How much fish oil should I take?

Fish oil is an edible food item that is abundant in docosahexaenoic acid/DHA, eicosapentaenoic acid/EPA, and other omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for the overall health, the immune system, and vital chemical reactions in the body.

People who have fish on a regular basis may also suffer from inadequate intake of fish oil as the levels of omega-3 fatty acids differ from one kind of fish to another. Herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna, lake trout, salmon and other oily fishes contain higher levels of fish oil than other kinds of fishes.

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Studies have indicated that intake of fish meals twice a week offers the right quantity of fish oil for the body. However, many people may not be able to follow such a diet schedule. Hence, intake of fish oil supplements is recommended. They are not only affordable, but also offer the required quantities of fish oil needed by the body. The dosage of fish oil supplements is dependent on varied factors, including pre-existing health conditions, age, etc. Presented below is a discussion about the daily dosage of fish oil.

How much fish oil should I take?

Different manufacturers of fish oil supplements offer different levels of DHA and EPA content in their capsules. Consult a doctor for the correct fish oil dosage.

  • Fish oil helps enhance vision and improves concentration abilities in teens and children. They may consume 1 capsule with 120 gm. of EPA and 280 gm. of DHA.
  • The minimum dosage for normal healthy adults is about 500 mg. of DHA and EPA on a daily basis.
  • Lactating and pregnant women also require fish oil as it facilitates robust growth and development of the fetus as well as increases the DHA levels in brain of the unborn baby. A daily dose of 200 mg. of DHA is recommended by medical experts.
  • Omega-3 efficiently helps lower the levels of triglycerides. Hence, adults with increased triglyceride levels may consume 2 gm. of DHA and EPA on a daily basis.
  • Omega-3 abundant fish oil also helps in lowering the effects of cardiac conditions. Hence, adults with coronary heart diseases should take 1 gram of DHA and EPA on a daily basis.

Presented below is a table categorizing the dosage of fish oil as per the underlying conditions

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Disease/condition Fish oil dosage
Cancer 2.5 grams daily
Asthma 3 grams daily
Crohn’s disease 4 grams daily
Angina 4 grams daily
Diabetes 5 grams daily
Eczema 3 grams daily
Hypertension 3 grams daily
Rheumatoid arthritis 4 grams daily
Gout 3 grams daily
ADHD 4 grams daily
Endometriosis 3 grams daily
Dry Eyes 3 grams daily
Aging 1 gram per day
Skin health 1 gram per day with food

Benefits of fish oil

A few curative qualities of fish oil are listed below:

  • Fish oil helps curb ADHD, concentration problems, compulsive disorders, and dyslexia in affected children.
  • Intake of the right dosage of DHA and EPA rich fish oil helps improve and maintain the strength and health of the heart. It helps reduce triglyceride levels and suppresses the process of artery thickening and hardening, thereby helping prevent strokes, cardiac arrests, and other such cardiac conditions.
  • Fish oil helps raise the production of elastin and collagen, prevents wrinkles formation, and rejuvenates aging skin cells, thereby helping slow down the aging process and form a livelier, buoyant, and youthful skin. Hence, a lot of cosmetics tend to have minor amounts of fish oil in them.
  • Fish oil is efficient in overcoming the effects of inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis joint pains and other inflammatory conditions like cystitis and gastritis, etc.
  • Fish oil is helpful in treating and preventing varied conditions like depression, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder as well as in regulation of moods in such patients.
  • It helps enhance the circulation of blood across the body, reduce cholesterol levels, and in losing weight.
  • Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for the eyes; it alleviates dry eyes, decreases any impairments to vision, and thus facilitates better eyesight.
  • Intake of fish oil in combination with regular exercising and a healthy diet also helps in hair growth.

Side effects 

  • Intake of fish oil may sometimes cause gastrointestinal problems like belching, upset stomach, diarrhea, oily stools, acid reflux, heartburn, and nausea.
  • Fish oil can hamper the working of diabetic drugs and also increase the levels of glucose in the body. Hence, diabetes patients need to consult a physician before commencing a dosage of fish oil.
  • There is a reduction in platelet count, which in turn increases the risk to internal bleeding, increased bruising, bloody urine and stools, and nosebleeds.
  • Excessive intake of fish oil can increase the risk to brain damage and hemorrhage, weakness of the limbs, vision and speech changes, headache, allergic reactions, decreased ability of body to absorb vital vitamins, and increase in LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Fishes have mercury and other toxins. Hence fish oil may cause toxicity of the body. Most fish oil products however undergo a decontamination and detoxification process which is mentioned in their label certifications.
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