Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Components of Fish Oil

Monday, 22 June 2009 03:44 PM

Question: I am confused about fish oil. Are the fatty acids EPA and DHA the important components in fish oil?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Yes, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil that are best for cardiac risk reduction are DHA and EPA. DHA is the better of the two. These fatty acid components of fish oil have been shown to be beneficial for circulatory and cardiac health and are useful additions to many patients who want to modify and stabilize their lipid risk factors. Fish such as mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are especially rich in these beneficial fatty acids.

We recommend 2 to 4 grams a day as a diet supplement, especially for those with elevated triglycerides or at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Diets with supplements in excess of 3 grams should be physician-supervised. We recognize that omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, will reduce harmful triglyceride levels, reduce blood pressure elevations, and decrease the accumulation of plaque within narrowed blood vessels. In addition, we have good evidence to support decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease when they are appropriately supplemented in at-risk populations.

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