Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Patients taking blood thinners were advised against taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements. Does the same warning hold true for flaxseed oil, a source of vegetable-based Omega 3s?
JSH, North Truro, Massachusetts
A: High doses, over 3000 mg EPA/DHA, of fish oil can contribute to blood thinning, especially in patients who take daily, therapeutic doses of blood thinning medication such as Coumadin.
Flaxseed oil has a moderate risk of contributing to blood thinning in higher doses in those who take blood thinning medications.
Men should use caution with flaxseed oil as there is some controversy regarding this supplement and prostate cancer.
Eating 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed is a safe way to obtain this plant-based omega-3 for men and women.
Patients should speak with their physician and nutritionist before beginning any dietary supplement regimen.
Fish oil and other supplements with blood thinning potential should be stopped prior to surgery.