Omega-3 fatty acids are a dietary supplements available in capsules or oil. These acids come from cold-water fish, particularly cod, tuna, salmon, halibut, shark and mackerel.
Chemicals this supplement contains: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapantaenoic acid (EPA).
- Omega-3 fatty acids promote low serum triglycerides and total cholesterole as well as high high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterole. This cholesterole is known to protect against deposits of plaque, which can acclude critical blood vessels and cause heart attacks, strokes and other major health problems.
- Omega-3 acids protect against coronary artery disease.
- They also protect againts arteriosclerosis.
Increasing “oily” fish in the diet is preferable to taking omega-3 fatty-acid supplements.
Possible Additional Effects
- Potential anti-inflammatory for arthritis
- May protect against strokes
- May improve immune response
- May impede blood clotting
- May increase tendency toward anemia in menstruating women
Don’t take if you
- Are pregnanat, think you may be pregnant or plan pregnancy in the near future
- Are diabetic, as supplements are high in fat
- Have a blood clotting problem (omega-3 acids may impede clotting)
Problems in pregnant women taking small or usual amounts have not been proven, but the chance of problems does exist. Don’t use unless prescribed by your doctor.
Problems in breast-fed infants of lactating mothers taking small or usual amounts have not been proven, but the chance of problems does exist. Don’t use unless prescribed by your doctor.
Infants and children
Treating infants and children under 2 with any supplement is hazardous.
- This fat becomes rancid easily and quickly.
- No one knows how much is beneficial and nontoxic.
- Omega-3, taken in high quantity, causes fishy breath odor, greasy stools, belching and abdominal distension.
- It reduces blood clotting capability and could cause excessive bleeding in an accident.
- People are generally advised to discontinue 3 to 4 weeks prior to elective surgery.
- Heat kills essential fatty acids, so they should not be processed or cooked.
At present no “safe” dosage has been established.