*2. So many want to make this in to Rocket science, but it’s so far from rocket science. Let’s forget the discussions on red meat = cancer, do we need fish oil? LCHF? Paleo? It’s not about any of these things… It’s all about avoiding/eliminating processed, manufactured, chemically laden “food products……” How is it possible that Vegans and Paleo-ite’s can be perfectly healthy? A. They avoid refined SUGAR, processed foods and in general take care of themselves. It’s not rocket science.

    • It’s a short term study, like most out there, but I don’t see longer term studies (2 years or more) showing benefit. Would be interesting to see if the effects actually benefit the patients.

    • I read the study you cited, Dr. Tolonen. It seems well conceived and did show that omega-3 supplements can restore some flexibility to vascular tissue in older populations which my take some load off the heart for one thing.

      I did find it interesting that the pharmacy grade supplement used in this study was “Lovaza” which, besides containing EPA and DHA, also contains some soybean oil.

      Side effects listed for this “drug” include fever, chills, body aches, chest pain, upset stomach, belching, and mild skin rash.

      Whether this is due to the omega’s or the additives, I don’t know, but it might explain some of the side effects noticed by some of the contributors here, including Syl (aches), Yvonne (hot flashes), and Danielle (reflux), even if they used a slightly different formulation.

      I’m not anti-supplements and pro-drug, but I think it is interesting that one has to find a prescription drug formulation of a food or vitamin before one has the opportunity to review all the side effects right when they buy the supplement. Even with these mild side effects, I’m sure most omega-3 supplement users here would have welcomed knowing of these potential side effects right when they started taking the capsules. I surely would have.

  83. Is it possible that the difference between omega 3 fish oil consumption being harmful to some and beneficial to others be largely due to the condition polyuria (which affects up to 15% of the population), where supplementing omega 3, reduces the absorption of omega 6 (which is not generally a problem unless you have this condition) which can cause heart and mental problems and some cancers?

  84. Can you recommend a vegetarian Omega-3 supplement? Surely a few sprinkles of hemp seed is not sufficient and I’m not allowed flax.

    • kiwi,
      Algae derived Omega-3 supplementation would be the way to go. It provides a far superior dose to hemp. It is very biased toward dha over epa, but that is no problem as the body can readily convert dha to epa. Converting epa to dha is a little more involved. It’s also fully vegan and better from the sustainability viewpoint and beginning to become the preferred Omega-3 supplement of many in the paleo sphere.

        • Alex,
          I’m not sure of the brand. The information I gave to kiwi was a quote from Matt Lalonde and he did not recommend a particular brand. I have not checked into it very deeply myself as I am perfectly happy with Nordic Naturals fish oil. However, I have given some thought to switching over to an algae derived product based on the sustainability issue.

      • Thanks. For the past month I’ve been taking Algae Omega from Nordic Naturals. I take 2 pills a day. I don’t notice any difference (although I’m not quite sure what benefits are readily apparent anyway). So far I have had no digestive or other problems with it, however.

  85. Thanks for the info Chris. I know from first hand experience of taking fish oil for nearly 2 years that it probably does help with joint soreness. But for the last 4 years I have just been eating good quality fatty fish twice a week and it seems to do the same thing. And it tastes better 🙂

  86. There is no mention of the need for butter oil also in this article. It is highly important to take with the CLO as K2 needs to be taken with the D3. The D3 impacts calcium absorption and we need the calcium to get where it belongs and not lining our blood vessels and putting spurs in our joints.
    I have found it even works in saliva to prevent tooth plaque buildup. In fact, it caused my buildup to flake off, twice. Chunks both times. Incredible, I’m hooked for life.

      • I only use Green Pastures. The fermentation prevents any rancidity in the codliver oil IMO and their butteroil has elicited visible results in me. Im not near as concerned about EFAs as the A, D and K. Eating an ancient wholefood seems reasonable to me compared to synthesized or myces-grown isolated nutrient supplements.

        • If I could afford to eat wild-caught fatty fish and pastured liver each week, I would do that, along with other pastured offal. As the ancients could not reliably get these fish either, the codliver trade practice developed up into today’s times. I think the pastured meat they ate took care of the EFAs along with any minimal seed consumption.

        • Prevents rancidity? Only because it’s already as rancid as it can possibly get. That’s like saying a car taken from the junkyard can’t get any more broken.

  87. Your post on fish oil did not talk about the quality of the fish oil – did the studies you talked about use ultrarefined fish oil (which has very little toxins) or the typical fish oil sold in grocery stores?
    Also, the research supporting fish oil for the treatment of depression shows that at 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA is best. Was this addressed in the studies you examined?
    Last, from my reading, if someone is not following an anti-inflammatory diet, fish oil is not likely to help because an inflammatory diet would conteract the fish oil benefit.

  88. I have primary inherited dyslipidemia and was prescribed the prescription Lavaza for high triglycerides and Niaspan for Metabolic syndrome. While Lavaza did cause my triglycerides to go down to normal levels it increased my VLDL’s and had practically no impact on my HDL’s. The Niaspan caused my cholesterol to go to normal. I researched why this occurred and found that Lavaza contains both EPA and DHA. It was the DHA that was causing the increase in VLDL’s. I then researched if there were any new medications that don’t have the DHA and found a new drug Vascepa had just come on the market. I went to the lipid doctor with this new information and was prescribed this medication. My Triglycerides are normal, my VLDL’s are normal, my LDL’s are normal and my HDL’s are high. I also changed my diet significantly as well as my activities. The doctor was impressed and stated that it looks as if I am on a statin (which I can’t take due to rhabdomyolysis). Both Lavaza and Vascepa are prescription strength Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, but Vascepa has been altered so that the DHA has been removed. I feel wonderful!

    • Congratulations Andrea Boggan. I too have been taking pure E-EPA, now for over 12 years on a daily basis, and I agree with your view that it is the world´s best fish oil product. It does lowers trigycerides and does not increase LDL cholesterol. E-EPA was developed in Japan in the 1980´s, and it has been studies extensively (please go to PubMed and search for E-EPA, or EPA-E or EPADEL). The Japanese cardiologists say that EPA is the main effective omega-3 in fish oil, DHA and the rest are just bystanders. World´s largest fish oil study JELIS (published in the Lancet in 2007) was done using E-EPA, and the results were excellent particularly amongst those who had diabetetes and/or metabolic syndrome. About JELIS:
      http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/518574

  89. ya this and the advice of Chris Masterjohn did make me review my decision on taking cod liver oil.

    I take green pasture i’m not sure why you would recommend another brand i thought fermented is always the best. I know you don’t want to talk smack but hey whats with the FCLO?

    I am also going to have my fish oil now with olive oil to be safe. Thanks Chris Kresser! Now tell us if Vonderplanitz was right eating so much raw meat? does cooked meat have any benefits? I know you may be liable or at least highly criticized for recommending raw meat but common lets get hypothetical.

  90. When people talk about LDL and the concerns of it being high, they may not be aware that there are two types of LDL. One is a risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and the other is protective. This link explains the difference – http://www.fasebj.org/content/8/1/121.long.

    I take high doses of fish oils and also eat fish 2-3 times a week. My HDL is high, my triglycerides are low and my LDL is high, which is a classic sign of Pattern A, which means my LDL is protective. I put that down to the high levels of omega-3s in my diet.

  91. Chris, I was glad to see your article. I haven’t really seen anything stating that fish oil might not be the cure-all it is touted to be.
    I have tried fish oil several times over the past several years, and each time I have noticed that my legs become achey and sore. When I stop taking the fish oil, the achey/sore feeling goes away.
    My ND suggested plant based supplements for the Omega 3’s. I use 1 T of Barlean’s Omega Swirl or 1 T of Udo’s Essential 3-6-9 with DHA daily and I don’t get the leg pain. Do we have to get the Omegas from fish? Plants seem to work better for me.

  92. What kind of fish oil were they testing? The cheap “stuff” you can buy at Walmart off the shelf or “top shelf”, real fish oil? This reminds me of the studies saying that vitamin consumption is bunk, but they don’t mention that they only tested subjects that used synthetic, crap vitamins.

    • I agree. That’s the problem with these types of studies and their interpretation. What type of fish oil are they using? Is it the natural triglyceride form with a 3:2 ratio of EPA:DHA which is preserved with an antioxidant? Or, are they taking some other chemically extracted oil which is in an altered form with unnatural ratios of EPA:DHA and is highly oxidized?

      It’s silly to recommend not taking fish oil supplements unless you look at the methods used in the studies and what type of oil they were using.

  93. I have taken fish oil and glucosamine for many years and find that it helps with my knees and hip joints. Recently I was on holiday and forgot my supplements. By the time I got back from a 2 week holiday I was having pain in the joints. I restarted the supplements and within a week was back to normal.

  94. Chris, a bit disappointed that you never touched on the fact that not all fish oils are created equal. there are many cheap fish oils in the market that are full of contaminants and probably do you more harm than good. I look for wild salmon oil or high quality krill oil. As you are quite aware when it comes to supplements you need to do your research and avoid inferior brands that give supplements a bad name. In all the research and test they never mention the quality of the supplement taken which I think can be very misleading.

