High Cholesterol: Eating Fish and Fish Oil
Eating fish, at least 2 servings each week, is part of a heart-healthy diet. Some people take fish oil supplements to help lower triglycerides. Fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides but do not help lower cholesterol.
Eating fish may help lower your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat at least 2 servings of fish a week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best for your heart. These fish include tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, because these fish have higher mercury concentrations. But for middle-aged and older people, the protection that fish gives the heart outweighs the risks of eating these fish. Eating a variety of fish may reduce the amount of mercury you eat.
Some people with high triglycerides may take a prescription omega-3 fatty acids medicine (such as Lovaza). This medicine is a highly concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil. This medicine is used along with diet and lifestyle changes for high triglycerides. This medicine may raise LDL cholesterol levels slightly. So if you take Lovaza, your doctor may closely watch your cholesterol levels.
Fish oil capsules that you can buy without a prescription can have significant side effects. Because of these side effects, most doctors recommend eating 2 or 3 servings of fish a week rather than taking fish oil capsules. The side effects of fish oil capsules include:
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