As part of my paleo diet experiment, I’ve also been taking a lot of fish oil pills. By “a lot” I mean 10g — that is, 10x 1000mg — pills per day. Of course, before I started, I did what any sane person does these days: pseudo-research on the internet, reading random websites and taking blind stabs at the truth.
The Mayo Clinc’s opinion on fish oil safety says:
Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding, although there is little evidence of significant bleeding risk at lower doses. Very large intakes of fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids (“Eskimo” amounts) may increase the risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. High doses have also been associated with nosebleed and blood in the urine. Fish oils appear to decrease platelet aggregation and prolong bleeding time, increase fibrinolysis (breaking down of blood clots), and may reduce von Willebrand factor.
I do believe we need to introduce the phrase “Eskimo amounts” into the popular lexicon. As in, “Brah, get thee to a clinic! Do you have any idea how many other people your hookup from last night [man-]slutted around with? Eskimo amounts!”
But that’s neither here nor there. Continuing onward, UC Berkeley’s Wellness Letter says:
Large doses of fish oil supplements have potential side effects that include nausea, diarrhea, belching, and a bad taste in the mouth. Large doses of fish oil can also increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, suppress the immune system, and decrease glucose control in people with diabetes.
Bah! Why waste time on the intarwebs when my good friend Jess, a soon-to-be Registered Dietician, can give me free, personalized advice? She wrote:
Do an experiment with the bottle you have and go big until it’s gone. See what happens. Give it a couple days to get into your system. You can’t really overdose on fish oil. If you are taking huge doses and get a deep cut, you might not clot as well.
I love that — “experiment on yourself! you can’t overdose! but… maybe stay away from sharp objects…” Did I mention the advice was free?
Well, of course, I trust Jess’s common sense folk-wisdom based on… I’m not really sure… over some random page on the intartron, so go big I did. That’s what friends do — trust each other. “Check out this jawesome wombat-page, it’s so sweet!” “Gnnaaaak! Stop sending me pictures of that octopus eating a cat!”
And finally, we learn from the WSJ that fish oil may prevent schizophrenia. Bonus!
Researchers in the new study identified 81 people with warning signs of psychosis, including sleeping much more or less than usual, growing suspicious of others, believing someone is putting thoughts in their head or believing they have magical powers. Forty-one were randomly assigned to take four fish oil pills a day for three months. The other patients took dummy pills.
After a year of monitoring, 2 of the 41 patients in the fish oil group, or about 5%, had become psychotic, or completely out of touch with reality. In the placebo group, 11 of 40 became psychotic, about 28%.
I love that the journalist clarifies that to be psychotic is to be “completely out of touch with reality”. By that definition, I know many psychotic people. They typically make product schedules and expect engineering staff to adhere to them.
In other news, I am sleeping more, am quite skeptical of Obama’s budget plan, and have been listening to a lot of NPR lately. On the other hand, I’ve always thought that I’ve had magical powers, such as the ability to eat 10g of fish oil per day without diarrhea or belching.