How much fish oil

How much fish oil is an important question because you can overdose.

Fish soup.

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 22nd August, 2019.

First some interesting research about inflammation and sepsis.

Using a standard research procedure called a randomised clinical trial, medical doctors in Portugal injected fish oil directly into the blood stream of twenty five desperately ill patients suffering from systemic sepsis; infection that has spread throughout the body through the blood stream or lymphatics. They measured various inflammatory markers and of course how the patient fared.


So, how did the group injected with fish oil compare to the control group who received the standard treatment? What were the results?

  1. The inflammatory markers in the body decreased dramatically.
  2. There was a significant increase in oxygen in the blood.
  3. Hospitalisation was reduced to twenty eight days compared with 82 days for the non fish oil control group.
  4. However the mortality was the same in both groups. Equal numbers died.

The researchers' conclusions were emphatic.

Inclusion of salmon oil intravenously to seriously ill patients with septisemia in intensive care increases plasma omega-3. For more about these vital fatty acids, see our fish page.

It also modified inflammatory circulating cytokine concentrations in the blood and increased its oxygen-carrying capacity.

This also meant a much shorter hospital stay for those who lived, but unfortunately equal numbers of these seriously ill people died.

This research was published in the journal of critical care in 2010.

As a side note, there are three omega-3 fatty acids; alpha linolenic acid is good stuff, but not proven to reduce heart disease like the other two.

Then there are two others; one is called eicosa pentaenoic acid.

The other is docosa hexaenoic acid. They both come from fatty fish, whereas the alpha form is found primarily in nuts and seeds.

Flax seeds and walnuts are the richest source of alpha linolenic acid.

Why on a chiropractic help site you may well ask?

Chiropractic is about joints and mobility, and a healthy nervous system is vitally dependent on these omega three fatty acids; they are also strongly anti-inflammatory.

Omega 3

Vegetarians can survive without those two from fish oil, as the vegetable omega 3 can be converted to EPA and DHA.

However, research has been less convincing that ALA gives the protection that EPA and DHA give against heart and blood vessel disease. How much fish oil remains pertinent.

  • ALA alpha linolenic acid.
  • EPA eicosa pentaenoic acid
  • DHA docosa hexaenoic acid
Fish faces at how much oil.

Fish oil health benefits

There is now overwhelming evidence that fish oil health benefits include

  1. A healthier immune system (as seen in the research above).
  2. Helps prevent heart attack. Heart attack signs.

  3. Improves bone strength.Causes of osteoporosis.
  4. Important in building healthy hyaline cartilage. Whilst this is true for every single person, it's interesting that orthopaedic surgeons are now recommending fish oil after surgery to help restore healthy bones and joints. Hyaline cartilage.
  5. Controlling the inflammation associated with arthritis. Symptoms of arthritis in knee.
  6. Memory, blood sugar, inflammation in other organs, and especially arteries and veins; in short we should all be eating more fish.

How much fish oil

How much fish oil is obviously an important question. The American Heart Association recommends at least two helpings of cold water salmon, for example, per week. You could safely double that.

If you are taking the tablets, then two soft gels or one teaspoon is how much fish oil is recommended per day. You cannot overdose on that, unless you suffer from some very rare autoimmune diseases, in which case you should consult with your doctor.

Having said that there is a suggestion that taking more than three capsules can cause a serious bleed due to its anti-coagulant properties.

First choice, get your omega-3 from fatty fish, flax seed and walnuts. There, you cannot possibly overdose and you have all the other benefits of real food. We need to get away from the idea that vitamins and minerals, fatty acids and the like come out of a bottle.

See our healthy living tips page for more information.

Smoked mackerel recipes are one of the easiest and most delicious ways to increase your omega-3 levels. Precooked, it is immediately available, with no fuss and in the Netherlands at least is very cheap.

Ways to cook salmon

Never think of vitamin, mineral tablets and, for example, fish oil soft gels as an alternative to healthy living foods. They are supplements, not food. Here at ways to cook salmon you'll find some easy recipes that fit in with our slow food made fast philosophy.

  • Smoked salmon dip recipe.
  • Mackerel recipes.

Because of many links to our two sister sites, and we have been accused of being a link farm, a dreaded connotation. It's irritating but to find links to the subjects in bold you have to copy and paste them into the site search function in the navigation bar on your left.


With patients often complaining of many joints and muscles throughout the body aching, and even signs of inflammation of the blood vessels, a systemic approach is needed rather than just treating the pain in the feet, and the shoulders and the lower back.

More is needed, and in particular an anti inflammatory diet; that should include more fatty fish, a change to olive oil to lower the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and foods that have for example capsaicin; the active soothing ingredient in the pepper family. That should include some chilis, or jalapenos or pepperdews oddly; have some form daily.

Red hot jalapenos.

Chiropractic help

In every chiropractic help practice I'm sure it remains a mystery why some patients with severe problems respond quickly whilst others' little pains seem to continue for ever. Clearly there no one single answer yet I believe it's central whether my patients are getting sufficient omega-3, and that's where how much fish oil comes in.

I still back fatty salmon, herring and mussels and the like over capsules of fish oil. On the other days we should be using freshly ground flax seed on our cereal and in our baking. A daily source of anti inflammatory omega 3 is very important to reduce the inflammation in the body.

In this regard, a daily source of choline and betaine is important too; they are vitamin like substances that enable the body to methylate toxic homocysteine, a normal breakdown product of protein metabolism; but a very inflammatory one. There's a lot of research about how it causes cardiovascular disease and senile dementia; and birth defects.

  • Choline food sources
  • What is betaine?

Google appears to frown on too many links, so phrases in bold, like those above and below, need to be put into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left if you want more information.


  1. Chiropractic Help
  2. Early Symptoms of Arthritis
  3. How much fish oil

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

Are you looking for a different slant on your pain?

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Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.