Omega 3 – Friend or Foe

By AltMed1-Peggy  

Today’s plan was to focus on a different topic. But after seeing several email and online chat comments about omega-3 fatty acids, I’m shifting gears.

Too many intelligent, well read, supplement savvy people have misconceptions about omega 3 fatty acids or fish oils and need to know what to do to stay safe.

Overall, fish oils, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are great. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends fish oil, preferably from foods — at least two 3.5-ounce servings 6wice a week. Recommended fish include salmon, canned tuna, sardines, and others.

The AHA’s Fish 101 for tips on which fish to choose and how much omega-3 is in each. The site also provides information on how much mercury the listed fish contain so you can weight the balance between mercury (bad) and omega 3 (good) for fish you’re considering.


If you can’t do that – anyone who has priced salmon at the grocery store lately knows it’s a potential budget breaker – or you don’t like any of the fish they recommend, supplements are you next best choice. Check the info on omega-3 fatty acid supplements on the AHA’s Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.

The AHA site recommends omega 3 for high triglycerides (a type of blood fat that should not be high), tachycardia (rapid heart rate – more than 100 beats per minute), and other heart conditions.

As a friend says, “all good, right?”

Maybe. But there’s also a maybe hitch. They AHA doesn’t mention cautions and caveats.

If you recently upped your daily intake of omega 3 and you’re noticing any unusual problems that involve bleeding such as bruising more than normal or more easily than normal or subjunctival hemorrhage (a red blood spot in the white of the eye), check further or ask a qualified medical professional who knows you, knows your medical problems, knows what else you’re taking, and knows the risks and benefits of this supplement.

More to come…


© 2012, all rights reserved. 


  1. AltMed1
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    Jane, eating well is a great approach. Researchers I’ve interviewed always say that it’s best to get the nutrient (whatever nutrient you’re considering) from food sources whenever possible because of the original food “package” contains all sorts of micronutrients and other components – many of which we haven’t identified yet – that may help the nutrient work better or block a negative effect the nutrient might have, or have some other benefit that we simply don’t understand yet. Hope that helps — and thanks for the thoughtful and interesting comment. -PJN

  2. Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m always nervous about adding supplements into the routine, just because I never know if I’ll have side effects from anything. My default is always to just eat well, but I’m at the age where I need to start thinking seriously about bone density and all that stuff… So maybe at least a calcium supplement would be good to start…?

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