What are the Most Common Fish Oil Side Effects?

The most common side effects of fish oil include upset stomach. In addition, fish oil side effects may include diarrhea, heartburn, and abdominal pain. One of the most annoying fish oil side effects may be the fishy aftertaste and increased burping. Although bothersome, fish oil side effects can be kept to a minimum when fish oil capsules are taken with meals, and when the dose is started low, and then gradually increased. The side effects may be so intrusive, however, that many patients discontinue their use.

One of the more worrisome potential fish oil side effects include mercury poisoning. Typically, mercury has a tendency to accumulate in the meat of fish, as do other contaminants such as dioxin. Although these substances tend to be more prevalent in the fish meat as opposed to the actual fish oil, patients should still be aware of the possible contamination. When consuming fish oil capsules or omega-3 oil, consumers should read labels to determine which supplements are deemed free of contaminants.

Fish oil supplements contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may prove beneficial in the treatment and prevention of a variety of medical conditions. These conditions include heart disease and resultant angina, as well asrheumatoid arthritis. In addition, fish oil is showing promise in treating and possibly preventing postpartum and other types of depression. It is also believed to be helpful in preventing cancer.


Because fish oil side effects include keeping the blood thin, they may be beneficial in prevention of blood clots as well. Although the blood-thinning effects of fish oil can be a positive side effect, it can also prove very dangerous. Fish oil has the potential of thinning the blood too much, which may cause, or increase the risk of abnormal bleeding. Because of this, very large doses of fish oil have the potential to increase a hemorrhagic stroke. High doses of fish oil may also be implicated in urinary bleeding, nosebleeds, and blood in the stool.

Because fish oil supplements appear to inhibit platelet aggregation, people should check with their health care providers before taking them. This is especially important for people who are already taking other medications to thin the blood such as Coumadin® or aspirin. As fish oil side effects include blood thinning, the combination of taking both may prove dangerous. Unless recommended by a qualified health care provider, people may want to get their omega-3 oil from fatty fish such as salmon instead of supplements.



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