Increasing our intake of omega-3 from fish and fish/cod liver oil can be an effective and relatively inexpensive way to help manage dry eye symptoms. Many ophthalmologists and optometrists recommend it. And nearly every article addressing dry eyes mentions omega-3 supplements for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you are starting on an omega-3 regimen, however, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Here are five key points to remember:
For any omega-3 supplement to be effective, it is important to consume an adequate dose. Most of the research done on omega-3 and dry eyes have utilized at least two fish oil capsules a day (1, 2, 3). Looking at the broader scope of omega-3 research, however, there’s reason to believe that we may need more than two capsules to help combat chronic inflammation symptoms. Some studies suggest the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 don’t kick in unless you get a dose equal to at least 2700 mg of EPA/DHA. That’s the same as consuming roughly 8-10 regular fish oil capsules or one tablespoon of a fresh liquid cod liver oil, like Omega Cure® Extra Strength.
It’s also necessary to make sure you take your omega-3 supplement every day. Because omega-3 is an important part of the cell’s metabolism, the body needs a regular supply of the fatty acids.
If you chronically forget to take your omega-3, you never give your body a chance to combat the inflammation. Instead, set a specific time to take your daily dose and remember to stick with it.
Although increasing your intake of omega-3 can be a wonderful way to improve dry eye symptoms, it’s not a quick fix. Most studies showing the benefits of omega-3 supplementation for dry eyes last 3 months. That’s because it takes time for the omega-3 supply to build up in the body.
With Omega Cure Extra Strength, our customers typically see a difference for dry eye symptoms within 6 to 8 weeks if they are diligent about taking their daily dose. However, be aware that the change can be gradual and will vary from individual to individual.
There’s no doubt that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is crucial for our health. The omega-3 molecules make up part of the cell membrane and play an important role in regulating inflammation in the body. However, the same highly reactive double bonds that make the omega-3 molecules good for us also make them extremely prone to oxidation. And when the omega-3 molecules oxidize, they start giving off a rancid fishy taste and smell.
Several studies done on omega-3 products in Norway (4), New Zealand (5), and most recently Canada (6), have found that a high percentage of omega-3 supplements are rancid long before their stated expiration date. In addition, scientists not only suggest rancid omega-3 products are likely less potent than fresh omega-3 products; they also warn that consuming rancid omega-3 products could be harmful.
To make sure you are getting a fresh product, use your senses. If you are taking a liquid product, taste and smell the oil. If it is fresh, it should not have much of a taste or smell. The same goes for capsules. Break open one capsule and taste and smell the contents. For more tips, read this article: Is Your Fish Oil Rancid?
Depending on the health condition, it can be wise to take your omega-3 supplement at night. However, if you are like many people with dry eyes, your symptoms get worse as the day progresses. To help get the most relief from your omega-3 product, try taking it in the morning with a meal.
1. Bhargava, Rahul et al. A randomized controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids in dry eye syndrome. International Journal of Ophthalmology 6.6 (2013): 811–816. PMC. December 18, 2013.
2. Bhargava, R et al. Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome related dry eye. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. 2015 Jun; 38(3):206-10. doi: 10.1016/j.clae. 2015.01.007. Feb 16, 2015.
3. Oleñik A. Effectiveness and tolerability of dietary supplementation with a combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fattyacids and antioxidants in the treatment of dry eye symptoms: results of a prospective study. Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology. 2014;8:169-76. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S54658. Jan 6, 2014.
4. Johnny Laupsa-Borge. Velg ferske og naturlige omega-3 produkter. Helsemagasinet: Vitenskap og Fornuft. December 9, 2012.
5. Benjamin Albert et al. Oxidation of Marine Omega-3 Supplements and Human Health. BioMed Research International, vol. 2013, Article ID 464921, 8 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/464921.
6. Jackowski S et al. Oxidation levels of North American over-the-counter n-3 (omega-3) supplements and the influence of supplement formulation and delivery form on evaluating oxidative safety. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2015 Nov 4;4:e30. doi: 10.1017/jns.2015.21.