What are the ingredients in fish oil supplements?

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Dr. Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the important ingredients in fish oil supplements. Most physicians recommend taking 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA per day.

The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids from "fatty" fish, which may include mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver and whale or seal blubber. There is some evidence that using fish oil supplements for a long time may lead to   vitamin E deficiency, so small amounts of vitamin E are sometimes added to fish oil supplements, which also helps to prevent spoilage. In some products, other nutrients are added, including calcium, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and/or D.

Some fish oil supplements have been shown to help lower high triglyceride blood levels. There is some evidence they may be helpful for a long list of other conditions as well, but talk to your doctor before taking fish oil supplements. In some cases, they can cause side effects ranging from bad breath to problems with excessive bleeding.

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Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.