Fish Oil – Why, What & How Much?

Fish oil – Why What & How Much?

Common Question from patients  “I don’t like fish. I use Smart Balance vegetable oil for omegas. Should I also take a 3-6-9 fish oil??”

We do recommend fish oil, however, we do not recommend 3-6-9 fish oil.

We get about 10x more than our need of Omega 6’s through processed foods (and oils as the question stated). Omega 3’s and 6’s need a steady balance (think of the balance scale). Unfortunately, the standard American diet is far too heavy on the 6’s and very limited on the 3’s.

Easy way to think about it: 6’s cause inflammation & 3’s reduce inflammation. (and we make 9s in our body- so typically no need to add this to our diet),. Since all chronic diseases are from Inflammation – and Omega 3’s are fabulous antioxidants  – this is a key supplement 4 Better Health.

Found in fatty fish and certain nuts and seeds, omega-3 fatty acids help protect your heart. Studies show they help maintain brain function. Experts are also looking at how well omega-3 fatty acids can protect against, eye diseases, Rheumatoid arthritis, concussions, etc.

Imagine this key supplement reducing your inflammation and decreasing chronic condition?

Omegas are found in fish, flax, algae, Olive oil, nuts, etc. They are broken down to ALA, DHA, and EPA. We can not make ALA or DHA (they are ‘essential’ nutrients- we must get them from food), EPA is “non-essential” = made in our body.

  • ALA

    • is a vegetarian source of omega-3 (flax). The body should theoretically convert ALA to EPA and DHA. However, studies have shown that this is low yield. A 12-week study in 2001 showed estimated conversions from ALA to DHA of less than 0.1%.
  • DHA

    • is the omega-3 fatty acid used most for the brain (in fact, about 30% of the lipids -fats in grey matter is DHA)?
  • EPA

    • is a shorter fatty acid (chain) than DHA. The body can actually produce as much EPA as it needs by shortening a DHA molecule but has a harder time ‘adding’ to a molecule, therefore humans need more DHA over EPA. We can get DHA and EPA from salmon, sardines, mackerel, krill, lake trout, or herring or from algae oils.


“The receptor evolved to respond to a natural product – omega-3 fatty acids – so the inflammatory process can be controlled. Our work shows how fish oils safely do this, and suggests a possible way to treating the serious problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation” (Olefsky, Professor of medicine and associate dean of scientific affairs for the UC San Diego School of Medicine).

Check this out: Fish oil has been studied to assist most inflammatory processes in the body…

  • Inflammation:

    • Fish oil has been shown to reduce symptoms in Rheumatoid Arthritis in a dose-dependent manner and relapse rates in Crohn’s disease.  Fish oil improves control in systemic lupus erythematosus and has a preventive effect when given prophylactically to mice genetically predisposed to lupus.
  • Cancer Prevention:

    • According to a study published online in the Journal of Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, Fish oil was found to block metastasis (the spread) of cancer.
  • Heart:

    • Three prospective epidemiological studies reported that men who ate at least some fish weekly had lower coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality rate than that of men who ate none and those who had eaten fish or took fish supplements were less likely to die of heart attacks.
  • High Triglycerides:

    • A recent study revealed 4 g/d of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreased serum triglyceride concentrations by 25% to 30%.
  • High Blood Pressure:

    • In other studies, blood pressure was decreased by 3.5-5.5 points in trials of untreated hypertensive people who took at least 3 g/d of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA seemed to be more effective than EPA in lowering blood pressure.
  • Liver:

    • A recent study in Barcelona showed  that lipids called protectins and resolvins derived from omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce the instance of liver complications (hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance) in obese people
  • Depression:

    • Omega-3 fatty acids are important components of nerve cell membranes. They help nerve cells communicate with each other, which is an essential step in maintaining good mental health.
  • Diabetes:

    • Scientists say omega-3 fatty acids activate macrophage receptors, resulting in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improving systemic insulin sensitivity. With more sensitivity – there will be more ‘keys’ to reduce glucose in the body. That said, there may be an initial rise in blood sugar when initiating Omegas.
  • Dementia: 

Getting this key supplement is power 4 Better Health. Here’s a great guide to consuming your Omegas from fish.  Just make sure you are not consuming high mercury fish as most of us can not export the mercury we ingest leading to neurologic and digestive conditions.

If you don’t like fish or won’t be eating it 2-3x/week – start to redirect your HEALTH GPS with Omegas 4 Better Health.


Marketing can fool you to spend $ to get no health benefit in return – DO NOT rely on the front of the label.

  1. Many bottles will say 1000mg on the front and when we look at the actual ingredients on the back of the bottle there is no identification as to the level of EPA/DHA (may just be ***). Crazy – right?
    Look at the back of the label to ensure you have adequate doses of DHA & EPA. If it is not quantified or you need to take 5 at a time – save your $ and find a higher quality one; Such as Nordic Naturals, Thorne, Metagenics, Integrative Therapeutics or Pure Encapsulations which can all be found on our HealthWave Dispensary.
  2. Most of the research proving chronic condition treatment is at doses of 2,000-4,000mg ACTUAL Omega/day. This is typically easiest and cheapest to do with fish oil (not capsules).  Aim at a minimum of 1,500 actual Omega/day for non-reversing dosage.
  3. Important to make sure the product is tested for freshness, potency, and purity (ie: No mercury, lead, PCB’s, etc.)
  4. Must be taken with a meal to absorb. (And if you keep it in the fridge the fish burps will not be an issue).

It is important to remember that since omega-3’s thin the blood you must use cautiously if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications. Some of our patients have worked closely with us to come off their medications using Omegas and other supplements.

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