Taking fish oil supplements has been proven to be beneficial in preventing and treating numerous health conditions. Fish oil has been linked to better brain, heart, and eye health. This is because the main fat in fish oil is omega-3 fatty acid, an essential fat our bodies need to survive. Unless you eat a lot of fish on a regular basis, it’s likely you are not getting enough omega-3 in your diet. Many people turn to fish oil supplements for this reason, which provide much of the same benefits of eating fish itself.
Is Fish Oil Safe?
While fish oil is generally safe for most people, those with fish or shellfish allergy should use caution before taking a fish oil supplement. It’s possible they may also have an allergic reaction to fish oil. If you’re not sure if you have a fish allergy, check with your doctor or start with a small dosage. The recommended safe amount of fish oil is no more than 3 grams, or 3,000 milligrams, daily. However, this may vary from person to person. Taking more than this amount may lead to uncomfortable and sometimes serious side effects. Some of the side effects of too much fish oil include;
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea and other digestive problems are the most common side effect of taking too much fish oil. If you experience these symptoms, try lowering your dosage and taking your fish oil supplement with food.
- High Blood Sugar. High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes experienced a 22% increase in their blood sugar levels after taking 8 grams (5 grams over the recommended amount) of omega-3 fatty acids per day over 8 weeks. Omega-3s can stimulate the production of glucose when taken in large amounts, thus contributing to higher blood sugar levels.
- Low Blood Pressure. Studies show that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day can significantly lower blood pressure. This may sound great for those with high blood pressure but for those with naturally low blood pressure, it could be problematic. Some symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, and in serious cases even death. Furthermore, fish oil may interact with blood pressure-lowering medications, so be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any.
- Bleeding. If you notice bleeding gums or find yourself having a nose bleed, you could be taking too much fish oil. Excess fish oil consumption has been shown to decrease blood clotting in healthy adults in doses of 640 mg per day. It’s also been associated with a higher risk of nosebleeds in adolescents who took 1-5 grams daily. Because of the effect fish oil has on blood clotting, it’s important to tell your doctor if you are taking any before surgery.
- Acid Reflux. Because of its high fat content, fish oil supplements may lead to acid reflux. Symptoms of acid reflux include belching, heartburn, nausea, and upset stomach. Indigestion is an uncomfortable side effect of too much fish oil that may be avoided by taking smaller doses or taking your supplement with meals.
- Stroke. One of the most serious possible side effects of too much fish oil is stroke. Stroke is characterized by bleeding in the brain that is usually caused by weakened blood vessels rupturing. Because omega-3 fatty acids decrease blood clotting, they may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
- Insomnia. Though some studies show that moderate doses of fish oil supplements can improve sleep quality, too much has been shown to enhance insomnia in patients diagnosed with depression.
Should You Take Fish Oil Supplements?
While in excessive amounts fish oil may be harmful, these side effects are rarely serious or instantaneous. Most people take fish oil supplements daily with no problems. If you’re worried about side effects from your fish oil supplement, be sure to take no more than the daily recommended amount. Should you notice any side effects, stop taking them or lower your daily dosage. Always talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement that may interact with any of your current medications. Though fish oil supplements are a convenient way to promote health and prevent disease, they may not be for everyone. If you can’t tolerate fish oil, make a point to get enough omega-3s in your diet. If you are in search of a quality fish oil supplement, Hot Bod Nutrition’s Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil is made from all natural ingredients and formulated in an FDA registered lab for consumer quality control. Formulated in an easy to swallow capsule form, HBN’s fish oil supplement will easily fit into your daily health routine.