Home Chronic pain Fish Oil: yay or nay?

Fish Oil: yay or nay?

by Wasifa Ahmad Hasan
[This article is intended for general knowledge and information. Consult your physician before taking any new medication.]
Fish oil or Omega 3 fatty acid and its benefit to health is one of the most discussed topic right now. After learning many peoples’ experiences and reading many articles about the positive effects of fish oil in our body, I got curious and dug deeper into this topic.

Here’s what I have found.


Fish oil comes from the tissues of fatty fish like –
  • Herring
  • Albacore tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Halibut
  • Clams
  • Trout
  • Shrimp


An interesting fact: The fish do not produce the omega-3, but rather consume it. It comes from micro-algae that produce these oils, and are then ingested by the fish.

Did you know that when fish oil is obtained by eating fish, the way the fish is prepared seems to make a difference?
Eating broiled or baked fish appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, but eating fried fish or fish sandwiches not only cancels out the benefits of fish oil, but may actually increase heart disease risk.


The main ingredient of fish oil is Omega 3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient which is required by the body, but cannot be manufactured by the body. Fish oil supplements often contain small amounts of vitamin E to prevent spoilage. They might also be combined with calcium, iron, or vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, or D.


Omega 3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid which consists of Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, too little or too much intake of omega 3 fish oil does not provide any health benefit, rather cause harm to our health.


It is generally recommended to have an intake of EPA plus DHA of about 0.3 to 0.5 g per day. Three 1 g fish oil supplements per day are equivalent to about 1 g of omega 3 fish oil.



  • It may reduce acne related problems if the acne is caused by dry skin. Read about the relation of fish oil and acne here.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid, in omega-3 fatty acid, helps in the prevention of skin aging by keeping the skin hydrated.
  • Nails become stronger and less brittle.
  • Fish oil provides essential nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles, which results in stronger, more durable hair…thus improving the hair quality and aiding in hair growth.


  • Evidence from research studies showed that omega 3 fish oil significantly decreases morbidity and mortality from heart disease.
  • It can slow down the progression of Atherosclerosis [A condition wherein muscles of the blood vessels that supply oxygen throughout your body thicken due to fat deposition], by lowering the triglyceride levels by 20 to 50 percent.
  • It helps in regulating blood pressure and in decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.





Fish may have earned its reputation as “Brain food” because some people eat fish to help with –
  • Depression,
  • Psychosis,
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • other thinking disorders.


Omega 3 fatty acid stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory processes and helps to relieve joint pain, much the same as painkillers but without the side effects. The reduction in inflammation is due to Resolvin, an anti-inflammatory compound produced from EPA or Eicosapentanoic acid.

There are natural alternatives to NSAIDsthat have a similar mechanism,” says David C. Leopold, MD, director of Integrative Medical Education at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego. “They include turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and willow bark.”
I recommend omega-3s to everybody, including those with chronic pain,” says Leopold. He says that they help with headaches, back pain, some nerve pain, and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis [an inflammatory disease in which the synovial joints are affected].

Fish oil is the clean-up hitter of supplements,” says David P. Rakel, MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin’s Integrative Medicine Program in Madison.

The pain relief you get from fish oil alone is not tremendous,” notes Rakel. “You can boost the painkilling effects of fish oil by combining it with other pain supplements like turmeric or ginger, But first check with your doctor to be sure those combinations are safe for you.”


Women sometimes take fish oil to prevent –
  • Painful periods
  • Breast pain and
  • complications associated with pregnancy such as Miscarriage,
  • High blood pressure late in pregnancy
  • Early delivery.


You might experience adverse effects in taking fish oil supplements, which include –
  • Gastrointestinal manifestations (such as nausea, bad breath, burping, heartburn and loose stools – generally when the dosage is 3000 mg a day or more) ,
  • Rashes
  • Nosebleeds.
Studies about omega 3 fish oil are continually being done to explore its great effects on health. Though scientists are debating about the benefits of fish oil on heart health,
So tell me, Do you take Fish oil pills? Have you found improvement?

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 [Image source-Internet]

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Kate January 17, 2016 - 12:03 pm

The Before and After photo shown below “SKIN, HAIR & NAIL” is really misleading and deceptive, as it is 100% photoshopped. It’s not a coincidence that the model posed at precisely the same angle, with the same lighting, with every strand of hair exactly as it was in the “before” shot, unless the implication is that fish oil is SO good that the transformation was instantaneous (lol). It’s unfortunate to imply that fish oil can clear up acne like that, when an un-retouched example of a before and after can’t even be sourced 🙁

Wasifa Ahmad Hasan January 17, 2016 - 2:59 pm

I agree with you completely Kate. I have removed the picture due to its misleading properties. I wish I had documented my skin improvement after taking fish oil, along with good skin care ritual. It will not miraculously clear up acne, BUT it definitely helps in skin & health improvement 🙂

Wasifa Ahmad September 27, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Hey Tina! I have been taking the fish pills for a month and yes, the burps are yuky! lol! But I have found that if I take plenty of water throughout the day, it does not happen that much!
I have not tried the algae omega 3…and I donno why you have not found any difference after trying these for so many years! But 1 thing for sure, your skin and hair looks super shiny and healthy! May be that's a contribution of the omega 3s ?

Gi Lee September 27, 2012 - 2:42 pm

Hi Wasifa!

I've been taking the fish oil supplements for many years and I haven't noticed much difference.

I switched to the vegetarian version (made from algae) couple of months ago though, because I couldnt stand the fish burps any longer though haha.. I can honestly say that, algae omega-3 is easier to stomach.. xo-Tina

Wasifa Ahmad September 26, 2012 - 3:22 pm


Giancarlo September 26, 2012 - 1:50 pm

Un caloroso saluto….ciao


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