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Do Omega-3 Supplements Thin or Thicken Your Blood?

by
author image Charis Grey
For 15 years, Charis Grey's award-winning work has appeared in film, television, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. She has worked as a story editor on the CBS drama "Flashpoint" and her work appears bimonthly in "The Driver Magazine." She has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a doctorate in chiropractic medicine from Palmer College.
Do Omega-3 Supplements Thin or Thicken Your Blood?
Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The average American diet contains between 10 and 30 times more in omega-6 fatty acid than omega-3, according to Sabrina Candelaria of the University of Miami Wellness Center. This is notable because omega-6 promotes an immune response known as inflammation, while omega-3 decreases inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that some heart disease patients take omega-3 and aspirin for their blood-thinning effects, but this practice has some potentially negative side effects.

Omega-3 Cardiac Effects

Diseases related to inflammation are rampant in the U.S. One such malady, heart disease, kills more Americans than any other factor. According to “American Family Physician,” low-dose omega-3 therapy can decrease the risk of death due to coronary heart disease. Omega-3 has other effects that influence cardiac function, such as blood thinning, lowering triglyceride levels and decreasing hypertension.

Blood Thinning

Blood clots are a serious cause for concern because they can travel through your blood vessels and lodge in your heart, brain or lungs, causing myocardial infarction, stroke or pulmonary embolism. Blood thinners such as warfarin are taken to hinder the formation of blood clots and decrease the risk of these catastrophic health events. Omega-3 fatty acids also affect blood clots. “American Family Physician” states that omega-3 fatty acid has a dose-dependent effect on the amount of time it takes for a blood clot to form. Omega-3 fatty acids are sometimes taken to inhibit clot formation, but this should only be done under a doctor’s supervision.

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Risks

Blood thinning may be of benefit to some people, but it can be a health hazard to others. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that daily dosages of omega-3 fatty acids that exceed 3 g may increase your risk of bleeding. Those who bruise easily or have a bleeding disorder or should not take omega-3 fatty acids without consulting their medical practitioner.

Considerations

You can reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids without popping any pills. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as halibut, tuna and herring. Plant-based sources include flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts and oils derived from them. If you are taking omega-3 supplements, stay within recommended dosages to avoid unwanted side effects due to omega-3’s blood-thinning effects. Higher dosages of omega-3 may interact with blood-thinning medications that some patients use when they have increased risk of blood clots, increasing their risk of prolonged bleeding,

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