T Nation

Fish Oil Dosage + Mercury?

Hi everyone,

I’ve always been under the assumption that fish oil can be pretty safe for even super high levels of intake (CT I think once recommended up to 30g a day)…in fact I never equated any amount of fish oil to ever be unsafe.

Recently I had a pharmacist tell me that even 10g a day is excessive and leads to increases in LDL cholesterol. I feel like she’s full of shit, as my cholesterol levels are stellar. There are a ton of knowledgeable people here, and I’m curious where you get your sources from that recommend higher dosages.

So far, WebMD, MayoClinic and the WHO are recommending no more than 2g fish oil a day; obviously, these organizations tend to make gross understatements about acceptable amounts so they can cover their asses, not to mention these dosages are recommended across all adults over 18, so this does not take into account BMI, bone density, etc. So I’m starting to question where we came up with these super high amounts.

Also, I was under the assumption that fish oil was stripped of its mercury from the fish…is there still reason to concern yourself about mercury with fish oil?

In regards to the fish oil and LDL, my nutrition prof last week (very conveniently) mentioned that excess PUFA intake could raise cholesterol, and validated this with a pretty graph from a study showing at what dose LDL increased in response to PUFA ingestion. The study was nutrigenomic in nature.

Also, it wasn’t clear whether he was talking about % intake of diet, or overall PUFA intake; so what I say should be a guide and not a rule.

I would say that since your cholesterol levels are stellar, that you are fine. However it seems there is genetic variance in what level of PUFA people are able to tolerate. (Which is my guess why the pharmacist was aprehensive, if a genetically susceptible person got hurt from that advice the pharmacist would be in trouble)

(For you scholars, I was able to jot down “Lovegrove and Gitav, 2008” before the slide changed, Lovegrove seems to be a lipid researcher in nutrigenomics, but I cannot find the actual abstract on Pubmed)

And as far as I know, the recommendations of those high amounts are for insulin sensitizing effects of EPA. (I personally supplement a lot since I take vinpocetine and ALA for neural antioxidation and want as much DHA as possible). Mayo clinic may restrict to recommendation to what is proven but not excessive out of fear of ‘lipid peroxidation’, neural antioxidants aren’t the most abundantly consumed thing among normal people.

As for mercury, that is what I thought as well. However I would imagine that it is up to the company’s discretion. I would assume Biotest is good for mercury levels as they actually have people on their boards who would check up on the claims and not follow them like sheep. Smart consumers = more reliable company. (Kind of like Life extension foundation as well).