Fish Oil Side Effects



Wondering about fish oil side effects is normal when you notice the rapid increase in popularity this supplement has had ...


An increase in popularity of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, or fish oils, has lead food manufacturers and the common public to add fish oil to their products and diets, respectively. In the alternative health community, many supplements are promoted as healthy before the potential side effects of overuse is determined or publicized. In the case of fish oil side effects, the list is short but worth knowing before attempting to pile huge amounts of fish oil into the diet.


There are three different Omega acids that commonly make up the term fish oil. These are the Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids. Omega 3s and Omega 6s are supplemented through the fortification of foods and direct supplementation. Omega 9, on the other hand, is produced naturally by the body and is absorbed from foods such as olive oils and nuts. Whoever thought math would not be used in adult life is wrong in terms of fish oil side effects. A careful balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplementation needs to occur in order for the Omega 3 fatty acids to provide benefit to the body.

Healthy Balances, Averages and Ratios

The healthiest balance between Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids occurs at an intake ratio of 4 to 1. Most typical western diets consume these fish oils at a ratio of 10 to 1. This means that more Omega 3s are needed than Omega 6s.

When Omega 6 fatty acid levels are too high, very real fish oil side effects can occur. Omega 6s can promote thrombosis, inflammation and constriction in the body. These are the three main precursors to disease development. It is thought that increased Omega 6 levels can cause a parallel increase in cancer risk, heart attacks, stroke, arthritis and obesity.


While Omega 3 levels need to be boosted in most western diets, there is a risk of over supplementation that may lead to fish oil side effects. If Omega 3s are consumed with blood thinners or anticoagulants, there is a chance that increased bleeding can occur. This is only the case if large amounts of Omega 3s are consumed daily. Large amounts would include daily supplementation in excess of 4 grams which is well above the recommended supplementation of 1 to 2 grams a day.

Other health issues associated with the consumption of very large doses of Omega 3s include increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and reduced effectiveness of diabetes control.

More Common Side Effects

Fish oil side effects are not always health related. Some common side effects of consuming a daily fish oil supplement can include changes in bowel movements, indigestion or fish "taste" in the mouth. These side effects often only occur during the first days or weeks of supplementation and will often subside as the body gets used to the additional fish oil.

Fish oil's side effects are often measured as effects versus benefits. The benefits of fish oil supplementation are a healthier body, stronger immune system and healthier mind. These results are often considered worth the risks of mild side effects. When medication is involved, it is important to speak with a physician regarding the potential side effects that could occur on a case by case basis.

When shopping for a quality fish oil supplement, consider Xtend-Life's Omega 3 DHA Fish Oil for completeness, value and ease of use.

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