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.

Triglycerides and Cholesterol

Wednesday, 19 August 2009 03:47 PM

Question: Will fish oil lower triglycerides but increase bad cholesterol?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Generally, fish oil is a healthy replacement for the heavily saturated oils so common in American diets. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation derived from fish oil has earned a place in the management of lipid disorders and is now approved for decreasing risk in patients who have elevated triglycerides. Often triglycerides are reduced, and the HDL (good) cholesterol actually improves and LDL cholesterol decreases when fish oil supplementation is initiated. I recommend that your cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and triglycerides be monitored for changes when fish oil is added as a supplement for cardiac and vascular disease risk reduction.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week. Those with coronary artery disease are recommended to consume one gram of omega-3 fatty acids daily, preferably through diet. Supplementation with an omega-3 supplement with EPA and DHA (components of fish oil) under physician supervision is acceptable if dietary amounts fall short. At present, the American Heart Association recommends that people with high triglycerides take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with two to four grams of EPA and DHA daily under medical supervision. This regimen is remarkably useful for many patients who would otherwise have no choice but to take expensive prescription drugs.

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