There’s so many different studies being done on fish oil that it is sometimes hard to keep up on why to use fish oil, when to use it, and exactly how much. See Part 1 for details on how to calculate the milligram dosage of a fish oil supplement.
The data is mixed about the effectiveness of fish oil and prevention of cardiovascular events. However fish oil is often used for elevated triglycerides. Dosage is usually starting at 1g and going up to 4g per day. It can lower triglyceride levels by up to 50%.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is insufficient data to support use of omega 3 for kids with ASD. There seems to be only small studies out there with mixed results and very few double blind randomized controlled trials. So the the biochemistry of why omega 3 could support brain health is present, but there needs to be more studies done to better understand the relationship between omega 3 and ASD in children.
There is a very interesting study that demonstrates that mothers who have had a child with ASD were monitored during a subsequent pregnancy, if during that pregnancy they had relatively higher levels of DHA and EPA (Total omega 3) levels, especially in the 2nd trimester, there was a 40% lower risk of having a sibling during that pregnancy with ASD.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
The potent omega 3s, EPA and DHA given at >2:1 ratio is recommended as an adjunctive treatment for MDD, per expert advice. Starting 1g-2g/day and titrating after 2 weeks, not to exceed 4g per day.
Fish oil, dietary omega 3 decreases production of an inflammatory precursor called leukotriene. Leukotriene is a commonly targeted precursor in prescription medications, such as montelukast or Singulair. Consider doses starting at 500mg daily.
Benefits of fish oil AND an anti-inflammatory diet are unlikely to be evident as immediately as a prescription medication but could be a very reasonable adjunct for someone undergoing treatment for the above conditions
There is evidence that points toward benefit of patients taking EPA rich doses of fish oil who have diabetic neuropathy. It can help decrease cold and numb sensations, improve vibratory sense, along with improve circulation in the limbs of the body. Doses are EPA 1000-2000 mg/day and DHA 500-1000 mg/day.
Considerations and Fish Oil Side Effects Review:
Higher doses of fish oil does tend to be associated with blood thinning and may lead to elevations in cholesterol for some individual. Other side effects include: itchiness, rash, belching, nausea, fishy odor, and elevated blood sugar. Care should be taken to work with you doctor when starting fish oil, especially at higher dosages.
Rakel, D. (2017). Integrative medicine – E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Huang Y, Iosif AM, Hansen RL, Schmidt RJ. Maternal polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk for autism spectrum disorder in the MARBLEShigh-risk study. Autism. 2020 Jul;24(5):1191-1200. doi: 10.1177/1362361319877792. Epub 2020 Jan 21. PMID: 31958995; PMCID: PMC9897595.
Sublette ME, Ellis SP, Geant AL, Mann JJ. Meta-analysis of the effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in clinical trials in depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;72(12):1577-84. doi: 10.4088/JCP.10m06634. Epub 2011 Sep 6. PMID: 21939614; PMCID: PMC3534764.
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