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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish Oil and Your Genes

written by Vin Kutty

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fish oil genetics

“I was born this way.”

“I can’t help it – it’s a genetic trait.”

“You can’t outlive your genes.”

We hear these phrases all the time. Sometimes they are excuses. And other times, they are real.

But what if I told you that your genes are not as permanent as you thought they were.

Take your height for instance. Let’s say your genetic potential is to be 6-feet tall. And let’s say you had a twin who was separated at birth. If your twin grew up starving in a 3rd world country, he or she would certainly be shorter than you. This is a perfect example of how nutrition affects your genetic potential.

Your Genome is Your Body’s Instruction Manual

Each of us have about 25,000 genes, given to us by our parents. Think of your genome as an instruction manual with 25,000 instructions.
If all goes well, your body will follow the instruction manual to the letter.

This instruction manual controls the way you look, your health and the way your body works. Your genes affect several aspects of your health, such as chances of developing poor heart health, asthma or diabetes. We all know families where poor heart health runs deep.

But it’s not just your genes that have a say in the matter. Just like nutrition during childhood can affect your adult height, nutrition and lifestyle choices (smoking!) can also affect your health.

If you’re genetically ‘done for’, then it’s even more important to watch your diet and lifestyle.

Encouraging New Study on Fish Oil & Your Genes

So it’s encouraging to see a new study that shows fish oil can change your genetic blueprint. For the better!
The study looked at fish oil and ‘gene expression.’ Gene expression is a fancy term for following your genetic instruction manual.

The study found out that taking about 2,000 mg of Omega-3 every day (roughly equal to eating fish with one-third of your meals) changed about 1000 genes.

Taking 2,000 mg of Omega-3 EPA and DHA for 6 months SIGNIFICANTLY altered the activity of several genes.


Taking lower doses of Omega-3 did not have the same effect.

For the half dozen biochemists who read this blog, the pathway genes noted are involved in:

  • Eicosanoid synthesis*
  • Interleukin synthesis*
  • MAP kinase signaling*

Similar effects were seen in genes related to:

  • Cell adhesion*
  • Scavenger receptor activity*
  • Adipogenesis*

See this diagram for more details.

What does this mean for you?

This means you need a large dose of Omega-3 every day to see some of these effects.

Of course, this does not mean disease prevention. It just means that Omega-3 will help influence the expression of these genes.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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