Many studies suggest that both turmeric and fish oil provide medical benefits. Although the issue has not been exhaustively researched, these supplements appear safe to take together. That said, you should talk to your doctor before taking either of these supplements, because they are not for everyone. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved turmeric for drug purposes, it has recognized the benefit of fish oil in treating high triglyceride levels and has approved a high-dose, prescription product.
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The interaction-checker at Drugs.com reports that there are no interactions between turmeric and fish oil, which suggests that they are safe to take together. However, this does not necessarily mean that either substance is safe for you if you take other drugs. Fish oil interacts with anticoagulants, such as warfarin, dicumarol and anisindione. Turmeric has minor reactions with 67 different drugs and supplements, including aspirin, acetaminophen, warfarin and heparin.
About Fish Oil
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, better known as DHA and EPA. Although it has been extensively researched, appropriate dosage guidelines remain murky for most disorders. These dosing problems are aggravated by manufacturers that fail to indicate on the package how much DHA and EPA their product contains or claim their fish oil is "extra-strength," only to specify in small print that the "extra strength" is achieved by taking several capsules. These problems can be overcome by being vigilant when purchasing products or by asking your doctor for a prescription for fish oil.
Turmeric has been used medicinally for at least 4,000 years. The active ingredient in it is curcumin. As of 2011, dozens of preliminary studies explore its use as an anticancer agent. Typical of these is a study appearing in the August 2011 issue of "Oncology Reports" in which researchers used cultured gastric cancer cells to compare the efficacy of the traditional drugs etoposide and doxorubicin with a combination of curcumin and eposide, and curcumin and doxorubicin. Curcumin enhanced the ability of these drugs to kill cancer cells in culture.
Almost all the studies of turmeric are in vitro studies, or studies conducted in test tubes instead of on live animals or humans. Even successful in vitro studies do not necessarily give rise to new remedies. Turmeric presents serious bioavailability problems because it is insoluble in water. This means that humans have problems using turmeric after they consume it. Since turmeric is not water soluble, it does not cross the membranes of cells where it is needed. As of 2011, much research focuses upon developing new routes of administration, including preparing formulations involving very small particles called nanoparticles and injectable gels.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Drugs.com: Fish Oil (Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) Drug Interactions
- Drugs.com: Drug Interactions between Turmeric and Fish Oil
- MayoClinic.com: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, Alpha-Linolenic Acid; August 2011
- "Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry"; Curcumin Nanoparticles: Preparation, Characterization, and Antimicrobial Study; Bhawana; March 2011
- "Biomaterials"; Encapsulation of Curcumin in Self-assembling Peptide Hydrogels as Injectable Drug Delivery Vehicles; A. Altunbas, et al.; September 2011
- "Journal of Oncology and Pharmacy Practice"; Effect of Imatinib Therapy with and without Turmeric Powder on Nitric Oxide Levels in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia; V.S. Ghalaut; August 2011
- "Oncology Reports"; Curcumin Reverses Chemoresistance; L.L. Yu, et al.; August 2011