Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil for the relief of Dry Eyes
Fish oil and flaxseed oil are rich in essential fatty acids called Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The body can’t produce these fatty acids. A diet rich in Omega 3 and 6 or supplementation has been proven to have a wide range of health benefits.
The Omega-3 in particular has been found to have a significant effect in treating dry eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ,eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA).
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies have shown that Omega-3 improves the function of meibomian glands. The meibomian glands are responsible for producing the oily substance that prevents the evaporation of tears.
Dietary intake or supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals are recommended for different medical conditions in order to complement the medical treatment, or simply to prevent one. The same goes with eye health.
Your eye care professional might recommend certain foods or prescribe supplements for your eye condition. One very common and often chronic condition that may benefit from supplements is dry eyes. Patients suffering from dry eyes may complain of foreign-body or gritty sensation, irritation, eye redness, discharges, burning sensation, itching and vision problems.
Aside from artificial eye drops or ointments, your eye care professional may prescribe fish oil and/or flaxseed oil supplements to help treat the condition or prevent dry eyes.
It contains natural DHA and EPA that can be readily consumed by the body. The amount of DHA and EPA from fish oil is not affected by the conversion rate that is required with flaxseed oil.
It is common to have a fishy aftertaste, but some products already come with flavor. Refrigerating may also reduce the aftertaste.
Long term use of fish oil has been found to cause Vitamin E deficiency. It is advised to take fish oil supplements that already contain vitamin E or to take a multivitamins containing Vitamin E.
- Higher doses can cause stomach upset and/or loose bowel. It is advised to start with low doses and to take the supplements after meals.
It’s a good choice for vegetarians as it does not contain any animal byproducts.
It’s less expensive. Whole flax seeds can be grinded to save more money instead of buying the ready-made flaxseed oil. Ground seeds can be mixed to foods or drinks but should be consumed immediately to reap full Omega-3 benefits.
It contains high levels of ALA that is later on converted into two Omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA. The problem is the conversion factor. According to a Harvard Medical School publication, when ALA is converted to DHA and EPA, only about 10% to 15% of it has the Omega-3 benefits, or maybe less. The other 85% to 90% gets metabolized or burned up as energy.
Consult with your doctor before taking any of these supplements especially if you have a pre-existing condition or if any medication is currently being taken. Take special precautions if blood thinners are being taken as Omega-3 supplements may increase the risk of bleeding due to its blood-thinning effects.