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King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

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thinkpink

Hi all. I have read this thread with interest as I am totally new to fish oil and am looking for something to support my Seroxat withdrawal. I am in the UK and there are a few companies who sell 'EPA only' products which are meant to be the best type of omega 3 fish oils for supporting mood and brain health. Has anyone tried EPA only or high EPA products? One of the companies I have looked at is called Mind 1st and they say a lot of their customers use their fish oils successfully alongside antidepressant medications. I know a lot of the discussion on here has been around taking supplements with both EPA and DHA but in terms of withdrawal/ supporting the nervous system does anyone know which works better and why? I am fortunate to work with a great psychiatrist who tells me fish oils may not help withdrawal symptoms but there is little harm in trying. I figure I could try EPA only for a few months and see how I get on.

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Altostrata

What does your psychiatrist say will help withdrawal syndrome?

 

DHA is the form the body most easily absorbs, but it is not as prevalent in fish as EPA and therefore more expensive. Your body naturally metabolizes EPA to DHA.

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JanCarol

Testing for Omega 3, or total lipid profile at http://www.omegaquant.com/

 

They test for Australians, too, but much cheaper than your Ortho or Naturopath.

 

There is nothing wrong with ethyl esters - I took them for 10 years before moving here.  But they do have to be high quality, high percentage EPA/DHA to total capsule, and not rancid. 

 

Natural triglycerides can go rancid, too.  And they are usually lower concentration than ethyl esters.  Probably much of a muchness, but I'm in Australia, where ethyl esters are only available at prescription strength, so I take the natural triglycerides, and don't have to decide between this brand or that one, other than to ensure that it's high EPA/DHA.

 

We're not arguing Ali - there is a lot a lot a lot to know about fish oil.  It's what I spent the last week studying.  But you live in Australia, anything you buy will be natural.  But be cautious about flavored fish oil - that is often used to cover up rancidity. 

 

For now I'm not worrying about EPA vs. DHA.  I get both, and it seems to help.  And that's what matters.  If I had a seizure disorder, I might want more of one - I think it's EPA - but in withdrawal, I'm less sure, there are no studies)  Some people who react to fish oil do better on high EPA fish oils, some react to the DHA.  

 

It's all individual.  What you can afford, what is easy to get for you, what works for you.  You may have to try a few different things before you get the combination that works for you.

 

ps - it seemed like everywhere I went to study fish oil - Alto had been there before me, asking probing questions and settling on what she decided was right for her.  So she knows more than all of us combined.  I'm just trying out to see if what I learned is the right stuff!   :unsure:

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thinkpink

Hey JanCarol, great advice. I guess we are all different and we have to find what works best for us. I think I get too tied up in the EPA vs DHA thing, im no scientist so get a little lost in how each works. Alto said somewhere that we convert EPA into DHA so im guessing we dont necessarily need both in a supplement if our bodies make the DHA anyhow

anyhoq

anyho. Im going to start with a high EPA supplement and see how I go. JanCarol when you say your fish oil helps do you mean with symptoms of wd?

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Altostrata

You do not need a specially formulated omega-3 supplement. There's no magic in them. You can get a regular fish oil supplement that contains both EPA and DHA.

 

For our purposes, there does not seem to be any difference in effectiveness of EPA vs DHA, other than the higher cost of DHA and specially formulated omega-3 supplements.

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Jimbo71

I'm a vegetarian so I can't take fish oil. Has anyone tried the Omega 3 supplements that are made from algae?

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Addax

I've taken the algae derived omega 3. The difficulty is that it's a much weaker source of omega 3 so you have to take much more, which gets expensive and annoying.

 

If you eat a vegetarian diet (as opposed to vegan) are you including eggs and/or dairy?

 

If you are vegetarian for ethical reasons, I was told there is a company that makes fish oil supplements from fishery discard. I don't recall the brand name but can ask at the store where I get my supplements if you're interested.

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Altostrata

This is easy to test: Stop taking it for a few days and see if your symptoms change.

 

If you get an adverse reaction from any supplement, take less or none at all.

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Laura1981

Thanks Alto. On it. I may sneak it out. I read that some people got headaches after stopping fish oil. Probably just paranoid, but it can't hurt.

