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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can supplements such as fish oil, VD be taken together with medication?

    My parents are in their mid 70s. They are taking regular prescribed medication for control high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis and osteoporosis etc. We are wondering:

    1. Can they take fish oil supplement while they are taking aspirin daily? Or can fish oil replace aspirin as there are new research that showing negative side effects of taking aspirin.

    2. Apart from taking medication for osteoporosis, do they need to take vitamine D and culcium supplement? Will the supplement cause overdose and side effects?

    3. Will propolis be beficial to their health while they are taking their medications?

    Many thanks for any response.

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    The clinical health professional members of Healthshare will be better able to offer thoughts on the first two questions that you have asked than I am.

    However, as far as your third question is concerned, propolis (which is a resin made by bees) is often advocated by alternative/complementary medicine people for many disorders. As is common for such people, this advocacy is usually evidence-free.

    As far as I can see from PubMed (which is the database used by evidence-based health professionals) there is not a scrap of evidence that it is of any benefit for the health conditions that your parents have.

    One-line summary: propolis is a waste of money for your parents.

  • 1


    Dr Kevin Lee

    Endocrinologist, Nuclear Medicine Physician

    Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nuclear Medicine. I am on Twitter @dr_kevinlee. I am on Facebook I help patients with obesity, diabetes, thyroid, … View Profile

    Fish oil supplements i.e. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-thrombotic properties therefore this may increase the risk of bleeding when used with aspirin.

    There is no research to suggest fish oil can replace aspirin.

    In fact a recent meta-analysis and systematic review of 68,680 patients, published in 2012 suggests that fish oil does not reduce chance of overall death, heart disease related death, sudden cardiac death, heart attack and stroke (1).

    Propolis, there is even less evidence as Dr Simon Easterbrook-Smith has kindly already searched on PubMed. 

    Therefore as always, it is prudent to discuss with GP or pharmacist when considering adding/altering medications, including over the counter medications, herbs and health supplments.

    Over the Counter does not mean it's 100% safe!


    Dr Kevin Lee


    1. Rizos EC, Ntzani EE, Bika E, Kostapanos MS, Elisaf MS. Association between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk of major cardiovascular disease events: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  JAMA. 2012;308(10):1024-1033


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