Fish Oil

Too much fish oil leads to side effects - here's who they are

Are there side effects of taking too much fish oil?

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Just because fish oil supplements are good for you doesn’t mean more is even better. Side effects like indigestion, heartburn, and bad breath typically show up on high doses of these supplements. Let’s look at how much fish oil is too much and what side effects to look out for.

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What is fish oil?

When we talk about fish oil, we’re referring to omega-3 fatty acids that you get from supplements or eating fish. You’ll find omega-3s in fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, and cod liver, as well as fish oil capsules found at your local drug store.

There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids, but two of the most important ones are called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They might be a mouthful, but these polyunsaturated fatty acids can help with all types of health issues like preventing and even reversing heart disease (Novotny, 2022).

If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can get what’s called alpha-linolenic acid (AHA), a type of omega-3 derived from algae or flaxseed oil.

Side effects of fish oil

It’s worth noting that fish oil is generally well-tolerated. Even though fish oil supplements have health benefits like reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure, taking too much can have adverse effects. Most people experience side effects on high doses of fish oil, while others may notice them taking lower amounts. Let’s look into some of the more common side effects.

Unpleasant smelling breath

Sometimes the taste of fish oil supplements is hard to swallow, even for fish lovers. Vitamin burps don’t just happen with fish oil and can be a sign that whatever you took is breaking open before it hits your digestive tract.

Most of this is anecdotal, but many people report belching, fishy breath, and unpleasant-smelling sweat when taking fish oil. While storing your supplements in the fridge can lessen or dull the fishy flavor, it may not prevent the smell from sweating out during a workout.

Gastrointestinal trouble

Digestive issues are some of the most common side effects of omega-3 supplements, specifically indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, and flatulence. Depending on the type of omega-3 fatty acids you take, other side effects you may notice include constipation, taste changes, and vomiting (Novotny, 2022; Khodarahmi, 2016).

Vegans looking to get their omega-3s through algae or flaxseed oil aren’t immune from similar side effects. In fact, flaxseed oil may increase bowel movements enough to make it a viable treatment for constipation (Ramos, 2015).

Allergic reactions

Despite what you might think, it’s rare for people allergic to fish or shellfish to also have an allergy to pure fish oil. However, if you have known fish or shellfish allergies, you may want to consider using flaxseed or algae oil as an alternative. You can also discuss the risks with your healthcare provider (Novotny, 2022).

Other potential side effects of fish oil

There are other purported side effects of fish oil, but there simply isn’t enough research to support them as fact. Here are other adverse effects claimed by some, although again, the scientific evidence on this is limited:

Increased risk of bleeding, especially when taking anticoagulants (blood thinners)

Bleeding in the stomach or intestines (ulcers)


Vitamin A toxicity


Higher risk of prostate cancer

Low blood pressure

Interestingly, the ability of fish oil to lower blood pressure is one of its many health benefits. That said, there is a chance that this could be dangerous for people who don’t have high blood pressure.

How much is too much fish oil?

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 1,100 mg for women and 1,600 mg for men (OSD, 2021).

Benefits of fish oil

Many people take fish oil supplements because of the potential health benefits. Some common uses and conditions fish oil may help with include (Novotny, 2022; OSD, 2021):

High triglyceride (cholesterol) levels

Heart disease

Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis


Cancer prevention

Dry eye

Alzheimer’s disease

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Promoting maternal and fetal health during pregnancy

Taking the recommended dose of fish oil is not likely to cause serious side effects. Know that if you start taking higher doses, you’ll see more side effects than if when staying within the recommended range. Your healthcare provider can give you medical advice regarding the risks and benefits of fish oil supplementation.

Benefits of Fish Oil And Its Side Effects

Fish Oil

Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish.The different types of fish which act as a good source for fish oil capsules or supplements commonly include mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, swordfish, oysters, albacore tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, turbot, pilchards, anchovies, and salmon. The omega 3 fatty acid rich fish oil is highly beneficial for various treatments and aesthetic causes.