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btdt

I'm a vegetarian so I can't take fish oil. Has anyone tried the Omega 3 supplements that are made from algae?

look up flax oil  for a time I ground the seeds no chance to go rancid that way

 

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=76

 

food sources vegetarian

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/plant-based-foods-with-the-highest-amount-of-omega-3-fatty-acids/

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Laura1981

Does anyone else get a dry mouth from taking fish oil? I was thinking it's from the SSRIs, but I just realized it only started when I started taking fish oil. It's also listed as a side effect:

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/fish-oil-side-effects.html

I decided to stop taking it CT because the dry mouth was really getting awful. Dry mouth is already much better. I'm a bit more weepy than usual, but apart from that I can't see any withdrawal symptoms

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Robdog

I supplement my diet with ground flax seed powder 6-7 days per week. I have around 15g which contains approx 2.5-3g of Omega 3 according to the nutritional info on the back of the pack. Is this sufficient or should i still be supplementing with fish oil caps? I can get caps that contain 1000mg Omega 3, 330mg EPA and 220mg DHA.

 

I have been off my meds now for 3 years and the main symptoms i want help are anxiety and tension along with a racing mind at times.

 

Thanks

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Altostrata

Fish oil is a more effective way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your body.

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LeslieBarns

I have read here and other places that Omega 3 oils were good for the brain, e.g. help with inflammation, etc.  There are various types on the market, most from oily fish or krill.  I have been taking them for a long time, but being Canadian, I wanted to support our Newfounlanders in their traditional 'industries', so I bought some harp seal oil. It contains: Omega-3 PUFAs; EPA,DHA, and DPA. (Docosapentaenoic Acid)  It also contains Omega 9, and a bit of saturated fat.  The oil comes from the pups once they reach a certain age and the sealers can (...) them.  Apparently, this mammal oil is more like what the human body needs, and humans, esp. the Inuit, have been eating seals for centuries.  The DPA is supposed to help the pup's brain develop, and is considered by some to be neuroprotective. in humans.   Also, the Omega 9 is now thought to be very good for fighting inflammation.  Recent work by people like Perlmutter say that our brains need some saturated fats as well.

Anyway, I take it at night with my Parkinson's carbidopa/levidopa, and I may be imagining it, a placebo effect, but i think it helps me sleep, and less insomnia with a racing mind.  My sleep is beginning to feel more natural, and I've been having what for me are normal dreams. OR, maybe my brain is just healing itself, but I find it sort of reassuring that I've found something that may actually help.

Leslie.

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eiledon20

I tried taking fish oil for two days and somehow the muscle pain/stiffness in my head and feet diminished. Better than the bcomplex and muscle relaxant given by pdoc. i have various horrific side effects from many antidepressants before. now on this **** drug called pristiq. Did not know any better before finding this site.

 

But i felt a little more tired than the usual. Must lower the dose of fishoil from 3 (1gram) tablets a day.

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Altostrata

If I were you, I'd stick with the higher dose but maybe move it to later in the day.

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freespirit

Do you have any suggestions for those of us unable to tolerate fish oil? With the histamine issue, I simply cannot take it. I've tried flax, hemp, and coconut oils or seeds. I know they aren't the same, but I would like something to help reduce the amount of inflammation I'm experiencing. None of the other oils have helped with pain at all. I can't take anything in a gelatin capsule and seem to be sensitive to a lot of different things in supplements.

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compsports

Do you have any suggestions for those of us unable to tolerate fish oil? With the histamine issue, I simply cannot take it. I've tried flax, hemp, and coconut oils or seeds. I know they aren't the same, but I would like something to help reduce the amount of inflammation I'm experiencing. None of the other oils have helped with pain at all. I can't take anything in a gelatin capsule and seem to be sensitive to a lot of different things in supplements.

Have you tried liquid fish oil so you can start at a smaller than usual dose?  That is what I am considering doing.

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freespirit

 

Do you have any suggestions for those of us unable to tolerate fish oil? With the histamine issue, I simply cannot take it. I've tried flax, hemp, and coconut oils or seeds. I know they aren't the same, but I would like something to help reduce the amount of inflammation I'm experiencing. None of the other oils have helped with pain at all. I can't take anything in a gelatin capsule and seem to be sensitive to a lot of different things in supplements.

Have you tried liquid fish oil so you can start at a smaller than usual dose?  That is what I am considering doing.

 

Anything containing fish makes me vomit, dizzy, headache...even a tiny amount in a digestive enzyme made me very sick for over a week. So no, I'm not going to try liquid fish oil. Many people with histamine intolerance aren't able to have fish. But even before wd, the only one I could take was krill oil. I tried many fish oil supplements over the years, tried putting them in the freezer, etc....always was not able to handle them.

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a99

I take fresh fish 3 times a week and a serving of walnuts everyday the other 4 days of the week  , does that provide me with enough amount of those fatty acids ? 

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Altostrata

You might try a good fish oil supplement and see if it helps you feel better. If it does, that's good, right?

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a99

can I still take the fish and walnuts with the supplement  or would I get an excessive amount of fatty acids that way ?

