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Is omega 3 safe to take in high dose for anxiety disorder, chronic eye strain, chest pain and panic?

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Practicing since : 2003
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Is omega 3 (via fish oil) safe to take in high doses (2000 to 3000 mg daily) for someone with no really serious medical conditions diagnoses (e.g. heart disease or diabetes)? This is ignoring the components other than omega 3 (e.g. fish fat) of many fish oil supplements just the omega 3 component considered. What is the highest doses one can take to maximize benefits from this supplement? And is there much difference between DHA and EPA omega 3's?

Can I expect this to be an effective supplement for aiding with my anxiety disorder, chronic eyestrain, chest pain, and panic? Will it take months to see any improvement from this supplement?
Posted Mon, 13 May 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 3 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

The health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids are best evident when taken in optimal doses. Experts have determined what is known as "Acceptable Intake" (AI) levels for omega 3 fatty acids and this is fixed at 1.6 g per day. The F.D.A. (the apex regulatory body for food and drug safety) has advised that adults can consume a 3 grams per day of combined DHA and EPA, with no more than 2 g per day coming from dietary supplements.

In people with high cardio-vascular risk, some studies have shown that higher doses (up to 4 g) can be more beneficial, but in your case (where you don't have any serious medical condition), high doses are not essential and not recommended. Moreover, it has been found that very high doses of omega 3 supplements can lead to certain risks, like increased bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke.

So, considering all these facts, I would say that in your case, it is best and safe to keep your supplements to a maximum of 2 g. And there is not much difference between DHA and EPA.

Omega 3 supplements have been found to help with a variety of psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, psychosis, ADHD, etc. It may take a few months for you to see the benefits of this, but you should remember that these should be considered as "additional / augment treatments and not as the primary form of treatment for these disorders.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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