Claire Corlett

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Do you really need to be taking fish oil? | Chris Masterjohn Lite #57

Do you really need to be taking fish oil? | Chris Masterjohn Lite #57

Do you really need to be supplementing with fish oil? Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of, and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” Today we’re going to talk about fish oil. Yumee asks, “Do most people really need to supplement with fish oil?’ In my opinion, most people don’t need to supplement with fish oil, but it depends on the context. So some people for medical reasons are given high doses of fish oil or fish oil-derived fats in order to lower their triglycerides. The way that fish oil does that is to interfere with carbohydrate metabolism, and in insulin-resistant people or in people with specific genetic differences that might predispose them to having very high triglycerides, you do benefit from interfering that pathway with the fish oil, but I would actually try a low-carbohydrate diet in a lot of those situations to see if that helps with lowering triglycerides, or in the case of insulin resistance, I would try to address the insulin resistance at its root cause. Oftentimes this could be a result of poor body composition, poor activity levels, or other things, like a low-quality diet. Now, for other people, I do think it’s the case that for people who do not eat fish and for people whose animal products, especially their eggs, are mostly from animals fed grains rather than pasture-raised animals or who don’t eat eggs, I think in those cases there is an argument for fish oil in the sense that those people are probably not going to get enough omega-3 fatty acids, but the better argument might be: Eat pastured eggs or eat fish. Even eating an oily fish like salmon once or twice a week is probably good enough to provide the omega-3 fatty acids that you need. Eating some pastured egg yolks every day is probably good enough to provide for the omega-3 fatty acids that you need. Those foods provide enormous amounts of other nutrients that are good for you. So it is way better to eat those foods than to take fish oil. With that said, some people find it very difficult to get vitamin A or vitamin D, and particularly for vitamin A, cod liver oil may be a very important source of that vitamin. Cod liver oil is a form of fish oil that happens to be high in the fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A is best found in liver. It’s better in my opinion to eat liver once a week, but there are a lot of people out there who are not going to eat liver once a week. So if you are using cod liver oil to get the vitamins that you can’t get from food—and I should point out that vitamin A can also be derived from plant foods, but many people genetically or for other reasons don’t derive it very well from plant foods. So for those people who will not eat liver, cod liver oil on a daily basis can be a very good way of getting that. And you do benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids, and with the cod liver oil, it may even be unimportant to eat fish if you’re getting the cod liver oil, although it’s still better to focus on the fish, the egg yolks, and just add some of the cod liver oil. If you find yourself in a position where you are just not eating any of these foods, and you want to get enough omega-3 fatty acids, then I think fish oil is okay, but I would limit not the amount of fish oil but the amount listed on the label of EPA and DHA combined. I would limit that amount to around 250 milligrams per day because I don’t think most people need more than that. Some signs that you might not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids include chronic low-grade inflammation, poor visual acuity, slower mental processing, trouble learning, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric conditions, like depression, anxiety, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, ADHD. Under these conditions, it may make sense to try fish oil even at higher doses than what I recommended. There is some evidence that krill oil will get the omega-3 fatty acids better into the brain in the psychiatric conditions that I listed. And there is some evidence that EPA-rich fish oils are better than DHA-rich fish oils for some of those psychiatric conditions as well. So there’s room to play around with the different possibilities if those things apply to you. But for the average case, limit the fish oil to 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA combined when you take it, but in all cases, go for food first, and go for fish oil only after you have exhausted those possibilities. If you want to submit a topic for Chris Masterjohn Lite, go to, and click on “Contact Me.” You’ll see at the top a link that says “Suggest a topic.” Click on that, and you will get the topic submission form. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. Giving you strong sound and dependable quality. You can find more of his work at This episode is brought to you by Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. Everything you could ever need to know to optimize your nutrition all in one place. Easier to find and use than ever before. Get your copy at Use the code LITE5. That’s all capitals, L-I-T-E, the number 5. LITE5 to get $5 off. All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite, and I will see you in the next episode.

27 comments on “Do you really need to be taking fish oil? | Chris Masterjohn Lite #57

  1. No Liver for me. I can't even red eat meat little alone liver….nooo
    For me ground beef is ok Stakes are not
    Eggs ok fried not boiled.
    Milk ok only if it is mixed with something else or cooked
    Chicken breasts not thighs
    Oh man I am just an alian to this planet.

