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High Cholesterol Message Board


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My doctor just told me to take 4000 mg. (well, actually, she said 4000 i.u...but fish oil is measured in mg...so I think that's what she meant) a day to help lower my cholesterol. Is anyone else on this high a dose?? Are there any side effects, or anything I should watch out for? Thanks in advance!
Four grams of fish oil, or four grams of Omega 3? There is a big difference.

Most fish oil capsules come in approx 300mg-600mg of Omega 3 per 1000mg. So 4 grams equals 1200mg - 2400mg of Omega 3. 1200-2400 mg of Omega 3 isn't really that large a dose. Most people require at least 1800mg Omega 3 to improve triglyceride levels. If she prescribed Lovaza (prescription fish oil), then that'd be about 3200mg (or thereabout) Omega 3, which is a high dose, but not insanely high.

Fish oil usually doesn't lower LDL, by the way. In fact, it usually raises it, especially at high doses. What fish oil does it change the particle size to large, which is a good thing, and reduces triglyceride levels. It also can reduce inflammation, and maybe slightly increase HDL. There are also a lot of studies that indicate it helps prevent heart attacks, especially in those who already have heart problems.

And the only thing to watch out for are fishy burps. But generally these will go away after time, if you get them at all. You can try a lemon flavored fish oil, or one that is enteric coated, if this is an issue.
Hey Nancie, I've been taking 5gms Omega 3 Fish Oil for the past 6 months. I haven't had any problems at all. What did make a difference on my triglycerides was taking niacin. I'd ask my doctor abot it, he'll probably give a prescription for Niaspan.
Thanks so much for putting me at ease about taking 4grams of Omega 3....namelessme.... does it really raise LDL??? I can't figure out why my dr. would put me on it, then...my LDL is 190, HDL is 39....not sure what my triglycerides are this time because my Dr. didn't tell me, but a year ago they were 112, which I think is OK....if Omega 3 raises LDL, and only helps triglycerides, then, I can't figure out why she would put me on this. At any rate, she wants to retest in 6 weeks, so we'll see what, if any, changes occur in that time. I'll ask her about the Niaspan then. Thanks again for answering!
I take 3 grams of Omega 3's daily. It comes out to 10 caps per day. I do 3 with breakfast, 3 with lunch and 3 with dinner or bedtime if I forget at dinner.

Refrigerating the fish oil caps help with the fishy burps for some reason.

You definitely need to read how much Omega 3 is in your supplement. For instance, 2 caps of the stuff I buy contain 1200 milligrams of fish oil, but only 720 grams of Omega 3's. For me, I needed 3 grams of Omega 3's, not necessarily just fish oil.

The only side effects I noticed were some hair thinning and it seems like I bruise easier now. But the hair-thinning could be diet-related, stress-related, age-related, etc ... as could the bruising.

But, boy, did the supplements help! I had crazy high trigs -- so high, my cholesterol couldn't even be calculated. Six months on supplements, daily cardiovascular exercise, improved diet (elimination of white foods and more emphasis on whole grains and LOTS of organic soy), my numbers are nearly perfect.

Here's the link to my post a few months ago which had the before and after numbers after starting the fish oil supplements:

[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=632823[/url]

Best of luck to you :)
Most fish oil capsules purchased are not FDA tested and ingredients used by most companies is questionable. With the exception of CARLSON fish oil which many have taken with great results (including myself) the others did not provide any meaningful benefits in my blood test results. When your taking a product for therapeutic benefits, you cannot rely on store bought supplements without any knowledge of the product. With the exception of vitamins which are cheap to purchase such as Vitamin C, B Complex etc. The fish oil products need to be more precise in EPA/DHA contents. This is the standard oif measuring fish oil potency. 90% of fish oils are 180 EPA and 120 DHA (that's what most of the bottles state). As I mentiioned in another post, the best, safest and most effective OMEGA3 fish oil with the highest EPA/DHA (700 mg EPA/DHA) and purity is the Prescription fish oil known as LOVAZA. This is FDA approved for lowering of Triglycerides, and let me tell you, this pill definitely works. My trigs have been next to the 100 level for almost 2 years while taking lovaza. I took 7 - 8 fish oil capsules a day of either Nature Made, COSTCO or Source Naturals. My cholesterol increased and my triglycerides remained at about 350 mg. Taking only 1 to 2 LOVAZA capsules a day my triglycerides have been under 125 for almost 2 years. Niacin helped my triglycerides only a little bit, but LOVAZA appears to be the magic bullit.
I am taking 7200mg of Fish Oil per day and having no bad side affects....my doctor is thrilled with my lab results. I have been taking this dose for about a year and a half now. Oh and as far as the brusing goes....fish oil is a blood thinner.
For what it is worth, 100g (about a small can) of sardines packed in tomato sauce has about 10.5g of fat (fish oil), of which about 1.7g is omega-3 fatty acids, of which about 0.5g is EPA and about 0.9g is DHA.

100g of cooked farmed Atlantic salmon has about 12.3g of fat, of which about 2.3g is omega-3 fatty acids, of which about 0.7g is EPA and about 1.6g is DHA.
I take Krill oil, which reduces the possibility of mercury and no fishy taste/burps. This is not for people allergic to shell fish.
I find it interesting that someone had better trig values on Lovaza vs OTC fish oil. Logically, there should be little difference, if the Omega 3 amounts were the same. Hmm... perhaps the higher concentration equated to better total absorption? It's possible, I suppose. The Lovaza is ethyl ester, the same as most OTC brands, such as Costco, etc., so I see no difference in that aspect.

