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Author Topic: Fish Oil Supplements  (Read 6879 times)

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Offline Dennis

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Fish Oil Supplements
« on: June 26, 2009, 03:41:16 PM »
A nutritionist friend of mine suggested I start taking a fish oil supplement.
For the past week I've been taking two a day (2000 mg) of the Usana brand.

I've read that fish oil, when combined with Hart therapy, increases LDL (bad cholesterol).

Is this something I should be taking. And if so, is it ok to take both capsules at once. Currently, I take one in the morning and one in the evening.

Thanks
Dennis

Offline Luke

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2009, 03:55:37 PM »
Why did the nutritionist recommend it as a supplement?

The point is that fish oil can be great for reducing triglyceride levels; but do you actually need to do that?

On the other hand, are your cholesterol levels such that a small increase would be a problem?

I know many will disagree with me, but my view is that we should only take those supplements which we need. That said, I do take fish oil (at half the dose recommended by your nutritionist) and there is no denying the dramatic effect on my triglyceride levels, which had gone through the roof when I started medication; but I certainly wouldn't be taking it as some sort of general insurance policy.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 04:03:29 PM by Luke »

Offline Dennis

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2009, 04:07:01 PM »
My triglyceride and cholesterol level are ok.

I'm taking it because there is a history of heart disease in my family. From my understanding, fish oil helps with overall cardiovascular health. It also reduces the risk of colon and prostate cancer, increases brain function, and joint inflamation. I believe there's also a psychosis benefit as well.

Offline Luke

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  • Posts: 291
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 04:21:03 PM »
Triglyceride and cholesterol levels are the side of cardiovascular health which fish oils help with; but, from what you say, you don't even have a need to worry about them. Would you take a statin if you didn't need to?

The benefits for joint mobility / health are also well-documented, but do you actually have a problem?

As for the other claimed benefits, I think we are starting to enter the territory of wishful thinking (certainly as far as adults with developed brain function are concerned).

Offline Dennis

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2009, 04:24:08 PM »
From what I understand, fish oil can be used as a preventative measure. I may be wrong, though.

As for joint inflamation, I do have a minor problem, at times. I was in an accident when I was 15 which crushed my left left. When it rains or is cold, I get a bit of arthritis. Nothing major, though. Again, just thinking of it as a preventative measure.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 04:46:11 PM by Dennis »

Offline Luke

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2009, 04:40:09 PM »
Arthritis is a good enough reason for me - and yes it should certainly have preventative / moderating effects for that.

Offline madbrain

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2009, 09:37:46 PM »
A nutritionist friend of mine suggested I start taking a fish oil supplement.
For the past week I've been taking two a day (2000 mg) of the Usana brand.

I've read that fish oil, when combined with Hart therapy, increases LDL (bad cholesterol).

Is this something I should be taking. And if so, is it ok to take both capsules at once. Currently, I take one in the morning and one in the evening.

Thanks
Dennis


My bf is taking fish oil, 4g/day, for his high triglycerides, while on Atripla.
I just looked at his last two labs.

His HDL was 39mg/dl, and LDL 89 mg/dl , before starting fish oil.
After starting (only 2 months, and not taking the fish oil very consistently), his HDL went to 38 and LDL to 81 . Just one anecdotal point, but his LDL did not go up.

Unfortunately, his triglycerides were basically unchanged at 336 mg/dl before and 330 mg/dl after. Now I'm more careful that he is taking his 4 omega-3 softgels every day. I hope his next result will be better.

Offline aztecan

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  • 29 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 06:14:45 PM »
Hey Dennis,

I talk 6,000 mgs (6 grams) of fish oil daily. That is maximum allowed.

It does help with triglycerides, etc., and there is some evidence it may help reduce inflammation caused by HIV  itself in various areas of the body, including the epithelium.

As you know, I am not a believer in a miracle cure or some pie in the sky solution to our health problems. But, I do believe there is a need to take some supplements top help augment our good health.

Today, we know HIV does damage to the body by itself, long before a weakened immune system allows opportunistic diseases to take hold.

If I were HIV-negative and in the same general health I am in today, I would probably eschew supplements and instead concentrate on getting what I need from a balanced diet and proper exercise,

But, I am positive, and for a long time. That means damage was done during the 11 years I was positive before starting meds, and then there has been some damage done by the regimen I started with in 96. I'm not complaining, mind you, just stating the facts.

