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How Much Fish Oil is Too Much? 18 Side Effects

Fish oil can be taken by eating fish or in the form of supplements. It comprises of some very important Omega 3 fatty acids and can be used to lower your triglyceride levels. Apart from that fish oil also contributes to preventing heart disease, stroke, clogged arteries, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, blood clotting,and high blood pressure.

However, just like every other supplement this one too comes with its share of side effects. It is for this reason that the FDA has suggested a maximum limit which should never be exceeded. Let’s read what that recommended dose is and side effects of fish oil.

The recommended dose of Fish oil

Two types of Omega acids are part of the fish oil – EPA and DHA and they are responsible for the benefits provided. As per health regulatory bodies you need to consume maximum 2000-3000 milligrams both of them per day. Certain research conducted has revealed that consumption of fish oil can reduce heart-related ailments.

You can get the recommended dose by taking two servings of fish per week. However, if that is not possible fish oil supplements are your quick step to achieve the target. When you buy the fish oil, you need to understand that the supplement would contain only limited amounts of omega 3 and that is what counts.

Doctors generally recommend 2000-3200 mg of fish oil because it is not entirely composed of omega 3. Normally a 1000 mg helping of fish oil would contain only 300 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, and hence it is better to be aware of that. If you are taking a soft gel of 1000 mg and the recommended dose of omega 3 is 2000 mg, then you will have to take 6-7 soft gels to meet the limit. Every supplement would come with its nutritional facts, and if you read them, you would be able to make the correct choice.

However, the results that you expect would not come instantly as you would have to wait sometime. It should take around 8-12 weeks before the impact of regular use starts showing. Also, some capsules may have more than the 300 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids. In that case, you would have to change the number of capsules you take in a day. Generally, it is tough to follow the instructions given on the medicine box. Always better to consult a doctor for better guidance.

Side effects of Fish oil

Fish oil is taken in reasonable amounts can be very beneficial. However, if you exceed the recommended limit, you might have to face serious consequences. Have a look at some of the side effects which over-consumption of fish oil may cause to your body.

1. Nausea

Whenever you start taking any new supplement your body takes some time to get adjusted to it. Same applies to a fish oil supplement as well. Your stomach feels sick, and there is a continuous feel that you need to vomit everything to it. To avoid that it is always advised that the supplement is taken along with the meals. However, if nausea does not go away even after the adjusting period is over, you may have to discontinue its use and discuss with your doctor.

2. Increase in Heartbeats

Irregular heartbeats also known in medical terms as heart palpitations can be one of the side effects of fish oil consumption. However, this side effect is serious, and if you are experiencing it, then it is most likely a serious concern. This is because irregular heartbeats can be fatal and you should consult the doctor as soon as you feel it happening.

3. Common flu

The symptoms of common flu-like fever, general malaise, chills,and muscle aches can be seen on the consumption of fish oil. If you are facing this problem, it is better you rest and sleep so that very soon these signs are gone. Again as we said if the signs persist for a long time you would have to visit the doctor.

4. A backache

When initially you take a fish oil supplement you can also experience a backache on a regular However, this side effect should generally go away after a few days. So far no medical reason has been attributed to why this problem arises. It could also be because of some other reason so being careful is advised.

5. Discomfort in the chest

Another potential side effect you may face while taking the supplement is severe pain in ribs and chest discomfort. In this case, though you cannot keep waiting for the signs to go away. The moment you start to experience even mild pain you will have to consider this as a medical emergency and rush to the doctor immediately.

8. Stomach upset

This symptom is mostly seen when you are taking a high dose of fish oil supplements something in the range of 4000 mg and over. The gas present in your stomach irritates your intestinal lining because of which the gas tends to accumulate causing severe pain in the stomach. Apart from that, you can also face frequent burping and severe discomfort.

9. Bad breath

Generally the taste of your mouth changes and that could be a reason why you are experiencing bad breath. It is believed that usage of fish oil makes your breath similar to that of a fish. If you are facing this symptom use breath mints to overcome the taste and smell as well.

10. Bloating

In the beginning, you might experience severe bloating, and your stomach would become a little big. This symptom should ideally though go away in some time, and it has surfaced only because you have started a new medication. If it continues to take medicines to make the bloating go away.

11. Risk of bleeding

Fish oil has been known to increase the breaking down of blood clots and indirectly they also stop blood platelets from coming together. Due to this feature fish oil supplements can make you prone to profuse bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, and blood in the urine and nosebleeds. But this symptom is usually seen when you consume very large quantities of fish oil in any form.

12. Blood pressure reduction

It is said that the more Omega 3 you will take more your blood pressure will dip. If you are a patient of high blood pressure then a good thing for you. However, if your blood pressure is low or normal consumption of fish oil can cause a further dip which can be dangerous and who knows even fatal.

13. Swelling in upper respiratory tract

Normally this side effect is very rare and seen only in very rare cases. But that does not stop them from not happening at all. You might face this problem, and in such a case a medical intervention only could save you.

14. Allergic reaction

If you have a history of allergy to fish, then you may not be able to consume its supplement as well. Skin rashes, difficulty in breathing. Itching, hives etc. are some symptoms that can be seen in this case. However, this happens only to people having allergies to fishes.

15. Insomnia along with anxiety

These are also rare signs, but they do occur for sure. People become agitated and anxious, and some of them are unable to even sleep throughout the night. If you stop consuming the supplements these symptoms will most likely go away.

16. Increase in risk of prostate cancer

Studies are conflicting on this one. While some research says that omega 3 consumption reduces risk to prostate cancer, others advise the opposite. However, still, it is believed that men who have more omega 3 in their blood are exposed to a higher risk of getting cancer.

17. Reduced immunity

When consumed in small quantities omega 3 can control the diseases that can harm you. However, if the dosage increases your situation may worsen as the immunity shows a sharp decline. Especially during a viral or bacterial infection, it may become very difficult to overcome them.

18. Vitamin deficiency

It is also possible that extra consumption of fish oil may cause your vitamin levels to plunge. Your Vitamin E content would fall thus making your body prone to other ailments. However, you can overcome this by taking fish oil which has traces of Vitamin E in it. Again read the medical instructions provided with the supplement so that you get full knowledge of the ingredients present.

Fish oil can be helpful to you in keeping healthy and also keep the symptoms of many other diseases under control. It is quite crucial that any kind of fish oil supplement not be taken without a doctor’s consultation and the recommended dose not be compromised upon. In case you face any of the above symptoms you should quickly consult a doctor or stop taking medicine at all. Some of the symptoms may be quite dangerous, and any carelessness on your part can be fatal for you. Till the time you do not see a doctor avoid taking fish oil completely.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.