Practical Applications of Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids) in Primary Care

Robert Oh, MD


J Am Board Fam Med. 2005;18(1):28-36. 

In This Article


Fish saves lives, and physicians must recognize this potential life-saving treatment choice in patients with cardiovascular disease. In addition, family physicians can safely offer patients an alternative therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat conditions such as hypertriglyceridemia and rheumatoid arthritis. For those without cardiovascular disease, including young mothers and women, it is reasonable to recommend 650 to 1000 mg of low-risk fish oils per day through dietary approaches as suggested by the National Institutes of Health working group, AHA, and the FDA—easily achieved by 1 to 2 fatty fish meals per week.

Understanding the diverse clinical research behind Ω-3 FA can aid family physicians—adding yet another weapon in their therapeutic arsenal for many diverse clinical conditions. This fish story however, is far from complete. Areas of future research include primary prevention trials, optimal intake of the ratio of Ω-6, Ω-3, DHA, and EPA, and continued research for various clinical indications. The availability of safe and reliable fish and supplements are paramount in further exploring and unlocking the health benefits of fish.


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