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Altostrata

I don't believe it's possible to get too much omega-3 fatty acids.

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primekittycat

I wanted to mention something here. I was reading in this topic that omega-3s help with brain zaps (which I don't THINK I get - I do get a weird vibration or 'buzzing' of my brain when I try to sleep but it's not a zap - it's constant, plus helmet head) so I started taking about 350mg EPA+DHA a day to test it out to see what my reaction would be, then doubled that, now I'm up to 2100mg EPA+DHA a day. Last night the buzzing was keeping me awake, so I popped another 1200mg and it was gone within about 10 minutes and I finally fell asleep. It works for me!

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LucaDiProspero

Started taking 2 pills of omega 3 (longlife brand) 5 days ago...no improvement yet and a little stimulation in a bad way.

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eiledon20

The chill feeling in the head when waking up, is that from withdrawal, cortisol or fish oil?

 

I am currently off meds and taking b-complex and fish oil. Will try to skip fish oil which i take at night and see what happens.

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Fresh

I had also read that fish oil helps with the physical repair of myelin sheaths damaged by ssri's.

 

This thread elaborates  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3165-omega-3-fish-oil-may-help-repair-brain-injury/

 

"The brick wall analogy

That's the theory behind using omega-3 fatty acids to heal brain injury. The human brain, which itself is a fatty mass, is about 30% composed of omega-3 fatty acids, according to Lewis.

In his words, high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, since they mirror what is already in the brain, could facilitate the brain's own natural healing process.

"It really gets down to what I would call my brick wall analogy," Lewis said. "If you have a brick wall and it gets damaged, wouldn't you want to use bricks to repair the wall? And omega-3 fatty acids are literally the bricks of the cell wall in the brain."

Most of the studies about omega-3 for traumatic brain injury are in animals, but they indicate potential for healing the human brain.

After a trauma, the brain tends to swell, and the connections between some nerve cells can become damaged, while other cells simply die.

National Institutes of Health research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit cell death and could be instrumental for reconnecting damaged neurons.

Another recent study revealed genes that are activated to contain massive damage -- especially inflammation -- when the brain is injured. What activates those genes: omega-3."

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eiledon20

Still the same without the fish oil for today. Okay ill take it again.

 

I wonder why i fell better towards the night? Maybe i am just a night person from way back or the antidepressant i took in 1999 messed me up. (But also saved me).

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JanCarol

In May, Thinkpink asked: 

 

JanCarol when you say your fish oil helps do you mean with symptoms of wd? 

Sorry, no.  I do not think I have withdrawal symptoms, exactly.  Certainly not the extreme symptoms that others here have.  I have iatrogenic damage from the drugs, mostly organs (thyroid, adrenal, kidney), I utilize the fish oil as a mood stabilizer, as well as to help with chronic pain, headaches, etc.

 

I've been on fish oil since about 1998, so nearly 20 years now.  I can't remember a period where I've allowed myself to run out of the stuff.  I do credit the fish oil for protecting my brain from drugs, somewhat.  Though that is merely a feeling, a belief, I can't prove it.

 

Around the same time, Sky 68 ambitiously proclaimed:

 

My idea is to start off with a daily use of:

400 IU vitamin E

6 capsules of fish oil, this would be 6000 mg fish oil (1800 mg of EPA/DHA total).

 

 

Wow!  My first thought is:  can you start this gradually?  Okay, it's 3 months later, probably too late - but for other readers, please consider starting gradually, to keep from having effects while your body adjusts to the increase in oils.  Start with 1000 a day, or even 500.  Double it after a week, then add a 1000 a week until you reach what you think is desirable.

 

Even better, invest $49 in OmegaQuant testing, and find out exactly how much fish oil you need.  They ship to Australia, so they must ship anywhere in the world!

 

So,  I know you posted that in May, how is that going for you?

 

I take a lot - 4000 a day, plus some krill - but here is my thinking. 

 

If you are in the Netherlands, how much of your native diet is fish?  Specifically cold water fish?  You may not need that much.

 

In September I will be taking my OmegaQuant test to see if I have been taking too much or not enough.  It will be interesting to see, hubby takes 5000 iu a day (post stroke), I take what I take.  But he eats daily:  tinned salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies.

 

I keep thinking I need to "develop a taste" for sardines, especially since I found some packed in olive oil that I can buy by the case.  Then I can lower my fish oil load.

 

LeslieBarns writes:

 

harp seal oil. It contains: Omega-3 PUFAs; EPA,DHA, and DPA. (Docosapentaenoic Acid)  It also contains Omega 9, and a bit of saturated fat.  The oil comes from the pups once they reach a certain age and the sealers can (...)

