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A Nutrition PhD Debunks This Common (& Fear-Inducing) Omega-3 Myth

It’s a question Ferira previously discussed when it comes to fish oil supplements: Can you get too many omega-3s? It’s a common concern–even propagated by many health care professionals–that extremely high omega-3 intake may contribute to blood thinning and reduce blood clotting.

But according to Ferira, at normal intake levels (like from a fish oil supplement) and even very high levels none of us are consuming, this is nothing more than an old wives’ tale: “The fact is, a quick look at the body of epidemiologic and clinical trial research over the past 30 years demonstrates, from multiple systematic reviews and meta-analyses, that there is, in fact, no increased risk for bleeding when people consume a total daily amount of EPA + DHA as low as 500 milligrams and as high as 10 grams (10,000 milligrams!),” she says regarding omega-3 supplements.

Ferira goes on to say, “Even if you wanted to be incredibly conservative and apply a random safety factor of 2 and make that daily max 5 grams (5,000 milligrams) of EPA plus DHA, those are not omega-3 levels that supplements provide. Period.”

You see, this link between fish oil and blood thinning began decades ago, due to the fact that omega-3s interact with platelets–which are cell fragments in the blood that play an integral role in clotting.* Over the years, this role with platelets has been blown way out of proportion: “In this case, a textbook physiological mechanism, that omega-3s can impact platelets, has been used to broadly fearmonger against completely safe doses of omega-3s found in supplements,” says Ferira.

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