Medical Definition of Fish oil, omega-3

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Fish oil, omega-3: A class of fatty acids found in fish oils, especially from salmon and other cold-water fish, that acts to lower the levels of cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoproteins) in the blood. (LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol.)

Omega-3 fish oil is therefore thought to be a neutraceutical, a food that provides health benefits. Eating fish has been reported to protect against late age-related macular degeneration, a common eye disease. The maximum benefit appears to be from eating fish once a week.

(In technical terms, omega-3 fatty acids have a double bond three carbons from the methyl moiety.)

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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