  95. I’ve taken cod liver oil from a bottle, not gel caps for years, especially helped when I was going through perimenopause to calm me when I took it before going to bed along w/a tablespoon of olive oil! Still take it that way. Glad to hear the two worked together synergistically! My question about the negative effects of cod liver oil in some of the studies mentioned above is… whether soybean oil was present in the capsules/bottles of cod liver oil? Not all cod liver oils are pure. Wouldn’t the presence of soybean oil make the cod liver oil more estrogenic? Hence… more cancer causing in some individuals? Only once did I buy fish oil capsules. After taking them, I could tell that some soy bean oil or soy lecithin was in them. Soy makes me feel very anxious, like I want to jump out of my skin and run as fast as I can to get rid of the anxiety. Plus, soy made me have more intense hot flashes, mostly because I am already estrogen dominant. Thus, it’s easy for me to tell if soy is present in cod liver oil. Something to think about.

  96. Kris, I would be very interested in hearing your view on a new product from Iceland called “Dropi” which is made out of cod liver oil. It is less processed than regular commercially produced cod liver or fish oil. It is cold processed and therefore classified as virgin oil.

    http://www.truewestfjords.is/the-product/

    Thanks in advance!

  97. I only take glucosamine and have to be very careful on taking taking fats as react to all fats and am taking digestive enzymes with ox bile

  98. Dear Chris, Fish oil puts me into a depression. So does fermented cod liver oil. I have no problem with fish or regular cod liver oil

  99. I had mitral valve prolapse, arythmia and congestive heart failure and 3 months ago started taking 1 teaspoon Green Pastures Blue ice fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter every day. After 4 days I had more energy than I have had in years and no symptoms with my heart. This week, my doctor said by chloresterol levels are sky high. Waiting to see what LDL levels are.

  100. Come on Chris, give us a response on the Green Pasture FCLO. I can understand if you stopped using it because of taste or how it personally reacts with you, but it is absolutely the best product on the market, and Dave Wetzel from Green Pasture provides an absurd amount of great info on his products.

    Green Pasture deserves your repeated recommendations. There is no company more trustworthy, and their level of transparency and commitment is second to none. They are preserving valuable ancient traditions, and delivering us the very best FCLO and Butter Oil products.

  101. I recommend nordic natirals 2-3 g daily for pts with Ibd in order to aid thier 6:3 ratios and help with inflammation, there is research to back it up. You mentioned metabolic syndrome, heart disease and another condition which I can’t recall right now. What ablut its use in the way I describe?
    Thank you- K

  102. I have had very dry eyes for many years. I tried supplementing with 1 tsp cod liver oil once or twice a day but I have digestive issues so my naturopath put me on a liver complex instead. My eyes are still dry so now I have just started incorporating 18 oz wild salmon and 6oz liver per week (as recommended in ‘The Paleo Cure’). I would much prefer to eat whole foods than supplement but I often struggle digesting fish especially in the morning. I am going to continue with the new regime and hopefully my dry eyes will improve 🙂

  103. Just a note about Krill Oil, … I could not take fish oil due to burping and had high cholesterol… high LDL but also high HDL. Taking 1500 mg of Krill Oil daily has lowered my cholesterol from 275 to 215… a pretty good dip! I tried statins and did not like them… so doc and I tried this and we are both pleased.

  104. Fish Oil did 2 things for me –
    1. Reduced BP to 105/70. After stopping, this increased about 10-15%
    2. Kept CIMT 10 years lower than my actual age. After stopping for 13 month CIMT was 10 year higher than actual – same diet.
    So it reduced BP and kept arterial inflammation low.

    • I take 14,800 mg of Barleans fish oil a day. Not only does it feed my brain that is a good 70 made of fat but the results for relieving my depression and anger has been a God send

  105. I began taking fish oil last March hoping it would help atrial fibrillation. In April I began having nose bleeds. I had several per day, one that lasted for well over an hour. If I tried to pinch my nose to stop the bleeding it came out my mouth. Finally the clotting began and then I was spitting out blood clots. There was blood spatter on the walls, floor, and me. I had gone to a local clinic because I feared respiratory flu had turned to pneumonia. The albuterol nebulizer that was recommended sent me immediately into atrial fibrillation with extremely high blood pressure, very fast irregular heart rate, and an overall weakness. The nurse practitioner was insistent that I begin taking blood thinners. In view of the bleeding problems with just one fish oil per day, I think I would not have survived. It shows the importance of medical people to ask just what medications and supplements a person is taking before prescribing drugs. She did not do that, but my instinct told me to refuse the drug.

  106. My daughter has a rare condition called Moyamoya and instead of regular aspirin consumption to thin her blood, my Naturopath many years ago recommended taking higher doses of fish oil. she had a blood test that showed her blood was just as thin on fish oil as it was on aspirin. I’m concerned now, as she is 16 years old, eats healthy, is healthy and she now exhibits symptoms of insulin resistance. Natural blood thinners? Help!

  107. Yes I take Fish Oil by Nature Made. It says “1000mg”, “300mg Omega-3.” My Doctor recomme4nded it and within 30 days my cholesterol lowered by 30 points. That was 4 years ago.

    Yes, I am rethinking it, as I was just diagnosed with a mini-stroke 3 months ago and am advised to lower my Cholesterol, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar even though they are and have been under perfect control with medication. I guess he wants me perfect without medication and thinks that will happen if I lost 40 pounds!!!

  108. I agree we shouldn’t take fish oil supplements. A study done in Norway (where a heavy amount of fish oil supplements originate) found that there was rancid oil in 95% of the fish oil supplements sampled.

    https://www.omega3innovations.com/index.php/media/press/norwegian-health-authorities-raise-questions/?___store=default

    Additionally, just eating real, whole, fresh food can supply an adequate amount of omega-3 and it will be way fresher than any supplement can be, and possibly fresher than most whole fish you buy at the market. Remember, omega-3 fats are quite vulnerable to oxidation, and oxidized, they have nothing but negative value to your body. I’d rather get my omega-3 from other foods that aren’t as concentrated in omega-3, but are more likely to be fresh and uncompromised.

    For instance, eggs come in their own sealed container, straight from the hen. They are always going to have more omega-6 than omega-3, but “omega-3” type eggs have 5 times as much omega-3 as conventional eggs,

    ( http://authoritynutrition.com/pastured-vs-omega-3-vs-conventional-eggs/ )

    and you can always raise your omega-3 levels further compared to omega-6 by eating certain foods. For instance, spinach contains 5 times the omega-3 as omega-6.

    ( http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2626/2 )

    If you could manage to eat 6 oz. of spinach in a meal, you would get 240 mg. of omega-3. If you ate 3 oz. of “omega-3” eggs, you might get about 1200 mg. ( 1.2 gm.) of omega-3, though you would have gotten only about 440 mg from conventional eggs. I got these numbers from the two links above.

    But all fresh foods contain some of these 2 types of fats. I don’t think one needs to ingest a heavyweight source of unsaturated fats in order to get a sufficient quantity of these as long as empty-calorie junk foods are not part of the diet.

    There are arguments that the human body, in certain conditions, cannot break alpha-linolenic acid into DHA, and EPA. One must realize this is an unusual condition and not what most people encounter on a healthy diet. So I don’t really fear inability to make the conversion to derive DHA, etc. from whole, parent omega-3. I think others shouldn’t either, if they have eliminated all the commercial seed-oils from their diet which make it difficult for the human body to process omega-6 and omega-3 fats efficiently.

  109. I’m 7+months pregnant and have been taking about 1000mg of DHA a day. What is your recommendation for pregnancy?

  110. I am unable to take any kind of fish oil supplement because they give me acid reflux and nausea. I have tried several brands and they all react the same way. So, I guess it’s just as well I’m unable to take them after reading this article.

      • And probably getting adequate sunlight would help keeping the probiotics and microbes in the GI tract sustain because they rely on not only prebiotics like fibers, carbs, and so but also D3 hormone we produce from 7-dehydrocholesterol to thrive. If you don’t feed them well, you probably don’t live easy lives because 7/8 of daily requisite B’s are from them. Biology are complex, we can’t live alone. Nutrition and lifestyle changes since agricultural&industrial revolution makes us sick. Nevertheless we don’t have to reverse the revolution, only have to tweak our way of life to settle in our position in the biology, needing comprehensive understanding truth in short Tao.

    • Try taking Wobenzyms or other digestive enzymes. It is likely that your stomach pH is too high and thus not acidic enough to digest such fats. The enzymes have prevented this for me and have greatly aided in full digestion of food (literally 1/2 the waste now).

    • I had used Source Naturals enteric coated until I got Lovaza (prescription) and it is so pure, it has never caused burps. Acid reflux is indicator of not enough stomach acid, fyi.

      I have found since taking Lovaza to control triglycerides due to diabetes from sleep debt following auto accident that my decades of back pain has subsided, so I consider this a miracle solution.

      I caution, however, that recently the FDA approved generic Lovaza, called Omega 3 Fish Oil usually and when speaking with the manufacturer, they were unwilling to share the source or names of oceans/seas where the fish is procured, whereas Lovaza is frank about the source: the Baltic Sea. Given the incidents of nuclear waste in the sea, this would seem to be important, so I am refusing the generic and advise others to do the same until they start telling us where their product resource comes from. I have learned that a lot comes from squid, a bottom feeder, so this is important … it is not all salmon, that is for sure.

      My prescribed dose is 2 grams twice a day.

  111. I completely trust the quality and purity of Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Have been using it for many years. Clearly the best.

