Here at Ocean, Dr’s Wilson and McGinty are strong advocates of the use of Omega-3 fish oil for the health of your eyes, especially when a patient has dry eyes. We decided to interview our optometrists to find out more and answer some of the common questions that you may have about Omega-3 fish oils and the eyes.
1. Why Omega-3 fish oil? Won’t flax seed or hemp oil do?
“There are 3 acids that make a complete omega 3 molecule. These are ALA, DHA and EPA. ALA is found mainly in nuts and plants, e.g. walnuts and flax seed, but to a lesser degree in fish. DHA and EPA are found to be more concentrated in fish derived Omega 3.” Dr. Wilson explains.
“Until recently, this wasn’t considered an issue as all Omega-3 was really considered equally beneficial. More recently, however, studies have found that the processing of ALA in the human body isn’t nearly as efficient. It’s conversion to the more usable DHA derivative is limited and slow.”
“Now, I’m not saying there are no benefits to the ALA form.” Dr. Wilson adds, “It’s still beneficial as a supplement for vegans and vegetarians who may wish not to take the fish oil, but you need to consume approximately 80% more than the equivalent fish oil supplement to achieve the same effect.”
2. When should I take my fish oil?
Dr. McGinty responded, “Conventional reasoning states that Omega-3 supplementation should take place with meals, or just prior to meals. Probably to help combat the fishy aftertaste that is sometimes encountered by some and also to promote good uptake through digestion. It is also wise not to take fish oil prior to working out as this may cause gastrict distress.”
“Did you know that I used to have really trouble with taking them?” Dr. Wilson asks, “Then I was chatting about them with a retired pharmacist who said “Why don’t you just freeze them and take them at night before bed?” I was amazed that this worked so quite often will recommend this to my patients and so far no-one has complained of any gastric distress through the night”
“I had never heard of that” remarked a surprised Dr. McGinty, “every day’s a school day!”
“Indeed! I would value your feedback if anyone tries it (good or bad I’m interested) so if you do try this tip, please e-mail me with how you get on: [email protected].”
3. How much fish oil should I take?
“Now, as optometrists we are dealing with the eyes primarily, but have to remember that the eyes are connected to the rest of the body and therefore have to consider any potential side effects.” explains Dr. Wilson, “I never recommend more than the daily recommended amount of Omega-3 fish oil, which is between 900-1200mg/day. This amount should contain a minimum of 600mg of DHA so check those labels carefully.”
Dr. McGinty adds, “Sometimes you actually have to take 2-3 times the amount of “oil” to get the appropriate concentrations depending on the quality and type of fish oil you choose.
There are also times that amounts higher than this that may be recommended by your Physician for other health issues, especially increased blood triglycerides, but this is done in careful consideration of any other medications you’re taking at the time. Omega-3 acids can both enhance and decrease the effectiveness of a number of medications.”
“Absolutely” agrees Dr. Wilson, “There is even evidence that excessive amounts of Omega-3 can, in some people, increase their risk of stroke. I, for one, believe in everything in moderation so the daily recommended amount values sit well within my ethics and personal feelings.”
To be continued …/ (Part 2)