Nutritional Value of Fish Oil

Most of the health benefits of fish oil can be attributed to the presence of omega-3 essential fatty acids like Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in it. Cold-water fish like herring, anchovies, sardines and salmon are rich in their content of DHA and EPA. The oils obtained from these fish varieties contain around seven times as much omega-6 and omega-3 oils. The other oily fish varieties like tuna contain lesser amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Beside these, fatty acids in fish oil include Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA and Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. Fish oil is also rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other vital nutrients. These supplements offer a broad range of health and beauty benefits when taken in a proper dosage.

Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams

902 Calories 100 g Total Fat

Vitamins and Minerals

2000 % Vitamin A

Health Benefits of Fish Oil

Fish oil offers numerous health benefits, you can consume these capsules on daily basis to boost your immunity helps in the fight against common health issues such as cold, running nose, infection, etc. If you are following a weight loss diet or shed off some extra belly fat then add fish oil capsules in your plan. Another important benefits of fish oil are that the omega fatty acid present in it helps in improving eyesight and vision. You can easily find these omega 3 fatty acid fish capsules form near buy medical stores. Also read out when not to consume these capsules in different health conditions otherwise it will lead to allergies and other adverse effects. Mentioned below are the best health benefits of consuming fish oil capsules.

Fish Oil Boosts Cardiovascular & Heart Health

Omega-3 is an effective agent that helps to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 and therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It also cuts down the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and ienhances the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. Fish oil prevents the accumulation of triglycerides and also reduces the level of excess triglycerides from the body. Fish oil can be used to impede atherosclerosis in coronary patients. Thus, fish oil is highly effective in preventing strokes and regular usage of fish oil can help avoid sudden death due to cardiac arrest.

Boost Your Immune System With Omega-3 Fish Oil

Fish oil aids in boosting our immune system. It,thereby enables the body to resist the occurrence of common diseases like colds, coughs and the flu. Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which bolster the immune system by affecting the activity and amount of cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. It has also been found out that when the antioxidant astaxanthin is combined with fish oil, the immune-boosting power is multiplied.

Use Fish Oil to Reduce Inflammation & Swelling

Fish oil is an effective agent in reducing inflammation in the blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil is helpful to those who suffer from acute inflammatory diseases. Fish oil is effective in treating and preventing gastrointestinal disorders, Celiac disease, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease often find it difficult to absorb vitamins, fats, and essential supplements and in their case, fish oil supplements are an effective diet. For ulcerative colitis, fish oil prevents the accumulation of leukotriene on the colon.

Omega 3 Fish Oil for Arthritis Pain Relief

Fish oil is beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, Raynaud’s symptoms and similar other conditions.Fish oil can usage can help in reducing the need for large dosages of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Get Relieves from Depression & Anxiety Using Fish Oil

Fish oil contains a good quantity of omega 3 and the presence of omega 3 fatty acids relieves us from the feeling of sadness, anxiety, mental fatigue, stress and of course, depression. Fish oil capsules can also stabilize our mood.It promotes calm and composed feeling in humans.

Fish Oil Capsules for Eye Care

Fish oil is well known for it has the ability to improve vision and prevet ocular disorders. It also helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration with the surplus quantity of omega 3 present in it.

Treats Alzheimer’s disease Using Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Fish oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, and it also helps to cure Alzheimer’s disease to a large extent. Fish oil capsules containing a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids are adviced to patients with mental disorder since it acts as a defense against Alzheimer’s disease

Helps in ADHD Treatment

Fish oil is of immense importance when it comes to the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) due to its high concentration of fatty acids. For children suffering from hyperactivity, inability to complete tasks, short attention span,dyslexia, dyspraxia, short-term memory weakness, low concentration can consume fish oil capsuels. For emotional instability, wavering attitude, poor coordination, recklessness, hastiness, impetuosity, impulsiveness, low IQ, or learning disorders, fish oil is a proven remedy.

Fish Oil for Weight Loss Benefits

Both DHA and EPA components of omega-3 fatty acids present in the fish oil are highly effective in eliminating additional body fat , thus helping and promoting easy weight loss for the overweights.