    • You can’t ferment cod liver oil, it’s rancid. Chris is now recommending EVCLO by Rositas Real Foods. If your CLO has to be flavored and encapsulated to disguise it’s rancid taste then don’t consume it.

      • I understand that is the position of the competitor’s company. However, fermenting codliver oil is an ancient practice. We’d have been quite ill millenia ago if it were true. Thus, common sense shows fermenting is beneficial for this food also. It’s sad that companies have to belittle the competition.

        • Helene, I’m not sure who you are referring to as “the competitor”, but if it’s Rositas then they are not competing with anyone, their product is quite unique and not a fermented CLO, so it’s not competing with anyone else, nor have they “belittled” anyone as you suggest. All because a method of food preservation is an “ancient practice” doesn’t mean its necessary/beneficial in our day and age, and the fact remains that fermenting cod liver oil is totally unnecessary, there are enough fermented foods on the market already, ie. veggies, kefir etc. so don’t worry you wont miss our on any good bacteria. I’d rather consume a product that is clean and one where I can use my own senses of taste and smell to determine if it’s rancid.

      • There is no mention of the need for butter oil also in this article. It is highly important to take with the CLO as K2 needs to be taken with the D3. The D3 impacts calcium absorption and we need the calcium to get where it belongs and not lining our blood vessels and putting spurs in our joints.
        I have found it even works in saliva to prevent tooth plaque buildup. In fact, it caused my buildup to flake off, twice. Chunks both times. Incredible, I’m hooked for life.

    • You are correct. This was recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation and is the best source for a complete fish oil supplement. Naturally high with vitamins A & D.

  112. Fish oil has basically ruined my life. My ND put me on some medical brand fish oil and I got reflux so bad my esophagus was swollen almost shut for 6 months. Eventually with careful diet management it went away and I was good for almost a year. Then she insisted I really needed to take the oil for anti-inflammatory properties and showed me all kinds of things like freezing the capsules and only taking one instead of three, and taking it in the middle of a meal. I don’t know why I listened! But two capsules later massive reflux attack and there goes my throat again. That was in December, and it hasn’t wanted to go away this time. It was worse than the first time it happened…. this time my teeth and nose burned and now I get scratchy throat and cough after some meals. I’m having to cut out all wheat, dairy, high fat meats, sugar, etc…. hopefully it will eventually go away and I’ll be normal again. I’ve never ever had reflux in my life except for these two times because of the fish oil.

    • You need to take a look at the brand of fish oil you’re taking. Most brands are not worth it and should be avoided. I commented above on fermented Cod liver oil from Green Pasture, which is what my family takes. But you have more serious problems. You should be on a good probiotic and possible digestive enzymes, as your digestive system needs to be normalized. Correcting your diet is a major plus, and should be continued. You will find that once you take care of your digestive system and gut flora, you will not run into acid reflux.

      • Thanks Ken,

        It was Seroyal/Genestra brand Super EFAs. I take a good probiotic along with prescript assist SBOs. I had been taking Pure Encapsulations digestive enzymes but they made me worse. At one point I was taking HCL/pepsin but it didn’t really do much to help and I would end up burping it back up.

    • gosh that’s very severe danielle….sorry to hear about that. how are you now? wonder what was the cause of your reaction in terms of the fish oil content ?

      • I wish. I can eat fish and seafood fine, love it in fact. The fish oil starts with lots of burps and then acid taste in mouth and nose, and globus sensation that becomes diffuse as my esophagus becomes more inflamed. Then afterwards the reflux just doesn’t want to go away…. Which sucks because I’ve never in my life had heartburn or reflux and could eat anything with no issue until I took the fish oil. After the first episode healed I was able to return to eating whatever I wanted until I took the fish oil the second time… Now it just doesn’t want to go away… I was completely healed by this time frame previously. 🙁

        • Sorry to hear your reaction here. The same thing basically happened to me, however it wasn’t the fish oil itself, but the non-medicinal ingredients in the product. One of them includes green tea and tocopherols, etc… And tocopherols are usually fine as it’s just vitamin E, but the green tea was the cause for me. Fish oil supplement companies also need to do a better job at disclosing how their fish oil is made; not just where it comes from.

  113. Fish oil and cod liver oil supps have too many rancidity problems — rancid soon after opening, upon opening, and even if stored in the frig. I don’t feel that these problems are sufficiently offset by also eating high anti-oxidant foods and supps, especially if one has other sources of oxidative stress as well. In today’s world, I don’t think that most people can assume that fish oil is their only source of oxidative stress, and even more so the older one gets.

    Because fish oil is a vasodilator, persons who need more vasodilation and tend toward higher blood pressure might do at least temporarily better with the higher amounts of 2000-3000 mg fish oil, and persons who are already over-dilated and tend toward lower blood pressure do better with lower amounts e.g. 1000 mg. Being in the latter category, I took fish oil for a couple of years in my mid-50s. During that time, I had more brown spots develop on my hands and arms than ever before or since, which I attribute to oxidation. This may extend to lipofuscin in the brain? I’ve long taken anti-oxidant supps and eaten fruits and vegetables. I quit taking the fish oil after that time.

    So I’m for eating the fish, 3-4 oz 3x/week, being aware of which fish are high in mercury and which not, and rotating your fish. I had some very fancy lipids testing around age 63 where my omega 3s, omega 6s, and DHA levels were found to be ideal on this fish-eating routine.

    Fish oil is a PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid). Ray Peat argues against PUFAs, saying they cause intense production of toxic lipid peroxides. I’m inclined to agreed with him on this point.
    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsaturated-oils.shtml

    • Ray Peat cherry picks his studies, and in fact believes there is no such thing as ‘essential fatty acids’, which is nonsense.

      He also believes one should eat white sugar several times a day (or “Mexican Coca Cola — because it has sugar instead of high-fructose syrups) and take aspirin several times a day as well. He also thinks most vegetables are bad, because of their “high-PUFA” content.

      A nice man, but basically the laughing stock among serious researchers and scientists.

      • Ad hominem dismissal. I’m only interested in true propositions, I pick and choose, and don’t feel I must endorse someone’s work wholesale or trash it completely otherwise. I can agree with this idea, disagree with that idea. As mentioned, I agree with Peat on his point that “PUFAs cause intense production of toxic lipid peroxides.” How about an address to this point on its own merits or demerits?

        • Perhaps that is the case under certain conditions, but he ignores the fact the polyunsaturated fat has been used successfully as part of a dietary treatment for multiple sclerosis, hence my mention of his ‘cherry-picking’ of studies.

  114. Two 1200 mg tablets includes 360 mg omega 3, 360 mg epa 240 dha and 120 mg other omega 3. Three years now. Lipid numbers have improved, and just feel better with it, so why stop now. 😉

    • I think it is all about how oils are processed…especially heat,and packaging. Personally I think krill oil is about Marketing. I chose to stay with Islandic or Carlson.
      They are well respected with long history.

        • I agree Jo. Also isn’t Krill Oil needed as food for whales and other sea annals. Also KO is too heavily marketed as the next big thing. I was dissipointed when Mercola became a supporter. Honestly is there any living species that humans do not feel entitled to?

      • I live in Eugene Oregon….very organic aware. I shop at a Market that also carries nutritional supliments and locally grown foods. While looking to restart my CLO
        Regiment she handed me a flyer from Carlson saying , with their years of experience You cannot ferment fish oil without making it rancid. You might want to google Carlson and see what they say. I have misplaced the flyer or I would have quoted them with reference for you.

      • @Steve, try opening a capsule of fermented CLO that is not flavored, and taste it. If you experience a gag reflex, it’s rancid.

        • Many things invoke the gag reflex, and different things for different people. I watch this all the time within my family, as some people can eat the Green Pasture FCLO like it is ice cream, while others gag.

          In addition, there is confusion here about the term rancid. We generally use it to mean that something has ‘gone bad’ and is not fit for consumption. However, that is not the dictionary definition, and is not used by everyone in that context. When something is rancid, it has what is generally considered a foul smell and taste, and is in a state of decomposition, or similarly bioactive. All fermented food fall under this technical definition, but not the common definition.

          Thus, FCLO, natto, kimchi, etc. are technically rancid, but highly desirable for consumption, and therefore not rancid by common definition. I hope that helps.

  115. Chris, as you are stating, it’s a complex issue. There are some glimpses of light in the studies you mention as well as some studies going on now here in Sweden. So many studies are done with the cheapest product available or at low levels. Oxidized fish oil will skew studies. Even studies with depression/anxiety/etc. show differing results depending on the level of EPA vs DHA.

    What we are seeing with the study using olive oil with omega-3 is the polyphenols in the olive oil. The best study we have with omega-3 and polyphenols specifically was done on cows, but did show less omega-3 oxidation (in blood) with polyphenols and vitamin-E than with either alone.

    Taking high quality omega-3 that already has vitamin-E in it along with high polyphenol foods (olives, cloves, chocolate) will help reduce oxidation. That’s why omega-3 mixed with high polyphenol olive oil is such a great combination. Paul Clayton talks quite a bit about this.

    There are two companies in Sweden that work with omega-3 and olive oil blends. ArcticMed and Zinzino. We’ve worked with both of them in our health center in Sweden with great results, especially with chronic inflammation. Both of them put down a lot of time and money in securing olive oil that has high enough polyphenols and both encourage omega-3:6 balance testing before and during usage. I respect them both for that. We mostly work with Zinzino now, mainly since our clients prefer how their products taste.

