How does fish oil impact kidneys

Fish oil is quickly becoming one of the most sought after supplements in the Western World. The main reason for this is the reputed health benefits from the supplement, which have been cited as helping to do everything from preventing cancer to improving blood pressure.

What is fish oil and how does it impact our kidneys? In this article we will address it.

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is the oil that comes from the tissue of many fish. Fish don’t actually produce the omega-3 fatty acids found in oil naturally. It comes from the consumption of prey fish, who themselves prey on microalgae. As a result, the higher you go in the food chain, the more fatty acids that are found in the fish. Sharks have a great deal of omega-3 fatty acids because they are at the top of the food chain. The only problem with this is that the higher you go in the food chain, the more toxins you are going to find that have accumulated from all the fish that the predator has consumed.

Fish oil, as was stated, contains omega-3 fatty acids. These acids have several health benefits, especially with heart health. It has been found that omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent heart disease, as well as treat clinical depression, anxiety, cancer and macular degeneration.

  • Several studies have reported the anti-cancer effects of fatty acids in fish oil, including breast cancer. A study of 35,000 middle-aged women who took fish oil supplements found they had a 32 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer.
  • The American Heart Association recommends consuming one gram of fish oil per day to help with heart health.
  • In studies published in 2004 and 2009 found that fish oil could reduce the risk of depression and suicide. One study took 81 high-risk young people who had previously had delusions and gave half fish oil and half placebos. One year later, three per cent of the fish oil group had developed schizophrenia compared to 28 per cent in the placebo group.
  • A study by Louisiana State University found that fish oil could help protect the brain from cognitive problems. Similar results have been found with Parkinson’s Disease.
  • In 1999, Harvard researchers found that those who took omega-3 fatty acids had improved their ability to deal with bipolar disorder.

Fish Oil and Kidneys

Fish oil has been found to have several health benefits, as we have already seen, but how does it help the kidneys? Does it help or hinder the kidneys? If you have kidney problems, should you consider taking it?

According to several studies, the long-term use of fish oil, up to two years or more, in which four to eight grams is taken daily, can help to slow the loss of kidney function in patients with IgA nephropathy, a form of kidney disease. It has also been found that fish oil reduces the amount of protein in the urine of people who have developed kidney disease due to diabetes.

Gopinthal Study

In a study done by B. Gopinthal, it was found that fish oil had high benefits for the kidneys. Researchers looked at 2,600 people over the age of 50 and found there was a link between fish oil intake and the kidney health of the individuals. Interestingly, it was also found that taking alpha-linoleic acid, a precursor to omega-3 fatty acid, which is found in flaxseed oil and some vegetables, increased the risk of getting kidney disease by 73 per cent.

Mayo Clinic Study

Recently, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study over over 100 patients, half of whom took an olive-oil placebo, and found that over the course of two years, those who took fish oil had their kidneys function better and longer than those in the placebo group. While only six per cent of fish-oil supplement takers suffered an increase of 50 per cent or more of serum creatinine (renal function loss), 33 per cent of placebo patients did.

Canadian Rat Study

Researches from a Canadian institution experimented with rats who had the majority of their kidneys removed. They found that those who had fish oil supplements fed to them were able to preserve their kidney function significantly, compared to rats who were fed a result diet.

Zabel Study

Dietitian Rachel Zabel, part of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, conducted a study in which patients were given a daily dose of fish oil, over the course of 12 weeks. In the study, it was found that patients who took fish oil supplements had a significant improvement in kidney function over those who had not taken fish oil supplements.


The benefits of fish oil have been touted for several decades now. Years ago, it was found a Mediterranean diet was better for the heart and the mind. That diet focuses heavily on fish, and hence fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids were a common part of the diet.

Today, many are choosing to take fish oil supplements from farmed fish because it is safer with less risk of toxins in the fatty acids.

If you are at risk of kidney disease, or are suffering from it, several studies have found the benefits of taking fish oil supplements. You can not only help return your kidneys to health, but ensure they work in a healthy manner for several years to come.

Fish oil supplements truly are a wonder item for keeping healthy, both in the mind and the body.

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The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.