I take medications for blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis, five drugs in all. My doctor is happy with my progress but my wife is urging me to take fish oils to lower my blood pressure. I am not a vitamin type of person, but I don’t like some of the side effects I’m experiencing on the medications. What should I do?”
–G.S. Tampa, Florida
Answer: Stay on your medications until your physician tells you otherwise and listen to your wife. When you supplement with fish oils (or cod liver oil), over time, your body should start behaving more efficiently. Undertake this with your physician’s blessings and supervision, because at some point, the combination of your fish oil supplements with your medications might cause dizziness or light-headedness. This could mean an unusual drop in blood pressure, or blood sugar has taken place. It’s your cue that a drug dosage needs to be reduced, or a drug eliminated by your physician.
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most well-researched dietary supplement in the world. It’s the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in fish oils that improve the way your cells ‘talk’ to one another and suppress pain-causing chemicals. In some people, fish oils help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol ratios, thin the blood, and reduce pain. Other conditions that may benefit from fish oil include depression, constipation, and eczema. Omega 3 fish oils could be the number one simplest, most cost-effective fix for someone with heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disorders and arthritis.
The American Heart Association hasn’t advocated that people buy fish oil supplements yet, but they do concede that eating certain types of seafood that contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. And speaking of food, if you eat a lot of fried goodies, meats or vegetable oils, you will need bigger doses of omega 3 fish oils to compensate for the bad fats in your diet. So how do you get more of these beneficial omega 3s?
Eat wild-caught seafood such as mackerel, herring, tuna, Arctic char, cod or salmon. Farm-raised seafood does not contain the same amount of healthy omega 3s that wild-caught does.
Buy natural fish oil supplements over-the-counter. Krill or Cod liver oil are two other incredible sources of omega 3s. Always take these with food to enhance absorption. I know of two companies that assure their products are free of ocean contaminants: Udo’s Choice and Nordic Naturals brand.
You can also take a prescription drug called Lovaza, but this is last on my list because it’s just an expensive, patented version of regular natural fish oils; this drug form may have more side effects than regular fish oils sold without prescription.
Did You Know?
Acetaminophen is found in many cold remedies, sleep aids and pain medications. Be careful not to combine those because it could damage your liver.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.