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Fish Oil & Prednisone

By Shelly Morgan

Prednisone is prescribed by doctors for disorders caused by a lack of corticosteroids or those with an inflammatory component. Although prednisone is an effective treatment for troublesome conditions, it has many side effects, including weight gain, moon face and mood extremes. Fish oil requires no prescription and has few side effects, except for the occasional fishy burp. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about taking either of these.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is a source of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, better known as DHA and EPA. It comes from oil expressed from the bodies of whole fish, usually obtained from the North Atlantic. The evidence that DHA and EPA lowers triglycerides is so compelling that the FDA approved a prescription form of fish oil.


Prednisone is a strong drug that fights inflammation. Patients routinely refer to it as a "steroid" because it is a corticosteroid, not unlike ones the body naturally produces. Unlike the steroids athletes use, which are anabolic steroids, prednisone is a catabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids build muscle, while catabolic steroids break tissues to release glucose and mobilize energy. Doctors prescribe prednisone for many inflammatory conditions, as well as asthma and poison ivy.

Kidney Disease

Kidney patients often take prednisone and fish oil. High urine protein is an early indicator of kidney disease. If high urine protein is not responsive to angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, nephrologists routinely prescribe prednisone. If urine protein levels are very high, nephrologists might prescribe 1000 mg intravenous doses of prednisone, followed by an oral regimen. Since prednisone replaces the body's own corticosteroids, patients need to gradually taper off the drug instead of abruptly stopping it.


Ever since 1994 when James Donadio published a paper in the "New England Journal of Medicine" that showed fish oil slows the rate of progression of a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy, many kidney patients have added this to their daily drug regimens. A study appearing in the March 2011 "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" showed that fish oil reduced inflammation, fibrosis and oxidative stress in rats that received an obstructive renal injury.

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