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Fish oil

Generic Name:  Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Brand Name: Lovaza, Vascazen

Dosage Forms: Oral gel capsule

Fish Oil: Uses, Side effects. Lovaza, Vascazen, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Courtesy: Unsplash

What is Fish Oil?

The principal Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The primary source of these fatty acids is marine algae which do not possess the essential enzymes required for the biosynthesis of EPA and DHA.1 Humans can obtain these fatty acids either via marine fish that feed on the algae or pharmaceutically prepared fish oil supplements. The Fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are Mackerel, Cod liver, Salmon, etc.

Fish Oil serves as an antilipemic and blocks the uptake of Low-density cholesterol (LDL), thereby reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. Reduction in LDL leads to improved heart health, significantly lowered risk of stroke and atherosclerosis.2

Illnesses in which fish oil has been proved effective are:

– Depression

– Metabolic abnormalities like diabetes mellitus

– Slows down involuntary weight loss in cancer patients

– Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s

– Arthritis 1

– Kidney issues associated with the use of Cyclosporine

– Dysmenorrhea

– High or low blood pressure

– Ig A neuropathy

It has also been implicated in having anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-thrombotic actions.2


How to use Fish Oil?

Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained with oily Fish or fish oil capsules. The capsules have to be ingested whole and provide maximum benefit when taken with food. Avoid puncturing the capsule.

Fish Oil should be taken as a supplement and not as a treatment. It should be administered as part of a treatment regimen, including exercise, lifestyle changes, and diet.

A balanced diet composed of Fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids does not have to be supplemented with fish oil. Consult your doctor if you have a history of an underlying illness before taking fish oil capsules.


What are the side effects of fish oil?

Although fish oil comes from natural sources, it can elicit some side effects. The side effects are as follows:

– Hives

– Stomach upset

– Chest pain

The use of fish capsules should not cause discomfort. Refer to the nearest emergency hospital in case you feel unwell.


Who should not use Fish Oil?

– Hypersensitivity to fish oil

– Immunocompromised

– People with co-morbidities (diabetes, high blood pressure)

– Those with mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder should avoid the intake of fish oil without consultation with their doctor

It is therefore advised to consult your health care provider prior to the use of fish oil capsules.



  1. de Magalhães JP, Müller M, Rainger GE, Steegenga W. Fish oil supplements, longevity and agingAging (Albany NY). 2016;8(8):1578-1582. doi:10.18632/aging.101021
  2. Mori TA. Reprint of: Marine OMEGA-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cardiovascular diseaseFitoterapia. 2018;126:8-15. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2018.04.003

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