I recently had to switch my meds because of hyperlipidemia, not because of resistance or viral breakthrough.

I know you say you have OK lipids, but that is only part of the picture. Atherosclerosis is alive and well in too many of us. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help reduce this problem.

So, I would say go ahead and take the fish oil. I would tell my doctor i was taking it when I next saw him.

Here are some links regarding fish oil.  One is from the Mayo Clinic, one from the American Heart Association and one from MSNBC regarding an upcoming study on fish oil and Vitamin D.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31491531/

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4632

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fish-oil/ns_patient-fishoil

Hope this helps.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Jacques

  • Member
  • Posts: 171
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2009, 12:31:39 AM »
A Canadian clinical trial  (2006) showed that fish oil does reduce triglycerides level.

http://www.hivnet.ubc.ca/e/clinicaltrials/RN042.html


Jacques
Jacques
Living positively since 1987
latest lab :july 2010
Undetectable Cd4 1080
43% on Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline denb45

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  • Posts: 5,051
  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2009, 10:08:36 AM »
Hey Dennis,

I talk 6,000 mgs (6 grams) of fish oil daily. That is maximum allowed.



WOW Mark, I tried to to take my 4grams of Omega 3, but found it to be very difficult, so, now I'm back to 2grams, for some reason, I cannot swallow the caps, it's bad enough with the  Norivr & Aptivis, I wish they would come out with tabs, but, so far they haven't, any-kinda-jell-caps-meds, makes me wanna hurl , and upsets my stomach to where it's hard to keep any of it down, eating (taking them with food) helps sometimes, but I much say, they are a real pain-in-the-ass just to put into my mouth, how do you take 6grams of that a day , I'm amazed that you can even swallow that many, I'm getting SICK right now that thinking of you doing that.....YUCK!  ???  :o   :(
« Last Edit: July 03, 2009, 10:22:18 AM by denb45 »
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline madbrain

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Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2009, 06:10:08 PM »
My bf is taking fish oil, 4g/day, for his high triglycerides, while on Atripla.
I just looked at his last two labs.

Unfortunately, his triglycerides were basically unchanged at 336 mg/dl before and 330 mg/dl after. Now I'm more careful that he is taking his 4 omega-3 softgels every day. I hope his next result will be better.


I think I may have figured out why my bf's triglycerides didn't go down with the omega-3 he was taking. It comes down to not all of the fish oil supplements being equally concentrated in omega-3.
Our doc recommended he takes 4g of fish oil/day because that is the effective dose recommended to lower triglycerides. But I think there is more to it - not all fish oil supplements contain equal amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

Since I just ran out of omega-3 last weekend, I had to reorder some. I looked at the formula for the very expensive, FDA-approved lovaza omega-3 prescription supplement.
It turns out each 1g capsule of lovawa has 465 mg of EPA and 375mg of DHA. That's an 84% concentration of omega-3 . When one takes the recommended dose of 4 lovaza per day, one gets 1860mg of EPA and 1500mg of DHA.

I compared this with the inexpensive over-the-counter omega-3 my bf was taking which was NOW foods omega-3. See the formula at http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Omega-3-200-Softgels/323?at=0 .
It turns out 2 softgels have 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA, out of 2g of fish oil. This is a typical concentration for omega-3 supplements. But it's only 30% omega-3 ! The other 70% is non-beneficial fat.
By taking 4 of these softgels, my bf was only getting 720mg of EPA and 480mg of DHA per day. That's less half the EPA in lovaza, and less than one third the DHA in lovaza.

So, I didn't reorder this same supplement. Instead, I ordered some new higher concentration supplements :

- Now Ultra omega-3
http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Ultra-Omega-3-500-EPA-250-DHA-180-Softgels/8341?at=0
This one has 500 mg EPA and 250mg DHA per softgel.

- Now DHA-500
http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-DHA-500-500-DHA-250-EPA-180-Softgels/10713?at=0
This one has 500mg of DHA and 250mg DHA per softgel.

By taking three of these Ultra omega-3 softgels, and one DHA-500 softgel, one can get 1750mg of EPA, and 1250mg of DHA. This is fairly close to the omega-3 dosage is lovaza - almost the same for the EPA, and a little less for the DHA.

