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Fish oil - any benefits?

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Kitsune, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    I've been taking a high-grade form of fish oil for years. Originally I was recommended Carlsons cod liver oil, then later switched to krill oil. Only took a couple of capsules per day because, let's face it, the stuff's expensive.

    Recently I've been tweaking my supplements due to SAD symptoms setting in, and thought I would have a go at taking more fish oil. I ended up taking a couple of grams of krill oil, but got stomach upset all day, plus a hammering heart. After another day of this I thought maybe I'd go back to the Carlsons, got some of their fish oil capsules - and had the same reaction at the higher dose. Thing is, I'd read that the omega-3 can help regulate sleep, help the body produce adrenaline, etc - all of which would be good for me. Clearly, though, the higher dose wasn't working. It's not just a digestion thing, because of the heart symptoms as well; it was obviously really stressing my system somehow.

    I went back to the old small dose of krill oil this morning - and have the stomach upset again. I'm not doing anything else out of the ordinary, so I think it's the fish oil that's still causing this. Now I'm coming across articles on the internet that say fish oil may not be everything it's cracked up to be. I'm a Paleo dieter and am finding this hard to believe. But if I'm not getting any benefit from the supplement, maybe I shouldn't be taking it. My body does not seem to like it. I don't actually eat much fish as a rule, but I have never had a problem with it as a food.

    Just wondering what others have experienced? Anyone who has had trouble taking fish oil, or who believes it's helped their CFS symptoms?
     
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    I do three grams of fish oil per day. Higher doses might exacerbate OI problems. But without fish oil, I have a chronic headache, presumably due to inflammation.

    The fish oil has a definite positive impact for me, since the headache comes back if I miss taking it for about 24 hours, and goes away again about 24 hours after starting it again.
     
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  3. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Did you work your way up to taking the three grams? Glad it helps you - and you've reminded me, I was also looking for anti-inflammatory supplements, which is another reason I tried to increase my fish oil dose. I don't seem to do very well with trying new supplements or changing the dose of my existing ones nowadays.
     
  4. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Try switching brands, even if your brands says it uses high quality standards. I always look for ones that contain vitamin E to avoid PRO-oxidant effects.

    When they do clinical trials they will always use the highest quality with no fillers to avoid allergic reactions etc.

    I've been taking 2 grams almost every day for many years because my omega 3 levels tested almost non existent 16yrs ago.
     
  5. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    No, I didn't have any problems with it.
     
  6. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Back when I started taking fish oil, it was liquid Carlsons cod liver oil. I've only been taking capsules these past several years - the krill oil, and now the Carlsons capsules. After doing a bit more research, it would seem that the manufacturing process can have an effect on the quality and bioavailability of the oil. When people eat fish, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are consumed as triglycerides attached to a glycerol backbone. When fish oil supplements are produced, the fatty acids are detached from the glycerol and concentrated as either ethyl-esters or triglycerides. Most supplements are in the ethyl-ester form, though some are recombined in a triglyceride form that makes the EPA and DHA more concentrated, as this article explains. However, brands aren't required to state whether the fish oil is in ethyl-ester or triglyceride form. I'll have to do some more research and see if there are some brands that actually advertise that their product is a triglyceride - and just how expensive they are.
     
  7. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    @Kitsune how about eating sardines instead? I have a good recipe that masks the fishy taste
     
  8. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Sure, I'd love a sardine recipe :)

    Just reading now that krill oil's lipid structure is different, and theoretically bypasses the problems in the article I cited above. It's interesting that I've had the same bad reaction to the higher dose of both the krill oil and the fish oil capsules. May try to be brave and go without for a day or two, see if I feel worse.
     
  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Is it fish liver oil, or normal fish oil in the capsules?
     
  10. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    It's a sardine spread and you'll need a food processor to make it smooth. I usually halve the recipe. It tastes like pickled herring. I'm not sure whether your Paleo allows bread though.

    1 medium onion, halved
    1 apple, peeled, cored and quartered
    2 31/4 oz. cans sardines, drained
    1 slice bread
    3 hard-cooked eggs, halved
    3-4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
    dash of salt

    Process onion and apple until finely minced (6-8 seconds). Add sardines, process 6 seconds. Moisten bread with cold water and squeeze excess moisture. Add chunks of bread along with remaining ingredients.. Process another 8-9 seconds linger. Refrigerate.
     
  11. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Thanks, Mij - that looks interesting. I don't think I've ever eaten sardines before in my life. I suspect the bread is just for thickening, and there are various other things I could use instead (maybe try ground almonds if needed).
     
  12. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Well, the liquid Carlsons was cod liver oil. I changed to capsules when they were available because they are more portable. Have been taking the krill for years, and just tried the new Carlsons capsules yesterday, though those contain a mixture of marine fish oils as well as vitamin E, but not D or A (neither of which I think I'm deficient in anyway).

    As an aside, I've always given my 13-year-old daughter some fish oil too, believing it to be healthy. I gave her a larger dose of the new capsules yesterday too, and even though she's not ill, she didn't do so well - was really irritable all day. (Though with teenagers, you never can quite tell where it's coming from, LOL. Let's just say it was on a level that wasn't normal for her, and there weren't any other obvious triggers.)
     
  13. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    I take Nordic Naturals DHA capsules, and it really helps me with mood.
     