Fish Oil Pills Eases Pregnancy Complications

Fish oil capsules can promote a smooth and healthy pregnancy.It eases the complications associated with it and restricts premature births and makes sure that the newborn is not underweight. The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil contain abundant Docosahexaenoic Acid or DHA, which is one of the major structural components of our brain, skin, and retin. It can enhance the overall development and growth of the fetus in the womb. It has also been proved from different studies that regular intake of fish oil capsules can stop repeated miscarriages and increase the rate of conceiving in women having antiphospholipid syndrome

Uses of Fish Oil

Fish oil is also beneficial for controlling blood pressure and keeping the bones healthy. It aids to avert the risk of cancer and prevents renal issues from recurring.Fish oil alos helps to protect from Type-II diabetes. It shields against pollution, prevents damage from sun exposure and promotes healthy hair and skin.

Side-Effects & Allergies of Fish Oil

An Overdose of fish oil can result in excessive bleeding, and hemorrhage stroke. The daily intake of omega-3 acids is limited to 3000mg. Fish oil side effects also include belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash and other severities, Some of the most common side effects of fish oil include nosebleeds, rashes, heartburn, reduced immune response and reduced ability of the body to clot blood. Allergic reactions to fish oil include difficulty breathing, hives and swelling of the lips, face, throat and tongue. Other side effects of having fish oil in excessive amounts include uneven heartbeats, chills, fever, fly and body aches. Chest pain, upset stomach and unpleasant or unusual taste in the mouth are less serious side effects of fish oil.

Cultivation of Fish Oil

Too much fish oil leads to side effects - here's who they are

The benefits of fish oil in a nutshell

Fish oil is an animal oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenic acid (DHA), ancestors of some eicosanoids. For them, they have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and help reduce triglycerides in hypertriglyceridemia.

In addition, omega fatty acids contribute to slowing the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the likelihood of abnormal heart beat, the likelihood of heart attack and stroke and associated complications. Their anti-inflammatory effect has long been proven in numerous studies. [ [ref. 1] ]

Taking up to 3000-5000 mg. omega-3 per day is rather safe, although such a high intake is probably not necessary for most people. However, consuming too much fish oil can negatively affect your health and lead to side effects such as high blood sugar and an increased risk of bleeding. There are other potential risks that we will explore next.

Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Fish Oil

High blood pressure

Some research has shown that taking large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. A small study, for example, found that taking 8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day leads to a 22% increase in blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes over an eight-week period. [ [ref. 2] ] This is because large doses of omega-3 can stimulate glucose production, which can contribute to high blood sugar levels in the long term.

On the other hand, 20 different studies found that daily doses of up to 3.9 grams of EPA and 3.7 grams of DHA - the two main forms of omega-3 fatty acids - had no effect on blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. [ [ref. 3]

Bleeding gums and nosebleeds are two of the distinctive side effects of excessive fish oil consumption. One study in 56 people found that supplementation of 640 mg. fish oil per day for a period of four weeks reduces blood clotting in healthy adults. [ [ [ref. 4] ]

The ability of fish oil to lower blood pressure is well documented.

A study of 90 people on dialysis found that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to placebo. Similarly, an analysis of 31 studies concluded that taking fish oil can effectively lower blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. [ [ref. 5] ]

Diarrhea is one of the most common side effects associated with excessive fish oil intake, and can be especially prevalent when taking high doses. In fact, a scientific review reports that diarrhea is one of the most common undesirable effects of fish oil, among other digestive symptoms such as flatulence. [ [ref. 6]

Although fish oil is known for its powerful effects on heart health, many people report feeling heartburn once they start taking fish oil supplements.

Other symptoms of acid reflux - including belching, nausea and stomach discomfort - are common side effects of too much fish oil.

Hemorrhagic stroke is a condition characterized by bleeding in the brain, usually caused by rupture of weakened blood vessels.

Some animal studies have found that high intake of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the ability of blood to clot and increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Toxic Levels of Vitamin A

Some types of supplements with omega-3 fatty acids are high in vitamin A, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.

For example, just one tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil can provide up to 270% of your daily vitamin A needs in one serving. Toxicity of vitamin A can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, joint pain and skin irritation.

Several studies have found that taking moderate doses of fish oil can improve sleep quality. A study of 395 children, for example, showed that taking 600 mg. omega-3 fatty acids daily for 16 weeks helps to improve sleep quality.

In other cases, however, taking too much fish oil can actually interfere with sleep and contribute to insomnia, especially in people with anxiety and depression.

Eric Carter