    We only have some of our information in English now at http://www.balance36.com/, (links are at the bottom of the page).

    Not saying that we have the answer or the answers, but some things to think about. What I can say is that we have seen multiple people with FM/CFS go from bedridden to working full-time once they get their omega-3:6 levels back in balance. Again, not the only thing that matters, but something that does matter.

  116. Chris, this article is SO timely for me. I just ran out of New Chapter Wild Salmon Oil, and I’ve taken it on again/off again, depending upon whose advice I’m receiving at the moment.

    For a good year now, I’ve been consuming 1 lb per week of extremely fresh Wild Alaskan Salmon, line caught by Eskimos and flown here overnight. And I eliminated fish oil capsules — both because I intuitively believe whole food form is best and because you and others who I trust (i.e., Paul Jaminet Phd, etc.) recommend that approach.

    But I have a very mild form of blepharitis (aka ocular rosacea) and dry eye. My ophthalmologist keeps INSISTING that I take 2 g of fish oil per day for overall eye health and as a prevention against those specific conditions. He says blepharitis develops because the oil glands in the eyelids get clogged and the fish oil keeps things “flowing”. He like the Nordic Naturals brand that also contains has Astaxanthin.

    So I’d like your input on whether for an eye condition like like that, you do or do not recommend supplementing on top of 1 lb of salmon per week, and if so, would it be the EVCLO and at what dose per day.

  117. The brand matters–there is a lot of worthless fish oil out there and the amount matters. Unless those things are accounted for, the studies are pointless. I have seen it cure all sorts of inflammatory problems including my own severe arthritis (four joint replacements) so that I now run a farm, bucking bales, mowing, gardening and wrangling livestock. It has (to my knowledge) improved or eliminated copd, asthma, arthritis, psoriasis. Wouldn’t be without it.

          • By experimentation I found 8 grams (8000 mg) is good for me–that’s where joint pain disappeared. I’ve heard some get pain reduction at lower intake…some higher, everyone is different. And it matters what else you put in your mouth of course. Also fatter people produce more inflammatory cytokines than leaner people so may need more for the same effect–everyone is different.

  118. I take fairly good-sized doses of IFOS fish oil because I have severe dry eye syndrome (possibly Sjorgren’s). I once stopped and ate salmon daily to see what would happen. Within a week, I ripped my corneas repeatedly. I was back on fish oil immediately; it took 10 days or so to repair the damage. My eyes, nose and throat are still desperately dry, but at least I don’t rip my corneas when taking fish oil. I have no idea whether or not I am increasing my risk for other chronic diseases, but I don’t seem to have a choice if I want to function at some level or normalcy.

  119. Ten years ago, used to have two irregular heartbeat episodes a day. I started on fish oil and immediately no episodes. I would stop the FO (maybe ran out or forgot to order it) and skipping beats would come back like clockwork. Still take FO and no episodes. Incidentally, my hdl improved slightly but my triglycerides were cut almost in half. Good enough for me….My doctor? he put me on a statin….that only lasted a month and a half until I took control of my own health.

  120. I take omega 3 for migraine/chronic headache prevention, per my neurologist. Not sure if it helps though. Any research on that? I think I should just eat fish instead.

  121. I am particularly interested in Chris’s opinion on Green Pastures FCLO. I have followed his advice closely and even used the Healthy Baby Code prior to getting pregnant and also as a guide to feeding my babies. He always highly recommended it, and in particular, Green Pastures brand. I haven’t until today known that his recommendation had changed. I’m concerned it is because of something negative about the product. Wish I’d known before I purchased my most recent truck load of it.

    • Fermented cod liver oil and butter oil isn’t so healthy because of its omega fatty acids, but for its vitamins. These being A and D3 from de cod liver oil and K2 from the butter oil. These three vitamins work synergetically to get calcium where you need it in your body. That means in your bones and teeth, instead of in your veins, joints and other soft tissues.

    • I’m right there with you. I just had a baby 4 months ago and take it regularly. I was under the impression that he highly recommended the Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Would be helpful to know if he doesn’t recommend that any more and if not, the reasons behind it. I recently added the High Vitamin Butter Oil and wonder if that isn’t recommended either.

    • I now recommend either the FCLO, or Rosita’s EVCLO, which I have started using more myself and with my patients. I really like the transparency around their manufacturing process and the nutrient/fatty acid content of the oil.

      • Why are you taking any fish oil at all? You just wrote a fine article about how there is very little evidence for taking supplements.

  122. My question is: what form of fish oil are these studies relying on? Are they studying fish oil in ethyl ester form (which doesn’t occur in nature and is the majority of fish oil supplements) or the triglyceride form (which does occur in nature and is much more absorbable). I think we need to made that distinction. Does taking one kind over the other matter?

    • You are quite right, the 3 dimensional structure does make a difference to absorbability and to effect. There are few studies that ever make the distinction you are seeking.

    • Yes, I am wondering if quality is being considered in these studies. Are they sure the fish oils aren’t rancid? I didn’t know about the ester vs. triglyceride form, so that does seem like an important point to consider.
      For me the take away is that having fish in the diet seems like the way to go.

    • It’s so frustrating when a particular food or nutrient is given a bad rap, but the researchers don’t distinguish between high-quality and low quality versions of it when drawing their conclusions. It really does make a difference and can effect health dramatically. I think this is the main point that should’ve been brought up in the article.

  123. Chris: I find a short-term improvement in inflammation when i take fish oil. Hence, when I experience outward signs of inflammation, I take fish oil for a couple days until the inflammation goes away.

    • Can I add my comment here, seems really appropriate: I take cod liver oil to reduce joint stiffness. When I was younger I would sometimes forget to take it for a few days and get a bit achy…Then I would use the British brand Seven Seas which would get my flexibility back fastest.
      I have been doing this for 25 years, I really do notice the difference. Current intake is 4 grams daily, some cheaper brands some Seven Seas mixed. Still dancing in late sixties….

  124. re: As with heart disease and metabolic syndrome, the research on omega-3 and fish oil supplementation on cancer is decidedly mixed.

    This should surprise no one who has been following medical news lately:
    http://www.drugawareness.org/editor-of-lancet-medical-research-is-unreliable-at-best-or-completely-fraudulent/

    Nutrition ‘science’ is probably even less reliable and more biased.

    On the topic at hand, context matters hugely (what else were the subjects consuming), and as several readers have pointed out: oil sourcing, processing, quality and age are significant.

    Where this leaves us is personal results, and for Chris, minding the clinical outcomes. Formal science simply cannot be trusted, except as a source of vague hints for things that might need to be considered.

    One of Chris’ dissenting diet colleagues, a cardiac MD, is having great results arresting and reversing heart disease with generous dose quality n3 DHA & EPA – but, importantly, in the context of a grain-free low-inflammatory LCHF diet that attends to vitamins B12 & D, as well as gut biome and thyroid. Those with FH are actually advised to take more n3.

    • I read a book recently (at the recommendation of my cousin Dave) called “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters. You might know Peter Thiel as one of the founders of Paypal. He has an interesting quote “we know more about the physics of faraway stars than we know about human nutrition”.

  125. The JELIS trial (Lancet 2007;369:1090) conducted in Japan with over 18,000 subjects with cholesterol levels greater than 6.5 mmol/L (250 mg/dl), used 1.8 g of EPA (not DHA because DHA raises LDL), on top of statins. There was a 19% reduction in major coronary events in the subjects on EPA compared to statins alone; in addition, there was more than a 50% reduction in cardiovascular events among a subset of patients with elevated triglycerides. What’s remarkable about this study is that the Japanese already consume a lot of fish and generally have the highest blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids to start with.

    The inclusion of DHA at high doses in many of the studies cited may actually have reduced the potential benefit of the fish oil treatments.

  126. Dr. Jeff, what you say is totally true. I’m still “in” for the importance of the ratio, though…

  127. This is discouraging for me because I do part time health coaching and often suggest that, among other dietary/lifestyle changes, clients supplement with fish oil in order to help increase HDL. I generally work with clients who know zero about nutrition/exercise, the vast majority of whom don’t care. However, the blood numbers that I see are often alarming, and I would like to be able to tell these clients something helpful in the 5 minutes that I get to spend with them. If fish oil is on its way “out,” what would you suggest I advise clients whose HDL numbers are despairingly low?

  128. I once transformed my buddy’s limping arthritic labrador with a dry itchy coat and a sad demeanor to an oily smooth itch free coat happy dog that had a spring in his step with one week of salmon oil. Thats all the randomized control studies that I need. Fuckin research, it can prove whatever you want it to prove. Epidemiology and Empirical science is where it is at.

  129. Nice article, thanks. I took fish oil capsules for years and found it helped mood, skin moisture. Menopause changed all of that. Fish oil seemed to cause heart palpitations. Even after adjusting for the onset of hypothyroidism with t3/t4 combination, fish oil would send the old ticker into wheelies! Just about that time, some of the referenced studies came out and I haven’t taken it since. No problems eating moderate amounts of fish per week.

  130. I’ve taken high quality fish oil for years because it thins the blood and helps with clots in my varicose veins. I have been doing other things to help the veins so stopped the 2 grams of fish oil a day for about 60 days.

    I’ve had horrible problems with inflammation for quite a while and mostly manage it through diet and exercise. But over the last 4 weeks I could not get the swelling in my left leg to go down. I was miserable, My joints were getting achy again and I was very moody. Signs of inflammation for me.