  14. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Well I did not take any fish oil yesterday, for the first time I can remember. Felt quite 'weirded out' all day, but also the generalised overall body pain I often feel (sometimes mild achiness, sometimes a burning sensation) disappeared - it had got so bad lately that I was taking NSAIDs several times a day, which was concerning. Same today - feeling weird, but no pain. I guess I'll stick with this for a while and see how I go. I do think I ought to be taking an omega-3 supplement, and I'm sure it confers benefits that I am now missing out on, but at the same time it's nice to have a bit of the symptom burden lifted. Just really not certain about this situation at the moment. I like to think I've learned a lot about nutrition, vitamins, etc in the 12 years I've been ill, but there's still so much we don't understand, and this process of trying to find the most efficacious supplements for myself can sometimes feel like all I'm doing is tossing a coin and hoping for luck.
     
  15. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Hi again - I wanted to come back and report what I've experienced. I have to say I've learned something that's gone against all the received wisdom I've taken in for 10+ years. I stopped taking fish oil on the day of my post above, as I said - and am still off it.

    Initially I went through a few days of mild withdrawal (the 'weirded out' that I mentioned above). But I didn't go back to the supplement because all my aches and pains had disappeared. Permanently gone. I work in an office, it's not a stressful job, but I'm used to feeling a sore 90 years old when I get up to leave after 4 not very demanding hours. No more. The change in this one symptom was enough to lead me on.

    Fish oil is probably the one supplement I've ever taken over a long period of time that I never did much research on. I was recommended a brand by a good nutritionist, and then after a little research switched to krill oil. What I never realised was that the omega-3 in fish oil is highly concentrated in a chemical process, because that which naturally occurs in fish is in fairly low amounts. I'm no stranger to orthomolecular doses of supplements, but at least in my case, the whopping great doses of omega-3 were maybe never very good for me. One caveat may apply here, in the sense that I largely eliminated omega-6 fats from my diet long ago; I only tend to take them in when they naturally occur in food I eat (e.g. nuts) or in occasional pre-prepared food that I buy as a treat. So again, this may be a reason why I never needed the fish oil in the first place.

    I did also find that I was suddenly very drowsy, and my general SAD symptoms (which kick in at this time of year) got worse. After some trial and error, I discovered that I did better with a double dose of my B-50 complex, but it was also overstimulating me. Having taken large individual doses of most of the B-vits in the past to no therapeutic effect, I wondered if it was more B12 I was needing. I've slightly increased that, added a bit more methylfolate, and seem to be looking at trying out a kind of simplified methylation protocol. I am at least functional right now, and hopeful that this protocol (at a much lower dose than Fredd's, which I really struggled with) will do some healing for me over the long term - though at the moment I seem to be looking at the necessity of taking melatonin in the middle of the night again to reset my body clock (again, a feature of SAD - bright light never did this for me). But those are different topics.

    In a nutshell, I guess it's important to always question what we're putting in our bodies, even if we think it's good for us. I never would have thought I'd feel better for stopping the fish oil.
     
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  16. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    @Kitsune have you considered that you may not be low in Omega 3 to be taking high doses? I've been taking it for 16yrs because I had an RBC fatty acid test that show it was almost non existent. My Omega 6 levels were ok though.
     
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  17. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Yes, I do think in my case that I ended up not needing it, because I haven't had the high omega 6 - omega 3 ratio for a long time that typifies the standard western diet. I think the removal of the generalised body pain is enough reason for me not to touch fish oil anymore, though I think it may have had some benefits too, like giving me a mood boost, among other things. I hadn't intended to do more experimenting with my supplements, but it's back to trying to rebalance them; I might think I'm doing OK (like when I wrote my post above) only to find that I'm not feeling so well later on. Still, I must remember to be thankful; in the days before the internet, my only recourse would have been my doctor and prescription meds (shudder).
     
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  18. frog_in_the_fog

    frog_in_the_fog Test Subject

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    California
    [​IMG]
    The Internet has put the power in our hands!
     
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  19. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    I thought I didn't have anything else to say about this topic, but now I think it would be a good idea to update. I'm re-starting fish oil (my usual krill oil) today to see if the overall body achiness I'd been feeling was actually due to low potassium rather than anything directly caused by the fish oil. My B-complex contains 500mcg mb12 and 800mcg methylfolate, which means that it would have an effect on my methylation - and I know from having tried Fredd's protocol that I very easily fall into hypokalemia. I've been reminded of this again now that I'm doing something closer to Rich's simplified protocol with much lower doses; still need to make sure I take some potassium. Guess I'll update again in a few days. Why oh why are these things so very complicated :)
     
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  20. Lazy Caveman

    Lazy Caveman Another lazy caveman

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    Kitsune, great to hear your detailed experiences on fish oil. I totally agree with the experience 'improves your mood'. It is near the top of my list of foods I've noticed make a positive difference, especially mood, also energy.

    I'm fascinated to hear your body aches experience, since that's my main remaining symptom these days. Here's my experience, I'd be glad to know if you can make sense of it:

    I've been taking 1.5 - 3 ml of a basic cod liver oil for ~ 5 years now. I dropped back to 1.5m because of some research I read about downsides of too much fish oil, and added in 2g flax seed and 1g evening primrose. This seemed to be an even better combination. I then started adding in tahini and coconut milk, which I feel are more complete foods, not just the refined oil. I'm trying to get my nutrients from foods rather than processed supplements - seems to keep my stomach happy.

    After this change my energy and wakefulness was good, but body aches still seemed to come and go with no explanation. Recently, I've noticed that they seem to be modulated by echinacea tea, the only actively anti-viral item on my list. 2 cups per day (each 4g dried: 2g herb 2g root) seems to keep the body aches at bay.
     
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