Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Supplement)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Supplement)

Last updated on 19/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Omega-2 Fatty Acids

CHINESE NAME: 奧米加-3脂肪酸

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Centrum 善存, Doctor’s Choice 醫之選, Scott’s 司各脫, Swisse, Omacor 

DRUG CLASS: Antilipemic agent 

USED FOR: Cardiovascular risk reduction, high blood levels of triglycerides

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: N/A

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS: 300mg, 1000mg (softgels)

What is Omega-3 Fatty Acids for?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are one of the classes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The major components of Omega-3 are commonly known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is an essential fatty acid and cannot be  produced by the human body and must be either consumed in the diet. ALA can be further broken down into EPA and DHA after ingestion.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential for our cell membranes. Taking an Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplement has already been proven to lower the level of triglycerides in your body which may reduce cardiovascular risks and events such as heart attacks and stroke. It is also found that taking Omega-3 especially DHA during pregnancy may help with the early development of your child.

The recommended daily dietary intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (as ALA) for adults is 1.6 g in men and 1.1 g in non-pregnant women. If you are pregnant, the recommended daily dietary intake (as ALA) would be at least 1.4 g. You can take an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement if you have a deficiency or if you cannot obtain a sufficient amount from your diet. Symptoms of Omega-3 Fatty Acids deficiency include rough and inflamed skin.

How to use them?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplements are taken by mouth in the form of fish, plant, or krill oils. Cod liver oil also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin D. The usual adult dose is 200-400 mg of EPA + DHA. For specific dosages, refer to the product label.

What are the side effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

The side effects of taking Omega-3 supplements are diarrhoea, nausea, fishy belches, and rarely bleeding. Advise your doctor or pharmacist before taking Omega-3 if you are currently taking other antiplatelet drugs (e.g. Aspirin) or anticoagulants (e.g. Warfarin) as Omega-3 fatty acids may cause bleeding.

Who should not take Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

People allergic to Omega-3 Fatty Acids or any formulation ingredient. 

Pharmacist Tips:

Most people should obtain adequate amounts of Omega-3 Fatty Acids from a healthy diet. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are present in many foods including fish (especially oily or dark meat fish), fish oils, soybeans, shrimp, seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and kidney beans.

You are recommended to have adequate intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids during pregnancy.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplements are not a substitute for standard cholesterol-lowering therapy. You should continue the treatment directed by your healthcare provider and are encouraged to modify your daily diet at the same time.

Common dosing schedule:
Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids with food.
Do not break, crush or chew the capsule. Swallow whole to avoid unpleasant taste and texture.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Omega-3 Fatty Acids may interact with:
Anticoagulants, e.g. Apixaban, Warfarin
Antiplatelets, e.g. Aspirin, Clopidogrel
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g. Ibuprofen, Diclofenac

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

What are other sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Most people should obtain adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids from a healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in many foods including fish (especially oily or dark meat fish), fish oils, soybeans, shrimp, seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and kidney beans.

Where to buy Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplements can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health. 

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.