Fish Oil Supplements - Whats your take?

Hi all,

as a trained pharmacist I don’t believe much in supplements or all different kind of little helpers, yet fish oil is something that comes up consistently.

Whats your take? Do you take supplements…why? How much?

Curious to hear

Here’s my go-to for supplement information:

As someone who is also naturally a bit suspicious of supplements, I take fish oil, Vitamin D, Calcium, and potassium.

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As an environmental chemist, I stay far away from fish oil. (and that’s beside the whole supplement topic).
The TL:DR: Fish oil has crazy high levels of all kinds of environmental contaminants.

I’ll try to explain a bit more in detail:
There have been many environmental contaminants we unleashed over the past 60 years or so. Many of them banned or restricted by now. Things like DDT, PCBs or Dioxins. The problem with these compounds (and many others) is that they don’t degrade, meaning they stay around for decades. And they are fat soluble, which means they are not easily excreted by organisms, but rather accumulate in fatty tissue.
This brings me to the phenomenon of biomagnification. It goes like this: contaminants start out with relatively low levels, say dissolved in the seawater or bound to bits of organic matter. Then small organisms (Krill and whatnot) consume a lot of the contaminated stuff, and since the contaminants don’t easily leave the body, it starts to concentrate in their tissue (this is called bioaccumulation). Then fish eat a lot of the smaller organisms, with the same effect. The contaminants concentrate even more in the tissue of the fish. Then bigger fish eats lots of smaller fish, and even bigger fish eats smaller fish… and so on. All this basically means some contaminants concentrate up the food chain, often by orders of magnitude.
Fish oil (capsules) are usually derived from Cod, which is a predator fish, so it’s quite high up in the food chain. And to reiterate, these specific contaminants concentrate in the fatty tissue, so the fish oil is the part of the fish that has by far the highest concentrations of said contaminants.
Every time you consume fish oil and the containing contaminants will also accumulate in your body over your lifetime. This is especially important for women since about half of the accumulated chemical load is given to their children. (If you have older siblings, you should thank them, for taking a hit for you :grin:)

While there can be cases where the benefits of fish oil may outweigh the cost of increasing the chemical load on your body, for most people it’s probably best to stay away.

1 Like is my go to - they do a great job of collating and summarising relevant research in my opinion:

FWIW, I take 1g EPA / 0.5g DHA over two doses every day and have done for the last I-don’t-even-know how many years.

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Fish oil and collagen are the only supplements I do take, based largely on the TR podcast! Chad seems to have gone seriously deep on this, figure I don’t have the time, interest or aptitude to reach any better conclusions on my own. Everything else I’m pretty confident I can get from eating well, but no way am I going to be eating bone broth or other collagen sources in sufficient quantities. I’ve got more chance of getting enough fish oil naturally - my current favourite working from home lunch is a microwaved sweet potato topped with tinned mackerel or sardines in tomato sauce with plenty of veg, seems to tick the boxes of tasty, cheap, easy to make and nutritious! But fish oil supplements are also pretty cheap so don’t see any harm in taking them as well.

I know nothing about the supplements but I work with sport nutritionist and on my list of supplements are:

  1. Omega 3 NamedSport
  2. Beta-Alanine NamedSport
  3. Creatine (from the local company)
  4. D3 (I know I have to take it, my blood test results show so the dose is suited to my needs)
  5. Cherry Active from
  6. Whey protein (not too much of it)

In the off season I don’t use any supplements beside D3 vitamin.

I like to experiment on supplements before I write them off.

FO is one that actually helps in joint pain reduction/elimination for me. 10 years pain free after starting FO.

If you have no pain or inflamation, why are you looking into it?

Many natural supplements work wonders for performance, recovery and looks and others not so much. It depends on the individual, the dosage, and the brand.

The reason the medical industry trains their “professionals” not to trust supplements is due to a conflict of business interests that promotes prescriptions. As such, I don’t believe much in pharmaceticals or their “shots” in terms of benefiting long term health. In fact, the healthiest, longest living individuals do not take tons of pharmaceticals if any at all–they all stick to natural foods and natural food based supplements.

And yes, most of my family is neck deep in the pharma industry and make good “blood” money from it.