    My husband asked me to try taking the fish oil again. I started taking it again 3 days ago and the swelling is gone and I feel so much better. Apparently I need the fish oil. I eat a very healthy diet so something in me needs that combo. I will continue the 2 grams a day with plenty of antioxidants.

    I think for some of us we just need the higher levels of Omega 3s.

    • Carolyn your observation is very interesting for me.
      I too suffer from varicose veins and I managed to successfully go through my third pregnancy without taking any anticoagulants, just 10 ml of FCLO along with BO.
      Three years ahead I’m still managing my veins with 5 ml of FCLO and Dr. Mercolas K2.
      But recently, after Chris’ recommendations I switched to Rosita’s evclo, and the health of my veins deteriorated significantly, there were obvious signs of inflammation and pain/ itching/ eczemas on my legs.
      When I realized that it must be the oil I switched back to FCLO and recovered!
      I’m still not quite sure why this was the case, but if anybody here has an idea I’d appreciate it if you let me know.

  131. I mentioned tinned salmon in a reply earlier. Has the preparation of tinned fish spoiled many of its benefits? I buy tinned Wild Pacific Red Salmon and Scottish Mackerel in Olive Oil and regard them as the protein part of a meal. Smoked fish gives me a headache, though it’s hard to resist smoked salmon sometimes! Smoked mackerel once gave me such a severe headache that I’ve never dared to try it again; I’ve always believed that it is notorious for this.

    • You many have a histamine intolerance. Smoked and canned fish is famous for being high histamine. Google it and see if it applies to you.

  132. I find that it’s cheaper to buy a high quality cod liver oil (such as Carlson) than to buy fish (at least, where I live). I live in the Maritimes, and yet fish is outrageously priced. I buy it when it’s on sale at the same price as cheap ground beef or pork. That ranges from $2-$3.50 lb. Normally, it’s about $7 a lb (at cheapest). I can’t afford that!!!

  133. My husband’s HDL is 100. We think it has to be the fish oil. He has been taking it for a long period of time. It seems to help him.

  134. Perhaps, modern researchers should concentrate on the effects of excess omega-6’s rather than a deficiency of omega-3’s. The ratio between the two is all important for long-term health.

      • Really, not the fact that historically we ate them in about a 2:1 ratio and now most eat them in about a 20:1 ratio?

        • Try and find any prepared food that doesn’t have canola, soy or corn oil in it. The reason food doesn’t rot on the shelf is the same reason it causes cellular inflammation, the inability to absorb oxygen, a vital function of cellular and mitochondrial membranes that is significantly dependent on proper 18 carbon Omega-6 (Linoleic acid)

  135. I’ve been taking relatively high doses of fish oil supplements for the last 2 years, less for the other health benefits I’d read about and more for anti-inflammatory reasons. I’m an avid weightlifter and have read various articles about the ability of fish oil to help reduce overall inflammation. Anyone seen any good research on this?

  136. My ND prescribed 1G fish oil a day for helping reduce overall inflammation in body (I had an issue with hives last year) – would this help? Thanks so much Chris!

  137. I’ve always been reluctant to take fish oil for various reasons. I’m not really into eating fish, either. Never liked it. But fish oil has been touted for a long time, so I tried.

    I’ve purchased many brands and many types over the years, including CLO, krill, etc. etc. Every brand and type of fish oil I’ve tried – even the so-called “no burp” oils, give me indigestion. I’ve wasted too much money trying to find the right fish oil for me.

    So we decided to eat canned sardines instead.

  138. I tried a high-fat, low/moderate-carb paleo diet a couple years ago, but determined I am one of those who is hypersensitive to dietary fat. My LDL shot up almost 50% from a 4-year average of 110 to 158 in six months. No surprise, but I was concerned that my LDL-P jumped 80% from 1015 to 1832. I am ApoE 3/3. My Lp(a) is always above 220 except when it dropped to 194 from the high fat diet.

    Going back to a more moderate diet has helped everything, but my LDL-P was still elevated at 1482 last month. I take a tsp of FCLO every day and had doubled up on krill oil before this last test. Since this last test I have stopped all krill oil and olive oil to see if that helps.

    Are there any studies connecting fish oil to LDL-P?

  139. I agree that all the evidence supports the fact that cold-water fish consumption is very beneficial to overall health and longevity. But what would be recommendable for somebody who lives where there is absolutely no cold-water fish available? And I mean NONE, neither fresh nor frozen, imported or local. In this case could a moderate dose of fish oil together with some other vitamins and lots of vegetables help offset the deficiency?

  140. This article leaves a lot to be desired and is confusing. You show Numbers for references, but no references are shown.
    It is more important as to who did these studies as many are slanted of downright wrong due to groups that are either for or against a product. Also which fish oils were used in these studies, most are rancid. What brand was used, the two best IMO are Nordic naturals and Carlson and Liquid is best.
    The part about eating fish is not so good as radiation is now an additional problem due to Fukushima.
    Taking a cod liver supplement is is excellent advice.

  141. hi Chris,

    This information is so confusing! What abouth the positive effects of fish oil on inflammation and getting the omega ratio closer to 1/1? I’ve been taking a fish oil from a company called SFH which I’ve found to be a quality product – http://www.sfh.com/shop/omega-3-oil/

    Does this new information mean I should stop taking this product?

    So Confused,
    Emma

  142. I was disturbed to find out when visiting my elderly parents that they were not keeping their fish oil supplements in the refrigerator. I saw a study on this issue, but I can’t find. Logically, taking rancid fish oil could be much worse than not consuming enough omega 3s.

  143. I have been supplementing Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil blend for the past 5 months.
    Until I took an MRT blood test for food sensitivities, the test results showed I was moderately reacting to Cod Fish. This was the only seafood I was reacting to.
    Here I was thinking I was doing something good for my body.
    I am still a little puzzled as to why my body would react if it is said to be such a powerful and beneficial product.
    Should I definitely discontinue using it??
    Any comments or suggestions would be helpful!
    Thanks in advance.

    • Allergy tests commonly show reactions to substances we ingest (food, supplements) every day. I mean, EVERY DAY. It may be that our bodies are dealing with that food all the time, and may make antibodies to it, so a reaction shows up. The reaction can be very mild or extreme. It doesn’t mean we’re allergic to the food per se; it just means we should space out our consumption of it so the body can handle it before receiving the next hit.

  144. “There are very few studies suggesting … harm … with 1 gram or less of fish oil per day, so I think one teaspoon of cod liver oil a day is likely to be safe.”

    Chris, can you please clarify? 1 teaspoon of CLO is about 5 grams, is it not?

    • EVCLO contains about 1.2 g of combined EPA and DHA. We’re talking about the measure of those particular fatty acids, not the total amount of oil.

  145. Thank you Chris for an excellent round-up on where the science currently “sits” with regards the role of fish oil supplementation in health and disease prevention. I would love to hear your review comments on the role of fish oil in endurance/sports performance. Thank you for your continued education – fabulous!!!

  146. My fiancee is Sicilian (but has lived on the American east coast for the last ~20 years). She still eats more fish than the average American.

    She says her family has always had high triglycerides and knows FO brings that down for her. She takes 4000mg/day and consumes a lot of the antioxidant foods you mentioned. She noticed if she misses a few days that her energy level seems to go down and she feels really tired.

    She can’t speak on any other benefits.

      • Aw, now you’re getting the difference between fish oil which can cause harm and eating fish. They are way different, Omega-3 (EPA/DHA) from fish is 320 times more oxidizable the the plant based 18 carbon (ALA) Omega-3, therefore, cooked fish is actually a negligible source of Omega’s because they will have degraded.

        • Not now, several year ago 😉 That’s why I prefer my fish raw, marinated or lightly cooked.

          Lean fish: I boil it, sometimes I roast it or do stews, anyway there is not much to spoil in terms of fatty acids. I consider them a source of proteins. For sure I don’t deep fry it (which is the cooking style most people choose and then they pretended they ate fish). Doesn’t make any sense.

          Regarding DHA and EPA you are right, they deteriorate faster. Nevertheless only 5% of the population can efficiently make them from ALA. For sure I am not one of them and it is not just a matter of statistics: I am of italian ancestry and since generations we had fish, so for us it is a required food. I can’t thrive on linseed oil or chia. Making DHA and EPA doesn’t come for free, the body tends to avoid metabolic burdens when possible.

          • Could you provide the paper that claims only 5% of the population can make DHA, etc. from ALA? This would be quite helpful in this discussion.

  147. Would really love it if you could do another segment focusing on mental health. My naturopath prescribed it for my OCD & anxiety, but in some of the comments here I’m reading that it can create anxiety?

    Also, I’ve used fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture. Do you recommend fermented cod liver oil at all, or only cod liver oil?

    Thanks Chis you’re the best!

  148. I’ll be straight up front, I work for a lab that does testing for fatty acids for clinical assessment and also very actively involved in research studies. I’ve read a lot of articles on fish oil and have seen what you have seen where the results are mixed. What is starting to stand out to me though is that it shouldn’t be about the “fish oil” and it should be about the biological level of omega-3s in your cells, which are a good predictor of levels in your tissue. When omega-3 levels are measured and participants are placed into groups based on omega-3 levels and then outcomes measured, time after time I see positive results of higher omega-3 levels.

