Campus News

Genetics assistant professor talks fish oil side effect

Kaixiong Ye, an assistant professor of genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was recently quoted in an Eat This, Not That! article about a major side effect of taking fish oil.

Ye, along with other scientists at UGA, conducted a study that suggests daily fish oil supplements could only be effective if you have the right genetic makeup.

“We’ve known for a few decades that a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood is associated with a lower risk of heart disease,” Ye said. “What we found is that fish oil supplementation is not good for everyone; it depends on your genotype. If you have a specific genetic background, then fish oil supplementation will help lower your triglycerides. But if you do not have that right genotype, taking a fish oil supplement actually increases your triglycerides.”

Clinical trials in the past have suggested that fish oil isn’t effective at preventing heart disease. Ye thinks this might have to do with the absence of genotype consideration. But their new study targeted a specific gene that can change a person’s response to fish oil.

“Personalizing and optimizing fish oil supplementation recommendations based on a person’s unique genetic composition can improve our understanding of nutrition and lead to significant improvements in human health and well-being,” Ye said.