 

OMG.  My favorite baby seal!  He went WHAP! And he hit him on the nose and he hit him on the fin and I -

 

I injured the fur trapper.  (Frank Zappa)

 

Mammal to mammal does sound good.  And Parkinson's is an extreme reason to need it.  I don't think I could get that product though, and I can't explain why I'm sad about a seal but not about a blue skate?  maybe it's those deep brown "puppy dog eyes?"  

 

Freespirit explains about her histamine troubles:

 

 

Freespirit:

None of the other oils have helped with pain at all. 

 

Have you tried hemp seed oil?  If that is the only oil you take in (no processed foods) - it has a good balance of 3/6/9.  The problem with that is, most people eat french fries and things (somehow I doubt you do) that contain lots of Omega 6, so most people don't need to supplement Omega 6.

 

I keep a bottle in the fridge.  It's nutty, tasty, great on salads or drizzled over veggies - sometimes, I will take a swig straight from the bottle!  My ortho-doc, when I showed her the stats on it, told me to take only that, everyone seems to think my lipid plan is way too complex.  But I've decided that "hitting the bottle" from time to time is not stable enough, so I continue to take fish oil.

 

When buying hemp seed oil (there is some fine organic stuff in Canada, not quite as tasty as the Aussie stuff, but still quite fine) make sure it is cold pressed, never been heat treated.  It goes rancid fast, and must be kept in the fridge (not "room temperature")  I got some from VitaCost, it didn't say it was heat treated, and it didn't say it wasn't - but it was like drinking paint thinner (linseed oil).  Blech!

 

And - my understanding of rancid oils - is that they cause inflammation and oxidation and problems.  That's why one should be leery buying "flavoured" fish oils - they are usually citrus or fruit flavoured to cover up rancidity.

 

As for histamine, I'm sure you've read GiaK's blog at www.beyondmeds.com .  She had serious histamine problems for awhile, and I think she couldn't take fish oil at all.

 

The other thing I'm wondering is if you would tolerate green-lipped mussel?  The Maoris of New Zealand would eat them for nutritional and health reasons.  I've heard all kinds of claims, and have verified none of them.  That they contain Omega-3's, or that they are a natural form of glucosamine?  (I remember from your blog you cannot take that one, either)

 

I just checked a bottle, they claim "good for joint pain" (they can't make claims like that in the USA!) and "excellent Omega 3."  I'm sure you're tired, as many are, of trying supplements only to find out they cause problems and storing bottles and bottles of stuff that doesn't work, but that's an Omega-3 alternative I haven't heard discussed much here. (and it doesn't come from animals who "look back" like seals!)

Edited by Altostrata
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freespirit

JC,

 

I appreciate your very thoughtful response to my question. I have tried hemp oil and seeds. It's something I can use on an occasional basis only or I get pretty severe digestive upset that lingers. I do keep them in the fridge, even the seeds.  And you're right in thinking I don't eat processed foods. My diet is very clean.

 

Yes, I've read all of Gia's writings on histamine, as well as a number of other resources.

 

I'd be very reluctant to try the mussel oil, since it's something considered high in histamine. The most serious reactions I've had are to anything containing fish, so for now at least, I stay away from it. I suspect I may have had issues with histamine prior to WD, as I've never really liked fish..and also, since I was never able to tolerate fish oil in the past. I had nasal allergy symptoms, but did not show much on any testing. I've had some signs of histamine intolerance throughout my life, but never as severe as during WD.

 

Since I've been taking the tart cherry supplement, the inflammation has gone down significantly in my body. But around the same time, I started working with the chiropractor too...so I can't definitively say it's only the tart cherry. It's also considered to lower histamine and allergic responses.

 

Again, thanks for the suggestions and research. You're very thorough on things.

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happygirl77

I don't know if I'm imagining this but normal fish oil increases my anxiety but krill oil does not. I have tried it a few times so do not think its coincidence.

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primekittycat

Just wanted to share that I've been taking fish oil for about a month and have been getting itchy skin. It got to the point where I was waking up in the middle of the night itchy. I was previously attributing it to going into my garden. Then I realized, maybe it's the fish oil. Did a Google search and others have had this problem. They're like little mosquito bites, i guess hives. I stopped taking it 3 days ago and the itchiness has mostly subsided. I've never had reactions to fish before but I guess it's the amount and frequency. I know I can get omega 3s from an algae source but I'll have to take a lot more pills. Any recommendations on brands or maybe I can even supplement with flax seeds?

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Altostrata

You may wish to take less.

 

Are you allergic to fish?

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primekittycat

I've never had an allergic reaction to fish before. I guess I'd only have it once every couple weeks or so, if that. 

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Altostrata

Look at your label. What is the source of the oil?

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