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FISH OIL

Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using fish oil (for Omega-3 fatty acids). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 - Blood pressure: Fish oil can lower blood pressure and might cause blood pressure to drop too low in people who are taking medication to lower their blood pressure. Some of these medications include Amlodipine (Norvasc), captopril (Capoten), diltiazem (Cardizem), enalapril (Vasotec), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), and many others.

Warning 2 - Seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood might also be allergic to fish oil supplements. However, there is no reliable information showing how likely this is to occur.

Used as a natural health remedy: fish oil is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower blood triglyceride levels
  • Reduce stiffness and joint tenderness associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. People who take fish oil can sometimes reduce their use of pain medications such as NSAIDs.
  • Improve recovery from heart bypass surgery. Fish oil appears to decrease the rate of re-blockage of blood vessels in up to 26% of patients when taken for 1 month before and after surgery.
  • Reduce the risk of dangerous abnormal heart rhythms
  • Reduce the risk of heart attack. Although not all researchers agree, some believe that fish oil may be even more effective in reducing death from heart attacks than statins.
  • Reduce the risk of strokes
  • Slow the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques
The above benefits are taken directly from MedlinePlus, a service of the US National Library of Medicine.

There is also evidence to suggest that the omega 3 in fish oil may help improve or prevent the following:
  • ADHD. Fish oil supplements seem to improve thinking skills and behavior in 8 to 12 year-old children with ADHD.
  • Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries). Fish oil seems to slow or slightly reverse the progress of atherosclerosis in the arteries serving the heart (coronary arteries).
  • Asthma. Some research suggests that fish oil may lower the occurrence of asthma in infants and children when taken by women late in pregnancy. Some children with asthma who take fish oil supplements seem to have improved airflow, reduced cough, and lower need for medication. However, this benefit has not been observed in adults with asthma.
  • AMD, Age-related eye disease or age-related macular degeneration. There is some evidence that people who eat fish twice a week or more have a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Endometrial cancer. There is some evidence that women who regularly eat two servings of fatty fish per week have a reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer.
  • Heart disease
  • Reduce kidney problems after heart transplant.
  • Hyperactivity
  • Kidney problems. Using 4-8 grams of fish oil daily for two years or more can slow the loss of kidney function in high-risk patients with a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy. Fish oil also seems to reduce the amount of protein in urine for people who have kidney disease as a result of diabetes.
  • Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea). Taking fish oil alone or in combination with vitamin B12 seems to improve painful periods and reduce the need for pain medications such as NSAIDs.
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis). For elderly people with osteoporosis, taking fish oil alone or in combination with calcium and evening primrose oil seems to slow the rate of bone loss and increase bone density at the thigh bone (femur) and spine.

Side Effects of Fish Oil

The known side effects of using fish oil include:
  1. fishy after taste
  2. bad breath
The above side effects appear to happen only if you are taking a low quality fish oil supplement. To see our recommendation and why we recommend it see Xtend Life.

For the average healthy person, fish oil supplements are completely safe. Of course, if you are pregnant, allergic to fish, or already have any kind of known health issues, you should check with your doctor first just to be safe.

Return to the Herb List.


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Copyright 2007-2011 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The information here is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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