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Norway: No high-dose omega-3 adverse effects

2 commentsBy Shane Starling , 04-Jul-2011
Last updated on 04-Jul-2011 at 15:06 GMT2011-07-04T15:06:37Z

No serious adverse effects at high doses of omega-3s, conclude Norwegian authorities
No serious adverse effects at high doses of omega-3s, conclude Norwegian authorities

Norwegian authorities have conducted a safety review of omega-3 forms EPA and DHA and found no adverse effects up to levels as high as 6.9g per day for certain conditions – a level far in excess of recent German recommendations of 1.5g/day.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) surveyed dosage levels and effects for a host of conditions including bleeding times; lipid peroxidation; inflammation and immunity; glucose metabolism and gastrointestinal disturbances.

After surveying the literature, they found that adverse effects were not present below 6.9g for bleeding times and concluded: "no tolerable upper intake level could be established."

“Overall, the report supports the assertion that normal intakes of EPA and DHA are safe, and even at the higher pharmaceutical dosages in use today, only minor issues have been observed,” said omega-3 trade group, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).

Other negative effects were referenced in selected trials at 3.5g for lipid peroxidation; 5g for certain inflammation markers and 6g for gastrointestinal issues.

No need for an upper intake level

“Negative health effects regarding gastrointestinal function, including abdominal cramps, flatulence, eructation, vomiting and diarrhea, have been reported, but seem to be associated with intake of an oily substance and not ascribed specifically to EPA and/or DHA,” the VKM report concluded.

“Based on the reviewed literature, it is not possible to identify clear adverse effects from EPA and/or DHA, which can be used for setting tolerable upper intake levels.”

Of ALA it said: “In the studies investigating ALA, no negative health effects have been observed. Intake of ALA from linseed oil and margarine up to 8g/day in addition to the contribution from a Western diet has not shown any negative health effects and it is therefore no rationale to set an upper tolerable intake level for ALA.”

But it said omega-3 health benefits were down to EPA and DHA, not ALA directly.

The report can be found here.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Bleeding Times

It has been generally recommended for omega 3 takers to be warned their blood viscosity and bleeding times could be adversely affected. It was an incorrect assumption by most doctors.

As this study can attest, bleeding times are not affected even at high omega 3 dosages.

Please read,

Report abuse

Posted by Alfredo E.
08 July 2011 | 18h142011-07-08T18:14:55Z


I've seen in some studies the researchers in order to 'limit' adverse effects of the fish oil, they add vitamin E. In other studies if one disregards some 'markers' of oxidation then one doesn't get a TRUE idea of the oxidation in the body.
DID the researchers inspect EVERY marker for oxidation ? How long was the study ?

"With fish-oil supplementation, there was no evidence of increased lipid peroxidation when assessed by plasma F2-isoprostanes and MDA, although plasma TBARS was higher than with sunflower-oil and safflower-oil supplementation."
"Tuffs University in Boston showed that after several months of high dose fish oil that the subjects experienced a reduction in Vitamin E levels"

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Posted by Tom Hennessy
05 July 2011 | 18h412011-07-05T18:41:58Z

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