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Fish oil. Lana Garrett Nutrition 4320 March 2007. Why Fish oil???. Personal Interest Ganglion cist and because I don’t get enough! Family Public Interest Scientific Research is exploding Health Benefits are intriguing . Overview of Presentation. Description and History

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fish oil

Fish oil

Lana Garrett

Nutrition 4320

March 2007

why fish oil
Why Fish oil???
  • Personal Interest
    • Ganglion cist and because I don’t get enough!
  • Family
  • Public Interest
  • Scientific Research is exploding
  • Health Benefits are intriguing
overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation
  • Description and History
  • Nutrient Composition
  • Health Claims
  • Roles in the Body
  • Science Supporting the claims
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion
what is fish oil
What is Fish oil?
  • Omega-3 long chain PUFA
    • Essential because it is not synthesized in the body.
  • Contains Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
    • Produced by ALA in the body.
  • EPA and DHA are considered to be the most important FA for brain function.
  • Fish get their high omega-3 content from eating algae.
history of fish oil
History of Fish oil
  • Omega-3 FA have been a part of the Human Diet for millennia.
  • Homo Sapiens evolved in an omega-3 rich environment.
  • Omega-3 consumption has declined over the past century.
  • 1994 the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) published findings of the benefits on cardiovascular health.
  • Since 1994, more extensive research has been conducted.
nutrient composition
Nutrient Composition
  • Rich sources of omega-3 FA, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  • Some supplements contain Vitamin E.
    • 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA
food sources and preparation considerations
Diet sources are preferred, but for larger doses supplementation may be necessary.

Supplements comparable to fish consumption.

Cold water, fatty fish such as salmon, swordfish, shark, sardines, mackerel, and herring are richest sources.

To prevent aftertaste try freezing the capsules.

To reduce exposure to contaminants remove the skin and fat from fish before cooking them.

Although skinning and trimming doesn’t reduce mercury content.

Food Sources and Preparation Considerations
health claims
Brain Development


Mental Disorders

Cardiovascular Disease



Kidney Disease


Crohn’s Disease

Type II Diabetes



Migraine Headaches



Respiratory Diseases

Multiple Sclerosis

Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder


Health Claims
brain development
Brain Development
  • DHA and EPA are main components in neurological function and play a key role in brain development.
  • DHA deficiency in brain.
    • uses other PUFA, thus changing brain function.
  • Increased maternal consumption increasing fetal omega-3 levels in the brain, thus potentially benefiting the fetus.
  • Breast milk has high levels of DHA.
  • Infants whose mothers received fish oil supplementation were followed up at 4 years of age and tested higher in mental processing than the control group.
  • The omega 6:3 ratio has increased from 1:1 to 17:1 (10:1, 20-30:1)
    • Due to increase of vegetable oils and margarine and low fish intake.
  • Can benefit visual acuity and cognitive development.
    • Strong human evidence is lacking.
  • Growing evidence from animal and human studies suggesting therapeutic properties in treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Studies show a significant reduction in the number of tender joints and morning stiffness after 3 months of therapy consuming 3 g of fish oil per day.
  • Comparable to NSAIDs.
  • More severe inflammation in consumers of omega-6 FA than omega-3.
mental disorders
Mental Disorders
  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing area for potential benefits.
  • High fish oil consumption is linked to lower rates of depression.
  • Therapeutic properties for depression, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.
  • Depression rates as high as 21 percent of the general U.S. population.
    • Linked with the increase of omega-6 and decrease of omega-3.
  • Useful in the treatment of depression at dosages of 0.2 g-9.6 g EPA+DHA.
  • Very large studies are needed.
cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular Disease
  • Widely accepted that it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • One or two fish meals a week will significantly reduce the risk for CHD.
  • Although, some reports have not confirmed these conclusions.
    • Possibly because the mercury content counteracts the benefits of omega-3 FA by increasing free radical production or by inactivating antioxidant mechanisms.
risks and benefits
Risks/side effects

Fishy aftertaste and belching

Gastrointestinal disturbances


Mercury content

Pregnant women and lactating women advised not to consume large amount of fish due to mercury content


Similar effects to LDL-cholesterol lowering therapy, lifestyle change, and vigorous exercise.

No documented cases of abnormal bleeding resulting in fish oil supplements.


No significant drug interactions.

Risks and Benefits
roles in the body
Major structural component of phospholipids in neuronal cell membranes.

Predominant structural fatty acids in the grey matter of the brain.

EPA is a substrate for the initial enzymes in prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis.

The breakdown of omega-3 and 6 share the same enzyme.

Preference for omega 3, but can switch to omega-6 due to an excess of omega 6 consumption.

Roles in the Body
science supporting the claims
Science supporting the claims
  • Strong evidence supporting claims and is proven to improve health, but more research is needed.
  • More work needs to be done to update recommendations.
  • Results are often times inconsistent and different dosage amounts need to be tested.
how to use it

Evidence suggests 1-2 g/day are required, but cannot be attained by diet alone.

Capsules usually contain 180mg of EPA and 120 mg DHA

Liquid concentrate: 1 tsp contains approx 1-3 g of EPA plus DHA


AHA Dietary Guidelines recommends consuming at least 2 servings of fish per week for general population and 2 portions for pregnant or lactating women.


Diet sources are best, but supplements offer a safe alternative.


$0.13 to $0.42 per capsule depending on brand.

$0.95 to $9.77 per oz of liquid form depending on brand.

How to use it
does it really work
Does it really work???
  • Safety
    • Be aware of the risks and benefits for the different stages of life (ie: pregnant or lactating, mental disorders, CHD, etc).
    • FDA ruled that intakes of up to 3 g/day of omega-3 FA are recognized as safe.
    • Supplements are mercury free.
  • Efficacy
    • Reduces risk for sudden death
    • Reduces all-cause mortality
    • Additional studies are needed to confirm the benefits for cardiovascular primary and secondary prevention.
what you should know
What you should know…
  • Components of fish oil and how it is produced in the body
  • Good food sources
  • What key role does DHA and EPA play in the brain?
  • What are the AHA Dietary Guidelines for weekly fish consumption for the general population?
  • Four health claims focused on
  • What has changed the Western Diet to increase the ratio of omega-6:3 PUFA?
  • What the FDA regulated as a safe daily intake of omega-3 PUFA
the end
The End
  • Any Questions?