Fish Oil Vs. Sinusitis

Woman with sinusitis.
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Sinusitis is the inflammation of the air-filled cavities of the skull that occurs due to bacterial, viral and fungal infections of the cavities. Upper respiratory tract infections and allergic rhinitis increase the risk of this condition, which is defined by fever, fatigue, cough, nasal congestion and bad breath. Sinusitis can be acute or may become chronic if the symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks. Treatment involves plenty of fluids, nasal sprays and decongestants, pain and fever-reducing medications, and antibiotics. Certain supplements such as fish oil may also help prevent and treat sinusitis.

About Fish Oil

Fish oil can be obtained by eating fish such as mackerel, tuna, mullet or sardines, or from natural and synthetic supplements. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids required for brain function and proper growth and development. Omega-3 fatty acids also can reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend fish oil supplements to treat a variety of conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and depression. The supplements are available as capsules and liquid extracts. Dose depends on the age and condition being treated.


About 3 g of fish oil supplements per day may help decrease sinusitis symptoms and lead to fewer episodes of acute sinusitis and fewer doctor visits, according to Adrianne Bendich, author of "Preventive Nutrition." A study in the June 2004 issue of the "International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology" also states that cod liver oil supplements obtained from the liver of cod fish along with multivitamin supplements may benefit children with chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Fish oil supplements can also improve postnasal drip and nasal mucus drainage, states Dr. Robert S. Ivker in "Sinus Survival."


Side Effects

Fish oil supplements are safe for most individuals including children and pregnant women. However, side effects such as belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, rash, diarrhea and nosebleeds may occur occasionally. They may also interfere with certain contraceptive, blood pressure and anticoagulant medications.


Always talk to a doctor before using fish oil supplements to determine if they are right for you. Inform your doctor about any other medications you might be taking and pre-existing conditions. Do not replace any prescription medications with these supplements without talking to your doctor.