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Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:35 pm
by Hiking Fox
I haven't been able to find a thread that asks this question, so I thought I'd start one.

There are several companies that sell high EPA and DHA Omega 3 supplements (the vegan ones come directly from algae and cut out the fish body processing in the middle), who market them on the grounds that the chemical reaction required to convert DLA and EPA from food is so complex that we don't make enough of it from dietary sources.

I can't find any peer-reviewed "real science" that backs this claim up.

I know many people who prefer to go with the Vegan Society's standpoint that dietary sources are perfectly adequate and that grinding up flax seeds to add to food is a good idea. They feel that supplements are a rip-off. I know other people who swear by capsules, so I have been taking them myself for about six months, to see whether I feel any benefit. They cost about £10 a month.

I am therefore curious to know what people on here think. Do you take supplements, and do you feel any benefit?

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:48 pm
by beforewisdom
There is no answer at this point.

All medical science knows is that some people can't make DHA and EPA from other Omega 3s in their food and that other people can. They have no way to tell who can and who can't. They do know that if people don't get those two EFAs they are at a significant risk for developing cardiovascular disease, other inflammatory diseases, joint issues and possibly cognitive problems.

There is no harm in taking the recommended dosages.

The bottom line is the rhetorical question of "Is the money you would save by not taking it worth gambling your health on?"

My apologies for wording that question in a heavy handed way, but that is what it comes down to

Good luck either way

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:48 pm
by tal
I treat EPA & DHA like b12 and vitamin D.

I have no way of knowing what my EPA/DHA levels are short of getting blood-tests regularly, so I take it to be sure.

Things like balancing omega 3:6 ratios are recommended because doing this can allow you to make your own EPA and from that you can make your own DHA, but as beforewisdom said it's really hard to know.

I take EPA/DHA each day and then not worry at all about my omega 3:6 ratio, it's probably horrible.

Hope that helps.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:21 pm
by beforewisdom
[quote="Talyn"]
Things like balancing omega 3:6 ratios are recommended because doing this can allow you to make your own EPA and from that you can make your own DHA, but as beforewisdom said it's really hard to know.


I think there are people who can NOT make their own, even if the omega 3 is balanced to the omega 6.

However, everyone needs to be concerned about balancing because getting too much omega 6, which is common, creates more of a need for omega 3.

Some basic practices for minimizing an imbalance between omega 6 ( too much ) and omega 3 is
- to reduce your fat intake overall, even nuts and seeds, which usually have omega 6
- minimize your use of commercial baked goods
- minimize consumption of fried or sauteed foods
- use canola oil or olive oil when you food is fried/sauteed

You can easily see how during day to day living those habits would not always work, so taking an omega 3 supplement becomes desirable.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:39 am
by Hiking Fox
[quote="beforewisdom"]All medical science knows is that some people can't make DHA and EPA from other Omega 3s in their food and that other people can.


Could you point me in the direction of any further reading on this?

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:59 am
by beforewisdom
I've read it in a number of places over the years. I don't remember where, or necessarily the best source.

There is a section about it in "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis RD ( coauthor of the American Dietetic Association Position Paper On Vegetarian Diets ). If you can't find that book in the library don't buy it as a revised edition is coming out in early 2013.

There is also this section at veganhealth.org a free "online nutrition book" for vegans by Jack Norris RD:

http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3#summ

There are a few other places I can look if you like, but I would have to dig into my book collection,let me know. Most don't say much more than these sources, as there isn't that much to say........some people can make their own, some can but not enough and others can't at all.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:51 pm
by ColleenE
Peer reviewed stuff:
Raastad et al (1997) found that Omega III supplementation in athletes did not increase maximal aerobic performance.

Guzman et al (2011) note that EPA and DHA have been associated with improved cardiovascular function, lowered inflammatory response, and enhanced lipid profiles, as well as improved reaction time in soccer players.

Goldberg and Katz (2004) found that EPA and DHA can lower joint pain after 3 months.

It seems like it is worth taking. THere are a host of other articles that I could mention, but most seem to support the supplement. I take DEVA's DHA/EPA supplement 1x per day. It's fishy, but not awful.

HOpe this helps!

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:54 pm
by Hiking Fox
Yes, thank you.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:35 pm
by Goob
Anyone have decreased joint pain from taking dha/epa? I'm not that interested in preventing heart disease, but if it could help with joint pain in my hands, shoulders, and elbows it would be worth taking for me.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:51 pm
by beforewisdom
A number of years ago I had plantar fasciitis. On a whim I started taking 9 capsules of Omega 3 Zen daily. In a few weeks I had a noticeable decrease in inflammation.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:28 am
by ColleenE
Hey Goob,
It's hard for me to separate out what has been decreasing my joint pain. I'm taking glucosamine/MSM/CMO as well as Omega IIIs. I am miraculously (in my PT's words) healing from a hip injury that my surgeon prescribed surgery for and have significantly less pain. Is it the Omega III? Is it the Glucosamine? Is it just coincidence? I leave that up to you. I certainly think the research backs up taking it.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:50 am
by beforewisdom
[quote="Goob"]Anyone have decreased joint pain from taking dha/epa? I'm not that interested in preventing heart disease


This hour long video of a lecture given by Dr. Greger on youtube explains how vegans can get heart attacks from not getting omega 3s and b-12

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC38A847824726B0B

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:09 am
by Hiking Fox
Does high blood pressure happen for a while first? I had mine measured yesterday and it was still perfect.

Re: Is it really worth taking Omega 3 oil capsules?

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:55 pm
by Goob
[quote="ColleenE"]Hey Goob,
It's hard for me to separate out what has been decreasing my joint pain. I'm taking glucosamine/MSM/CMO as well as Omega IIIs. I am miraculously (in my PT's words) healing from a hip injury that my surgeon prescribed surgery for and have significantly less pain. Is it the Omega III? Is it the Glucosamine? Is it just coincidence? I leave that up to you. I certainly think the research backs up taking it.


I might start taking tons of omega 3's and see what happens.


[quote="beforewisdom"][quote="Goob"]Anyone have decreased joint pain from taking dha/epa? I'm not that interested in preventing heart disease


This hour long video of a lecture given by Dr. Greger on youtube explains how vegans can get heart attacks from not getting omega 3s and b-12

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC38A847824726B0B

Oh, I know all about that, but I don't care. Seems the first sign of heart disease is death in most cases, which is fine by me.