Calcium and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have unique and different roles in your body, yet they work together in many ways to improve your health. Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, healthy fats that improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Calcium is a macromineral that builds and maintains strong bones, constricts and relaxes blood vessels, and assists enzymes in chemical reactions throughout your body.
Calcium absorption from foods is essential for your bone health. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil enhance calcium absorption. Researchers at Massey University in New Zealand found that fish oil increases calcium absorption, bone calcium content and bone mineral density, according to a study published in "Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids" in November 2005. The scientists found that DHA increased calcium in bone more effectively than EPA.
Kidney stones are very painful condition and a common disorders of the urinary tract, causing approximately 3.5 million patients to visit to health care providers and emergency rooms each year. Kidney stones consist of calcium crystals. Increasing your dietary intake of fish oil, particularly EPA, reduces urinary calcium and lowers the risk of calcium stone formation in individuals with high levels of calcium in their urine. This was the finding of scientists at Nagoya City University Medical School in Japan, whose research was published in "European Urology" in May 2001. The authors concluded that EPA might affect urine composition favorably.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer diagnosed among men and women in the United States, with 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Taking fish oil and calcium supplements together helps reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Scientists at Gulhane School of Medicine in Turkey found that dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids and calcium may be useful in preventing colorectal tumor formation, according to research published in "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" in August 2008. The results demonstrate that the incidence of colorectal tumors is significantly lower among rats fed a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and calcium compared to rats fed neither of these nutrients.
When taken together, some nutrients and substances interact and cause side effects or interfere with the effectiveness of each other. There are no known adverse interactions between fish oil and calcium supplements that have been reported. Nonetheless, there may still be adverse interactions that have not yet been observed or published. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and safety of taking fish oil and calcium either alone or together.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University; Calcium; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; April 2003
- "Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids"; Is Docosahexaenoic Acid More Effective Than Eicosapentaenoic Acid for Increasing Calcium Bioavailability?; M.C. Kruger; November 2005
- National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Kidney Stones in Adults; October 2007
- "European Urology"; Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid on Urinary Calcium Excretion in Calcium Stone Formers; T. Yasui, et al.; May 2001
- "Digestive Diseases and Sciences"; Protective Effects of Diets Supplemented with Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Calcium Against Colorectal Tumor Formation; L. Kenar, et al.; August 2008