Notes on taking fish oil

I hated fish oil until I bought  Carlson's fish oil !  It's in a green
bottle.  I get the lemon flavored, and put it in orange juice.  It's the
ONLY kind of cod liver oil I can stomach, and it's really OK!

I once sent this email to a cancer sufferer who was complaining from the taste of fish oil: I'm not sure if this will help, but Nordic Naturals has awesome flavoring for their fish oils.

And he responded by saying "thanks for the thought.  Alkyglycerols come from shark liver oil rather than the usual Omega-3 supplements that are sold in health food stores.  It is more important that the vendor have removed most of the vitamin A
in the shark liver oil than do something to improve its flavor.  At the
alkyglycerol dosages used when you are getting radiation treatment, you
can get enough vitamin A to be toxic unless the vendor has removed
most of it."

I'm just plugging this in here to remind myself to follow up on it.

Mercury levels in women prompt fish-eating warning

(from around 11/03)

          By Sandy Kleffman

          SAN FRANCISCO - Nearly 8 percent of American women of =
childbearing age have enough mercury in their bodies that it could harm =
a developing fetus.

          The stunning statistic adds urgency to encouraging wise =
decisions about eating fish, health experts said Tuesday.

          "As we push people to eat fish, we've got to teach them how =
to do it," said Jane Hightower, a physician at California Pacific =
Medical Center in San Francisco who has studied mercury levels in her =

          Fish remain an important source of protein, vitamin D and =
omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.

          But increasingly, many types of fish have become =
contaminated with mercury, PCBs, dioxins, flame retardants and other =
toxic chemicals.

          That creates a quandary for health care experts as they =
contemplate what to advise patients. When do the risks outweigh the =
significant benefits of fish consumption?

          To tackle that issue, a panel of experts gathered at the =
annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in San =

          Studies show that 8 percent of American women of =
reproductive age have blood mercury concentrations greater than the =
level deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, noted Gina =
Solomon, a physician with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

          As a result, nearly 300,000 newborns each year could be at =
risk of suffering developmental problems, said Kathryn Mahaffey of the =
EPA's office of science coordination and policy.

          Although mercury can be found in items ranging from dental =
amalgams to thermometers and batteries, "the exposure that we're most =
concerned about is mercury coming from fish," Mahaffey said.

          Prenatal exposure to excessive levels of mercury can lead to =
problems with vision and hearing, abnormal speech, seizures, mental
retardation and cerebral palsy. In adults, it can lead to behavioral
changes, memory loss, tremors and other problems.

          Pollutants come from many sources, including coal-fired
power plants, waste incinerators and other heavy industries. Fish absorb
mercury from water as it passes over their gills. Larger, predatory fish
often accumulate more mercury as they eat smaller fry in the food chain.

          The amount of fish contamination varies widely from one
region to the next. But David Wallinga, a physician with the
Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, puts several
types on his "Do Not Eat" list for mothers, mothers-to-be and children,
including tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, orange roughy and
saltwater bass.

          Wallinga advises everyone to limit the number of servings of
other types of fish they eat each month and to opt for smaller fish,
which don't accumulate as much contamination as larger predators.

          PCBs and dioxins tend to concentrate in fat, so trimming off
fat before cooking can help, as can broiling, baking or grilling so the
remaining fat drips away before eating, Wallinga said. That won't help
with mercury contamination, since it gets into fish flesh.

          Women who plan to have a child should consider reducing
their fish consumption as much as a year before they get pregnant,
Hightower said. It can take five to six months to eliminate a dose of
mercury from the body.

          Hightower encourages her patients to pay attention to local
fish advisories that warn of problems. More than 2,000 have been issued
in 41 states, including for fish taken from San Francisco Bay.

          Although canned tuna remains a popular, inexpensive and
nutrient-rich food, women and children should limit their consumption,
experts said. Wallinga's group recommends that women of childbearing age
eat no more than seven ounces per week of chunk light tuna, or four
ounces per week of white albacore tuna, which generally has higher
mercury levels than chunk light.

          Children can safely eat half a can of chunk light tuna per
week, the institute says. A small can of chunk light tuna, excluding
liquid, yields five ounces of fish.

          Healthful omega-3 fats can be obtained from other sources
besides fish, including flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts, soy and
canola oils, tofu and soybeans.