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Should I Be Taking Fish Oil Supplements?

Should I Be Taking Fish Oil Supplements?

Q: I’ve heard a lot lately about the benefit of taking fish oil pills. Is there any truth to this?

A: There are numerous health benefits to increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids:

• decrease risk of irregular heart beat
• decrease triglyceride levels
• decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries
• lower blood pressure (slightly)

The recommendation is to get your omega-3 fats from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna at least twice a week. Children and pregnant and nursing women may be at increased risk of exposure to the mercury in fish, so these recommendations would not be suitable for them. You can also get some of your omega-3 fats from tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnuts and flaxseed, and their oils.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
12:40PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

thanks for the info

12:49PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

good info

1:19PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Thanks for the info.

5:02AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Thank you

10:15AM PDT on May 23, 2011


6:05AM PDT on May 15, 2010

Great article - thanks.

12:54PM PST on Feb 12, 2010


9:05PM PDT on Jun 14, 2009

12:09PM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

I'm vegan, so I use flax oil.

Fish oil is, IMO, not super safe due to the mercury concerns. Also, with the current issues of overfishing, I'd be leery of taking them if you're environmentally concerned.

I take a flaxseed oil supplement that has DHA from algae. After all, fish get their DHA from the algae they eat, so I cut out the middleman... er... fish. ;)

Spectrum makes a lot of great omega 3 supplements from flax or mixed oil sources. Borage and hemp are common in mixed blends.

11:11AM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

Yes you should!! take fish oil suppliments! I use for many problems. It has helped my dry scaley winter skin, helps fight off colds and these benifits in this story just make me smile. I feel like I have a secret to share w/ others. So glad there is a gel cap that helps busy moms get some of what they need. Thanks for the info. If you don't take this one yet put it on your list!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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