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Can fish oil really help?
James Beckerman, MD, FACC posted:
Doctors have supported the heart-health benefits of omega-3s for years. They noticed that people who ate diets high in fish -- which often contain omega-3s -- were found to be less likely to develop heart disease. Research shows that fish oil not only improves your cholesterol numbers, but increases blood flow to exercising muscles. This results in more efficient metabolism of fat during exercise. So not only can fish oil reduce your risk of heart disease, but it can help you look better, too!

The major types of omega-3 fatty acids include:

? EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid), found in fish oil and fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel
? ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), found in plant sources, like walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, and soybean oil

Getting omega-3s from fish itself is what I tend to recommend. And the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice every week. Eating more fish means you can also cut back on eating other foods that might be less healthy.

If you find it challenging to eat fish so frequently, a fish oil supplement is another option. Check the Environmental Defense Fund ( ) to find supplement brands that meet safety standards. As with every supplement, it's very important to clear it first with your doctor. Fish oil can increase the risk of bleeding, particularly in people taking blood thinners. Newer preparations are lower on the fishy after-taste. And many people find that storing fish oil capsules in the refrigerator helps them go down easier. You might find it interesting to have your doctor check your cholesterol before and after you increase your omega-3 intake. You'll soon be motivated by the improvements!

How do you make sure you and your family are getting a healthy dose of omega-3s every week?
toneman84084 responded:
Dr. Beckerman,

First off, thanks for your time and efforts spent on this forum and others that we have crossed paths on. You have helped me on many occasions. Your assistance has benefited many and is much appreciated.

As far as Omega 3's, I prefer to get mine from fish directly, 2 or 3 times a week. It is important to select the right fish as some types contain more Omega 3s than others. I find that salmon is the best way to go for me. Basically we need to look for deep water fish, the fattier the better.

As far as supplements go, it is so important to select the right fish oil. You need to make sure you're getting at least 600 mg of DHA and a high level of EPA as well. Many brands fall well short of these numbers.

Just my two cents, thanks for the discussion!

bobby75703 responded:
I agree 100% with Toneman. I love wild Alaskan Salmon. My favorite. I would prefer to eat the fish rather than take pill. I thinks its one of the best things we can do for our health. But I will take a fish oil pill now and then. I try to buy Salmon fish oil. At least then I know what kind of fish oil it is.
James Beckerman, MD, FACC replied to toneman84084's response:
I couldn't agree more! I think that it's much better to get your "supplements" from a food source in general if possible!

And thanks for your kind words!
An_193064 responded:
well if your a vegetarian NO
IF you allergic to Fish Oil - NO
best remedy is diet and exercise - unless there is a condition that is hereiditary.... but then Diet and Exercise best Key.
James1173 responded:
I'm vegetarian and have heard Flaxseed Oil is also a good source of Omega 3. I take Spring Valley brand which has 450 mg Omega 3, 110 mg Omega 6, and 110 mg Omega 9. Is this a good supplement?
NevaOne responded:
A few times a week, I take a tsp. of Lemon Lime Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. It's high in both EPA and ALA. I've been on it about 2 months now. I'm having my cholesterol checked after about 90 days (started at about 200). Interested to see if there is any change.
ammad1 replied to NevaOne's response:
I am taking fish oil (600 mg omeage 3 content ) since last two weeks. My LDL decreased from 174 to 145, and total cholestrol from 244 to 211. thanks toneman84084 for replying on other chain. My BP & pulse is also sticking to the lower limit now, I do exercise 3-4 times a week, but the cholestrol didn't improve only with exercise. I am also taking oatmeel almost every day morning I think taking too much fish oil for me is too hard as sometimes I feel low BP Can I combne this with flax seed oil to fulfil 1000 mg omega 3 per day. Again, I hate to start medication and my doctor wasn't too much convinced to take the suplements alone.
James Beckerman, MD, FACC replied to NevaOne's response:
I generally do not recommend cod liver oil - it is very high in Vitamin A and has been associated with Vitamin A overdoses - consider a fish oil supplement with your doctor's supervision instead!

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