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The Comprehensive Guide to Fish Oil and Cholesterol Management

Understanding Fish Oil: A Deep Dive into Its Composition and Sources

Fish oil, a vital supplement for health enthusiasts, is derived from oily fish, which offers a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This oil, primarily sourced from fish like salmon, mackerel, and anchovies, is available in various forms, including capsules, pills, and liquids. Each form provides a potent dose of omega-3s, crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health and supporting other bodily functions. Not all Omega-3 supplements on the market are derived from fish. Lab made Omega-3s are structurally different and known as ethyl esters, which are reported to be significantly less bioavailable when compared to fish derived omega-3.


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Salmon or other fatty fish should be eatten twice a week to get your Omega-3s.

The Role of Fish Oil in Cholesterol Regulation

Fish oil's influence on cholesterol levels centers around its omega-3 fatty acids content, particularly Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These compounds are instrumental in modulating cholesterol levels, offering potential benefits for those seeking to manage their cholesterol effectively.


The Omega-3 Power: DHA and EPA's Impact on Cholesterol

Omega-3 fatty acids, the stars of fish oil, play a pivotal role in cholesterol management. DHA and EPA, the primary types of omega-3s in fish oil, contribute to cardiovascular health by:

Reducing Triglycerides: Both DHA and EPA are known to lower triglycerides, a type of fat linked to heart disease. (1)

Modulating HDL and LDL Levels: While DHA may increase HDL (good cholesterol) and potentially raise LDL (bad cholesterol), EPA's effects on these cholesterol types are more nuanced.

Despite the complex interaction with LDL cholesterol, the overall impact of fish oil on cholesterol profile is considered beneficial, particularly due to its triglyceride-lowering effect.


Advantages and Considerations: Weighing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Fish Oil

While fish oil offers several health benefits, ranging from joint stiffness alleviation to brain health support, it's crucial to consider both sides of the coin.


Benefits of Fish Oil: Beyond Cholesterol Management

Heart Health: Regular intake of fish oil is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Lower cholesterol, improve HDL, lower triglycerides, brain health, fight depression, dry eye, lower inflammation, clear skin
Fish oil based Omega-3's are cardio protective.

Brain and Eye Health: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function and vision, making fish oil a valuable supplement for cognitive and eye health. (2, 3)

Joint and Skin Health: Fish oil's anti-inflammatory properties may reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and improve skin health. (4, 5)

Mental Health: Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to modulate the mechanisms of brain cell signaling, including the dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways. In particular, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been shown beneficial in the treatment of depressive symptoms in unipolar and bipolar depression. (6, 7)

Potential Drawbacks and Precautions

Fishy Aftertaste: Some users report a fishy aftertaste, although many supplements are now designed to minimize this issue. Fermented fish oils have more free fatty acids particles which tend to oxidize and acquire that fishy smell more quickly than non-fermented fish oils.

Interaction with Medications: Fish oil may interact with certain medications, particularly those affecting blood clotting.

Effect on LDL Cholesterol: For individuals with already high LDL levels, the potential increase in LDL due to fish oil warrants a discussion with a healthcare provider.

Empowering Your Health: Monitoring and Enhancing Cholesterol Levels with Fish Oil

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Fish oil Supplement

Incorporating fish oil into your diet can be a strategic move for managing cholesterol levels. To maximize its benefits:

1.       Choose the Right Supplement: Opt for high-quality fish oil supplements that provide a balance of DHA and EPA.

2.       Monitor Your Cholesterol: Regular cholesterol checks, either through home tests or healthcare providers, can help you understand the impact of fish oil on your cholesterol levels.

3.      Consult Healthcare Professionals: Before starting any supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or take other medications, seeking professional advice is crucial.

In conclusion, fish oil stands out as a highly effective natural therapy with the potential to positively improve cholesterol levels, when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan in  addition to have numerous other health benefits. By making smart choices in selecting quality fish oil supplements AND monitoring its effects with regular lab work, individuals can harness the power of fish oil to support their overall health and well-being.

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1.       Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2019;Aug 19:[Epub ahead of print].

2.     Rodríguez González-Herrero ME, Ruiz M, López Román FJ, Marín Sánchez JM, Domingo JC. Supplementation with a highly concentrated docosahexaenoic acid plus xanthophyll carotenoid multivitamin in nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy: prospective controlled study of macular function by fundus microperimetry. Clin Ophthalmol. 2018 May 29;12:1011-1020. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S157635. PMID: 29881256; PMCID: PMC5983010.

3.     Bos DJ, Oranje B, Veerhoek ES, Van Diepen RM, Weusten JM, Demmelmair H, Koletzko B, de Sain-van der Velden MG, Eilander A, Hoeksma M, Durston S. Reduced Symptoms of Inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep;40(10):2298-306. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.73. Epub 2015 Mar 19. PMID: 25790022; PMCID: PMC4538345.

4.     Allaire J, Couture P, Leclerc M, Charest A, Marin J, Lépine MC, Talbot D, Tchernof A, Lamarche B. A randomized, crossover, head-to-head comparison of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid supplementation to reduce inflammation markers in men and women: the Comparing EPA to DHA (ComparED) Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug;104(2):280-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.131896. Epub 2016 Jun 8. PMID: 27281302.

5.     Dawczynski C, Dittrich M, Neumann T, Goetze K, Welzel A, Oelzner P, Völker S, Schaible AM, Troisi F, Thomas L, Pace S, Koeberle A, Werz O, Schlattmann P, Lorkowski S, Jahreis G. Docosahexaenoic acid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study with microalgae vs. sunflower oil. Clin Nutr. 2018 Apr;37(2):494-504. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.02.021. Epub 2017 Mar 6. PMID: 28302406.

6.     McNamara RK. Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Etiology, Treatment, and Prevention of Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. J Nutr Intermed Metab. 2016 Sep;5:96-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jnim.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 May 4. PMID: 27766299; PMCID: PMC5067138.

7.     Bozzatello P, Brignolo E, De Grandi E, Bellino S. Supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Psychiatric Disorders: A Review of Literature Data. J Clin Med. 2016 Jul 27;5(8):67. doi: 10.3390/jcm5080067. PMID: 27472373; PMCID: PMC4999787.

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