Fish Oil Side Effects
What You Should Know About the Side Effects of Fish Oil
Though it supplies us with fantastic nutritional benefits, like many things, there are some possible side effects of fish oil to be aware of. First, though, it’s important to know all of the great things fish oil can do for us.
The Benefits of Fish Oil
The oil from many types of fish is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, also called essential fatty acids (EFAs). These omega oils are needed by our bodies, and can be gotten from other sources such as flaxseed oil. Fish oil, however, is one of the best sources.
Fish oil goes by many names: marine oils or marine lipids, triglycerides, n3 fatty acids, ethyl ester, herring oil, cod liver oil, and others. You can get fish oil by eating fish or, as many people do, through supplementation. The fish richest in these omega oils are tuna and salmon, anchovies and sardines, herring, trout, menhaden, sturgeon, and mackerel.
Fish oil is often referred to as “brain food” because it helps with depression, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease. We need it in order for our cells to grow and multiply properly.
Even More Benefits of Fish Oil:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps with the pain and swelling associated with arthritis
- Aids digestion and elimination
- Reduces chances for developing heart disease
- Can help relieve asthma symptoms
- Believed to fend off many of the effects of aging
Side Effects of Fish Oil
The United States National Institute of Health says that small amounts of these fatty acids derived from fish are healthy. However, especially in certain individuals, there can be negative side effects of fish oil consumption. These include the following.
- Diarrhea and oily stool
- Blood in urine
- Slows down blood clotting (note that this can be a benefit if blood thinning is desired, but is very dangerous if a person is a hemophiliac or has another blood coagulation disorder.)
- Heavy metal contamination. Unfortunately, many fish today are heavily laden with metals and toxins from water pollution. A lot of the sea creatures we dine on are laden with mercury, PCBs, and dioxins. Most of this contamination is held within the fish’s flesh, and will not accumulate in your body from taking supplements. If you eat fish to get your omega oils, just keep your intake levels at around three servings per week – especially if you are pregnant - so that you don’t accumulate dangerous levels of these toxins in your body,
- Upset stomach
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Bloating, gas, abdominal pain
Experts seem to agree that for most people, consuming fish oil supplements is not only safe but also beneficial. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about fish oil and whether you should take any special precautions before adding fish oil to your diet.
One way to avoid many of the possible side effects of fish oil is to start slowly and work your way up to a full dose after several days or even weeks. If you experience discomfort, scale back your dosage.
Try taking vitamin E along with your fish oil. E helps the body to metabolize omega acids, and levels of this vitamin can become depleted if they are not replenished. Some fish oil supplements come with an added dose of vitamin E.
As mentioned, fish oil can lower the blood pressure, so talk to your doctor before starting a fish oil regimen if you have low blood pressure or are taking medication to lower your blood pressure.