Posted by: Lowell | November 6, 2009

Cod Liver Oil != Omega-3 + Vitamin A + Vitamin D

I don’t blame the nurse this morning, but my conversation this morning was frustrating for several reasons.  She asked me what vitamins or supplements I was taking, and I told her I take 1 tablespoon of natural cod liver oil daily.  She gave me a weird look, and I explained that it is high in Omega-3s, Vitamins A, and Vitamin D (I didn’t want to confuse her further with types of A and D…).  So she wrote down Omega-3, Vit-A, and Vit-D on her chart.  She frowned, and asked about the Omega 3s, and if I had received the information on herbs and supplements to discontinue before my procedure today.  I said I had, and asked her if her concern was because she felt that Omega-3s would thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding.  She (surprised I knew that) agreed and said that indeed that was a significant risk and she would need to consult with the doctor.  I, trying to be as non-confrontational as possible, noted that Omega-3s typically reduce platelet aggregation, but only in healthy ways (i.e. reduce unhealthy levels of clotting), and have not been shown to reduce healthy clotting or increase risk from bleeding in healthy individuals.  They restore healthy functioning and reduce inflammation, which can include reducing platelet aggregation from unhealthy levels back to normal levels… but won’t take it below normal levels.  It restores protection from abnormal clotting, and the minor benefit (if any) from stopping it prior to a procedure needs to be weighed against the loss of the healthy benefits it provides, and in my personal estimation the overall risk is greater stopping it than in taking it.

Anyhow, she left, and the final decision was that I hadn’t taken them in 23 hours, which was almost 24, so it was still safe to proceed.

Just 8 days ago Dr. William Davis (Cardiologist), on the Heart Scan Blog, wrote the following on the subject: “Does fish oil cause blood thinning?

While we’re on the subject of Dr. Davis’ blog, there’s another similar story he posted recently which reminds me of my experience today: “Hospitals are a hell of a place to get sick”.  It’s a great post, go check it out.

It’s so hard to affect what (or the way) people think, even educated people, even when it turns out they’ve been taught something that is later found to be wrong (or just incomplete or misguided).

In the end, I’m just incredibly frustrated she felt the need to omit “cod liver oil” and write it down as 3 individual supplements—it’s not the same—and the worry about Omega-3s and blood thinning… geez.  These are smart nurses and smart doctors, and they’re doing the best they can and working for their patients.  I’m not upset with her.  But I’m furious with a system and establishment that takes smart and well meaning people and points them in so many wrong directions.

And, of course, there were no questions at all about my diet itself.  None.  The amount of Omega-3 or Omega-6 in the diet can be much higher than that found in normal supplement quantities, especially if you are diligent about always eating grass-fed and naturally raised meats and dairy products.  Raw grass-fed dairy, meat, and eggs is extremely high in Omega-3s and lower in Omega-6s.  And it’s the ratio that counts most anyhow.

But no… all I was asked about is what pills I was taking.  Food doesn’t count.

No wonder everything is treated with pills and there’s such a lack of understanding about food and nutrition, it can’t possibly affect your health or be used for healing.

Update: I’m editing the title and tone a bit… I wrote this while I was frustrated and I don’t think the original really accurately conveys my thoughts and feelings on the subject.


  1. My doctor said that I couldn’t possibly be reacting to citric acid (I am allergic to corn and soy) because there is no “corn protein” left after processing. He wouldn’t say whether he thought I was imagining the reaction or I was causing it by thinking it or maybe it was brought on by stress….I just couldn’t get him to decide what was causing the reaction or get a recommendation for treatment. He also insisted that I must treat a folic acid deficiency by taking a synthetic supplement (full of corn) instead of figuring out why my system was not absorbing it (I told him I ate plenty of foods high in folic acid).

    Now I am treating myself with diet to heal my gut disfunction. We are doing the GAPS diet as well as avoiding all corn and soy derivatives in food and other products. I believe I am damaged from 20 years of undiagnosed corn allergy (figured that one out myself, too) and will heal using food. I already feel tons better now that I put wheels on that docor. 🙂

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