  2. Disappointed. I thought this was going to be about the PUFA scam by the veg oil companies. But he's still talking about "essential O-3's". There was a time O-6 was essential (ie both very important and not made endogenously). Then it was discovered to be inflamatory and unnecessary. And then O-3 was discovered to be even more inflamatory and unnecessary but that last part wasn't publicised to keep up the myth of healthy PUFAs.

  3. Vast majority (99%) of fish oil supplements are made from rancid oils & are heavily chemically treated (to get rid of the smell etc.). Dr Mercola has a good video on this, available on yt.
    Go for wild caught, smaller fish or just eat canned sardines from Atlantic (unless you're low on radioactive strontium then go for the Pacific ones). Or indeed go for grass fed, organic products.

  4. A lot of the benefits from fish oil are only significant with a higher amount of EPA+DHA (like 3g). You would miss them if you only dose 250mg. And if you want to get 3g from whole foods it's very expensive. And as far as I know for a healthy person there are no negative effects with 3g EPA+DHA.

  5. Could you please name a few good brands of fish oil? I used to buy Jarrow Max DHA, but they changed the ingredients to undesirable ones. Please help us with some recommendations. Thanks.

  6. So omega 3 is good for me yet it is sold accompanied with vitamin E due to how unstable it is. I assume it would wreck havoc in my body without that vitamin E? Polyunsaturates are, after all, unstable and highly toxic? Omega 3s are the most unstable out of all of them.

  7. First off you act like the bioavabilty is great from eggs and other sources…I know for a fact that the conversion rate of EPA and DHA from flax or chia is only around 15%..Second why do you recommend eggs being that they are the greatest source of Cholesterol ?..Are you one of those people that think Eggs are healthy and Cholesterol does not matter?..So, Chris how many eggs to you recommend?…Do, you also believe cheese is heathy?

  8. Is there a way to measure (directly or via proxy) the levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 one has?

    Does the amount of Omega-6 in one's diet, have any influence in the decision of supplementing with Omega-3s? I.e. Should a 2:1 ratio of Omega-3:6 be targeted?

    What brands of Omega-3 do you recommend? Nordic Naturals? Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

    Finally, never heard mention on the podcast, but any thoughts on Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators (ex. Solutex, Omegafort's ProResolve)? 1g/day? Should they be taken with Omega-3s for the potential prevention/reversal of neurological disorders? A video explaining how these signaling molecules work, or how they're generated when Omega-3 EPA/DHA are metabolized would be great!

  9. ATP lab also made an interesting video on this subject, Let me know what you think?

  10. Weil, otoh, recommends much more, like 1,200 +/- mg of EPA/DHA a day. How to reconcile these two takes?

    "Dr. Weil … If you use fish oil capsules, he recommends taking a product that provides 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily in the smallest number of pills."

  11. Chris Masterjohn seems very informed with lots of good information, I think his videos are very good. Bob….ten years natural food/medicine study

  12. Not your drug store or costco fish oil. You need prescription Vascepa!! Cuts cardiovascular risk of heart attacks, stroke, and death by 26%!!! Talk to your doctor about Vascepa

  13. Makes sense if you are fairly healthy and eat salmon etc. then you dont need to supplement with fish oil, but if you want the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and there are many, then supplement with fish oil. I think i will take fish oil, even if a person is fairly healthy maybe in the future it will help avoid from getting Alzheimer and it can greatly enhance mental health as well as cardiovascular and skin.

  14. LUPUS. Especially discoid lupus. You should be aware of that important context for low, frequently dosed fish oil.

  15. Hello, Chris. First I want to say that I really love your content here. Your channel is always one of the main places I go after a realiable source of nutritional information and I got the Ultimate Cheat Sheet also. Now regarding fish oil, I see some experts saying good things about much higher doses. Like James DiNicolantonio saying that you really get the bennefits of omega-3 if you take from 2 to 4 grams per day. Im not sure if that´s relating to EPA + DHA only, or if that´s for the total capsule dose. Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on these high dosages and possible benefits. Thank you.

  16. I’m kinda getting confused lol. Dr. Rhonda Patrick recommended doses for omega 3 in more than 1gram she even mentioned 6 grams saying that she herself consumes 6grams daily, I really dunno what to follow here. I also hate everything about seafood, the smell the taste and everything so it kinda difficult for me to get it from fish

  17. EPA/DHA…Mercury toxicity from fish is an issue. I’ve heard many people assert that our brains would have never developed without high doses of EPA/DHA.

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