Basically, what I take out of this is that many over-the-counter fish oil supplement seem to have too low a concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, so you would need to take 10 of them per day to get a therapeutic dose of omega-3 equivalent to a lovaza, which had a clinical study. For those who are struggling with high triglycerides, these higher concentration supplements may be preferable - fewer softgels to swallow. They do cost a bit more than the typical ones, but still less than a prescription lovaza.

Cost comparison on an annual basis for equivalent amounts of EPA/DHA :
- lovaza costs (from drugstore.com) : $1944.44 for 1460 capsules at 4 capsules/day

- normal NOW omega-3 supplement, 180 EPA/120DHA (from iherb.com) : $158/year for 3800 softgels at 10 softgels/day

- NOW ultra omega-3 500 EPA/250DHA (from iherb.com) : $171.85 for 1260 softgels, at 3 softgels/day + NOW 500 DHA/250EPA (from iherb.com) : $56.66 for 360 softgels, at 1 softgel/day. That's a total of $228.51 . It's a bit of a premium to pay, but you get to take only 4 softgels vs 10 . And still much cheaper than taking lozava.

Actually I didn't order from iherb this time - I ordered from allstarhealth.com, as it was a little bit cheaper.

I took delivery of these new omega-3 supplements yesterday. I ordered enough for the next 6 months. I will report on success or failure of these supplements to lower my bf's triglycerides. I am also taking 2 of them myself per day, for bipolar.

Offline GNYC09

  • Member
  • Posts: 702
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2009, 06:56:40 PM »
My nutritionist told me that Omega-3s help reduce cholesterol if it is already high but Omega-3s aren't useful as a preventative measure.  I was surprised to hear this. 

In case you're interested, this site tells you how much Omega-3 is in different fish (including low-mercury ones):

Offline Giblarry

  • Member
  • Posts: 73
  • Desert AIDS Project - Ribbon Man - 2009 Walk logo
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2009, 11:21:59 AM »
Hi everybody,

Fish oil supplemention will not reduce high triglycerides on its own.  Sugar and fat intake must be limited, as well.  This means many things.  White flour products turn to sugar in your system almost immediately.  Use whole grains. 

Another thing that turns to sugar, without any nutritional benefit to speak of, is alcohol.  So, if you're taking 4 or six caps of FO per day while consuming, let's say, 3 or 4 glasses of wine or two drinks after dinner, you effectively cancel out the beneficial effecst of FO.  Now, it's true that red wine is good for your heart - one glass with dinner is quite enough, and grape juice contains the same good ingredient as wine, though it does contains high amounts of sugar.  So, just one glass of that, too. 

Overall, when trying to lower triglycerides, which is important as my partner's quintuple (5) bypass will attest, it is wise to follow a diabetic diet tailored - yes, they exist - to lower triglycerides.  Speak to your specialist. 

Best of luck,
Gib

Offline madbrain

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,208
  • No longer an active member
    • My personal site
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2009, 08:43:52 PM »
Hi,

I think I may have figured out why my bf's triglycerides didn't go down with the omega-3 he was taking. It comes down to not all of the fish oil supplements being equally concentrated in omega-3.
Our doc recommended he takes 4g of fish oil/day because that is the effective dose recommended to lower triglycerides. But I think there is more to it - not all fish oil supplements contain equal amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

Since I just ran out of omega-3 last weekend, I had to reorder some. I looked at the formula for the very expensive, FDA-approved lovaza omega-3 prescription supplement.
It turns out each 1g capsule of lovawa has 465 mg of EPA and 375mg of DHA. That's an 84% concentration of omega-3 . When one takes the recommended dose of 4 lovaza per day, one gets 1860mg of EPA and 1500mg of DHA.

I compared this with the inexpensive over-the-counter omega-3 my bf was taking which was NOW foods omega-3. See the formula at http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Omega-3-200-Softgels/323?at=0 .
It turns out 2 softgels have 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA, out of 2g of fish oil. This is a typical concentration for omega-3 supplements. But it's only 30% omega-3 ! The other 70% is non-beneficial fat.
By taking 4 of these softgels, my bf was only getting 720mg of EPA and 480mg of DHA per day. That's less half the EPA in lovaza, and less than one third the DHA in lovaza.

So, I didn't reorder this same supplement. Instead, I ordered some new higher concentration supplements :

- Now Ultra omega-3
http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Ultra-Omega-3-500-EPA-250-DHA-180-Softgels/8341?at=0
This one has 500 mg EPA and 250mg DHA per softgel.

