Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

A forum for anything related to nutritional supplementation including advice and reviews.

Moderators: cassiegose, Boss Man

Post Reply
sgupta
STARTING OUT
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:25 pm

Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by sgupta »

Hey all,

So I just got back from the doctor's today, and I'm making progress. She liked most of the supplements I'm taking, BP is getting a little better (still a little ways to go, but it's in the ballpark), and overall things are going well.

I've been taking 2.2g of fish oil per day, and she and I discussed removing a supplement with both fish oil and soy in it and doubling other fish oil supplements (including some krill). Which will bring me to 3.6g of fish oil per day (that's combined DHA/EPA).

I use high quality fish oil (as tested by ConsumerLab), but there seems to be some concern that too much fish oil can lead to more oxidative stress in the body, which could outweigh the benefits. I'm taking it for several reasons - lower BP, cardio health, brain health, blood thinning properties, etc. I've seen differing opinions; some say you shouldn't exceed 1g, and others seem to indicate 3-4g is optimal and just fine. Any opinions on this?

Also, if oxidative stress did start to make an impact with fish oil supplementation, is this something that would show up on next cholesterol panels for LDL, or would there be no way to know?

Thanks!
User avatar
Boss Man
SITE ADMIN
Posts: 15452
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:27 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by Boss Man »

I'm skeptical out too much fish oil causing opposing effects, as I've never seen or read any credible peer reviewed science that says so.

EPA and DHA are derived in the body from ALA, (Alpha Linoleic Acid), which is a dietary omega 3 broken down into other fats which include EPA and DHA. There is some wastage and to be honest I'm not sure how much, but the chances are if you consumed enough ALA per day, you could conceivably have a lot more than 3.6g EPA and DHA being processed.

I'd need to read something I could believe was peer reviewed medical science, relating to excessive fish oil consumption, before I could believe it and a lot of good credible sites where such information could be sourced, if it exists, include Medicinenet, Harvard Uni, Pubmed, Science Daily, Linus Pauling institute, Wisegeek etc.

So I would suggest you have little to worry about, but if you're concerned decide for yourself if you should limit yourself in relation to current intake and if so, to what extent.

In relation to your final comment, if excessive fish oil could contribute to elevated LDL, then I'm not certain it would show up on cholesterol / triglyceride testing results, unless more tests were done to ascertain or establish why the LDL had gone up, based on known causes and then the appropriate, if any, tests that would establish if these known causes were or were not responsible.
sgupta
STARTING OUT
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:25 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by sgupta »

Hi Bossman,

Thanks for the very thorough response!

Interesting about ALA. I don't take any ALA supplements (soy dry eye supplement I used to take had fish oil and a decent dose of ALA though), but I do eat nuts (usually a handful), etc.

As far as articles, here are a few abstracts:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20621447" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9168460" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8911273" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12571649" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (full text http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.103 ... cn.1601539" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)

An interesting blog discussion where a lot of these were cited (and first found) is here:
http://chriskresser.com/when-it-comes-t ... not-better" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What I'm thinking about doing for the time being until I can get a better answer on this and potentially talk to the doctor again (after cutting out the soy ALA + fish oil supplement) is taking 1.8g/day of fish oil (that's active DHA/EPA; it'd be more like 3g of actual total oil). This equates to 613mg DHA, 1187mg EPA, 800 mg phytosterols, and 300 mg Krill oil. Quite honestly, I'm not sure if the Krill oil has "separate" DHA/EPA levels or is included in the levels I just mentioned, but I think it's probably separate. From other labeling (standalone Krill products in the same product line), they don't tend to list DHA/EPA individually, so that would push me closer to 2g a total DHA+EPA a day if true and give me some extra protection in the form of astaxanthin (an antioxidant) right in the Krill oil (plus I take CoQ10 and Vitamin E as part of vitamin regimen).

This gets me a bit more than 1g to help with BP, eye dryness, mood, joints, blood thinning, etc, but I'm still under the 3-4g recommendation for people taking it specifically because of cholesterol/triglyceride concerns (which I don't have at the moment, though of course appreciate any help keeping cholesterol in check), and it also keeps me well under the 6g used in some studies that showed oxidative stress damage. Krill oil seems relatively new and potentially unproven, but very promising, so it gives me a bit of that without going overboard as well, and cost is decently reasonable for budget (and I could still double it if I ever wanted to).

As far as your comment regarding LDL, I appreciate the insight, but I think what I'm trying to ask is actually a bit more general. Rewording it, if I did double the dose, and fish oil started to cause oxidation and increased cellular damage, would that show up as elevated LDL? Or, say, could LDL stay the same and/or improve, but this oxidation is still happening and causing damage that I can't "see"? I realize there would be no way to directly link the fish oil to it, but I guess I'm trying to determine if blood tests for LDL would give me a ballpark idea.

Thanks!
User avatar
Boss Man
SITE ADMIN
Posts: 15452
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:27 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by Boss Man »

One of the studies did indicate that fish oil capsules might have a bearing on Angina sufferers possibly tough the interaction of the capsules with angina medication.

As for the thing you're talking about with elevated LDL in relation to fish oil, then you would be able to see elevated LDL on a test, if you had had a previous test to compare the results, then if the only change you had made to your diet was to increase your fish oil a lot, then you could assume the LDL had risen via fish oil consumption, because you'd have made one change to your diet and supplementation and the two results would show LDL elevation.
sgupta
STARTING OUT
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:25 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by sgupta »

Gotcha. Thanks much - that's what I really wanted to know. Well sometime before May, she wants to subtest LDL (apparently there are three different types, one bad and two good, even among LDL) to see where I'm at with that, so I think I'll stick with the ~2g EPA+DHA I'm using now and see how those come out. From your previous response, it seems like you think even 4g should be safe, so 2 should definitely be, and I find it's a pretty common dose recommended a lot of places.
User avatar
Boss Man
SITE ADMIN
Posts: 15452
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:27 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by Boss Man »

3.6 or lower is desirable for cholesterol readings, which are often calculated by dividing the LDL by the HDL, although in recent years there has been a shift towards dividing total by HDL.

If you want anymore insight, feel free to check out sticky on cholesterol that I posted quite some time back.
sgupta
STARTING OUT
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:25 pm

Re: Fish Oil: ~4g DHA/EPA & Oxidative Stress Concerns?

Post by sgupta »

Awesome, thanks for the great info!
Post Reply