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Fish Oil & Eye Health

by Vin Kutty on March 1, 2011

We often hear that fish oil is good for this. Or that.

But we still don’t know a lot about HOW the Omega-3 in fish oil actually makes these health benefits happen.

Sure, we know for certain that Omega-3 reduces triglycerides. After all, the FDA approved drug Lovaza is pharmaceutical grade fish oil. And it’s used to treat familial hypertriglyceridemia, an inherited condition in which people have very high triglycerides.

Fish oil reduces triglyceride by doing the following:

  1. Reduction of VLDL production by the liver
  2. Ramping up the removal of VLDL from the blood

VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) are rich in triglycerides and since fish oil exerts its influence on VLDL, you will notice a difference in the triglyceride levels. Reference here.

fish oil vldl triglyceride reduction

But what about other health conditions?

Like eyesight.

Fish oil is very important to eye health. After all, there is a lot of Omega-3 stored in your eye balls.

Recently, researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston figured out how Omega-3 helps prevent retinopathy.

Retinopathy is a disease where leaky blood vessels in the retina causes blindness. It’s one of the leading causes of blindness, affecting over 4 million Americans, especially if you have diabetes.

Omega-3 is highly concentrated in the retina.

Here’s what the researchers found about the actual biological MECHANISM of how fish oil helps with eye health:

  1. Omega-3 decreased inflammatory messaging in the eye
  2. Omega-3 promotes the growth of healthy blood vessels and limits the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

fish oil eye health
The researchers found that a compound called 4-HDHA, made from Omega-3 DHA is responsible for this.

That was not the only discovery.

They also found that taking more Omega-3 helps improve insulin sensitivity for those battling diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Now, the researchers are going to turn their attention to harmful Omega-6 fatty acid and its byproducts.

“We found the good guys, now we’ll look for the bad ones,” said Dr. Lois Smith.

Other Fish Oil & Eye Health Studies

You may have heard of AREDS. It stands for Age Related Eye Disease Study.
fish oil areds2 eye disease trial
It’s an ongoing study that is evaluating the addition of lutein, zeaxanthin and EPA + DHA Omega-3 in preventing eye disease. The results are not ready for release, but visit their site here to find out more.

Stay tuned – I’ll report any findings here as soon as they are published.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog do not constitute medical advice. This is merely an open discussion of the science behind health and nutrition. Please consult your physician for medical advice.

Author Vin Kutty is an expert on fish oil & eye health About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.


pharmaceutical grade fish oil

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean McQuade April 13, 2013 at 7:38 am

Just noticed typo error in your article – if you please excuse me for pointing it out
You may have heart – should it be (heard)
Thank you for great info in the article as I have bad problems with red eyes and will start taking more fish oil capsules see how it goes.
Respectfullysean

Reply

Vin Kutty April 14, 2013 at 12:38 am

Hi Sean – fixed. Thank you!

Reply

kim January 26, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I have bad dry eyes and feel like they have allergies and always red, doctor thinks I might have a cataract starting, but the dryness is really bother some, would this help.

Reply

Vin Kutty January 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Hi Kim – dry eyes can be helped with Omega-3. Aim for about 2000 mg of Omega-3 per day. But just that may not be enough: you may have to reduce Omega-6 from vegetable oils and some people also need to eliminate gluten. You may also need to go on a 3-day elimination diet where you limit your diet to strictly vegetables, meats, seafood, fruits and nuts. Then slowly reintroduce potentially offending foods gradually. Books like this will help you: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Personal-Paleo-Code-Reverse/dp/031632289X/

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