    Everyone responds differently to supplementation, which was shown in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886744/ (figure 3) where different doses of fish oil were given and the omega-3 index measured, there have also been other articles that have shown this same outcome. So grouping people together and measuring outcomes/results without measuring the biological levels of omega-3 might not be telling us a lot. I know all these studies do their best to group individuals not eating fish or taking supplements at the beginning of the trial but some people naturally have high omega-3 levels, who could be being put into the placebo group, OR some people that are in the fish oil group might not respond well to fish oil supplementation or not take the pills and they remain with low biological levels of omega-3.

    Also it is probably best to get our omega-3 from fatty fish since you are also getting all those extra added nutrients you mentioned, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/6/1621.long. The overall increase of the omega-3 index was not statistically significant but it was a bit better with fish consumption compared to fish oil supplementation, particularly for EPA in the first 4 weeks. Not everyone likes, eats, or has access to good quality fish so the next best thing is a high quality supplement. Either with fish or supplements though I’m beginning to believe it is really about the biological level of omega-3s and NOT the consumption.

    The B-vitamins or other nutrients in the fish might also be playing a role in bio-availability or physiological conditions. It was shown in this study, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/04/15/ajcn.114.103283.abstract, “The beneficial effect of B vitamin treatment on brain atrophy was observed only in subjects with high plasma ω-3 fatty acids. It is also suggested that the beneficial effect of ω-3 fatty acids on brain atrophy may be confined to subjects with good B vitamin status.”

    Lately when I’ve been reading articles on omega-3 I am giving more value to the ones that measure fatty acid levels than the ones that don’t. I also really believe the outcomes are more from the biological level of omega-3 achieved than from just taking a fish oil supplement and the perception needs to change. As you do, I don’t take large doses of fish oil and I take mine in the liquid form daily and would also recommend 1-2 g of EPA + DHA daily.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. This is why FDA ALWAYS requires pharmacokinetic studies. These profiles are done early on. Data on formulation is required for any prescribed drug. It would be nice to have pharmacokinetic data on individual supplements but there is little incentive to do these studies in the current market. As the consumer population grows and becomes more educated that may change. That said, it is unfortunate that most of these university studies do not contain any pharmacokinetic data on the formulation used. I don’t know that it is fair to say it negates the entire study but it certainly does make one question what the results mean. Drug studies always have to be backed up with pharmacokinetic data and the standard should be the same when studying supplements. Such a waste of time and money.

  149. you lost me at “for those who don’t eat fish, I recommended a supplement of cod liver oil”, which I’m pretty sure is made of …… Fish.

    • Some people don’t eat fish because they don’t like the taste rather than an ethical objection and so supplementation with fish oil is one way to address that. Not appropriate for veggies/vegans though of course which is when you’d look at plant-based sources instead.

  150. Hi Chris, and thanks for this information.

    I have been taking 4 products, 5 if you include the Green Lipped Mussel Powder, which equates to over 5g per day!

    I suffer from lower back pain when I walk, which I think is to do with posture, although I didn’t manage to control it with the Alexander Technique or Pilates.
    The pain becomes so severe as to render me in tears and then I cannot walk any further. I did get relief from a McTimoney Chiropractor but at £40 for half an hour this was more costly than the fish oils and she said that she was amazed that I was in such pain as she could hardly find any problems. So I put it down to too much inflammation.
    When I take the fish oils my pain totally disappears and if I stop then within a month it returns.

    I did research the products and got CoA’s for most of them but hadn’t really given that much thought to the fact that these oils are polyunsaturated!

    Not sure if it’s okay to name the products I take.
    The mussel powder is from a reputable company in New Zealand and is produced very quickly and with minimal heat.
    I also use an oil from the same company who are happy to send the CoA for the batch before I order and that consists of NZ Hoki and selected Tuna.
    Another product consists of oil from Sardine, Mackerel and Anchovy.
    And the last two are Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Krill Oil.

    Your article has led me to re-evaluate things as I do not want to be causing new problems by eliminating existing ones.

    Since starting them I have also made many drastic changes to my diet and along with wheat and sugar (apart from red wine) I have cut out all vegetable oils for cooking and now cook in coconut oil, butter, and sometimes goose fat. I use cold pressed organic virgin olive oil (almost everything I consume is organic and has been since 1995) either alone on my salads or in dressings that I make myself.

    I was taking the fish oils with coconut oil as I have a drink each morning of green tea with 2tbsp raw coconut oil and a large heaped tsp of organic raw cacao powder – so a few antioxidants there. The cacao has been part of my solution to my hypertension since I refused to continue on the drugs.

    What am I going to do now?
    I was taking two capsules of each oil and I now will take one of each and on any day that I am having salad, which is most days I will take them with that rather than with my morning drink with coconut oil but will be looking out for any evidence of them being more effective with coconut oil as well as with olive oil.

    I think I will also have a general blood test 3 months after this change to check my cholesterol levels and other markers.
    If this lower dose of 2.5g per day keeps my back pain away and I have no problems with my cholesterol levels then all will be well and I’ll be saving some money. If my cholesterol levels alter for the worse then I will lower my intake further and keep an eye on the situation.

    Thanks again

    • Hi Lois, for your back pain and any other skeletal issues I would highly recommend checking out the work of Katy Bowman, biomechanist extraordinaire. She talks about the importance of whole-body alignment and movement all day every day in a way that’s more thorough than anybody else I’ve heard.

    • Lois,
      See http://brianpeskin.com/BP.com/reports/CAMB-Fish-Oil-Fallacies-Report.pdf
      Read the other PDFs at this site

      This could be useful according to customer reviews:

      http://www.amazon.com/Doctors-Best-Potency-Serrapeptase-90-Count/dp/B003QW3GCI#customerReviews
      Doctor’s Best High Potency Serrapeptase (120,000 Units), 90-Count $24.14
      Doctor’s Best Serrapeptase is protected by the serratic process which is a molecular coating designed to protect enzyme molecules from destruction by stomach acid. Once the enzyme-serratic complex reaches the intestines, the bile salts of that environment can break down the serrateric coating and free the enzymes to be absorbed.

      This supplement changed my life! By Glenda Lynne on October 9, 2012
      A dear friend recommended this supplement, because my back and knee pain was so severe that there were days I could barely move, much less walk or exercise. I take 3 capsules a day and also take organic crystal sulfur, and now I can walk again and do my normal household chores with almost no pain. More importantly, I no longer wake up at night with terrible pain. For me, it has worked miracles! You must take them on an empty stomach, either one hour before eating or two hours after, so I take them late at night or first thing in the morning. I am hypersensitive to meds and some supplements, but I have had no ill effects that I know of. I LOVE these supplements. They have literally given me back a higher quality life. It took about a month to fully kick in, and I’ve been taking them for 5 months now. I have hope again for a much better future and a full life. My MD and pharmacist both approved before I started them and told me that would not interfere with my meds. At the age of 70, finding something that improves your quality of life is nothing short of a miracle. I couldn’t be happier with this product. Oh, and Amazon is the least expensive source I’ve found for it.

      Call me at 316-993-6893
      I wrote The Owner’s Manual for the Human Body 700 pgs

    • Lois, thank you for such a clear overview of your current health regime!! As a Kiwi moving strongly towards progressive Paleo, a blow by blow account of your daily consumption really helps. Thanks all for the comments and thanks Chris for the rigourous but practical Summary.

  151. I’ve been taking 10mg per day of Omega 3 (828mg DHA & 1288mg EPA) for years, and also Glucosamine & Chondroitin (1500mg Optiflex & 300 chondroitin sulphate 90%) per day for even longer. I’ve always been in good health but because I had the cartiledge removed from one of my knees after a ski accident in my 20s (I’m now 67) I’ve been concerned about arthritis in my older years. So far I’ve had no knee problems but in the past year I’ve developed what I think is Heberden’s nodes on my two index fingers and my right ring finger. Is there anything I can do to stop this for getting worse. They are not causing me discomfort at the moment but they look ugly and I don’t want them getting bigger.

  152. Thank you Chris. Yet another up to date and informative article and confirms yet again it’s wise to get nutrients as far as possible from a nutrient dense diet.

  153. I started my 12 year old son on high dose fish oils (equazen) when he was seven, for help with cognitive issues. A major, positive side effect to this supplementation was a massive improvement in his very unstable asthma – in fact we were able to drastically reduce his long-term, heavy duty drug regimen and he has not had a single hospitalisation since he started taking them. When I did some research on the matter, I found that studies had been done on the issue, but these had been very limited in number and scope (there is of course a vast amount of money in the asthma/allergy drug market, which may or may not have a bearing on the research issue).
    I’m guessing that, as in so many other things, one size does not fit all and it is not a cure all – but for those who are unable to make the neccessary metabolic conversions of ALA and are therefore EPA and DHA deficient, it is life changing!

  154. Hi,

    I’ve been reading that fish oil may not be as good as ut was assumed. One of the arguments being that it was produced using deep waters fish which tend to accumulate more mercury and other toxic stuff.

    I read here that krill oil may be less polluted since krill is caught in the “pristine waters of Antarctica”.
    https://www.drnewtons.com/blog/avoid-dangers-mercury-pure-krill-oil/

    But I guess the whole point of the article is more towards lack of evidence on the real benefits of taking it isolated, right?

