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Do Fish Oil Capsules Hurt You If You Have Gout?

author image Adam Cloe
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the formation of small crystals in the joints, which result in intense inflammation, swelling and pain. Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids; these fats can help relieve some of the symptoms of gout and do not usually make gout worse.

What Is in Fish Oil?

Fish oil is extracted from fish whose fat contains omega-3 fatty acids. The body needs three main omega-3 fatty acids to function properly: alpha-linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which are also known as ALA, EPA and DHA. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, and these fatty acids are important for controlling the immune system, brain function and the way the body handles lipids.

Fish Oil Benefits for Gout

The proper ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids, which are another kind of unsaturated fat, helps control inflammation in the body. According to ArthritisToday.org, most Americans do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids in relation to their omega-6 fatty acid intake, and this can exacerbate inflammation. Consuming fish oil can help correct this imbalance and reduce inflammation, thus decreasing the pain, swelling, redness and joint damage associated with gout.

Fsh Oil and Purines

One concern with regard to using fish oil for gout is the purine content of fish oil. Purines are substances found in some foods, including the fatty fish that provide fish oil. When you consume foods with purines, your body breaks them down to form uric acid. The crystals that cause gout are made of uric acid, and high uric acid levels can trigger gout. Thus, some worry that taking fish oil could exacerbate gout. However, fish oil does not usually contain high amounts of purines if it is pure and is processed properly. You should buy only fish oil that is pharmaceutical grade and has been molecularly distilled.

Safety for Gout

One of the major safety concerns about taking fish oil is that fish oil prevents platelets from sticking together. This means if fish oil is taken in large quantities, it can make it hard for the blood to clot properly, which can cause you to bruise or bleed more easily. You should be especially wary of taking fish oil supplements if you take aspirin, warfarin or other medications that thin the blood.

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