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Tips on fish oil

Side-effects of fish liver oil

I've been taking a fish oil supplement for about 15 years, the last 10 as liquid, as it's better value. But in my experience I'd urge caution with the recommended dose of a 5 ml teaspoon.

Several years ago I saw the results of a study which appeared to show a beneficial effect up to a certain dose and then showed less efficacy as the dose increased. It maybe should have rung alarm bells, but I ignored it.

Two years ago I developed a heart arrhythmia, which I was told was normal for my age (65) and to get on with life. I went back twice more as it became more pronounced but was assured it was ok. I did the usual research to try to find an answer as in my mind I remained unconvinced.

Ten months ago I saw the results of an American study that indicated fish oil in larger doses could cause a range of symptoms which included heart arrhythmia and prostate cancer. I stopped the fish oil supplement and within a week it was improving and after a month it was back to normal and has been since then.

I haven't had the courage to return to a lower dose but will do eventually.
Stuart, via email (Winter 2015)

Fish oil is cheaper by the spoon 

In Arthritis Today Spring 2014, you recommend taking 'one or two fish oil capsules daily' instead of oily fish. I'd like to point out that it's much less expensive to take the oil by the spoonful from a bottle, rather than taking the capsules.
Helen, via email (Summer 2014)

Taking omega 3 and cutting out omega 6

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands 22 years ago, at the age of 60. My hands and wrists became swollen and it was difficult to even turn a door handle.

As I can’t take painkillers I did some research and found too much omega 6 can lead to arthritis, while omega 3 can help with symptoms. I stopped taking evening primrose oil and cut spreads and red meat out of my diet – all containing omega 6.

I started eating oily fish and taking omega 3 fish oil capsules and glucosamine and chondroitin tablets daily. I thought I'd be stuck with useless hands for life, but to my surprise the pain disappeared. What worked for me might work for others.
Dorothy (Winter 2015)

All hints and tips are provided by readers of our Arthritis Today magazine and aren’t necessarily the views of Arthritis Research UK.

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