    Thanks,
    Nuno

  155. There are 3 factors that are critical:

    * Quality of the Fish Oil
    * Omega 3 Index
    * Omega-6/3 Ratio

    Quality of the Fish Oil
    ===================
    Most Fish Oil capsules and even many liquids are mostly synthetic and are concentrated by using distillation and Ethyl Esters

    The most effective Fish Oil is 100% natural and made by squeezing the off-cuts from sardines and herrings etc within minutes of them being caught in the ocean. Natural Fish Oil contains a fatty acid complex of over 50 fatty acids, which has a similar beneficial effect just like eating real fish.

    Omega-3 Index
    ==============
    This is a measure of how much Omega-3 you have in your body
    This should be >8% of your total Fatty Acids
    Read more here:
    http://www.omegametrix.eu/?lang=EN
    http://www.omegaquant.com/
    http://www.expertomega3.com/

    Omega-6/3 Index
    ===============
    This is a measure of how much Omega-6 you have compared to Omega-3
    If your Omega-6/3 Index is less than 3:1 you will reduce Inflammation
    Most people eat way too much Omega-6, mostly from corn oil and soy-bean oil
    Read more here:
    http://www.hqt-diagnostics.com/

    The amount of natural Fish Oil that you need depends on your existing levels.
    Today you can measure that with a simple blood test
    Read more here: http://greenvits.eu/collections/omega-3

    Watch my 7-minute YouTube talk here:
    http://greenvits.eu/pages/omega-3

    .

  156. It’s actually pretty easy: No fish oil without Antioxidants. You need tons of Antioxidants in the first place, before you should even think about supplementing fish oil.

  157. I’m kind of.. fishiovore..

    I live in coastal town in Turkey and I eat 300 gr around mostly sardines, anchovies, european seabass every dinner on my IF/Paleo way and I think it’s not necessary but I’m still thinking about fish oil supplementing to boost my heart health.

  158. Great article, but very interesting that FCLO (Fermented Cod Liver Oil) is not mentioned as a superb alternative. At least the products from Green Pasture. Their products are sold worldwide, and they are recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

  159. Sorry, I couldn’t even open myself up to this. It’s unfortunate that I’m overwhelmed with all the changing information about food and supplements. Maybe another day I will process this.

    • Hi Jessica. Completely understand. See my response below and it helps to take a step back and simply eat nutrionally dense foods :))

  160. It was suggested to me 5 years ago to take fish oil because i was always coming down with colds and viruses and i havent had these conditions since

  161. One missing factor in this is the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a person’s diet. There is plenty of evidence that humans evolved on a diets with a ratio of around 2. Western-type diets typically have many-fold more omega-6 than this. Could it be that where fish oil has given positive results, it is counteracting excess omega-6 intake. For those with low omega-6 intake, a moderate to high intake of fish oil could balance the omega-6 or even induce an omega-6 deficiency. See for example Gibson et al. Maternal and Child Nutrition 7 (suppl 2) 17-26 (2011).

  162. You should read the books and articles published by Dr Barry Sears. He commonly skewers many of the negative studies on omega 3.

  163. I was taking about 4.5g of a liquid fish oil (recommended dose on the bottle) when I was pregnant with my third. I ended up having what is quite a normal bleed from the edge of the placenta, but the trouble was, it didn’t clot. It pooled into my womb and then formed a large 10cm clot. The doctors told me that when my body tried to break that clot down, it released the same hormone that induces labour. I started contractions at 22 weeks and 6 days. Thankfully it stopped and with 4.5 weeks bed rest and stopping the fish oil, I managed to hold the pregnancy and even lasted till full term. There was no definite cause identified. I was healthy, fit, had no history of clotting disorders anywhere in my family and I had had two very normal healthy pregnancies already. The only thing that made sense to me was the one article I found that said more than 3g/day of fish oil can cause clotting issues. It freaked me out to the point that I can’t bring myself to take it anymore, even though I don’t plan to get pregnant again. I run a home nutrition business now and just try and get the balance I need through the foods I eat.

  164. My functional medicine doctor wants me to take almost 5 g of fish oil daily, due to familial hypercholesterolemia. When I take about half that amount, I notice a lot of blood thinning effect.

    Any advice? Thanks.

      • Um, thanks. I was already aware that fish oil (or a diet very high in fish) increases the risk of bleeding/stroke. But it’s always interesting to see why.

        I was really looking for advice regarding the familial hypercholesterolemia, and whether the benefit of fish oil outweighs the risk in that situation.

        • Well that’s an interesting question. From the Framingham study, those with the highest cholesterol actually where more fit and survived longer and healthier so one wonders why it needs “treatment” in the first place.

          • I personally only know of one family member who had the genetic testing to confirm (I should mention that it is the heterozygous form). Multiple family members on that side have cholesterol numbers which typically make our doctors panic (one is in the 700s despite healthy diet, being very active, and thin). Every doctor I’ve seen has said based on my lipid numbers and family history, it is familial hypercholesterolemia. Although I am aware it’s possible for other health issues to raise cholesterol levels, it just doesn’t seem likely to be the main cause in this case.

            As for why treat it in the first place, I would have to say the answer is fairly complicated, but with my personal numbers being very high, and a strong family history of atherosclerois, heart disease, and early death, it isn’t something I can ignore. I realize that for most people, oxidized cholesterol is the problem, not cholesterol itself. With extremely high total cholesterol and high LDL particle numbers, and only half of my LDL receptors in working order, it seems quite likely that the LDL particles are in circulation for plenty of time for oxidation to happen.

            1 in 500 might be rare, but at least it seems almost everyone has heard of it. I have a different disease that is considered rare, and took quite a while to get diagnosed as many of the doctors I went to had never seen it.

            Thanks for your input, it is always nice to find out more information and more opinions never hurt when making health decisions.

  165. Chris,

    Do you think the source of the fish oil might have a significant effect on the outcome of some of these studies?

    I wonder if the quality assurance of the fish oil (that it is captured in an oxygen free environment) might negate the negative or marginal results across the literature.

    Nick

  166. I noticed you didn’t discuss fish oil and mental health. I suffer from bipolar disorder and was suffering terribly for years. After I started taking fish oil supplements I noticed a great improvement of my disorder and stabilised quite well. My mood fluctuations are no longer as marked as they used to be and I am much better able to manage the swings now.

    • I did mention in brief that the research on fish oil for other conditions, including mental health, is mixed. That said, I also suggested that it’s clear that there are many individual factors that are likely to determine response to fish oil, and some will benefit. You seem to be one of them, which is great—provided you are not taking a very high dose that could promote oxidative damage and cause other problems down the line. That would be my only concern.

    • May I ask what brand and how much you take? I believe that taking the omega helps with my brain fog due to my AI issues and my change of life issues. I also suffer from depression and would really like to feel better as the meds only help slightly.

  167. That is interesting reading, but I have to say that earlier this year I started suffering with arthritis in my right hand. I have taken fish oil capsules for years, but switched to liquid fish oil (1 tsp daily) and within 2 days the pain disappeared. It could of course be a coincidence, but I’m keeping taking the liquid fish oil.
    We do eat a lot of fresh vegetables every day and eat a healthy diet, so I’m hoping that taking the omega 3’s adds to that. We eat more fish in winter, but in winter (now in New Zealand) we don’t eat fish very often).

      • Well he is a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is currently Assistant Professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York

          • Seriously?
             
            And this is coming from a person, who exclusively posts on the topic of omega-3s, bashing them to the best of his abilities and promoting some product (if one clicks on his name). Wow…forget Chris Masterjohn, let Dr Jeff (if that is even your real name) lead the way…and sell some products.

            • So I want to apologize if it seems I was bashing Dr. Masterjohn but his article quoted above has a number of inaccuracies about it that need to be addressed. The first sentence of his article does not confer with known biochemistry

              (B.Alberts, 1994) (R.K Murray, 2003) (Simmons, 1998) (R.K. Murray, 2003) (Hall, 1996)

              “Current reviews and textbooks call the omega-6 linoleic acid and the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid “essential fatty acids” (EFA) and cite the EFA requirement as one to four percent of calories. Research suggests, however, that the omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the only fatty acids that are truly essential.” He fails to take into account that 95% of EFA’s stay in their native form and are incorporated into the cellular and mitochondrial membranes and are extremely important to their proper functioning (Zhou, 2009) (P. L. Goyens, 2006)

              “An excess of linoleate from vegetable oil will interfere with the production of DHA while an excess of EPA from fish oil will interfere with the production and utilization of AA. EFA are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that contribute to oxidative stress. ” Here one has to realize that all the linoleate (the salt of linoliec acid) from the vegetable oil most of us get in our food is highly adulterated, changing how it functions both intracellularly and extracellularly. For example see: http://bit.ly/1Cu0KP2. This is why I have issue with the article posted above.

              Again, I apologize, but it is an area I’m passionate about and want to see the right information out there.

              Works Cited

              Zhou, R. C. (2009). Imaging Incorporation of Circulating Docosahexaaenoic Acid [DHA] into the Human Brain Using Positron Emission Tomography. Journal of Lipid Research , 50 (7), 1259-1268.

              B.Alberts, D. J. (1994). Molecular Biology of the Cell (Vol. 3). New York, New York, United States: Garland Science.

              Hall, A. G. (1996). Textbook of Medical Physiology. New York: W.B. Saunders Co.,.