For OTC brands I like Carlson's or Nordic Naturals. Very high quality fish oils. They happen to be in triglyceride form, which may be more bioavailable than ethyl ester oils. Although Nordic is insanely expensive.
Carlson's is excellent. COSTCO and many other fish oils are not so good. According to Dr.Mercola, some of his patients taking COSTCO had terrible Cholesterol results. When switched to CARLSON those numbers greatly improved. Keep in mind that most supplements are not FDA approved and the manufacturing standards are not too good. I've taken CARLSON with good results. CARLSON is rather expensive though. I'm getting LOVAZA through my Medical Insurance which is much cheaper. Prescription is for 3 a day. I'm only taking 1 softgel a day with great triglyceride results...
Thanks for the response about Lovaza.

Only issue I have about Lovaza (overlooking cost for those without insurance), are potential oxidation problems.

If you get it from your local pharmacy in a sealed bottle, it should be fine.

But if getting a 3 month mail order supply, or a partial bottle from a pharmacy, oxidation could be an issue. As pharmacists tend to leave medication in opened bottles... so the fish oil would have been exposed to air, unrefrigerated, for who knows how long.
The bottles I receive are 100 count X 3 bottles. They are always sealed with an expiry date. Oxidation is always a possibilty with almost any supplement. Supplement shelf life can also effect potency. Taking a Vitamin E softgel is supposed to prevent this oxidation which may occurr.
I thought normal dosing was 4x daily, so it'd be 120 per bottle?

And do you get that via mail order or through a local pharmacy?

I called Medco about how they ship Lovaza (as that's who my insurance uses) and they said they reship Lovaza in their own Medco bottles. And that means they would need to open the original bottles they came in, which made me wary.

A local pharmacist should be safer, as you can specify you want it sealed. Although then you can't usually get a 3 month supply.

I'm thinking of trying Lovaza next time I see my cardiologist, as I need a capsule form to go along with my Carlson's (sort of impossible to take liquid if traveling or away from home).

Lovaza contains a small amount of vitamin E already, 4IU if I remember correctly. And yeah, oxidation is an issue with all fish oils. Only difference is, one wouldn't go to their vitamin store and buy opened bottles of fish oil.
Unless your triglycerides are very high (500 +) 2 softgels a day will do the trick in lowering those high levels. My insurance is currently CAREMARK soon to be switched to MEDCO also. The bottles I recieve are yellow labeled LOVAZA bottles. The LOVAZA trademark on the softgel is a unique identifier. The great thing about LOVAZA is there is no aftertaste, due to the ester blend. If a fish oil capsule is rancid, you will get a horrible fish burp and possibly an upset stomach. The softgels are also FDA tested and numerous studies have been conducted in the U.S. and Europe to test their clinical effectiveness. The results are excellent. LOVAZA's former name was OMACOR the name changed about 3 years ago. The softgels are very convenient to take,(2 softgels versus approx 8 of most brands). There is also less of a probability of taking a rancid softgel or keeping the store bought fish oils on your shelf for too long. If I didn't have insurance I would take only CARLSON fish oils. 3 LOVAZA bottles (300 softgels) cost approx. $420.00. CARLSON would cost about $40.00 for 300 high EPA softgels. COSTCO costs about $10.00. A big difference.
My last trig level came back at 111, but I'm not entirely happy with that number. I currently take about 2.4 grams of omega 3 (Carlson's usually) with around an extra 100mg omega 3's from Krill.

Carlson liquid is pretty cheap, by the way. A 40 serving bottle goes for about $13 at vitamin shoppe, and a 100 serving is around $23. I like the smaller bottles, even though less cost effective, as the oil stays fresher.

But I'll look into trying Lovaza in about 2 months or so. If nothing else, it'll be an interesting comparison test.
[QUOTE=ACE28;3907900]Most fish oil capsules purchased are not FDA tested and ingredients used by most companies is questionable. With the exception of CARLSON fish oil which many have taken with great results (including myself) the others did not provide any meaningful benefits in my blood test results. When your taking a product for therapeutic benefits, you cannot rely on store bought supplements without any knowledge of the product. With the exception of vitamins which are cheap to purchase such as Vitamin C, B Complex etc. The fish oil products need to be more precise in EPA/DHA contents. This is the standard oif measuring fish oil potency. 90% of fish oils are 180 EPA and 120 DHA (that's what most of the bottles state). As I mentiioned in another post, the best, safest and most effective OMEGA3 fish oil with the highest EPA/DHA (700 mg EPA/DHA) and purity is the Prescription fish oil known as LOVAZA. This is FDA approved for lowering of Triglycerides, and let me tell you, this pill definitely works. My trigs have been next to the 100 level for almost 2 years while taking lovaza. I took 7 - 8 fish oil capsules a day of either Nature Made, COSTCO or Source Naturals. My cholesterol increased and my triglycerides remained at about 350 mg. Taking only 1 to 2 LOVAZA capsules a day my triglycerides have been under 125 for almost 2 years. Niacin helped my triglycerides only a little bit, but LOVAZA appears to be the magic bullit.[/QUOTE]

Informative, excellent post. I just printed it out and will take it to my cardiologist for my appointment in three weeks.
Actually, you can get much higher doses of fish oil by eating fatty fish like sardines or salmon. A 3oz can of sardines has 9g of fish oil, including 1g of EPA+DHA. A 3oz serving of farmed Atlantic salmon has 7g of fish oil, including 1.5g of EPA+DHA.
I am taking 4g (4000mg) of fish oil a day but I take Lovaza which is prescription-only. I guess anyone can put fish oil into capsules and sell it. This is actually regulated, from what I understand. It took some convincing to get my insurance company to pay for it (it's $200+ per month for this dose) but it was the only medication to significantly lower my triglycerides along with a statin.

I also eat a lot of fish high in omega-3 but when I did that by itself without taking Lovaza I didn't see much in terms of results.





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