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Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and have other health benefits.
The most widely available dietary source of EPA and DHA is cold water oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Oils from these fish have a profile of around seven times as much omega-3 oils as omega-6 oils. Other oily fish, such as tuna, also contain omega-3 in somewhat lesser amounts. Although fish is a dietary source of omega-3, fish do not synthesize them; they obtain them from the algae (microalgae in particular) or plankton in their diets.
The FDA says it is safe to take up to 3000 mg of omega-3 per day. (This is not the same as 3000 mg of fish oil. A 1000 mg pill typically has only 300 mg of omega-3; 10 such pills would equal 3000 mg of omega-3.) Dyerberg studied healthy Greenland Eskimos and found an average intake of 5700 mg of omega-3 EPA per day.
Fish oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, when taken in low doses (3 grams or less per day). There are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Taking more than 3 grams per day might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding.
High doses of fish oil might also reduce the immune system’s activity, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection. This is a special concern for people taking medications to reduce their immune system’s activity (organ transplant patients, for example) and the elderly.
Only take high doses of fish oil while under medical supervision.
Consult your physician before using if you have any of these or similar conditions before taking fish oil supplements: Liver disease, Fish or seafood allergy, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Diabetes, High blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, An implanted defibrillator, Familial adenomatous polyposis.
Fish oil should be stored properly to prevent rancidity.
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