              P. L. Goyens, M. E. (2006). Conversion of Alfa-Linolenic Acid in Humans is Influenced by the Absolute Amounts of Alpha Linolenic Acid and Linoleic Acid Diet and Not by their Ratio. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 84 (1), 44-53.

              Simmons, G. H. (1998). Principles of Medical Biochemistry. St. Louis, United States: Mosby, Inc.

              R.K Murray, D. G. (2003). Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. New York, New York, United States: McGraw-Hill.

              R.K. Murray, D. G. (2003). Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. New York: McGraw-Hill.

              • Got give it to you Jeff you are relentless with straw man arguments, sowing confusion and deliberately misrepresenting others points.

                • You have to realize there is a basic misconception of lipid metabolism running rampant in the literature and is affecting all the basic recommendations which is affecting real people’s health. 25% to 33% of the cell membranes (both the cell and more importantly, the mitochondria) are the NATIVE form linoleic acid. The very substance that gets highly adulterated in todays modern processing techniques. This explains many of the modern ailments we see today in the population. The assumptions of the man make him “straw”.

      • If you think Dr. Masterjohn knows nothing of biochemistry, you’ve no credibility with me. For anyone who is interested, Dr. Masterjohn has written an excellent blog, called The Daily Lipid for years. He has as well written articles for The Weston Price Foundation, and I’ve found his articles there to be well reasoned. Among other things, he has also been interviewed by Dr. Joseph Mercola and that interview can be seen on you tube.

        • I’m just saying the particular article quoted had some basic errors in it. As stated by the author, he is an expert in fat soluble vitamins and glutathione.

  168. My husband kept breaking blood vessels in his eyes when he did any kind of physical exertion. We finally realized it was the fish oil supplement he was taking (research). He stopped taking it and the blood vessels in his eyes stopped bursting. Just to be sure, he started taking fish oil again, and it started happening again. We think it thinned his blood too much.

  169. Great article, Chris.

    In noticed you mentioned EVCLO. Do you still recommend Fermented Cod Liver Oil? Is EVCLO superior to fermented cod liver oil?

  170. i have taken it several times in the past few years. I was experiencing horrible insomnia and stopped taking the fish oil. Problem solved. I told my doctor, and she told me that fish oil can cause insomnia. Thanks, doctor. This was after she had offered me Ambien. I tried it again a few weeks ago. In the morning, lower dose. It caused horrible anxiety! Did some research and found, while not common, it can affect people the way that it’s been affecting me. Horribly. No more fish oil for me.

    • I got insomnia from eating – for a good while – salmon daily. This wasn’t a good idea anyhow, but I was surprised how extreme my insomnia got. (I shouldn’t be surprised, as I’m a ‘hyperresponder’ anyhow – reason I’ve ceased taking almost all supplementation over the years). I now eat just a little (fat fish) once or twice a week. My insomnia does flare easily: too much sugars, too much caffeine, eating/snacking too late (after seven/eight), blue light (solved by not watching TV at night and F-Lux, a freeware app), etc.

  171. Thanks Chris.
    I took Fish Oil supplements for several years but stopped 2 years ago for 2 reasons. The first is that I developed Seborrheic Keratosis, loosely known as Liver Spots, although they do not appear to be associated with Liver function. They went away after I stopped the Fish Oil. Also my Cholesterol readings remained high with ratios not where I would like them and, despite controlling my diet with less refined carbs, which had helped significantly in the past before I started taking Fish Oil, I could not improve my readings. Now I take Flax Seed Oil in moderation and that seems fine with no Liver Spots. The second reason was the 2013 report mentioned in your article relative to Prostate Cancer.

  172. Chris, I’m curious what your take on Fermented cod liver oil is? It seems like most sources recently believe it is a better option than cod liver oil. Would you agree?

    • I’m taking Green Pastures Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil and butter oil and would be interested in a reply from Chris regarding fermented products

  173. Thank you for the article, the tide on fish oil is beginning to turn, it’s so hard to shake people’s belief system and get them to look at the science. Supplementing with the proper 18 carbon, unadulterated versions of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is the way to go and leave our poor, dwindling fish stocks alone.

  174. Thanks for the reassurance. I stopped taking fish oil several years ago. I started taking fermented cod liver oil every day about 6 months ago. Instead of fish oil, I developed the habit of eating salmon every other day, mostly as salmon salad. I had heard that taking fish oil should be considered a temporary measure until you got your diet to a good place. By that logic, continuing to take fish oil would suggest that you are not eating right. Maybe that is why research about the value of long-term supplementation is mixed.

  175. Hi,

    That’s very interesting. I’ve always been thinking eating fatty fish was very important, especially for brain health.

    Does this mean could be beneficial to focus less on salmon, trout and other fatty fishes, and eat more other fishes to increase food diversity, even if that ultimately means ingesting less EPA/DHA?

    When saw a naturopath practitionner (had IBS and insomnia), I was always told to add a fish oil supplement to my diet, until I answered that I was already eating fatty fish 3-4 times a week.

    Thanks!

    Remy

    • Hi Remy, I learned that consuming a fish’s EPA/DHA isn’t what we should be striving to do. Producing our own is the key and the only thing that makes that happen is plant oils. We found a product that has pumpkin seed oil, flaxseed oil, borage oil, and coconut oil, with turmeric. This combination is the perfect balance of omega 3, 6, and 9. Bonus is that turmeric needs these oils to be an effective anti inflammatory. Check out http://www.truthmatters.mytouchstoneessentials.com/product/wellspring/

      • Borage oil doesn’t have enough bioavailabilty and you should not turn liquid fatty acids into a powder, best to keep them in their natural state.

      • Not all humans can efficiently make the conversion ALA to DHA and EPA. Actually they are a minority.
        So yes, getting the whole set of o3 from food sources IS one of our priorities.

        • Less than 0.5% of ALA is converted to DHA, and that’s in a healthy person. If deficiencies of any of the nutrients required for the enzymes in that conversion pathway are deficient (which is common, especially in vegetarians), the amount that is converted is probably lower. This is why I continue to believe that eating pre-formed EPA and DHA is important.

          • There are many societies that have no access to EPA/DHA and do quite well. The vegetarians may end up deficient if they cook everything. We only need 10mg of DHA a day, so even a 0.5% conversion rate is adequate if your intake of ALA is fine. Besides which, the adequate intake of unadulterated LA is much more important to health.

                • Exactly, and they don’t rely on vegetable sources of omega-3.

                  The meat they eat is of good quality, they eat the brains and the internal organs of the animals which are loaded with good quality omega-3 fatty acids.

                • The animals are getting their nutrition from plants, which are the plant based 18 carbon Omega-6 (LA) and Omega-3 (ALA) not DHA/EPA, we take advantage of their ability to graze large ares to concentrate the nutrients in their tissues that we then consume and allow us to put more resources into developing bigger brains etc. Nature has a very good balance and reason for doing things, we can’t outsmart it.

                • No Jeff, you didn’t understand my previous post.

                  Or, alternatively, you understood it, you realised you are wrong and are trying to win by exhaustion, which is actually the case. I have no time for you.

            • Remember, consuming deep water fish or their oils literally goes against millions of years of evolution where they would never have been available to us as land animals.

              • I agree with you for the fish oil. When you are right I don’t argue.

                Supplements are needed for unblocking difficult situations caused by other bad habits that go against our evolution. Not as a replacement of good food.

      • In New Zealand anyway the basic regular diet is far too high in Omega 6.
        So best to avoid these products, some of both double strength omega 3 fish oil and Olive Oil or flax is a good combination BUT it is different for every individual and each must find the balance for themselves ,do not listen to anyone that hands out information to people from a list without understand who thy are and what that person requires to balance self

      • I’d skip the Omega six. It’s over represented in modern diets everywhere and we likely get much more than we need already. I wouldn’t add more with a supplement.

    • Eating fatty fish has a different effect than fish oil, which is one of the main points of this article. There is a huge amount of research linking consumption of shellfish and fish with positive health outcomes. This article does not in any way detract from that research, and I still recommend consuming fish and shellfish.

      • What’s the difference between the oil in the fish and the oil in the capsules? Is the fish oil in capsules likely to be rancid? Or is there something missing?

        • The difference seems to be in what’s “around the oil” : in capsule there’s the oil only, in fish, there are plenty of other nutrients – vitamins, minerals, proteins, and probably other as well (would it be called “carnonutrients”?)

          Thanks for your replies. I don’t think supplementing with oils in pills is best (I’m already using coconut and olive oil to cook daily), and indeed, ALA don’t easily convert to EPA and DHA, like beta-carotenes to vitamin A. But I will focus less on fatty fish and more on diversity.

          • Good point. Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet, I am speaking of supplements general of course (EFA, but also vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc).
            They are indeed useful in some cases when there is an obvious deficiency but their use must stay temporary.

      • HI all… I eat Wild Salmon many times each week. I have seen many healthy benefits . Are there any cause for concern ?

    • How did your naturopath diagnose you with an EFA deficiency?
      Eating them is not enough. Did s/he test whether you correctly absorb them? (IBS may be a sign you are not digesting and absorbing them and they rancidify in your intestine).

      Another important thing is the way they are prepared (if you overcook fish it is like not eating n-3 at all, they become rancid).

      Supplementing is the last resource, always.

      • My son in law has a seafood allergy. I am wondering how he can obtain Omega 3s in his diet. Would a cod liver oil supplement likely be an allergen too?

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