- Now DHA-500
http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-DHA-500-500-DHA-250-EPA-180-Softgels/10713?at=0
This one has 500mg of DHA and 250mg DHA per softgel.

By taking three of these Ultra omega-3 softgels, and one DHA-500 softgel, one can get 1750mg of EPA, and 1250mg of DHA. This is fairly close to the omega-3 dosage is lovaza - almost the same for the EPA, and a little less for the DHA.

Basically, what I take out of this is that many over-the-counter fish oil supplement seem to have too low a concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, so you would need to take 10 of them per day to get a therapeutic dose of omega-3 equivalent to a lovaza, which had a clinical study. For those who are struggling with high triglycerides, these higher concentration supplements may be preferable - fewer softgels to swallow. They do cost a bit more than the typical ones, but still less than a prescription lovaza.

Cost comparison on an annual basis for equivalent amounts of EPA/DHA :
- lovaza costs (from drugstore.com) : $1944.44 for 1460 capsules at 4 capsules/day

- normal NOW omega-3 supplement, 180 EPA/120DHA (from iherb.com) : $158/year for 3800 softgels at 10 softgels/day

- NOW ultra omega-3 500 EPA/250DHA (from iherb.com) : $171.85 for 1260 softgels, at 3 softgels/day + NOW 500 DHA/250EPA (from iherb.com) : $56.66 for 360 softgels, at 1 softgel/day. That's a total of $228.51 . It's a bit of a premium to pay, but you get to take only 4 softgels vs 10 . And still much cheaper than taking lozava.

Actually I didn't order from iherb this time - I ordered from allstarhealth.com, as it was a little bit cheaper.

I took delivery of these new omega-3 supplements yesterday. I ordered enough for the next 6 months. I will report on success or failure of these supplements to lower my bf's triglycerides. I am also taking 2 of them myself per day, for bipolar.


I am happy to report that the new higher-concentrated fish oil supplements worked for my bf.

He just got his labs and his triglycerides are down to 187 mg/dL, vs 330 six months ago. The normal range is listed as < 199 . So he is finally within normal.

The other good news is that his fasting glucose was 84 mg/dL, which is normal too (normal range 60-99), and he was too high before (102).

His cholesterol did go up, though. The HDL cholesterol (good) went up to 42 from 38, which is good since normal range is >40. LDL also went up from 81 to 125 , though.

I just checked all his previous labs since HIV diagnosis. The doc wasn't checking his triglycerides regularly before this year. The only other triglyceride value I found was on 12/15/08, and it was only 93, but he was on truvada + norvir + reyataz at that point, just before he went back on atripla.

The main bad news on his labs is that his tcells came at only 380 and 20% vs 386 and 26% last time. This is after 2.5 years of HAART, starting with a low of 240 / 9%. The doc noted that he was disappointed in the lack of CD4 increase.

Offline megasept

  • Member
  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2009, 08:52:42 PM »

I know many will disagree with me, but my view is that we should only take those supplements which we need. That said, I do take fish oil ... but I certainly wouldn't be taking it as some sort of general insurance policy.

Luke: I very much like your attitude towards supplements. And yeah, low dose of fish oil for me, too.
 8)  -Steven (aka megasept)


« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 09:00:59 PM by megasept »

Offline megasept

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  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2009, 09:00:12 PM »
I cannot swallow the caps

Denb: I easily take all my capsules (6-7) at one time with a generous swig of water. It's really a question of mind over matter (gag reflex). I think of all my pills as little boats, and the big fat Omega 2 jelly pill as, dunno, liquid gold or something. They surf down my throat at my invitation. Visualization (Start with one, then pairs, then...).

  8) -Steven (aka megasept)



Offline denb45

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,051
  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
Re: Fish Oil Supplements
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2009, 09:24:43 PM »
Denb: I easily take all my capsules (6-7) at one time with a generous swig of water. It's really a question of mind over matter (gag reflex). I think of all my pills as little boats, and the big fat Omega 2 jelly pill as, dunno, liquid gold or something. They surf down my throat at my invitation. Visualization (Start with one, then pairs, then...).

  8) -Steven (aka megasept)




Oh, I can take them (currently taking 4 grams per day)  was taking only 2 grams, but ID Doctor insisted
I take 4 per day.........well it's been over 5 months now w/ the 4 grams.....so, I'll see how that works out but, I won't be able to find that out until after MARCH 2010, that is when I see my Doctor again....wish me luck  ;)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

 


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